Posts Tagged ‘cous cous’

It’s official – I like mushrooms

June 19, 2009

Baby Portabella Cous Cous, Organic Broccoli

I’ve fought it for a long time, but I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I like mushrooms. I used to dislike the texture – the flavor was great in something like a broth, but the texture just didn’t sit right. Raw they were fine, but cooked? No way. Now, I didn’t go out of my way to avoid them like some people do. I just ate them and didn’t enjoy them. But something’s changed.

I’m still not sure what, exactly, but it’s like there was a switch that was suddenly flipped on my palette allowing me to enjoy them without fear or hesitation. So, with that in mind I went to test my hypothesis.

I picked up some baby portabella mushrooms at Publix (what’s up with none of the grocery stores allowing you to purchase in bulk, instead forcing you to buy them wrapped in plastic in styrofoam?) and could only think of one thing to do with them – make cous cous. I’ve likely bored you to death with how to prepare Israeli-style cous cous so I won’t reiterate those principles here.

They also had some really nice looking organic broccoli so I picked it up as well. I like to leave a good bit of the stalk on my broccoli for that extra crunch and it worked well here with the creaminess of the cous cous. Yet another fantastic fifteen-minute meal.

Really Red Beets (and the Greens, too!)

April 23, 2009

Cous Cous, Red Beets, Greens
Looks a little like Christmas in April

Ever since I introduced golden beets into my wife’s diet, she can’t seem to get enough of them. Every time we’re grocery shopping and a store has them, we have to get them – it’s a rule. Well, there weren’t any golden beets around this time, but we were both craving them. I’ve been nervous to substitute red beets for fear of her foregoing beets altogether, but I was left without an option. Well, I guess I could have had no beets, but who wants that?

For those who don’t know: red beets bleed. A lot. Having worked with them many times, even I was taken off guard by how red the cous cous got after I sauteed them.

Really Red Beets
See?

A lot of times when we shop, the stores will take off the “unwanted” greens – but that’s sacrilege! We love the beet greens almost as much as the beets themselves (so much so that at work, I had our produce rep source out just the greens so I could feature them. She couldn’t do it, suggesting turnip greens instead).

Like most Israeli cous cous recipes, this one was incredibly easy. I peeled and diced the beet root and sauteed in roasted garlic oil. Once you’ve got a nice smell going add the cous cous and stir to coat. The cous cous will absorb all of the water in the pan and begin sticking – this is a good thing as long as it doesn’t burn. The more you can cook the cous cous, the more it caramelizes, giving it a slightly nutty flavor. As it reaches the point of almost burning, add some white balsamic (dark balsamic or any other vinegar [or wine] will work as well) and scrape everything off the pan. Add water to cover, reduce to simmer and stir frequently. Almost seems too easy, eh?

When the water is gone, taste some of the cous cous to make sure it’s cooked all the way. If not, add more water. Once it’s to just below the desired consistency, add your beet greens. They will release water which will help finish off your cous cous. Stir until they are completely wilted. I finished mine off with a little tarragon “pesto”. I use quotation marks because it lacks both pine nuts and parmesan cheese (or vegan equivalent). Salt and pepper to taste and you’re ready to go.

Risotto-Style Israeli Cous Cous, Zucchini, Tomatoes

April 19, 2009

Risotto-Style Israeli Cous Cous

I’ve long been an admirer of Israeli cous cous (sometimes referred to as Lebanese cous cous or pearl pasta), but it’s something of a novelty for my wife, so we tend to use it a lot (in place of rice or pasta).

I had an extra zucchini lying around, as well as a white onion so it was a pretty logical leap to make risotto and it’s almost too easy with Israeli cous cous.

I started by sauteeing my onion in some roasted garlic oil and added my diced zucchini just until it began to soften. The cous cous comes already toasted, so it doesn’t need much more sauteeing, but I did it anyway. I added water until it just barely covered everything in the pot – with a little Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. Continuous stirring is the key to a good, creamy, sticky risotto, so that’s what I did until almost all of the water was gone.

A little basil pesto, Parma! and diced tomatoes to finish it off and it was all done. Delicious.