Thursday, April 28, 2011

Couscous Almondine

I shop for groceries everyday--I've always done this.  Doesn't matter if I work all day, I always find a reason to stop by the store on my way home.  I just love walking around a market deciding on what ingredients I'm going to purchase.  Actually, when I wake up in the middle of the night and I can't go back to sleep, I think about what I'm going to make the next day, and the day after...

So this got me thinking.... Since I shop everyday, I only purchase exactly what I need.  It's very European by the way and I like that.  And since we don't eat meat, fish or dairy--what's the sense of owning a large refrigerator?  Especially since our refrigerator was purchased in 1985 (still running great), but probably not the best use of energy.  Perhaps I should consider trading it in for a portable fridge (the kind you see in hotels).  Really, the only items we refrigerate are some condiments, almond milk and frozen fruit and of course a big bag of ice for Margaritas...seems like a bit of a waste.  But then our fridge would end up in a landfill and that's not a good solution either...

So what does this have to do with Couscous Almondine?  And what is Almondine anyway?  Well, one of the stores I shop at daily is Whole Foods Market and I always walk around their prepared foods section.  I noticed that they had a new salad called Couscous Almondine and so I decided to make my own version.  "Almondine" by the way means "with almonds".  So "Couscous Almondine" sounds better than "Couscous with Almonds" and I agree.  However, Morocco gets all the credit for pairing almonds or any nut or fruit with couscous.  So perhaps the next time that I make this dish, I will omit the tomatoes, cucumber and oregano, and add saffron, cinnamon and cumin and call it "Moroccan Spiced Couscous with Almonds".  This sounds so much more exotic, but you'll have to wait until next fall for the recipe!


1 1/4 cups whole wheat dried couscous
1 1/4 cups filtered water
1 1/4 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 1/4 cups English cucumber, diced
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup raw almonds, roasted and chopped coarsely
2 tsp fresh oregano, finely minced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

  • Place couscous in a bowl and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Rub mixture together until grains are coated with oil.
  • Bring 1 1/4 cups filtered water to a boil and pour over couscous.  Cover with a plate and fluff with a fork after 15 minutes.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  • Prep other ingredients and add to couscous.  Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour before serving for flavors to combine.

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