sharing summer recipes: couscous and cornbread

Yes, I am one of those crazy people who cooks even when it is hot.  I have two dead simple recipes to share with my readers today.  They are not necessarily to be served together, I just happened to be fiddling after gardening.

One is a summer salad with Israeli Couscous, and the second is my spin on cornbread.  Cornbread to me is summer and fall.

Cornbread

Oven pre-heated to 425 degrees.

  • dash of ground ginger
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar (white)
  • 3/4 cup flour (I use organic all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (if you use sea salt, make it a scant teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2 percent today, but anything except skim will work)
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons of butter
  • turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Mix all the “wet” ingredients together.  You can do it with a whisk.  I do add the melted butter slowly and last into the wet.  You don’t want to cook your egg, after all.

Combine all the dry ingredients and whisk into the wet ingredients.  Pour in your prepared pan and top the batter with a dusting of turbinado sugar.

Pop into your pre-heated oven and  cook about 25 minutes.  Today I cooked it a couple of minutes more, other times a couple of minutes less – depends on the oven.  When the cornbread is slightly brown on top, maybe a couple of cracks on the top and a skewer or knife comes out clean, the bread is finished.  Take it out, let it cool, remove from pan.

Easy and delicious.

This bread is yummy plain, with butter, with jams or preserves, or honey.  I like cornbread with honey.  Right now the honey I have is from right here in West Chester – Carmen B’s.

Summer Salad With Israeli Couscous 

 

  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • Spring onions
  • Parsley (fresh flat leaf Italian – I grow it in my garden)
  • Mint (I grow peppermint and curly mint which is a spearmint)
  • 5 or 6 ounces of crumbled Queso Fresco
  • Jayshree Kosher Salt Garden Seasoning (from Florida, their stuff is terrific)
  • olive oil
  • wine vinegar
  • one fresh lemon, juiced
  • fresh radishes
  • pine nuts (optional)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • garlic powder

Boil the dry Israeli Couscous in about 3 cups of water according to directions on package of whatever brand you buy (around 12 minutes.)  Drain it and shock it with a quick dash of cold water and toss into a bowl.  Israeli Couscous is larger, and looks like little wheat colored pearls.  You can’t substitute regular couscous for this recipe.  It is specifically designed for the Israeli Couscous.

Chop up a few spring onions (or a bunch of scallions), one or two tomatoes, small bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, small bunch of fresh mint (you CAN’T substitute dried mint, it will taste gross, so don’t even try), fresh radishes.  Season with Jayshree Kosher Salt Garden Seasoning and fresh ground pepper OR Season with regular salt and pepper. The Jayshree Kosher Salt Garden Seasoning is well worth ordering, or Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt would work too.  Not Lowry’s Seasoned Salt – ick.  Plain salt and pepper might be too bland, but it is entirely up to you.

Toss ingredients lightly and create a simple dressing from the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic.  Whisk the vinaigrette together and pour over salad mixture.   Add crumbled Queso and pine nuts if you so choose.  Toss again and refrigerate.

Easy and delicious.

All the veggies I put in my summer salad with Israeli Couscous today came from the East Goshen Farmers Market.  I would love to share recipes with the market, but apparently, I am too different a person for  the market manager to handle, or I am not politically correct enough, or both.  She had contacted me , wanting to link my blog to the EGFM blog, but then changed her mind.  I was fine with that (and felt bad at the time that she was obviously so uncomfortable having to tell me “oops”).  You see, Birchrun Hills Farms is a producer at this market, I am not changing my mind on how I feel about Farmer-Supervisor Miller and his part in the attempted eminent domain for private gain of Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds, or the dubious shenanigans in West Vincent.  This is why yesterday, when I had a lunch meeting at White Dog Cafe in Wayne, I passed over a couple of luncheon dishes that were advertised as being made with Birchrun Hills Farm products.

I do however, love the East Goshen Farmers Market even if Madam Market was so impossibly rude last week to me it was embarrassing and hurtful at the same time.  Which given her perky PTA mom persona the rest of the time I have seen her (which is only at the market), was somewhat shocking. It was last week’s behavior that has made me mention the drama a second and last time on this blog.

I am new to this community, so a lot of people are getting to know me.  I totally get that.  But I believe in being active and helpful in one’s community (paying things forward), and last week the EGFM said they were looking for input on gluten-free bakeries and products.  So I stopped to give feedback.  The conversation kind of  came to a screeching halt when she snapped at me how she was a nutritionist.  I am a breast cancer survivor, but I don’t go around snapping that at people when they talk about the disease and possibly use incorrect buzz words and such.  And if I am working on a community event and someone is kind enough  to offer feedback when I solicit it, I am always glad to listen.  After all, you never know where the next great idea will come from.  And well, heck, I know people who have started these farm markets and hired bakeries in this area for organic and gluten free.  I also have friends who live utterly gluten free lives and have to bake on their own because the variety of what they find at gluten free bakeries doesn’t suit their allergies.

Whatever.

I don’t need this gal as a BFF (and since I am blogging about it, a precisely made voodoo doll may be in the process of being crafted or the Welcome Wagon might run me over, I simply don’t know), but I will tell you what, being a newcomer into an area versus being part of the established community has shown me again why you shouldn’t judge before you get to know someone.  Live and let live, and her loss.   I will never be rude to this person, and I will be happy to support the market because it is truly fabulous and with the exception of one farm, full of wonderful vendors.  In that regard she has done a marvelous job.  She can’t help the rest of it.  Just her nature.

To the rest of you, my readers and the people I am meeting here and there as I settle into Chester County, thank you for the warm and friendly welcome.  I look forward to sharing more with you on this blog as the spirit moves me.

Happy cooking!

found at the farmers market

It was a beautiful afternoon to visit the East Goshen Farmers Market.  It was sunny and the temperatures were perfect….and the market was mobbed with people young, old, and in between!  It was so packed that by the time I arrived at a little after 4 pm a lot of the vendors were running out of product or had run out of product.

I met my first East Goshen Supervisor today, a really nice man named Carmen R. Battavio, who also happens to be a bee keeper and a whiz with honey (Carmen B’s Honey).  I bought some of Carmen’s honey (and have already tasted it and it is terrific), and he told me that East Goshen is a great place to live, work, and play.  (And to my Radnor Township followers, as it is told here in East Goshen, many moons ago someone in Radnor borrowed East Goshen’s slogan – imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that good stuff.)  It was nice to visit with Carmen and his Queen Bee, Karen.

I also saw Laura of Laura’s Biscotti, whom I had met before through my friend Sandra who used to run an organic foods and produce company called Panache Foods.  I am familiar with Laura’s biscotti, and today we came home with some of her granola.

We also stopped at Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream and Dia Doce Cupcakes and Blueberry Hill Farm for some veggies. My last stop was Pureblend for something my friend Nicki would be thrilled – Matcha Green Tea.

I can’t wait for next week!

stumbled upon: east goshen farmers market

So it’s Thursday and there I am wandering around and as I was driving up past East Goshen’s park (which is awesome, by the way), I see a sign that says “Farmers Market Today 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.”

They had me at “hello” as I love farmers markets.

This farmers market had made its debut last year, and well, this year the market has grown up and is a great thing to see.

It was packed.

As I wandered around, I saw some of my favorite purveyors from the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market which my friend Molly put together a few   years ago now.  I was pleased to see Frecon Farms, John & Kira’s Chocolates (if you are a chocoholic you will want to splurge on them!), and Shellbark Hollow Farm.

I was also happy to see Laura’s Biscotti from Malvern  is on the roster (these biscotti are the real deal and the only ones I have ever bought since I generally make my own ) and had fun discovering Veronica’s Doggie Delights–now dog approved in my house!   And Chaikhana Chai was there and they rock out loud – I am a fan of their products as their chai is in Du Jour in Haverford.

I also saw that St. Peter’s Bakery was there and had fun chatting with the ladies of Blueberry Hill Farm.

I have strawberry-rhubarb something on my mind for cooking and the rhubarb I bought from Blueberry Hill was gorgeous.

One fly in the ointment and a farmer I won’t support even if hell freezes over are those fine folks from Birchrun Hills Farm.  I will not put money in the pockets of eminent domain loving FarmerSupervisorRoadmaster Ken Miller and his wife.  They are a personal choice boycott. If you are interested in why I made that choice, simply catch up with your Chickenman reading.

In any event, don’t let one slezoid farmer-politcian keep you away from the East Goshen Farmers Market – it’s a good thing!

 

I even made a new dog friend.  His name is Shakespere and he is a tri-pod rescued English Springer Spaniel.

Over and out…off to peruse all things rhubarb.