Sometimes it is just too hot for a warm dinner. We experience that a LOT here in East Texas! Since I had a KILLER awesome workout today and because it’s the end of July, I decided on something cool for dinner. It happens to coincide with “pantry night”. Actually, I just now named it. It means I’m indecisive about dinner and don’t feel like getting out to the store (see above note on blistering heat). Or I’m lazy. So the goal is to finagle dinner out of items in the pantry. Luckily, I’m a big fan of Mediterranean cooking and eating, so the pantry is usually pretty well stocked with roasted red bell peppers, artichokes and couscous. I’m inevitably missing something and today I thought it was pine nuts. I looked high and low for those suckers because I know I had them here somewhere! I finally found them in the fridge.I was so excited…gotta have some texture variance and pine nuts are PERFECT! AND the mozzarella is still good! (I would use feta but it’s not Staci’s favorite as mentioned in Call Me Grace…oh, ironically enough, that post also addressed my tendency to burn myself which I did today, trying to get a rogue couscous pearl off the range and searing the top of my hand on the roasting pine nuts saucepan. It was awesome.).
There are two different kinds of couscous: Moroccan and Israeli. I love them both but they’re very different. Moroccan is tiny grains of seminola about the size of sand. It cooks quickly and absorbs herbs very well. I cook this often, usually topped with a soft egg. Israeli is about the size of salmon roe/peppercorns and feels more like pasta. This is the couscous of choice tonight.
It was very difficult to find in my tiny Texas town until one day I hit the JACKPOT at Kroger when they stocked and clearanced them in the same week. I got 3 containers for a song. It made my whole day! (it’s the little things…like today with the pine nuts). So it turns out I have everything I need and I don’t have to sweet talk Staci into stopping at the store for something she inevitably won’t be able to find. I do my planetary alignment happy dance!
So this afternoon I cooked the couscous, coated it in a smidge of olive oil to keep it from sticking and stuck it in the fridge to cool. I put the pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium low heat and stirred occasionally until they had some nice color and the kitchen smelled all nutty.
The rest is easy kitchen sink kind of assembly. Roughly chop some roasted red bell pepper and artichoke hearts. Cube up some mozzarella. Throw in some kalamata olives and lots of chopped fresh parsley. Don’t forget the pine nuts! Along with salt and pepper. Watch the salt in reference to how many kalamatas you use.
I usually throw in a few more glugs of olive oil and toss. It’s beautiful and light for summer. It’s nutritious too! While technically couscous is a grain (and therefore a carb), it’s actually quite high in protein as well. This would pair well with a light soup. I’ll get the cold pea soup posted soon…it’s delicious and would be perfect with this. However tonight it’s Mediterranean couscous and that’s all she wrote because tomorrow is Friday. And Friday is DATE NIGHT which means margaritas and ribeyes! So we’re bumping half of tonight’s calories into reserve for tomorrow night. That’s how that works, right? I’ll see you tomorrow as I pre-prepare Coq Au Vin for Saturday!
Happy reading, joyful cooking and spread the love!