Friday, September 01, 2006

What's for dinner tonight...

Trying to find some variation to the stero-typical Friday fish fry or baked brown beans, I will be offering the following for dinner tonight.

Black Bean and couscous salad:

Prep time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 people

1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.
Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Not being a big fan of its flavour - I do not add the cilantro!)

Found on:

Obviously I have to double this recipe and I will be serving it with (store bought) corn tortillas lightly fried on a dry (no grease or oil) frying pan with hummus on the side to dip the tortillas in.

Bon Appetite!
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Another trip down memory lane...

As we stood there surveying the smoking remains of our deck and the slick oil that was slewed across the dining and kitchen linoleum with hot melted spots issuing nasty smells my husband looked at me and said; “You know this is really all your fault!’

“Mine?” I asked incredulously. “ How can that be? I was not even here when it happened?”

“Exactly!” he grumbled. “If you had been here, I would not have gotten annoyed with you and distracted. If I had not been distracted, I would not have forgotten I had put the water on to boil before I went out to chop wood. And if I had not been out there, I would have been here to see that I had put the wrong burner on and that the oil was smoking before it caught fire!”

I stared at him and longed to argue with him about the irrationality of his logic but opted instead to feel grateful that he and all the children had survived what had only twenty minutes earlier been a raging fire.

Our then four year old daughter, Gabriela, had been the one to discover the flames licking the kitchen cupboards over the stove and issued the alarm that the house was on fire. Her 4 week old brother Noah was, for a change, quiet and asleep in his swing in the living room beside the dining area that opened off of the galley sized kitchen. I was down the road having a cup of tea with a neighbor while enjoying a friendly chat with her and her husband. It was late in the Canadian spring with the snow gone but with some days still chilled and at times cold and rainy. Cool enough, in fact, to warrant a small fire in the stove.

Rushing to see what Gabriela was yelling about, Amanda, then 12, had hurried out whomever of her siblings that were in the house, not yet noticing her sleeping enfant brother. Then, following her fathers orders, she slid the patio door open and rushed out into the cool crisp air ahead of him while he cautiously slipped out the door carrying the flaming pot of oil ahead of him. Once outside though his sure footing was lost on the damp slippery deck and as he stumbled, the oil sloshed over the sides of the pot forcing him to drop it causing a wall of flames to race across the deck blocking him from our daughter’s view. Her screams of horror raised higher than the flames and the children scrambled around the side of the house to see the flames licking up the tree and curling around the legs of our propane barbeque. All held their breath while my oldest, looked through the living room window saw to her horror, her baby brother still snoozing in his swing - oblivious to all that was happening. She now realized that these 8 foot flames not only separated her from her father, whom she was certain had been engulfed in them, but also from her tiny baby brother.

Bitterly berating herself for not having seen the baby earlier in his swing she stared helplessly at him through the window, wondering how to get him out or how to warn her other siblings that he was there. The flames were between her and the only means of exiting the deck as the section she was trapped on was at least ten feet above the ground. Suddenly a gentle breeze tousled her bangs and instead of the flames being fed by it - they suddenly and completly died. Her father was revealed to her and he yelled at her to wait there as he dashed back into the house. While disaster greeted him - the flames that had been crawling up the wall behind the stove and eating at the edges of the cupboards had also mysteriously died. Simultaneously - it would seem. Instead of finding the whole kitchen engulfed in flames as he had been certain he would, there was only smoke and oil everywhere punctuated with the smell of melted rubber. Once he had made certain no danger remained he allowed the children back in and they excitedly clamored about him asking what had happened and how had the oil spilt all over and why hadn’t the barbeque blown up like they thought it would and how was it the tree did not burst into flames especially since it was a cedar…

Totally oblivious to all of this excitement I had drained the dregs of my tea, refused a second pouring, said my good byes and trudged on home.

It was a whole summer, two series of cupboards being rebuilt, the kitchen flooring torn up and replaced as well as new rugs all downstairs and the whole of the downstairs repainted before I had my kitchen back in working order. And all because I had stayed down the road for a cup of tea. Imagine that! Read more!