Posts Tagged 'couscous'

Baked Eggplant with Couscous and Yogurt


I guess all jobs are like this to some extent, but teaching really seems to be one with big ups and downs. On Tuesday I felt like the a totally awesome teacher. The activity went well, the kids were into it, and they all really seemed to get the concept (chemical and physical properties of matter). Yesterday was a different story. There was way too much drama (with 13 year olds, I guess that’s not really a surprise), a bunch of kids didn’t turn in their homework, and I just felt off all day.

It’s been that way in the kitchen lately, too. Some things come out better than expected, and others are flops. I’m trying to make more original recipes, but it doesn’t always work out very well. This beet salad was actually pretty awesome (roasted beets, toasted pistachios, goat cheese, orange zest)…

but a couple other things I tried this week were pretty lame. Fortunately there are still a million recipes on my to-try list, so I have somewhere to turn when I’m feeling less than inspired.

This kind of turned out to be more of a project meal than I planned for, so it’s a good thing I made it on a lazy Sunday (well, it was lazy after my 9.5 mile run…) The original recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi, who shares with Heidi Swanson the honorable distinction of being my food idol. I used whole wheat couscous instead of bulgur, and added chickpeas for some extra protein. My preserved lemons won’t be ready for a few more weeks, so I skipped that part. In the end, though, it was worth the hour or so it took to but this all together. Plus, we had leftovers for lunches the next day, which is always a huge win!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:41]
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

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Balsamic roasted vegetable and couscous salad

This wasn’t supposed to be a couscous-based recipe, but when you’re on the phone with your sister and you’re groping around in the dark, far reaches of the cupboard where you keep your grains (in jars that are all the same size) you may just happen to mistake couscous for quinoa and not realize it until after it’s in the boiling water. Honestly, I think either of them would work wonderfully here, and someday I might even try it with another of my favorite grains, pearl barley.

Those grain-based salads (like this one with quinoa and this one with barley) make such amazing dinners, because they’re healthy and filling, and the leftovers are so convenient for lunch.

Originally, this recipe called for grilling the vegetables, but when it’s 8:00 PM, 55 degrees, and foggy, standing around a grill isn’t the most appealing proposition. So I roasted the vegetables instead, tossed them with couscous and basil, and dinner was served.

Recipe:
(adapted from Veggie Belly)

balsamic dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper

roasted vegetables
1 medium Japanese eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
10 button mushrooms, halved

salad
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 475 F.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
Toss all the vegetables in a large bowl, and add half the dressing. Mix so that all the vegetables are coated, then spread onto a rimmed sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until everything is tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, bring the water to a boil in a medium covered saucepan. When it boils, turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Let stand, covered, for about ten minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
Add the roasted vegetables, remaining dressing, and basil, and mix well before serving.

Mediterranean Couscous and Lentil Salad

I always forget how much I hate the process of moving. During our almost-three years of marriage Mike and I have lived in four different places just in California, not to mention our two apartments in Chiang Mai, one in Bangkok, and one in Seoul (Asia was easier because we were living out of backpacks, though). I get so irritated with packing, cleaning, unpacking, not being able to find anything in millions of boxes, having to map new runs and get used to a new kitchen that cooking usually falls by the wayside and I find myself not wanting to do more than mix up a bowl of oatmeal for about a week after moving.

Now that we’ve been moved in for about a week, things are finally starting to come together. Our cupboards are organized, the pantry and fridge are stocked, and I’m in the mood to cook!

This salad looked amazing when I first saw it in my Google Reader, but I wanted to make it more of a main dish, so I added some couscous. I also replaced sundried tomatoes with roasted red peppers, and loved the salty-sweet contrast between them and the olives. If you have time to let the lentils and couscous cool a little before you mix everything together, then let the whole mixture stand at room temperature for about an hour, I think the flavor will be outstanding. I, on the other hand, was tired and hungry from a long day of shopping in San Francisco so I just mixed everything together hot and it was still really good!

Recipe:
(adapted from Elly Says Opa)

1 1/2 cups lentils
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup sliced roasted red pepper
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp minced shallot
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water and the bay leaf to a boil. Rinse and pick over the lentils, and then add them to the boiling water. Cook until soft, about 20-25 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, bring the broth to a boil in another saucepan. Turn off the heat, stir in the couscous, cover, and let stand for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

When the lentils are tender, drain them and set aside to cool slightly. Toss with the couscous, then add the roasted red pepper, olives and parsley.

Whisk together the shallot, red wine vinegar and dijon. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the couscous and lentils, and mix to combine. Let stand for about an hour before serving to allow the flavors to combine.



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