2 Sides Make a Night (Tomato Couscous with Black Beans)

The saying goes, there are two sides to every story. I warrant that’s not always true, as I have seen some very octagonal tales in my day, but that is neither here nor there (the dork in me begs to ask, Where, then? but I shall refrain). Nevertheless, one recent evening I channeled that phrase into my taste-searching fingers, and approached my cupboards with dual palettes in mind. A few weeks ago, the husband and I took an excursion to North Wildwood, New Jersey (Cape May vicinity, for those familiar) and one afternoon our health-starved mouths craved for something that wasn’t nitrate ridden (like hot dogs) or fried (everything else!) so we hit up the local grocery store and bought some tomato salad couscous. Oh the praises my little taste buds bestowed upon me for that tasty treat! And the husband discovered he had a strong liking for the rice-disguised pasta. Most likely because it looks like a rice grain. So easy to please, he is.

Since then, he spoke often about us creating our own dish inspired by that; so often that mere week or so later, I decided to make it with him during this recent battle with the CH beast. But obviously it needed a companion—this stalwart dish could not trudge into the dark recesses of our bellies without a legion to conquer that grumbling realm. Furthermore, to me it just felt like a side, a lovely accompaniment to something greater, the Sancho Panza to some elusive Don Quixote of foodstuff. But… I didn’t really have the time nor the groceries for something greater, but I did have a hearty supply of black beans at my disposal. And so the great Two-Sided Tale of our dinner was born.

Our story is headed by the great desire of the husband, a spicy, tangy and cool couscous laden with ethereal flavors. But it is closely tailed by bright, raucous beans that nearly pop with mariachi tunes and zip through your senses like Speedy Gonzalez. Combined, one reaches a sublime medium. *insert sigh of pleasure here* Continue reading

Penchant for Peppered Pasta

**Happy birthday to the best mom!  Thank you for instilling and nurturing my culinary passions among so many other things!  Have a beautiful day**

Ok, I won’t say that life has thrust itself into a fiery pit of doom and despair the past two weeks, but things have been a bit awry of late; certainly has felt like a hot poker keeps stabbing its way into my business, burning holes and inflaming everyday routine with stress and worry. The blame falls squarely on a little known problem called cluster headaches, and the fact that my poor husband is dealing with them right now. As such, everything takes a back seat while we try to ensure they don’t hinder his daily livelihood. Thankfully the cycle should pass soon but until then my cooking has turned uber simple, uber healthy, and uber repetitive. I only want to make things I know won’t instigate the headaches, and since my mind can’t focus on conjuring up new things, I tend to hit the repeat button.

The first week, the kitchen wasn’t enthralling for me at all, but I did make one very simple dish that the husband really loved and I fancy as well, spicy Italian pepper pasta. (Evidently bell peppers are supposed to help alleviate the magnitude of the headaches… doesn’t hurt to try!) A quick and basic pasta dish with alya-flare, this recipe includes lots of easy herb and spice resources I have spread out in the cabinet and freezer alike. Continue reading

Lentil-Stuffed Bell Peppers

I stared into the pantry cupboard. I turned to gaze at the open door of the fridge.  A sigh of puzzlement.  Back to the pantry. To the fridge.  Pantry. Fridge. Pantry. Fridge.  Ceiling.  Oh, that would be me rolling my eyes in aggravation at not knowing what to make.

This is how most days start for me actually, unless I had a vision the night before and plan to bring it to life.  Not for want of ingredients—definitely not stocked with all the goodies of a gourmet pantry but decently expansive most of the time—but rather I always begin the creative process this way.  Staring blankly at a white page, at a new day, at an untouched kitchen.  The directions are infinite, thus rendering my decision-making all the harder.

So anyway, one day in particular I took a gander at the plethora of lentils that G bought recently and figured it might be wise to start using some of them—but how?? Ergh… more thinking… what to do with all this stuff?? This stuff… stuff… Stuff!

And thus Stuffed bell peppers with lentils galore were born!  Yeah yeah, cheesy transition, but cheesy I am. Continue reading

Spicy Alfredo Fakeout

For the first time in what feels like a millennium, I feel inspired.  Amorphous words are trying to take shape within my skull, warming up to the thought of expression.  Ironic that they come full force on these most tranquil days, where scope of my eyes’ furthest reaches are suffused with white and nothing else.  I suppose the blank slate that is provided outside is enough to make anyone with the remotest sense of art or creativity want to paint, scribble, compose, or sing.  Honestly a part of me just wants to run around in every untouched field of snow and flounce about in its powder!  But I may be more productive and successful at attacking the blank pages that lie ahead of me instead.

Continue reading