I've been trying to incorporate more elements of the Mediterranean cuisine into my diet lately and couscous of various forms is a regular feature, especially for lunch. Thanks to Sting and his "Brand New Day" album, this song he sings with Cheb Mami of Algeria immediately pops into my head. I'm suddenly filled with the vision of being a belly dancer and wearing tinkling scarves! This song is such a wonderful blend of cultures. I am a HUGE Sting fan. My family might contest that that is an understatement of great proportion! It was a surprise to myself, though, to find that this is the first Sting song I've used on this blog! Welcome, Sting, to the tune 'n fork playlist! And welcome, couscous, to my belly!
I know I've already shared with you my love of Costco. It's such a fun place to explore and I try to give myself enough time to fully enjoy the hunt. With this new Mediterranean cuisine focus that I've been trying lately, I was really happy to find this Couscous blend on one of my recent Costco Explorations.
Couscous is a sort of semolina pasta. There's a type that looks like tiny little grains - flecks almost - and there's this Israeli version, which is a bit larger and round. When the Israeli version cooks up, I love the feel of it in my mouth. All those little pasta balls rolling around - I'm certain it adds to its delicious factor! This blend from Costco has yellow lentils and tri-colored orzo - which is another pasta shaped like flat rice.
Couscous can be dressed up in so many different fashions you can find it on every part of a menu - sweet or savory! Today's fix is a savory dish that can be a side or the main entree if you choose. I would consider it a complete lunch!
The best part of the Mediterranean cuisine is its simplicity. As long as you have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand - and, of course, some grains or pasta - you can have a meal in minutes. With this busy holiday season at hand, consider this recipe today a gift that will get you out the door - appetite satisfied and belly full - and on to your many errands. And I'd suggest making sure Costco is one of the stops! And Trader Joe's carries a blend as well! Or, hey! Make your own blend and let me know how it goes!
Israeli Couscous Blend
makes 4 servings
1 3/4 c. water (or stock)
1 c. couscous blend
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/4 c. tamari pumpkin seeds (check your health food section)
1/4 c. kalamata olives, sliced
2 green onion, sliced
1 T. fresh oregano, loosely chopped
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 - 1/3 c. feta cheese
salt to taste
Cook the couscous in the water or stock according to the package directions. Usually you let the liquid come to a boil, stir in the couscous, cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat and cook for 18 minutes undisturbed. Remove from heat and let sit another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and you're ready to start adding your accents.
Add the diced pepper, pumpkin seeds, olives, green onion, and fresh oregano and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and stir to coat evenly. Add the feta, stir, and then salt accordingly.