Delicious baked puff pastry stuffed with Moroccan couscous

I’ll begin by telling you that this dish is not only quick to make, delicious and crusty and filled with yummy surprises that make you ask for more, but it’s also original, really. I mean, how many people do you know stuff pastry with Moroccan couscous?

But first, let me share something with you before we continue. I just have to let it out. Do you ever get panicked? I mean some things in life can get me panicked like..hmm let me think…….o.k. maybe I don’t get panicked but my blood heats up every now and then, depending on the occasion. Like last Friday night, we had friends over for “see you later alligator” dinner (we are going on vacation and they stay here), and I worked very hard to make a memorable evening (they will watch our house while we’re gone). So we sat down, started with the salads while waited for the appetizer to finish baking (about an hour). I went into the kitchen to check on it…are you ready for this? when I opened the oven door all I saw was…nothing. nada. zip. not a thing baking, no smell. What??!!

I, a person who dislikes “lateness” in any form, shape and color no matter what the excuse is, forgot to put the food in the oven. It never happened before. Top that with very hungry crowd and you could hear the bubbles in my blood start boiling. Panicked? Naaah.

playing a guitarMy daughter entertained our very patient guests.

But accidents sometimes turn into a major success. Yes they had to wait longer. Yes, they laughed at the situation (or maybe at me). And yes, they raved about the first course that disappeared in 30 seconds flat. Yes, they asked for more. And yes, they even went home with appetizer goody bag. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Moroccan couscous stuffed in puff pastryThe winner.

So go ahead, forget but don’t panic (unless you insist). Keep your cool, laugh at yourself and share your late arrivals no matter what. You’ll be glad you did.

So, shall we:

ingredients:
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 pkg plain instant couscous (10 oz)
1/2 cup dry cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup chopped whole nuts
handful chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red hot paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 pound ground turkey or chicken breast (cooked)
1 orange zest
1 egg (mix for egg wash)
3 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

preparations:

Preheat oven to 400º. In a bowl filled with boiled water soak raisins and cranberries for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Prepare instant couscous following instructions on the box (eliminating the salt).

In a large bowl combine prepared couscous, dried fruit, nuts, orange zest, spices and cooked turkey or chicken (if desired. I added cooked and seasoned turkey breast). Mix all ingredients until well combined. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Moroccan couscousOn a clean lightly floured surface roll out pastry dough into square shape about 1/4 thick and cut into squares, depending the size of your sheet (mine was about 5″x5″ each). You can cut into 9 equal squares if you prefer smaller ones. Place a heaping tablespoon of the couscous mix in the center of each square.

puff pastry stuffed with moroccan couscous

Take one corner of a stuffed square and fold it over to the opposite corner and pinch/seal edges with the tines of a fork.

puff pastry stuffed with moroccan couscous

Place stuffed pastry on a parchment paper keeping space between them for expansion, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake between 30-40 minutes or until deep golden color is achieved.

Serve warm with fresh salad(s) as an appetizer (like I did) or, if you didn’t use meat have it for breakfast with hard boiled eggs on the side and fresh sliced tomatoes – you have no idea how delicious this it! until you try it.

Reheating it in the microwave is a no-no.

Any other “stuffy” suggestion for puff pastry?

I’m all ears.

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Lemon Mousse she made in no time

lemon mousse she madeLast week we had friends over for an intimate dinner in which I prepared a scrumptious Moroccan meal they loved, loaded with flavors and colors. On the look out for a dessert I wanted to surprise my guests just a bit and offer something opposite to my Moroccan tradition. I wanted something light, fluffy, dairy free and lemony.

Bouncing ideas with my sister over the phone and a little Google research the word lemony kept repeating in my head and I’ve decided – Lemon Mousse – something I had never done before let alone eaten before. I was willing to take the risk not because it’s hard (so easy it’s ridiculous), but because it’s different and I’m always inspired by these glamorous mini French desserts and how they are served, that I was already armed with an idea for the presentation.

I’m not a double-boiler kind of girl (simply for the lack of patience) but this recipe which I find it light and quick, requires it so I decided to ignore the “inconvenience”. I’m glad I did.

lemon mousse she madeI was surprised to find that the citrusy flavor didn’t take over at all and it was absolutely a delight to eat.

Shall we:

ingredients:

3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
4 eggs at room temperature
pinch kosher salt
fresh red raspberries for garnish

preparations:

In a double-boiler of simmering water over medium heat combine all the ingredients except for the raspberries. Whisk it all up. Do not stop whisking or you will end up with scrambled eggs in no time. Keep whisking (about five minutes? or more), and you will witness the magic process of how the mixture thickens and becomes smooth and and frothy almost like a high-end facial cream. To test: if the mixture coats the back of a spoon – it’s done. Remove from heat and gently pour the hot mixture through a strainer into a clean bowl to get rid of bits and pieces. Yes, you should notice the lemony aroma happening.

Arrange mini cups (glass cups are best so you can see through them) and pour into them the fluffy mousse you just made. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Before serving garnish each cup with fresh raspberries for added color and texture. You’d be surprised and your guests too, how airy and shockingly delicious this dessert feels and tastes.

Bon appetite

Crunchy and colorful avocado salad

In the mood for something simple, colorful yet burst with flavor? Are you inspired by fruits and vegetables like me and want to turn a simple salad into a colorful crunchy meal?

This is an easy recipe anyone can make it:

colorful and delicious crunchy vegetable saladCurious about those little brown pieces in the salad? It’s French caviar. That’s an option. I bought it when I was in Paris a couple of months ago and happened to have it. And, I grew up on this thing.

If you still want to elevate your salad and add caviar you don’t have to go to Paris to buy it, although I highly recommend a trip to this magnificent city.

fresh green avocado

I love fresh juicy looking avocado, don’t you? It’s the star of this recipe.

Shall we:

ripe sliced avocado
firm chopped tomato
small chopped onion

fresh chopped handful cilantro
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon
salt and black pepper to taste

french caviar (optional)

fresh sliced country bread

Preparation: Gently mix vegetables (except the avocado) in a large bowl with the cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, salt. On a beautiful plate place the fresh salad in the center, top it with sliced avocado, garnish with caviar and fresh black pepper. simple and easy to make beer breadDo not forget fresh country bread, warm or toasted, on the side. Add a soft butter ball on a tinny plate if you wish to go fancy.

Recipe for the home baked beer bread in the image will follow.

Tip For a nutty crunch top salad with roasted pecans, let flavors blend for ten minutes before you enjoy it. Too hungry? don’t wait.

Eat. bon appetit.