Crazy for Couscous
Last time I made a couscous based dish, I had enough foresight to buy a good amount of grain. Beforehand, I had been purchasing a little box here and there, always needing to run to the market to for my next batch. Since H and I like it so much, I therefore decided to buy a good amount and store it in a pretty glass container. (I have these visions of canisters of grains, flours, sugars and spices lining my counter but that’s another story.) After another brutally hot and humid day in NYC, I deemed couscous to be the perfect thing for dinner. It’s light, satisfying, healthy and quick to prepare. Plus it’s versatile. So I searched epicurious and found a recipe that would be easy enough for a Thursday.
Then H offered to take us out to dinner. It had been a long week, and we were tired, so H suggested we pay a visit to our favorite waiter at our favorite coffee shop around the block. I hemmed and hawed over this request. On one hand, it was hot and a break sounded nice. A thick sandwich and crispy fries + no dishes to wash sounded like a great idea. But then I remembered we had dined out with my mother the night before. I also recalled this post, where I talked about cooking-in more and eating-out less. So, it took a lot of strength, but I said no. H complied.
Here’s the recipe I chose and some of the veggies before cooking.
Couscous with Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion
1/4 cup water (if needed)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed, each cut crosswise into 3 pieces, each piece cut into 6 wedges
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
24 cherry tomatoes
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender and golden, adding water if dry, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Add broth. Bring mixture to boil. Add zucchini and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in thyme, then couscous and butter. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until broth is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Fluff couscous with fork. transfer to serving bowl. Mix in tomatoes and serve.
This dish is quick and easy to make. It’s actually pretty brainless. Things were going swimmingly until I got to one of the steps – 1 tbsp of dried thyme. I had somehow overlooked this spice when I chose this dish. I don’t know why, but I hate thyme. To the point where I avoid anything that has some in it. The taste is too strong for me and overpowers any meal to the point in inedibility. But, wanting to stay true to the plan, I forged ahead. There were so few other spices that I figured it needed it. Plus, I had an idea – I would smother the dish in goat cheese and hide the thyme. Here is the dish pre-serving and pre-goat cheese.
After covering mine in dairy, I was able to eat my serving. The couscous was fluffy and the veggies were soft. H liked it too. That being said, I don’t think I’ll be making it again. I think it’ll stick with this one instead.