I am as traditional as they come when preparing foods and dishes for summer gatherings with friends and family. Potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad and cool desserts are all my favorites when I think of a summer cook-out. But often what happens, at least in my experiences, some of the guest end up bringing variations of the same dish. So you end up with 3 bowls of potato salad, macaroni salad for days and enough pasta salad for a party of 100! Lol! During one of my regular visits to the local bulk food store, owned by my good friend Kim, I picked up a few unsual suspects (ingredients) to prepare my version of summer foods. Among them were dried garbanzo beans, instant couscous and tapioca. Anyone who knows me, knows that when it comes to cooking, I prefer to start from scratch. In my perfect food world there would always be homemade chicken stock, tortillas fresh off the comal and fresh pasta noodles, ha, ha, ha! But alas, there are days when we do have to take a little help from our local markets and purchase ready made products. Fortunately for me, these three recipes are all from scratch, no cans, bags or packages of any premade ingredients. So with a little research and info from my friend Kim, this is what I came up with. A delicious couscous salad with lemon, parmesan, sun dried tomatoes and cilantro. A garbanzo bean salad infused with chile ancho and spices, my favorite! And for dessert a cold tapioca infused with fresh mango and toasted coconut that I literally ate for breakfast a few days in a row. I cannot stress enough how important it is to support you local mom and pop stores and business’. I know cooking from scratch is not for everyone, but there’s nothing like it when you do.
Updates on this post will happen as recipes develop. Enjoy your summer foods! Check out the new recipes at the end of post.
I stop by once a month to stock up on specialty baking supplies and the fresh selection of spices and reasonable prices.
These recipes are designed to be shared….
2 cups chicken stock or water
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for salad
2 cups instant couscous
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
More oilve oil
1. To a skillet, add 2 cups chicken broth, 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, whisk in the couscous, cover and remove from heat Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
2. Let the couscous cool while you prep all the ingredients to build the salad. Once couscous is cool, fold in all of the ingredients listed. If you like it less acidic, just add less. The couscous took quite a bit before I could really taste the citrus. Once you add all the ingredients drizzle in more olive oil to moisten and loosen the salad a bit. You can adjust it to your taste. Taste for salt and pepper and season to taste. Cover in airtight container and chill until ready to serve. Stir before serving. Yields 10-12 servings.
Both the couscous salad and garbanzo chile salad required a good amount of olive oil to keep them moist.
Garbanzo Chile Salad
1 pound dried garbanzo beans, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt to taste
* yields about 8 cups once cooked
You will also need
2 tablespoons chile ancho powder
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder or 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Juice of 1 large lime
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 cups corn
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red or sweet onion, finely diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
*This recipe requires dried garbanzo beans to soak 10 to 12 hours overnight.
1. Once you have soaked the beans, drain all of the water and transfer to a large dutch oven style pot. Cover with enough cold water so it comes up about 3 inches above beans. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I don’t like to add the salt until the beans are tender. Then you could add the salt to taste.
2. Once beans are cooked, I drain all of the water and rinse them in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients listed. Stir well to combine then drizzle in enough olive oil to create a little chile sauce/dressing. The garbanzo beans will absorb some of the liquid, so be generous with the olive oil. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Before serving, stir well and taste for salt and pepper again. Yields 10-12 servings.
I also purchase the pure chile ancho powder at the bulk food store. Adjust any of the spices to your liking.
Mango Coconut Tapioca
Mango Coconut Tapioca
3 cups milk, I used 1%
1 cup half & half, I used a light version
1/2 cup sugar, I used organic cane sugar
1/2 cup tapioca, previously soaked in water
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1 large mango, peeled and diced
* you could use a lite coconut milk in place of the half and half.
1. Soak 1/2 cup tapioca in cold water overnight.
2. When ready to prepare, drain all of the water from tapioca and rinse gently with cold water, set aside.
3. To a medium sauce pan, add the milk, half & half and sugar. Heat to medium and cook just until bubbles start to form. Be careful not to let it boil over. Add in the tapioca and cook until tapioca becomes clear, stirring as needed.
4. Temper the eggs by slowly whisking in some of the hot milk mixture as you whisk the whole time. Once tempered, add the egg mixture into the tapioca in pan. Also add the vanilla, coconut extract and pinch of salt. Cook for a few more minutes or until it thickens slightly. Let cool on stove top. Once cooled, stir in the fresh mango and toasted coconut. Store in an airtight container and chill for a few hours before serving. Garnish with more fresh mango and toasted coconut. Yields up to 8 servings.
Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad
Hearts of Palm with Avocado
14 oz can hearts of palm, drained, rinsed and sliced
3 stalks celery. diced
1 english cucumber, diced
15 to 20 grape tomatoes, sliced in halve or quarters
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/2 red onion, finely diced and rinsed under cold water
1/4 to 1/3 cup cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 large meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
2 avocados, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed. Taste for salt and pepper and season to taste. Yields 6 to 8 servings.