Sorry for my long absence from writing but I've had a busy May.
Here's what I've been up to:
I had two work events back to back (out of town), spent a fun-filled few days with my foodie pal Daniela in Chicago where we ate at two amazing restaurants: Girl & the Goat and Frontera Grill (see the fabulous cake-pops she made for me to bring home to Lily below), had a garage sale, turned 40 (bleh), husband threw a 40th birthday party for me (which required me to clean the house..really), took a train to Canada, got stuck in a Buffalo NY train station until 2:30 am with drug addicts (and my 3 year old), attended my sister-in-law's 3 day wedding celebration, and partied like a rock-star for one of my best friend's 40th birthday (which required an entire weekend to recover). Now it's June!
Back to cooking.
It's finally warm outside and this weekend it's even going to be HOT. So I think it can be declared officially the beginning of summer salad season! I absolutely love mayolicius, cold noodley salads. I love the traditional potato salad, tuna salad and shrimp salads but there are a whole host of more modern salads that I equally adore. A good summer salad in your recipe box is as necessary as a little black dress in your closet.
Last summer, my brother graduated from Northwestern with a Master's Degree and I thought he deserved a fun party to celebrate his achievement. I hadn't cooked for my brother in years so I had no idea what he liked. He told me that he loved this couscous/black bean salad from Costco. So I searched the internet for a couscous/black bean salad and I found this amazing recipe. I tweaked a few things and I think this version is perfect. This recipe is a hit every where I bring it and people always rave about it. I plan on making it a lot this summer so FYI if you're inviting me to a BBQ this summer this is what I'm bringing.
Ingredients: 1 cup couscous (uncooked), 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 1 tbl red wine vinegar, 2 tsp cumin, 1 red pepper (seeded and chopped), 1/2 cup cilantro, 3 cloves garlic, 8 green onions, 1 can black beans (I like Eden's organic), 2 tomatoes diced, 1 cup feta cheese, 1 cup whole kernel corn, salt and pepper.
Directions: Bring chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan and stir in couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Make sure to fluff it with a fork or it will get sticky. Let it stand about 5 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn, tomatoes and beans. Add the couscous to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Here are a few photos of my pal Daniela's cake pops. They were absolutely adorable and Lily enjoyed every one....that she got to eat (I had a few).