One of the many dishes that R gave to me for my birthday. Thank you!!
I hosted a small gathering of six at my house this past weekend. It was a little pre-party wine and appetizer menu before we went out for my birthday party. It was a heavily Mediterranean/Italian feast, largely influenced from my PFI adventure last week, that I mentioned in the Feta and Squash Muffins post. The menu consisted of:
Feta and muenster cheese with apple slices and dates
Pita bread and hummus
Fig jam and crackers
Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil
Fajita style chicken
Lemony Israeli Couscous
Sweet and salty almonds
Many flavors of wine
A bottle of champagne still waiting in the fridge from D and N
A lovely French inspired platter by M, featuring 3 French cheeses, 2 French pates from K, crackers, strawberries and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles
Oh my was it all good!
I adapted this recipe from a Bon Appetit recipe on Epicurious.com. I had roasted a bunch of mini red, yellow and orange peppers in the morning, and thought they'd be a colorful addition to the dish. The recipe also called for Parmesan cheese, which I didn't add. I wanted to keep it simple and light, though surely the cheese would be delectable.
I had never cooked Israeli couscous before, and found it to be so simple. Before cooking, the couscous are small little round circles, and when cooked, they remind me of the tapioca balls in Bubble tea. My sous chef chopped all of the veggies (which was a lot!) and prepared the bruschetta and table set-up. I would have been frantically running around all afternoon if he hadn't been there!!
Lemony Israeli Couscous
Adapted from Bon Appetit recipe on Epicurious
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous, dry
Salt to taste
1 3/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1/2 bunch or about 1 cup asparagus, cut in small diagonal pieces
1 cup snap peas, cut in small diagonal pieces
1/2 cup roasted red, orange and yellow peppers (home roasted or from a jar)
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a heavy medium. Add couscous, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until most of couscous is golden brown. Pour in the chicken (or vegetable) broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has soaked into the couscous. Turn off heat and set aside.
While couscous is cooking, prepare the dressing. Whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon zest, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 clove garlic. Set aside.
Heat a separate medium/large pan on medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and saute the veggies with the garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook them to your favorite level of doneness. I cooked them until done, but they still had a crispness to them, about 5 minutes.
Add the veggies to the couscous and toss in the dressing. Add the green onions and salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold. It also makes very good brunch leftovers the next day!