Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

Toasted Israeli Couscous with Broiled Vegetables

August 10, 2010

I’ll start with a minor confession, which may or may not be relevant by the time this post is over. I spent the vast majority of my youth really hating couscous.  I think it’s because in the sixth grade my science teacher made us each eat a handful of couscous grain by grain in order to demonstrate what it’s like to be a baleen whale trying to sustain itself on plankton. Maybe I was feeling sensitive–I had a solid wiring of braces at the time, and the resemblance I bore to a baleen whale was at its most striking (especially considering all the junk that got caught up in there. Tween years, I don’t miss you).  Beyond that, I wasn’t totally wowed by its grainy texture.  I didn’t start eating couscous of my own volition until I moved to New York after college. I was grocery shopping with a friend, who pointed out that there was a huge sale on couscous and immediately started filling up her basket. What the hell, I figured, and followed suit. It was super cheap and easy to make–which, let’s be honest, are two incredibly persuasive criteria for recent college grads.

I bring up the questionable relevance of this anecdote because this post isn’t really about couscous the way most of us know couscous. If you haven’t tried Israeli couscous, get ready to fall in love. Israeli couscous is totally different from the grainy stuff we ate in our whale simulation–it’s more like a pearl-shaped pasta.  It takes a little more time to prepare than the stuff you find in a box, but the results are far more spectacular–it has a chewy, satisfying bite that seems otherwise elusive in the Moroccan variety with which most people seem to be familiar.

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Quick Black Bean and Corn Salad

May 14, 2010


We’ve all faced this conundrum: what do you do when you’re starving, haven’t gone grocery shopping, and are still craving something flavorful and delicious?  That’s right: raid your cupboard, freezer, and fridge, and see what you can throw together.

In my case, I was looking for some kind of side dish to go with leftover Mexican food. Something with a delightful texture. Something with substance. Something colorful. (Okay, maybe skip that last one–I really just needed a little more to eat.)  Luckily for me, I was equipped with a can of black beans and some frozen corn, and a few other odds and ends.  After a quick jaunt over to Epicurious, I threw this tasty dish together in a matter of minutes. (more…)