Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things I Am Loving This Week

After skipping a week due to not really finding anything to love last Tuesday, I am back today with the "Things I Am Loving This Week"--those (mostly) food related things that I am enjoying and want to share.

First up, on Saturday I had another great cooking class from Kapiolani Community College--I am a lucky girl to have such a great variety of cooking classes to take. This class was Flavors of the Middle East II with Chef Magdy Elzoheiry--a fun and excellent instructor. I took Flavors of the Middle East I last month and loved it and part 2 was just as good. We made three dishes, Fish and Shrimp with Rice and Onion, Grated Cucumber and Mint Salad and this Bulgur and Chicken Pea dish. Similar to a tabbouleh, I loved the clean taste, hearty texture, how healthy and delicious it was and how easy to make. This one is going on the keeper list.

Bulgur and Chick Pea Salad
Chef Magdy Elzoheiry
(Makes about 2 cups)

1/2 cup fine or medium ground bulgur
1 garlic clove crushed
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
salt and black pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chick peas
2 cups parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint, finely chopped

Soak the bulgur in plenty of cold water for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. In a bowl, mix the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste) and olive oil. Soak the drained chick peas in this for 10 minutes and then stir in the bulgur. Mix in the chopped herbs when ready to serve.

Besides being a food geek, I am also a nutrition geek and of course a book junkie too, so I recently used a discount coupon to buy "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" by Johnny Bowden. It appeals to my geeky side by listing all the super foods and best things to eat in 14 categories such as fish, nuts, fruits, veggies, specialty foods, herbs and spices, etc. Colorful and filled with interesting history, nutritional information and facts worth knowing, it is a great reference to have in my library and I am loving reading through it and using the great info for my blog posts.

I bought some Dagoba Organic Cacao Nibs for a recipe and although I haven't made that particular recipe yet, I have been loving them in my new favorite snack. Cacao nibs, if you are not familiar are crushed cacao beans which is the seed that is used to make chocolate. Since they are just the lightly roasted bean with nothing added, they have a slightly toasty, just ever so slightly bitter taste that reminds me of coffee beans.

They are a nice balance with something slightly sweet and in my snack, I cut a small apple banana from my CSA box into four pieces, spread a light layer of almond butter on it and sprinkle a few of the cacao nibs on top. The combination is delicious and filling and tastes like a treat. A bonus all three ingredients--almond butter, banana and the dark chocolate / cacao are in my "150 Healthiest Foods on Earth Book". ;-)

So these are the "Things I Am Loving This Week".

What are you enjoying?


  1. I think I'm going to have to sneak into the kitchen and get a banana, some peanut butter, and some chocolate - wow does that look good!! I heard about the cocoa nibs, but I haven't seen them yet. I'll have to look harder. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the cooking class. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. I sooooo miss Apple Bananas. There are a few items from Hawaii that I can't get in California and Apple bananas are one of them. Poke made with Octopus is another.

  3. The salad is awesome. So healthy and fresh..and flavored too!! I will make it soon enough..anything easy works like a charm with me :)

  4. The salad looks wonderful. I'm loving the things you are loving this week.

  5. I am coming to Hawaii to take groovy cooking classes with you!
    I love Middle Eastern food, they are not afraid of flavour & I am really getting into mint in savoury dishes. Plus that bowl is awesome! Might have to steal it...
    A great round-up of things you are loving.. though I never see myself on the list... sigh. ;-)

  6. I am enjoying being back to blogging...and especially your posts! Everything looks so good.

  7. Deb... I feel we all are lucky enough to be taking this cooking course with you with all your wonderful class recipe post. This is a great intro to Middle East cuisine. Thanks

    I like your banana peanut butter snack ~ I'll have to give it a try.

  8. I love to take cooking classes and am so fortunate to live so close to the CIA. However, you have cooking classes in PARADISE. That trumps all. A great post. I've never had an apple banana, but I'm sure I'd love them.

  9. Now I have wonderful dishes to recreate! The chickpea and bulgur salad looks so refreshing and light. I've never had an apple banana before, but it looks great with the almond butter and cacao nibs (and I'll try this with a NY banana apple!).

  10. yummy things this week! as you may know, I love throwing nibs into all my muffin recipes!

  11. I am loving the things you are loving, espcecially teh chickpea salad. I am having a bit of a love affair with chickpeas at the moment - can't seem to get enough of them.

  12. You introduce some of the best things in "Things I am Loving This Week!" I'm now very interested in the book you have - it must be such an informative resource!

  13. That cooking class sounds like so much fun. I am still so jealous of you! Moroccan flavors are awesome and that chickpea salad is ideal for a quick, easy, and healthy lunch.

    Love the book! And cacao nibs are a fantastic snack.

  14. That class sound terrific and your salad is work of beauty.

  15. I bought some muesli with cocoa nibs in a couple of months ago and I actually found them inedibly bitter. Such a shame, because so many people rave about them!

  16. Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Natashya--my love for you is more than a weekly thing. You are on the all-time list. ;-)

    Fresh, Local & Best--it really is a great book, written in an easy to read style.

    Foodycat--they are fairly bitter on their own or if not with something sweet, like in a muffin or in this case a few with the banana. May be the brand too--I tried some that were more bitter than these.


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