Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chicken & Israeli Couscous with Tomato & Lemon

Couscous is good....Israeli couscous is delicious. I didn't know there was a difference until I tried an Israeli couscous salad at wicked witch and thought....this is WAY more delicious than couscous...what IS this? So browsing the aisles at Trader Joes last week... I spotted a box of the little balls of heaven and brought them home.


Here was my first (very successful) experiement:

Chicken & Israeli Couscous with Tomato & Lemon
First all my mis en place in a bowl.... onions, tomatoes, garlic and lemon zest...

Then I toasted up the tasty little balls for about a minute...and then took them back out of the pan and sauteed up some chicken until it was just browned...


Then the chicken out and the tomatoes, onions, etc went in until the tomatoes were breaking up and the onions were soft..

I poured in some white wine and let that cook down a little bit before adding in the stock, couscous and some salt and pepper and let that simmer away for about 12 minutes...



The recipe had us putting the chicken back in with the wine, which I did....but in my opinion it led to slightly overcooked chicken, so next time I will put it in way later...and my thoughts have been reflected in the recipe below...

Once the chicken is cooked through and the couscous is soft, I stirred in some frozen peas (that I thawed under some warm tap water to keep from watering down the sauce)...



last but absolutely not least, squeeze a lemon wedge over the bowl after you serve yourself up some....it really makes the dish....trust me.

Enjoy!!



Chicken and Israeli Couscous with Tomato and Lemon
Adapted From Martha Stewart Living (January 2009)


Ingredients
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I only used 1 large breast- cut into bitesize pieces)
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 tomatoes, chopped up
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tbsp)
zest of one lemon
Pinch of saffron- (I didnt have any- so I didnt use any)
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1-1/2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add couscous, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, and return skillet to heat.

2. Cook chicken, smooth side down, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip, and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, reserving drippings in skillet.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, lemon peel and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add wine, and cook for 4 minutes. Add stock, salt, and couscous, and stir. Add chicken back to pan...Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until couscous is tender and chicken is cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in peas, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately with lemon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Clean Food Dinner

Rob, Maggie and I headed for a (very hot) morning walk to the Hyde Park Farmer's Market on Sunday morning to pick up a few farm fresh veggies for a Clean Food Dinner. While it was a million degrees...it was still a nice walk and a lively farmers market. I was too hot to think straight, much less take pictures (next time I promise!!) and we of COURSE had to grab some dojo gelato for the walk home (try the pineapple basil.....aaahhhmazing!)
For dinner that night we had a few recipes from the book...

In this book, the chapters are broken down into seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) rather than into sections (appetizer, main dish, dessert, etc)- so that you can cook recipes that are fresh and in season right now. Which makes it the perfect pairing with the farmers market...

First up was an heirloom tomato salad that included heirloom tomatoes (obvs), avocado, red onion, cucumber, basil, etc.... It was fresh and refreshing and a little creamy from the avocado...


and some fingerling potatoes with green beans tossed with a garlic lemon dill vinaigrette... (I want to douse this vinaigrette on everything I eat from now on!!)


and last but Certainly not least...the most delicious piece of corn I have ever eaten. Fresh, sweet, juicy..... next week we will certainly be buying more than 2 pieces....


Can't wait to cook more with this delicious book!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Free Ice Cream Today!

Free Graeters Today!


When: Friday from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Where: Look for the Graeter's truck outside the Scripps Center at 312 Walnut Street, Cincinnati.
Why: Its a promotion to help off Scripps Networks new Cooking Channel on cable.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Athens Fun

We headed to the beautiful city of Athens, OH this past weekend.

Because of the "did you check in" joke going on, I can tell you exactly where we went all weekend.....and I am now going to.

Friday Rob and I got up around 4 and decided to head to "brewfest".
This video will show you exactly what Brewfest was....


video


There was also a carshow involved somehow....which involved lots of men with their cars in the grass and the hoods open.


After that we needed to get out of the 100 degree heat and into some AC...so we went across the street to have a brew at the Smiling Skull (random I KNOW...but it was right there and I didnt want to spoil the fun for the next day by pre-visiting any of our old watering holes..)


Saturday, we headed up to Court Street for our Day of Athens Fun. First we headed to Bagel Street Deli (where I snuck in some Burrito Buggy)...


Next Stop was the CI:




Then came Lucky's where we had a midafternoon snack of some "world famous" cheesesticks. Followed by the pub, where we were lucky enough to score the cornerbooth and grabbed us some $3 aquariums (I heart Athens)....


Next up were "hot nuts" and darts at Tony's...



Followed by a slow and not delicious dinner at Broney's


Where Nickee got ICED!!!

After that we headed to the outdoor patio of Courtside and had a few drinks before making the always regrettable trip to the Junction. The boys played foosball while the girls pole danced (some of us more than others :) ) and of course sipped on junction punch.


Next up was pawpurrs followed by a little trip to Goodfellas (foursquare finally has a point!- besides helping me make this list, if you checked into goodfellas on 4square you got buy one get one free slices.....YES please!)

One final stop at the Cats Eye (as pictured, we made a stop somewhere in there for energy drinks for our old selves)- apparantly 29 year old bodies arent meant to bar hop for 12 hours.... yikes...


Then it was back home for the night....

The next morning we got a sweet table at the diner for a little diner food to sustain us for our 3 hour car ride home....and the new lovebirds split a milkshake :)



Whew....and that was our whirlwind Athens Trip.....
I had a great time... but I can't wait to go up again sometime soon for a more low key weekend with the lil sis :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Restaurant Review- Asian Paradise

My regular dogsitters (aka my parents) were out of town this weekend and I was excited to find an inexpensive and awesome substitute for them. A P&G employee who watched dogs out of her home on the weekends.....only downside...she is practically on the other side of the world from us... not really, but on Thursday at 5pm, it sure felt like it. It took us an hour to get to Maineville from downtown, but actually only about 20 minutes to get to our house from hers on Sunday afternoon after picking up the pup...so really not that bad.

Anywhoo...while we were up in Maineville, after said hour trek from downtown in rush hour traffic...we were hungry...for sushi. I spotted a place called "Asian Paradise" and urbanspooned it on my phone only to discover it's brand new, super swanky, and the three people who had been there and urbanspoon....LOVED it...so we decided to try it out.

Don't let it's stripmall-ish exterior fool you, this place is gorgeous on the inside. So gorgeous that I had to look at a menu to make sure it wasnt way more than we wanted to spend on dinner on a Thursday night. Much to my delight, it was right on par with all of our regular sushi joints, so we asked to be seated at the sushi bar.


There are lots of reasons that if you only have two people you like to sit at the sushi bar...one is because they sometimes give you random delicious food. I am not even sure what this was, but it was super tasty:


The second is that it was so fun to watch the sushi chefs meticulously design each beautiful plate that went out. There were martini glasses that lit up, onion trees shooting high from sushi plates....even the time and effort I saw him put into a small avocado roll was so impressive!

For starters we got some spring rolls


and this Vietnamese salad that was made with Napa cabbage, jicama, peanut and cilantro. The Spring Rolls were just fine, but the Vietnamese salad was a nice suprise. Big enough for splitting (which we will remember for next time) and just a little sweet. A nice light starter for the meal.


The sushi was, as mentioned before, plated beautifully. It was fresh and delicious and we were both very impressed.

Also, the soy sauce came in this little pot, which just made me happy :)


If you are up in the Loveland area, for sure give this place a try. They had much more than sushi on their menu if you are not a sushi person.... not to mention the beautiful atmosphere, delicious food & reasonable prices....



Asian Paradise on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Restaurant Review- Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club

Saturday we took our sun kissed selves to dinner at the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club for some Riverside Dining.... Now, please don't let the name "yacht club" fool you as the beer comes in cans, the place is cash only andI'm fairly certain no one in attendance at this establishment has ever even stood on a yacht, but nonetheless this is a great place for a perfect summer night...


During the day/ early in the night, you can pull up a seat next to the river for lunch or dinner and a couple of cold beers. Once it gets dark, the band sets up and there is wobbly dancing galore (the floor gets a little shaky, so people who get sea sick might want to steer clear of sitting too close to the water)

As for the food, it's ok....but you don't really come here for gourmet meals...it's definitely all about the atmosphere:

That being said, let's talk for a moment about the food.
EVERYONE at our table (except 1..) got the Cajun chicken sandwich with fries.

It was fine.Not bad, not great....but did I enjoy it while watching the sunset over the river and the boats pass?...you betcha.

Nick, the rebel of the group, ordered the shrimp skewers with what looks to be steamed veggies? I didnt try either, but he really enjoyed the shrimp, but could take or leave the veggies.... (I'm guessing they were way oversteamed...)



This was all enjoyed with ice cold buckets of canned miller and bud light....
The preferred drink of yacht clubbers everywhere....

Check it out! You will love it!

Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Awesome Fourth of July Weekend!

I had such a fun-filled weekend...

Friday night I (finally) got a chance to take my Dad out for Father's Day. We walked down the street (whoo hoo) to the local wine shop for a little wine tasting while we waited for Rob to get home from work (month end, blah blah) and then all headed to RuThai's for some delicious sushi.

The next morning we were up and at them for a pooool party! Is there anything better to do on a holiday weekend then float around the pool with your buds and a cold beer on a hot day? I can't think of much. We spent the day floatin, chattin, playin silly games and cookin out.


Later it was time for showers and meeting up for dinner on the River at the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club (restaurant review to come soon!). We had some food and enjoyed the rest of the gorgeous day outside.....

Sunday we spent most of the day relaxing until it was time for a cookout at Greg and Chelsea's.. They made kebobs....now if you regularly read this blog you might remember my kebob post from a while back. Chelsea and Greg's kebobs might make me decide to take that post down. Chelsea's marinades partnered with Greg's perfect grilling made these some of the most delicious kebobs ever!
After dinner we walked to Ault Park for front row seats to a sweet fireworks show...
Perfect ending to a great day.

Monday we decided to do something outdoors with the pup and headed to Miami Whitewater forest for some walking and swimming (for Maggie) She had a great time chasing ducks and swimming in the creek. I can't wait to get out my bike and head to this park again, such a great place...

Notice the ducks that were on the shore trying to get as far away from her as possible...

For once my long weekend actually felt adequately long and now listing off all the things we did, I can see why!
Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Friday, July 2, 2010

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