I have few Food Network chefs I’d call my faves, my go-to recipe crafters. Of the bunch, those I keep coming back to have simple, easy-to-follow, flavor-rich recipes that aren’t fussy and overwhelming. They fit in with our family’s busy lifestyle, and typically don’t use off the wall ingredients that require an extra trip to the grocery store.
These are the chefs that top my list:
- Alton Brown – His matter-of-fact way to talking about food and recipes are one big reason I have a passion for cooking myself. Love him!
- Ina Garten – No one makes you want to live in the Hamptons more than her. Her easy-going manner is catchy, and her recipes (while seemingly fancy) are always simple to pull together.
- Alex Guarnaschelli – No frills, sensible ingredients and perfect seasoning. Love it.
- Tyler Florence – I might appreciate the sage green subway tile in his studio kitchen just as much as his cooking style!
- Giada De Laurentiis – Her recipes, both classic recipes and those she’s given an Italian twist, are many of my go-to’s!
And speaking of Giada, I’ve been making a version of her Mediterranean Salad for a couple of years now. I’ve made this summer couscous salad vegetarian, I’ve used pomegranate arils in place of dried cranberries, and just the other day I substituted lime zest and lime juice for the lemon zest and juice.
Summer Couscous Salad
inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Mediterranean Salad
Summer Couscous Salad
|Prep time||1 hour|
|Cook time||16 minutes|
|Total time||1 hours, 16 minutes|
- 1 box Israeli couscous
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 limes (zested and juiced)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- lime juice (additional if you don't get enough fresh-squeezed)
Easily make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth!
|Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium saucepan and then place it over medium heat to warm for 3 minutes.|
|Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, followed by the couscous. Cook the couscous for 5 minutes, stirring often until it's lightly browned.|
|Carefully pour the chicken broth in all at once, and then add 1/8 cup of the lime juice and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and then simmer until the couscous is al dente - about 9 minutes.|
|Mix the cooked couscous, remaining olive oil, another 1/8 cup of lime juice, the zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl and then let it cool completely in the refrigerator.|
|Once cool, toss in the cranberries, almonds and herbs. Serve chilled or at room temperature.|