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!