October 13, 2010

back with a bang?

Meh, it's more like I'm back with a gentle rat-a-tat.


I had hoped to return to you with an inspired and supremely superior food creation, but alas, you'll just have to settle for one of the most peculiar, interesting, and yes, delicious dishes I've had in quite some time.

Nectarines. I can't say I've ever had much use for them, but they were absolutely key in this simple yet complex side. In fact, I found myself rooting around, trying to make sure every bite contained some of the sweet, juicy fruit. If that didn't happen, the consolation prizes weren't too shabby--crunchy sliced almonds, hunks of salty and tangy feta, toothy chickpeas, bits of sharp scallion, and shreds of verdant basil were also scattered throughout the creamy couscous.*

*Can we say adjective abuse? I think so.


And how pretty is this bowl of yum? I love all the colors, and couscous is always a looker. (As a bonus, it's an extremely fun word to pronounce--have you ever looked at a person's mouth when he says it? Hilarious.)

Creamy and Colorful Couscous

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
1 lb couscous or other small pasta
3 cups chicken stock
2 lemons, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup nectarines, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock and half of the lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.
Once the couscous is room temperature, add the remaining components. Toss to combine and serve.

65 comments:

Donna-FFW said...

It indeed does look pretty and I love the combination you chose!

I am going to ask all the hot men I know to say cous cous now.. thanks for the tip.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A healthy couscous with much flavor!

Cheers,

Rosa

Chanel11 said...

That is the strangest group of food fellows I have ever seen, and yet you say it somehow equals deliciousness? I am all for new and exciting flavour combinations :)

♥peachkins♥ said...

it looks soooooooo yummy!!!!

I actually said couscous and then I smiled...

Von said...

Unfortunately I haven't seen that many people say couscous....haha
This looks really creamy and yummy indeed!! I haven't had a nectarine for agesss....now I want one =(

Barefoot Belle said...

So now I'm looking in the mirror, watching myself say "cous cous." It's too earlly in the morning!

This does look good, and different from my typical recipe. I'm loving the mix of fruity and savory these days. Thanks for sharing!

shaz said...

Hello Grace! So glad to have you back :) I love cous-cous, just had some for dinner, but mine was definitely very boring compared to your be-jewelled creation. Yum!

Barbara said...

Marvelous flavors in your couscous, Grace! And unusual.
Nice to have you back!

Faith said...

I'm glad you're back Grace! And you're back with a beauty of a dish -- love the nectarine for a hint of sweetness in there!

bellini valli said...

Creamy, colourful, sweet and delicious. I have just been saying hilarious for 1 minute:D

5 Star Foodie said...

A wonderful combination of ingredients in this couscous! Especially love the addition of nectarines!

TKW said...

Hi Grace! I've missed you! That is a stunner of a dish...love all of the colors.

kimberleyblue said...

Welcome back!

I love couscous dishes, especially when they include feta and chickpeas. Never would've thought about adding nectarines, but it sounds like it works. Looks like a lot of fun!

Gloria said...

Hi Grace, lovely I love cus cus, x gloria

Lisa-Marie said...

I reckon nectarines pack a fair bit of bang! I want to eat this right now!

Sophie said...

I love the added almonds & feta cheese in this couscous salad!! That must make it extra special,...mmmmmmmmmmm,...lovely food, Grace!

kat said...

That is such an interesting take on cous cous!

Angie's Recipes said...

Peculiar? I guess I need to look into the dictionary....maybe peculiar means delicious and comforting?

jose manuel said...

Que platito más interesante y más liviano, esto tiene que estar delicioso.

saludos

Leslie said...

What a yummy way to jazz up couscous!!!

Melanie said...

What a unique combo of ingredients for this couscous dish! And welcome back...with a bang or a rat-a-tat, we'll take you either way!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so happy. I've been looking for ways to jazz up cous cous!

Molly said...

yummy! i just made some cous cous the other night with golden raisins and pine nuts, but this recipe really adds a lot! and a lot of my favorite things! i will try it for sure, thanks!

Cheryl said...

That looks absolutely yummy, I am starving!

Joanne said...

I have to say, I think this combination of ingredients sounds incredibly complex and yet amazing! The perfect mix of sweet, salty, tangy, delicious.

Abby said...

I think that looks awesome! I made some recently with dried peaches from the farmers market, along with green onion, and it was yummy with chicken legs!

Glad to see you back.

Megan said...

Yum, this looks amazingly good. Glad you are back! :)

Mimi said...

Looks yummy. I need to tuck the recipe away for next summer when the nectarines are in season.
Mimi

scrambledhenfruit said...

What an intriguing combination of flavors! It sounds really yummy- I love nectarines anyway, and together with all of this other deliciousness I know they'd be fabulous. Glad you're back!

Lori said...

I have been really into Israeli cous cous lately.

This looks awesome Grace and welcome back!

Lynda said...

Yes it's different, but it looks amazing Grace. I love nectarines, so I imagine they are the star of this dish. I've had trouble finding good ones this year. I've bookmarked this to try. Thanks!

Angie said...

Glad your back, missed ya, and this looks wonderful, I've never heard of a creamy couscous before.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Grace!!! Where have you been? We've missed you! :D

Ingrid said...

The one time I had couscous I didn't do anything to it and oh my was it horrible. I've haven't tried it again since then. Guess I need to..thanks for the shove, I mean push. :)
~ingrid

Pam said...

I love the salty, crunchy, sweet combination you have going on in this dish. YUM!

Damaris said...

I love how colorful it is.

pigpigscorner said...

wow, very interesting use of couscous! reminds me of rice pudding.

Marjie said...

You can make the same old meats all the time, but great side dishes really make the meal.

Lucie said...

Great idea! My go-to couscous salad combo is tomato+cucumber+ bell peppers, but this is an interesting change! Welcome back :)

Foodessa said...

Grace...I could only imagine where you mind is at...and yes, I guess there is something slightly sexy about the pronunciation ;o)

I can see why you liked this dish...the ingredients ring like a great melody of flavours ;)

Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I love sweet and savory dishes like this. A must-try. And welcome back! I'm actually on a bit of an unplanned hiatus myself but hope to be back soon, too.

Amanda said...

You are always challenging me... I would never have thought of this, not in a million years!

Great shots girl!

Blessings-
Amanda

LilSis said...

I've never been big on nectarines either but this combo has me quite intrigued.

My guys think they don't like couscous, but I don't even think they know what it is. I may have to give this one a try!

It looks delicious!

tamilyn said...

Yes, I immediately said couscous too.....

Catherine said...

Oh Lord, I haven't had couscous in such a long time.
Looks and sounds fantastic Grace!
Cheers~

sweetlife said...

okay I see nothing weird in this combo, my girls love crazy mix ins in their pasta..so this is totally our kind of meal..lol
sweetife

culinography said...

Wonderfully intriguing mix of flavors... YUM!

Carolyn Jung said...

I make a salad very similar to this. Sometimes I even add a little curry powder to the broth to cook the couscous. Makes for a super easy and very flavorful dish.

Maria said...

Love the flavors in this one!

Robin Sue said...

Oh my so many great flavors here, and colors. This would make a great lunchbox treat for me and my hubbster. Thanks!

pierre said...

nice combinations of flavours couscous is fun to cook ! Bravo !!Pierre

Foodycat said...

I love all these flavours in the couscous!

MaryBeth said...

I love the flavor combination you choose, this really looks amazing.

Bunny said...

This is very new for me Grace ,I love the idea of all those flavors together!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Adjective abuse? I think not. They need to earn their pay, just like the other parts of a sentence.

The salad looks like it's definitely worthy of a try. Would you be very cross, though, if I left out the feta?

Julie M. said...

It is indeed a pretty dish! The apricots are a perfect addition.

Velva said...

Cous-cous is part of our regular diet here at home. I really like the flavors and it brings cous-cous to a new level. I like it!

tasteofbeirut said...

I cant think of any grain that can bring so much satisfaction with so little effort or time; hurray fro couscous!

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Great sweet salty combo in this cous cous & by the way now I will STARE at anyone that says this word to see how funny they look. Come to think of it I will say it over & over again in the mirror ;) xo Glad you are back, we missed you!

Deborah said...

What an interesting and different recipe!!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

This looks great! I love the sweet element with the added nectarines.

Chef Fresco said...

Now this looks quite interesting! I'm intrigued and would love to try it!

Lisa said...

This looks extremely delicious! Great flavor combination.

Sophie said...

Love it when healthy dishes are sweet and savory! This looks like a satisfying meal. Mouth is watering, for sure :).

Jaime said...

wow what an interesting combination of flavors! i never would have put them together but it sounds delicious!