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Monday, October 31, 2016

Sweet & Spooky - 3 Ingredient Candy Cobwebs

Boo! It's Halloween, and we here at Neurotic Kitchen hope you're looking forward lots of fun activities with your friends and loved ones this creepiest of evenings. Even if your trick-or-treating already happened this weekend, there's still time for a spooky, edible craft that will delight big and little diners alike, with none of the commitment of cupcakes or other more involved baked goodies. You don't even have to turn on the oven.

As you can see, these don't have to be perfect to look positively adorable and delicious! Photo: NK 


Grown-ups: are you headed to a party empty-handed? These whimsically sweet spider webs come together in ten minutes (just leave a half hour for them to firm up). With only three ingredients, they can be ready in a flash. 

3-Ingredient Candy Cobwebs
Recipe From: Canadian Family
Yield- about 18 Cobwebs

Ingredients & Equipment: 
Pretzel Sticks
Bag of White Chocolate Chips
Handful of regular Chocolate Chips or other dark-colored candy
Tablespoon of Milk (if needed)
Plastic Ziploc Bag or Pastry bag with small tip 
Wax Paper or Parchment Paper
Double Boiler or two pots that fit one inside the other

Method: 


Pour some water into the bottom of a double boiler or larger pot, and place another smaller pot over it. Bring water to a boil and lower. Pour White Chocolate Chips into the top pot and stir gently as they melt and become smooth. Add an optional Tablespoon Milk to loosen the Chocolate if need be. Once fully melted, allow to cool to the point where it hasn't hardened but you can touch it. Layout the Pretzels while you wait:

Lay out Parchment or Wax Paper on a work surface. Using 5 or 6 Pretzel Sticks, create your spider web as seen below. 

How to assemble cobweb, Photo: NK 
When White Chocolate has cooled enough, spoon it into a Ziploc and cut a tiny bit off one of the bottom corners of the bag. You are ready to pipe your web! Start with the middle where the Pretzels meet and make a large blob of White Chocolate to fuse them together. Press a regular Chocolate Chip in to create your Spider. To finish, create the web by piping White Chocolate around in a circular motion according to your desired design. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes, gentle peel away your Wax or Parchment Paper, serve and enjoy! 



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Vegetarian Heaven - The Easiest Cauliflower Coucous

Today, due to popular demand, I'd like to take a moment to share the easy how-to for Cauliflower Couscous. Never heard of it? Well, in short, it's the latest low carb craze to really take off. Cauliflower Couscous is merely minced Cauliflower Florets, slightly steamed to mimic the consistency of our fave Israeli Couscous or Rice. What I love about it is that it allows you to cut the carbs while your getting your veggies! You won't believe how easy and satisfying it is, and I promise once you try it you'll be adding it to your dinner rotation week after week. 

Cauliflower Coucous with Carrots, Arugula, Red Onion & Red Grapes, Photo: NK 


Easy Cauliflower Couscous
Inspired by The Kitchn
Ingredients:

1 Head of Cauliflower
Microwave Safe Bowl with Lid (or pot with a cover for the stove) 

Method:

Take one head of Cauliflower and either pulse it carefully into small bits in a food processor, or grate it with a hand grater (for small grain) or cut it carefully into small pieces (as above, to mimic Israeli Couscous). 


Once done, place in a covered heat proof bowl and microwave about 5 minutes until tender but not mushy. 


Prepare as you like! We like to use Cauliflower Couscous in stir fry dishes or to create a "Couscous" Salad as we did here. The above was mixed with Chopped Greens, Rainbow Carrots, Red Grapes and Red Onion. I dressed it with a little Olive Oil and Vinegar. It was delish and lasted two days in the fridge. Enjoy! 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Season's Bounty - Israeli Couscous With Fig & Arugula

It's that time of year again - when we share our newest version of our absolute favorite starchy side - Israeli Couscous. Check out old recipes HERE, HERE, and HERE. Today's creation came to be thanks to inspiration from especially sweet, in-season Figs. 


Israeli Couscous With Fig & Arugula, Photo: NK
One look at their dark purple hue and strikingly rosy inner flesh and I new they'd need to make it to the dinner table somehow. Israeli Couscous is a great vehicle for an endless number of flavor profiles. Today's also includes crispy, toasted Almonds, Sharp Provolone, and more crunch and color from Red Onions. To finish, we stir in thin ribbons of farm fresh Arugula to add a slight bite to the dish. The results are delicious. 

As with all Couscous, you can boil the grains ahead and incorporate the rest of the ingredients whenever it's convenient. It is a good idea to let the finished product sit at least an hour for the flavors to blend. The longer it sits, the better it gets! 


Seasonal Israeli Couscous With Fig, Arugula & Toasted Almonds
Serves 8 as a small side dish

Ingredients:
2 Cups Dry Israeli Couscous
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Ounces Sharp Provolone, cut into a small dice
1 small bunch of Arugula, minced
1/2 medium Red Onion finely diced
7 Large Black Figs cut into eighths 
3 Tablespoons Toasted Slivered Almonds
Sea Salt or fine table Salt
Pepper

Dressing Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Fine Quality Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Balsamic Vineger
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt



Method: 
In a large, deep pan, toast dry Couscous over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until it takes on some color. Remove before any of it burns. Prepare 2 Cups of the Dry, toasted Couscous according to the package directions using water. Do not overcook. Leave it slightly al dente. Put in a large bowl and add 1 Tablespoon good quality Olive Oil. Add a few shakes of Salt. Stir and let cool slightly.

Next, add the Red Onion, Provolone, Toasted Almonds, and Arugula. Stir to combine. 


Prepare the Dressing by combining the three ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the Couscous and toss to distribute. 

Finally, add the Figs by stirring in gently. Taste for seasoning and add Pepper. Add additional Salt as needed. You can let this sit at room temperature up to an hour. If longer, let it sit in the fridge. Allow some times for flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!