Holiday Party Mixed Nuts- Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts with Maple and Brown Sugar
2012 was a trying year. In its fleeting visit, it brought along many ups and downs like all years do and for many, unimaginable hardship and devastation. I was fortunate to be able to celebrate some major accomplishments. I completed my dietetic internship, finished the Masters Program at NYU, and finally became a registered dietitian. The year also came with many challenges from school and work, some broken bones, and emotional tribulations with family. It also welcomed many wonderful travel opportunities for me such as here, here, and here and I will soon post about my most recent trip to the Jamaican rainforest. I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. With January 1st, we are offered an almost clean slate to start some things anew and welcome fresh and exhilarating experiences. For 2013, I want to continue building and blossoming my little biddy baby blog, experiment and share more recipes, revisit places I adore, and explore places I’ve been dreaming of going. I hope to continue growing as a dietitian and a home cook, I'd like to share more meals with family and friends and reconnect with those who I might have lost touch with, but think about often… I wish you all a gratifying, healthful, and delicious 2013.
With the start of a new year, many people make resolutions about making big changes in their lives and opt for extreme diets or cleanses. In most cases, these grand ideas of change don't stick and leave the "resolutioner" feeling guilty or regretful. Instead of making large promises to yourself or trying a fad diet that is almost impossible to keep long term, choose small manageable goals that can be met and sustained and improved upon once the goal has become routine Whether your goal is to have a drink three nights instead of four, eat out one night less during the week, pack your own lunch everyday but Friday, cook dinner more often, or insure that you get 30-45 minutes of exercise most days of the week, set yourself up for success in order to begin the new year feeling accomplished instead of disappointed.
The whirlwind of the holiday season has passed, and I now have time to reflect on some of the wonderful meals that I shared with family and friends. We hosted a little holiday gathering for our family a few days before Christmas. I am so fortunate to have a family of wonderful cooks who provided standout additions to the party.
Since I am a sucker for grain salads, I'm going to share with you a recipe for my roasted vegetable couscous. Again, like most recipes I post, the flavor profile is completely flexible. I'm more partial to lemon, garlic and a good grinding of black pepper, but feel free to augment as you see fit. Additionally during one of my cooking trials, I roasted a whole clove of garlic alongside the vegetables and mashed the sweetened orbs with olive oil and a little sea salt and incorporated it into the hot couscous for a lovely sweet garlic flavor. I found this dish great at any temperature and that it improved with age as the flavors really meld together.
Roasted Vegetable Couscous
- 1 cup Pearled (Israeli) Couscous
- 3 1/2 tablespoons plus an additional drizzle of Olive Oil
- 2 Zucchini, halved lengthwise then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 Carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1 bunch Kale Leaves, washed, thoroughly dried, and cut into 3 inch strips
- 2 Shallots, skin peeled, left whole
- 1 head Garlic, cloves separated skin on
- 1/2 cup frozen Peas
- 1/2 cup frozen Corn
- 2 Red Bell Peppers, roasted, seeded, and cut into strips
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
For Serving: Chopped scallions, chives, and/or parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line baking sheets with parchment. The zucchini, shallots, and garlic should be roasted on one sheet, carrots and kale on two other separate sheets. You might need to roast the kale after the zucchini if you do not have enough oven space or pans.
In a bowl, toss zucchini, the whole shallots, and cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper. Place on sheet pan. Toss once or twice during cooking to ensure even roasting. Cook for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.
Toss the carrots in the same bowl with a tbsp of oil, spread out on the sheet pan, and roast until slightly browned and tender about 30 minutes.
Using the same mixing bowl, toss kale in the remaining oil, add a little more oil if needed. Salt and pepper, and spread out on a sheet pan. Roast for 10 minutes. Pay close attention to the kale since it can over cook easily. You want the edges crisp, but the leaves still slightly tender and green.
Meanwhile, prepare couscous. Place one tbsp of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the couscous. Stir until couscous begins to brown slightly and starts to toast, 4-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, and salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until couscous is tender. Two minutes before the couscous is finished, add the peas and corn. Drain if any liquid remains and transfer to a serving bowl.
Once all the vegetables are roasted, squeeze out the garlic from the skins and mash the roasted garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a touch of sea salt.
Incorporate the garlic oil into the couscous with a fork to try and evenly distribute.
Roughly chop the roasted shallots and stir into the couscous with the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini and kale. Add lemon juice and a drizzle more of olive oil if couscous is sticky. Finish with more black pepper, parsley, chives and/or scallions and enjoy.
Here are some images from the family holiday party...it was delicious
Holiday Party H'orderves
Arugula, shaved parm and red onion salad with lemon vinaigrette and cedar plank roasted striped bass.