Meatless Mondays | Grapefruit Endive Salad

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It’s Monday and if you recall our past post we are going “Meatless” on Mondays. Today’s recipe was inspired by the spring issue of Food & Wine and is the perfect recipe for a warm California day, like today! So grab a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Albariño or any crisp white wine and start cooking!

  • 2 Belgian endives – halved lengthwise, cored and slightly sliced
  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely crushed pistachios, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper

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Pickling the onions will take about an hour so begin by combining the rice vinegar, water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the onion slices, turn off the heat and let the onions sit in the mixture for about an hour. Let cool completely and then drain.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sunflower seed oil and olive oil with cider vinegar and mustard. Add the crushed pistachios and chives, season with salt and pepper and let chill in the refrigerator.

Prepare the grapefruit by cutting in between the membranes to release the grapefruit sections and place them in a large bowl. Add the sliced endives, chopped parsley, marjoram and 1/2 of the cooled down onions*. Coat the salad with the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Divide the salad on four plates, garnish with crushed pistachios and enjoy with a light-bodied white wine.

*Reserve the other half of the pickled onions for another dish. They are great in this slow-cooker pulled pork recipe!

Cheers! ~Crystal

Couscous Cakes & Heirloom Salad

Couscous Cakes

My friend Morgan and I often find ourselves playing “Chopped” in the kitchen where we decide to make dinner together with only the ingredients we currently have in the refrigerator / pantry. The menu is never set until we look at the ingredients each of us have contributed and we just “wing it!” We’ve never had a bad “Chopped” dinner date but I must say our couscous cakes with avocados and heirlooms has been the BEST and most beautiful “Chopped” dish to date. This entrée can easily be made into an appetizer or side salad. The creaminess of the avocado married with the crispy texture of the cakes and freshness of the heirloom salad makes this dish a winner in our “chopped” series of recipes.

CousCous Cakes How To

  • 1 1/2 cup couscous, cooked and cooled
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1 basket small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Cook couscous per the directions on box and let cool. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Once couscous has cooled; combine one egg, shredded mozzarella, basil, thyme, salt and pepper to the couscous. Mix well and form small patties. Cook patties in 1 or 2 batches over medium heat, flipping once until the patties are crisp and golden brown on both sides (about 5 – 6 minutes each side). Repeat the same steps for the remaining patties.

While the couscous cakes are cooking, prepare the heirloom salad. Combine the heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and torn basil with a heavy drizzle of olive oil and a few dashes of red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cut avocados in half, remove the pit and slice lengthwise. Fan avocado slices on plate and place the warm couscous cakes on top. Finish with the heirloom salad.

Makes 6-8 cakes.

CousCous Cakes & Rose

Enjoy! ~ Crystal


Wine Pairing

2012 Muscardini Rosato di Sangiovese

Muscardini Rosato di Sangiovese

Muscardini Cellars is one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma Valley and owner/winemaker Michael is one of the coolest guys around. If you are ever in the Sonoma County area, this is a must on your winery to-do list. Michael’s 2012 Muscardini Rosato di Sangiovese opens up with vibrant strawberry and watermelon notes with a hint of wild berries and citrus. Perfectly balanced with a crisp and clean finish.

This is a perfect spring and summertime wine that makes a wonderful aperitif, yet pairs deliciously with simple fare such as fruit, mild cheeses and charcuterie, fish, salads and lighter fare. The perfect picnic wine! Click here to learn more about Muscardini Cellars!


A Staple In My Pantry: Couscous

imageCouscous is truly a must-have in my pantry at all times. I always have a box or two as backup for a quick meal or a perfect side dish. Not only is it extremely versatile but it’s an easy way to add a grain to your meal without investing a lot of time. Seriously. Grill up some veggies and toss it with some couscous and you have a delicious lunch or dinner. Toss the cooked couscous with some olive oil, lemon and a little bit of salt and pepper and you have an easy side dish that pairs well any poultry, fish or meat.

A simple recipe that I make a few times a month is this quick and easy Couscous Tabbouleh Salad.  Enjoy!

Tabbouleh Salad

  • 1  1/4 cups couscous
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (1 – 1½ lemon should be perfect)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1/2 diced green pepper
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 4 Tablespoons parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon mint
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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What I like to do is boil the water in a saute pan over the stove. Once boiling, I turn off the stove and add the dry couscous, olive oil, lemon juice and stir to combine. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. While the couscous is cooking, prepare the tomatoes, green peppers, onions and herbs. After the 5 minutes are up, fluff the couscous with a fork and add the vegetables, herbs and salt and pepper. Toss lightly and serve warm or refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Fluff salad with fork again and serve.

Makes 5 servings.

Variations: Stuff roasted bell peppers with this salad or wrap it up in a pita! Get creative and share with us your couscous recipe ideas on Twitter! – Cheers, Crystal

Twitter

@ApronsStilettos


Question: What’s a staple food item in YOUR pantry?