Monday
Sep172012

{ heat wave }

September 17, 2012

{ Mediterranean Couscous }


This mid-September heat is almost unbearable!  When it's this hot, I don't feel like cooking or making a fuss over meals.  Enter, Mediterranean Couscous :)  This is THE perfect side dish (or main) for days like this.  The flavors are intensely tasty but best of all, it's bite after bite of Fresh, Cool, Crispness.  It will make your tastebuds yelp.  I'm being cheesy but really can't do justice on explaining the deliciousness.  You have got to try this one for yourself.  It's one of my husband's favorite... and he's a meat lover... and this is vegetarian *wink*  Warning: stuff is totally addicting.

Ingredients (serves 8)

Couscous

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely minced
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely or garlic pressed
  • 2½ cups uncooked couscous
  • 3 cups water

Fresh Vegetables

  • 1 fresh firm cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, skin-on, seeds discarded (split in half lengthwise, run a small spoon down the center, scooping up and discarding the seeds), diced ½-inch pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, diced ¼-inch pieces
  • ¼ red onion, finely minced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill fronds
  • 2 whole green onion stalks, finely chopped, discard root ends

Tomato Sauce (combine together in a mixing bowl)

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste + 1 can of filtered water (use tomato paste can)
  • ¼ cup ketchup 
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or garlic pressed
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder 
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce

Directions
1.  In a stockpot (fitted with lid) cook onion and cumin in oil until soft.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

2.  Pour uncooked couscous into onion mixture and stir well.  Turn off heat.

3.  In a separate pot with handle, bring 3 cups of water to boil.

4.  Carefully pour the boiling water into pot of couscous, stirring well with a large spoon to make sure water reaches every kernel of couscous, thereby avoiding any dried clumps on the bottom.

5.  Cover couscous with lid and allow to rest for 6 to 8 minutes.  Immediately fluff with a fork and allow to cool to room temperature with the lid on.

6.  When cooled, stir diced cucumbers, celery, cilantro, dill, green onions and tomato sauce mixture into pot of couscous.  If couscous seems a little dry, add additional ketchup by the tablespoon, as needed.

7.  Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.  This tastes best after resting overnight, allowing all the flavors to set into the couscous!

Serve an amazing Mediterranean meal with a heaping scoop of Mediterranean Couscous, Grilled Skirt SteakHummus and warm pita toasted over a stove top fire.

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