Posts Tagged ‘Balsamic Vinegar’

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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Worth Repeating: Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

October 13, 2009

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Oh yum, look at that.

So what’s new in the many days and weeks since my last post? Well, autumn is here, and New York is wearing it beautifully. This is by far my favorite time of year and I’m really excited for the next couple of months.  What else have I been up to? Well, I’ve had time not only to discover new favorite recipes but also to actually repeat the especially good ones.

Exhibit A: fig and prosciutto pizza, which I found, as I find many things I write about, in Bon Appetit magazine (though, for anyone reading, let’s have a little moment of silence for the institution that was Gourmet, which didn’t survive the nasty cuts at Conde Nast last week. This is going to come back to bite them in the butt, I hope).

The first time I made this recipe, I was making dinner for my friend Michael after a spree at Whole Foods. They had some really gorgeous figs there, and luckily when I was making my way into line I passed by a selection of pizza doughs and remembered having seen this recipe. Now, I come from a family where homemade pizza is taken very seriously. My mom’s dough recipe (by way of Wolfgang Puck’s cookbook) is to die for–the kind of dough that is the main event in itself, and where toppings play second banana. Well, I did feel some guilt going for the premade stuff, but  I used the excuse that I lacked both time and a food processor and went for it. I do have to say that Whole Foods’ pizza dough is a steal (less than $2 for a one-pound package) and it was also very good–so not too much guilt here. But still not as good as mom’s (like most things).

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