Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Last Thing I Cooked That A Guest Said They Really Liked

I had a lovely houseguest last week, and as part of dinner one night I made this salad, which I adore and actually crave sometimes, which, given its significant broccoli content, is highly unusual.

Curried Couscous with Broccoli and Feta

1 cup Israeli couscous
2.5 (?*) cups vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water

2 cups small broccoli florets
0.5 cup finely chopped red onion
0.5 cup finely cut carrot
0.5 cup chopped roasted cashews
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 T sugar
2 t curry powder
2 t minced fresh ginger
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

The recipe (like virtually everything I make that's any good) is modified from one I cut out of a long-ago issue of Cooking Light.

The original recipe calls for regular couscous. I'm new to Israeli couscous, but very excited about it. The regular stuff is tasty but it gets everywhere, sticks on everything, and the girls don't like its texture. Most importantly, Mr. Sandyshoes has indicated it is a royal pain in the ass to clean up, and I want Mr. Sandyshoes kept happy, or at least not actively displeased, where cleaning up is concerned. Without his doing the dishes... well. Let's not even think about that. It is too upsetting.

Back to Israeli couscous. It is bigger than the regular kind, so you get all the things you like about couscous and none of the aggravations. I just haven't yet mastered the liquid to couscous ratio for it. The directions on the tub I bought said 4:1, which was way too much, so I'm going to try 2.5:1 next time, which is what I've recommended here, but with question mark and asterisk and no warranty, expressed or implied.

The other issue with Israeli couscous is where to find it. I bought the tub with the faulty directions at Atkins Farms while visiting western Massachusetts, but much as I'd love to, I can't haul myself back there every time I want to make curried couscous with broccoli and feta cheese. I am hoping Trader Joe's will have it.

ANYWAY. Cook whatever couscous you're using in whatever liquid you like. Fluff with fork (that phrase cracks me up for some reason. I am easily amused). Let it cool down.

Steam the broccoli for 3 minutes. Getting the pre-cut broccoli you can microwave in the bag speeds things along quite a bit, but I'm usually too cheap to splurge on it.

Combine everything in a BIG bowl. Voila.

My friend will doubtless make this much spicier, and so can you. I sometimes put in a big handful of raisins, too.

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