Cous Cous Salad

Well, I am doing it … again. Making the same recipes over and over because I like them. That said, it does not make for new and exciting things for this blog, but it is true to life and to me that is pretty important. This is how I cook. I make things that make me and mine happy – or sometimes, just me, happy. That is the case with this recipe. It is a combination of flavors that I love. You will also find it in the Asparagus, Red Onion, Orange Juice, White Wine butter sauce pasta. Red onions and orange juice are really amazing together.

It kind of bugs me (no, really bugs me) that I cannot find the source for this recipe – google –  can you not fix this?  Again, another recipe from my vegetarian decade and I so thought this was from The Greens Cook Book, but, alas, no. Still one of my favorite cook books.D&D_1556

1 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup sultanas (or just raisins in this case)
1 medium red onion, sliced into half circles
red wine vinegar – or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts whatever you have)
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup cous cous*
1 Tbs canola oil

In a dry pan, heat nuts until they are just fragrant and slightly toasted. Remove from heat. In a small pot heat water to boil and place red onion in a heat-proof bowl. Add the hot water to the red onions for a few minutes and drain. Set aside and splash with red wine vinegar. Heat orange juice in a pot over medium heat and add sultanas. Add cous cous to the  orange juice mixture and add canola oil. Cover the pot with the lid to steam. Give it a few minutes and then fluff with a fork. Add in scallions, nuts, and red onions (w/the vinegar).  This is pretty damn amazing.

This salad, in my opinion, is great at room temperature and not bad on the cold side either. The vinegar pickles the onions and makes them crunchy and that is just lovely with the cous cous and the soft sultanas and crunchy nuts.

* I have tried this with Israeli cous cous, but prefer the Italian version – smaller, in this case, is better in my opinion.

Cous Cous Salad

Yep, I am so back to my vegetarian days with this recipe. I think that making the orange juice, white wine, butter sauce pasta makes me crave this too. So many similar ingredients and flavors. Although it is interesting that I have not sized this recipe down for just me and therefore I eat it for breakfast and/or lunch for about a week. Now, I use local pecans because the are just so sweet. I know I have written about this before but Renfroe’s pecans are … I am at a loss. They are stupidly, amazing, dumbly, good. I guess because I grew up with pecans from Georgia and did not understand how the season worked, nor how to store them in between that I have learned a lot. Since moving to Pensacola, I now know how local pecans work. It is a charmed world to have such amazing fresh pecans.  Once again – spoiled.

D&D_15561 cup orange juice
1/3 cup raisins or sultanas – I prefer sultanas, but will deal with raisins, easily.
1 red onion minced
1/2 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts), salted
3 scallions, diced
1 cup Cous Cous – (not israeli couscous – I have tried, but not my favorite)
Red wine vinegar
1 Tbs Canola oil

Heat orange juice over low heat until bubbly. Add raisins or sultanas and let simmer until raisins are soft. Heat a small saucepan with water to boil. Add red onions and boil for just a minute and a half. Remove from water into a bowl and cover with red wine vinegar to soak until you are finished with everything else.

Add Cous Cous to orange juice with Canola oil. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand until orange juice is absorbed.

Toast pecans in a skillet with some kosher salt until fragrant. Just about a minute on medium heat.  Dice scallions. Drain red onions. Fluff Cous Cous with a fork and add red onions, pecans, and scallions.

I think next time some blanched asparagus would be a great addition. Or maybe some thawed frozen artichoke hearts – just make it a bit more substantial.

I think this is my goal – to take the things I make over and over again and develop them further, to add another dimension to them. I already have a few ideas for this – may be great – may be an random failure, but it is worth a shot. At least to me.

Maybe some salty cheese. Will have to think about that.

Couscous Salad

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Couscous Salad

Me and Mr. Peabody are in the WABAC machine for this recipe – if it can be called a recipe at all. This is another in a long line of things I made while in my vegetarian phase – if you can call a decade a phase, but that I continue to make because it is just so damn good. I have been thinking of making this for a while now. It uses things that I don’t tend to have on hand, red onion and orange juice.  It is a mix of a lot of strange things, and I could not tell you, have no idea, where the original recipe came from. But somehow all these weird things come together and if I am honest, which I can occasionally be, it is the red onion and orange juice that totally make this for me. Worth that trip to the grocery store – yep. Every time.

1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup raisins or sultanas
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/3 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped
1 scallion, sliced thinly
1 cup couscous
Handful of minced flat-leafed parsley – not totally required really – but pretty much.

Heat orange juice in a saucepan until simmering gently. Add raisins. And let the raisins enjoy themselves.

Toast the nuts in a small pan, stirring often until just fragrant. Coarsely chop.

Place diced red onion in a heat proof glass dish with just enough water to cover. Heat in microwave for about two minutes. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain. Add a splash of vinegar, which ever kind you prefer to the onions.

Turn up heat to a nice simmer on the orange juice, add the couscous with a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix, cover and let sit off heat to steam. Fluff with a fork. Add scallions, red onion, nuts, and parsley and mix to combine.

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Couscous Salad – or something like it …

Notes: I like regular small couscous. I tried it this time with “pearl” couscous, which I think is just a bit too big, too toothy – if that makes any sense, so I went back for the tiny couscous and made it again. Yep – that is what I remember – fluffy couscous with all sorts of weird flavors that really work together. Let it sit over night and it gets even better – no joke. Amazing, flavorful, and really great for breakfast – but I am the girl that likes cold Pad Thai for breakfast too. There it is.

TBM (to be made) List

I read a lot of books – yep – I’m another kind of book nerd besides being a food nerd. Jane Austen, Colin Dexter, Agatha Christie, P.D. James. And cookbooks.

And I read other bloggers that like to read too. Apparently they all have a TBR pile – to be read. But I have figured out that I have a TBM list = To Be Made. It is an on going and ever changing list. No big surprise there. Lists are a thing with me which is kind of annoying. During the week, usually when I’m hungry, I write down things that sound good to make – it helps me make the grocery list – ugh yet another list – but then I get practical and start to cull the list of unrealistic things that I always seem to plan.

So right now, what are the things on my TBM list, you ask? – or not, as the case may be. Here’s the mental jumble that is my thoughts on being in the kitchen this upcoming week.

Roasted Potato Salad – with tiny new red potatoes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Sugared Lemon Cookies – made them this week, by the way -Post to follow
Salted Lemons
Chicken Francese
Hot Pepper Jelly
Blackberry Jelly – from blackberries from a friend. In the freezer until I’m ready.
Cheddar Pepper Jelly Thumbprint. These are so good.
Pecan or Walnut Tassies
Brown Sugar Pecan Scones
Off-to-bed Butter Cookies
Lemon Doughnut Muffins
Pecan Cream Cake
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Couscous Salad – unless the Boy drinks all the orange juice. Which I am pretty sure he will.

There it is. My list of lists.