Cucumber, Mango & Avocado Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint-Chile Vinaigrette

Israeli Couscous Salad1 Cucumber, Mango & Avocado Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint Chile Vinaigrette

I dropped a running stand mixer on the dog. It was whipping cream. I was reaching for the controls. He tripped me.

Next thing I knew, the machine was sailing off the counter in slow motion, slamming sideways into my unfortunate canine, blanketing him in softly whipped peaks and very nearly knocking him out.

A flurry of splattering cream, screaming, yelps, limbs in all directions (both of ours), flying fur and wildly scratching claws desperate to gain traction against the slippery hardwood ensued as he peeled away to safety.

He’s okay, don’t worry.

I think the worst part for the poor little guy – cream-drenched and trembling in a corner – was the bewilderment of it all: should I be happy or sad?

Ouch! But, yum! But, ouch…

Israeli Couscous Salad2 Cucumber, Mango & Avocado Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint Chile Vinaigrette

As he gingerly licked himself clean of sweet, sweet whipped cream, I could see him warily eyeing the offending appliance, trying to work out whether this was a good thing or a bad thing that happened to him.

Frankly, I don’t think his feeble Irish Setter mind could take the perplexity of such a delicious and painful situation even before getting walloped in the brains by a KitchenAid.

I’m going to keep an eye on him…

Meanwhile, I bring you an incredible salad of chewy Israeli couscous, creamy avocado, sweet mango, spicy chile, fresh cucumber and mint.

I got hooked on spicy vinaigrettes paired with sweet, ripe fruit last summer – with melon and arugula dressed in olive oil, lime juice and jalapeño. I wanted to bring back that flavour profile, but in a more substantial bowlful. I grabbed Israeli cousous (they’re pearl-sized little pasta balls – all couscous is actually teeny semolina pasta!), but feel free to reach for any small pasta or chewy grain.

Also, as the season progresses, sub in any sweet fruit you like – strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe – you really can’t go wrong.

Thai Green Coconut Curry

ThaiTofuCurry4 Thai Green Coconut Curry

Thai curry is one of my go-to weeknight meals when dinner had to be ready ten minutes ago.

All it takes is a flavourful curry paste, a generous pour coconut milk (homemade or otherwise), some protein (chicken, tofu, fish, scallops or prawns) and whatever veggies are on hand. Easy, flavour-packed, healthy and fast. What more could you ask for on a Monday night?

A handful of bean sprouts, lots of chopped cilantro and a showering of toasted peanuts are lovely finishing touches for freshness and crunch.

ThaiTofuCurry24 Thai Green Coconut Curry

I usually grab green curry paste because it’s the hottest, and we’re spicy people. Red curry is milder, made with ripe red chilies instead of their screaming hot, verdant counterparts, and yellow curry is mildest, and has a more aromatic flavour owing to the addition of turmeric.

You can swap the tofu for one pound of any other protein (boneless, skinless chicken thighs are my go-to) – just allow more time for cooking them through. Substitute any vegetables that are seasonal or that you have on hand (asparagus, spinach, eggplant, corn…).   Super versatile!

And like this curry, I’m in a hurry! Moving in 10 days, and the packing nightmare adventure has begun…

Easter Egg Brownie Cookies + Hershey’s Eggies Vs. Cadbury Mini Eggs

Easter Brownie Cookies2 Easter Egg Brownie Cookies + Hersheys Eggies Vs. Cadbury Mini Eggs

It’s almost Easter (a.k.a. chocolate holiday extraordinaire), therefore I bring you chocolate on chocolate on CHOCOLATE!

I have had a major thing for mini eggs since the days of action-packed easter egg hunting in the living room. Forget those heinous malt-filled eggs, or god forbid the ones that were made of spongy white candy that takes up permanent residence in you molars and taste like nothing but sweet (do you know what they are??). But, boy, I would throw some serious little-kid elbow when I spotted a mini egg behind a dusty picture frame.

When I decided to make these cookies, I bought the ingredients, but something “happened”* to most of the bag of Cadbury mini eggs. What? No, I didn’t.

*picks at candy shell stuck between front teeth.

So I had to go buy more the next day, and ended up with Hershey’s Eggies. This gave me the unique and thrilling opportunity to sample them side-by-side! And now I can say with confidence, CADBURY ALL THE WAY. The chocolate is creamier and of better quality and the flavour is better for both the shell and the filling. I thought they were basically the same, so I was really taken aback by how much better Cadbury was! (I’m glad we aren’t talking about this in person, there’d be a lot of hand flapping and excited intonations, and I’d probably be embarrassed about it later.)

So, yeah. Thank goodness that urgent discovery is now officially documented on the interwebs.

Asparagus, Chard & Soba Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Asparagus Summer Rolls3 Asparagus, Chard & Soba Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Gah, I always get stressed when more than a few days go by without posting – I don’t like to lose momentum. Not only is blogging a good exercise in self-discipline and all that, it’s my only real creative outlet right now, and I like to make it a priority.

I wish I had exciting stories about what I’ve been up to in the last ten days, but if I may be honest… I’ve just been so tired.

We recently got notice that we needed to leave our apartment because the owner wants to move in. It’s never fun to be uprooted, but we had an exceptionally hard time finding a new place to live. We looked at dozens of places, and nothing felt right – any unit that allowed dogs was either insanely expensive (even by Vancouver standards) or dark, small and in the middle of nowhere, usually with an abundance of stairs (strollers with babies in them are not stair-friendly).

It got to the point that we were packing to leave, and had nowhere to go…

Thankfully we found something last week, and I’m actually excited about our next chapter. But I’m tired. Mentally, from being unsettled over the housing situation, and physically, because my 11-month-old has been in a cold –> teething –> cold cycle for the past 6 weeks which means he thinks 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. are all excellent times for snuggles.

Asparagus Chard Shrimp Summer Rolls1 Asparagus, Chard & Soba Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I just was about to apologize for complaining and make a joke about my first world problems… but truth is, things aren’t always easy, especially as a new mom, and yes, I’m abundantly grateful that my “problems” are minuscule by the world’s standards, but they’re still challenges and I don’t think we should always put on our “Facebook facade” of everything-is-easy-and-perfect-in-my-life because then, how can we possibly relate to and support one another? Amiright?

Well, that got heavier than I intended for a Summer Rolls post. Whoops.

Ok, SUMMER ROLLS. They’re one of my favourite foods. All the textures, all the flavours. The peanut sauce, oh lordy, the peanut sauce. If there were a food I could swim in, this would be it.

Blueberry-Barley Muffins

Barley Blueberry Muffins4 Blueberry Barley Muffins
My name is Jennifer and I have a muffin problem.

When Adarsh (hubby/designer/business manager/taste-tester extraordinaire) gave Foodess a facelift last year, we carried on a long discussion about what we both envisioned for this space. For example, he agreed with my decision to really turn the focus to photography, opting for quality rather than quantity if necessary in terms of how many posts I could crank out.

We agreed on that, and all other points, except one: he specifically requested NO MORE MUFFINS.

Barley Blueberry Muffins1 Blueberry Barley Muffins

Okay, so maybe I went through a muffin-heavy phase. Or maybe he was just sick of eating them, hmm…

In any case, I just can’t stop. They’re perfect grab-and-go breakfast food, they freeze beautifully meaning I can have a few kinds at the ready, and little peanut bolts them down like they’re going out of style.

Because of my tiny double-fisting muffin-muncher, I make a concerted effort to incorporate healthier ingredients. Like the rolled barley flakes and whole wheat flour in these.