I met with my friend Annalee last week to catch-up on her new engagement (Congrats again!) and dissect the intricacies of life. The conversation turned to food and cooking, as it tends to do, and I wondered if I bring this up or if others seek advice? Hope it’s the latter. She mentioned her fiancé requires a grain at every meal to feel complete while she could live on roasted vegetables and Gardenburgers.
Her man, he needs more.
A similar situation occurs in my house, although Eddie is rather amicable about eating a hearty salad for dinner. Actually to be fair, his level of tiredness dictates how much effort he’s willing to put forth.
Annalee works full-time, is taking classes on the side and has an internship; needless to say, this achiever is busy! She’s interested in something grain-related that doens’t take an hour to prepare and to her I said, the doctor is in! She needs couscous.
Couscous is a magical grain. It cooks in 10 minutes and compliments whatever flavor it’s partnered with. (I feel there’s a relationship metaphor in here.) Couscous can hang with dried fuits and nuts as an oatmeal substitute or mix into roasted vegetables and vinaigrette for a versatile side dish. I recommended Annalee check out Curried Couscous, but warned the recipe has more than a few ingredients. For a busy Monday-Friday prescription, she needed something simplistic that satisfied both partners. Annalee, this one’s for you!
Foodie note: I eat this for breakfast with a 7 minute boiled-egg. It’s delicious!
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon butter (optional)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (thyme, basil and/or mint are great options)
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
Optional: goat cheese or pesto
- Heat oven to 425*F; trim cauliflower from leaves and hard stem, wash and cut into medium sized pieces (about 3/4″ thick stems). Place florets on a baking sheet.
- Trim ends of shallots and remove outer papery layer. Cut lengthwise into 3/4″ wedges, add to baking sheet.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper onto vegetables and toss with hands. Make sure the cauliflower and onions are well spaced from each other, place in hot oven close to the top heat element. Bake about 20 minutes, until a fork easily pierces florets. Set aside.
- While cauliflower bakes, prepare couscous. In a small sauce pan, bring wine, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt and butter (if using) to a boil. Add couscous and 2 smashed garlic cloves, stir to submerge grains. Place lid on pot, take off heat and set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Once couscous is cooked, remove garlic cloves. Chop garlic. Add couscous and chopped garlic to a large mixing bowl; fluff couscous with a fork.
- Add cooked cauliflower mixture (scraping the browned seasoned bits from pan) to couscous. Add chopped herbs, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Garnish with creamy knobs of goat cheese or pesto if desired.