More Leftovers and Still Searching…

Last blog entry I shared the recipe using our gift of fresh peas – Saffron Couscous with Fresh Peas and Chives, which is an excellent recipe. What I didn’t pay attention to was the amount of couscous called for…..1 1/4 cups. This I know is way too much for just a couple of servings for the two of us.

Too late, so I had the unexpected treat of leftover couscous. My first leftover dish was Couscous patties and what a treat these are and for once a recipe with the correct ratio of dry to wet ingredients so the patties hold together while cooking!! (doesn’t happen too often)
Here’s a reminder of our bounty –
Jun 18 Fresh Peas

Couscous Cakes
Adapted from a recipe from Giada DeLaurentis from Food Network.
Jun 19 Couscous Cakes
2 cups cooked couscous, prepared according to package instructions and cooled
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 lemon, zested
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tsps. minced candied jalapenos (or regular jalapenos)
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup mild mango chutney

In a medium bowl, mix together the couscous, cilantro, egg, egg yolk, coriander, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Mix until combined.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Form 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture into 8 patties.

Add 4 of the patties to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side until golden. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture.  Serve with chutney or just about any sauce you like.
After 1 dinner and a batch of cakes, I still had 4 cups of couscous leftover. 2 cups are now saved in the freezer. Now comes the dish of the week!

A little background which will bring us up to today’s Seafood Couscous with Coconut Curry ‘gravy’. Yesterday we went to a friend’s house for a paella dinner. My friend, Gary, makes a mean Paella and he has a new paella pan which, of course, he had to show off! I must say I’d almost kill for one of these pans – it is humungous and absolutely beautiful -check the size of the wine glass to the size of the pan to see why I’m so envious….
Jun 19 Seafood Paela
And, because of the size of pan, the amount of paella was humungous, also. LEFTOVERS for the guests!!

Now, for the 2nd backup story (I hope you’re still with me) – a week or so ago we went to our favorite local Asian restaurant, SoHo Asian Bistro and had the best Seafood with Coconut Curry I’ve ever had! Naturally I wanted to recreate the dish if possible and with the leftover bounty of seafood and couscous, everything just fell into place.

Thai Peanut Gravy
This recipe is from Thai Kitchen website and while it is very good, it was not a duplicate of the dish I wanted….so the hunt is still on. But, I will make this one again, it’s delicious so I will share it.
Jun 20 Thai P.Nut Gravy with seafood, couscous
1 can Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
2 Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 Tbs Fish Sauce
3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 kaffir lime leaves (I had to sub Myer Lemon zest plus a little lime juice)
1/4 tsp cornstarch dissolved with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup basil leaves, whole or chopped (optional)
1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced (optional)

MIX coconut milk and red curry paste in small saucepan. Bring to simmer on low heat, stirring constantly.
STIR in chicken stock, fish sauce, peanuts, sugar, salt, kaffir lime leaves and cornstarch mixture. Bring to simmer. Stirring constantly, simmer until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat.
STIR in basil and chiles, if desired.

Today is Saturday June 20th and tomorrow is Father’s day – I’m sure we all have the menus worked out for our favorite guys……don’t we?

I’ll keep mine under wraps until tomorrow after we’ve judged them. But, I will say I do have a loaf of 18 hour bread working on the counter….one of Roy’s favorite things in the world!
Jun 20  18 hr bread for Dad's day

More tomorrow and I want to wish all our fathers the happiest of days – to the Dad’s still with us and those who are not that we will never forget!!

Here are two of my favorite Dads – and we lost both of them too darn young….more about them tomorrow.
May 27 Dad In Cuba WWII(  Jimmy and his Daddy







Moving In Update and Fresh Peas!

Moving at our age is certainly not for sissies!! Been a lot of years since we have worked this hard, but along with sore muscles we now have so many projects accomplished to make our little country ‘shambles’ our perfect little farmhouse. Roy has worked everyday building projects which pop  into my head to make the tiny kitchen much more work-friendly. Pictures will follow later….

My small kitchen garden that will see us through this first summer is planted and growing wonderfully well – I’m already able to cut a few leaves of various lettuce  and herbs to add to salads and I can almost see the zucchinis, tomato and pepper plants growing every day! Won’t be too long.

Yesterday was a food-filled day! Finally had all my smoking equipment unpacked and some chicken  thighs dry-rubbed overnight ready for the smoker. Also, adding to the feast,  friends (thank you Gary & Guimi Prater) had given me a bag of fresh peas from their garden which were delicious sweet to munch on as is. But, I did get them hidden from me in the fridge to be used in a dish of some sort.
Jun 18 Fresh Peas
Jun 18 Bowl of Couscous, peas, chives
Couscous with Peas and Chives was the perfect choice to allow the peas to shine. And, a reviewer of the recipe’s method was just the right way to prepare the dish. (Add couscous to a 4-cup measure, top with the shelled peas; after bringing chicken stock, pinch of saffron, and butter to a boil, pouring it over the couscous. Let sit 5 min. covered and the dish is ready. I have to say this turned out to be the best way to cook (using the term loosely J ) peas I’ve ever done – the peas were still their vibrant bright green and texture was a crisp-cooked result tasting like they had just come from the garden.

The smoked chicken thighs were very tasty also, but since I’m not a fan of overly smoked food, next time I will pull them after two hours of smoking and finish off in the oven if necessary. But the flavors of the rub and baste were spot on heat-wise and still very tender and moist.
Jun 18 Couscous with smoked chix thighs
And, to top the day off, our friend the Pie Lady, Kate McDermott, stopped by with a Rhubarb Custard pie to taste test! Loved her version, especially with the addition of sugared pecans scattered over the top – I wanted more of the crunch! So very good. It’s very hard not to eat well with the friends and neighbors we are lucky enough to have here in Port Angeles.

Here’s the recipe for the Couscous dish – adapted from an Epicurious recipe

Saffron Couscous with Fresh Peas and Chives
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 1/4 cups couscous
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas or frozen peas
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs (1/4 stick) butter
pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Pour the couscous into a 4-cup measure and top with the peas.
Bring the brother, butter and saffron threads to a boil and pour over the couscous/pea mixture to cover completely. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover, transfer to a serving dish fluffing the couscous and gently adding the chives to the mixture along with salt and pepper.  Taste for seasoning.

This dish is so versatile, I’m anxious to try switching up the herbs and using basil, rosemary, maybe even a few leaves of mint and/or cilantro.

The mama-to-be doe we have been watching evolved into an entire herd this morning – Thank heavens my tender little beginning garden was well protected.
Jun 18 Herd of deer
Happy cooking and enjoying the fruits of your labor everyone! I’d love to hear from you with any additional ideas for this dish – it just calls for playing with.