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Old 05-06-2005, 04:26 PM   #1
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Simple, tasty, college couscous

A quick introduction as this is my first post. I am a college senior (graduating in december) with a budding interest in cooking. I've been doing a bit on my own, but I usually just end up taking a bunch of ingredients I like and frying them in a deep pan with oil. But hey, I'm learning!

Anyway, I have a ton of dry couscous and would like to make some tonight for dinner, but I'm unsure what to make it with. I really like couscous and making it is so darn easy, but when it's plain it's a bit drab for me, so I'd like to spice it up a bit. Maybe some italian dressing and feta cheese?

As I said I'm a college student with a really tiny kitchen I share with 4 other guys, so my resources are somewhat limited, but I have a few basic spices (basil, parsley, oregano, dill, chilli pepper, etc.) a few basic items (garlic, onions, potatoes), and of course I can always run out to the store to pick up whatever i don't have.

So does anyone have any simple suggestions as to what to do with my couscous? I should also point out that I have recently become a vegetarian.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-06-2005, 04:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site! You came to the right place for suggestions.

I find the easiest way to get flavor into couscous is instead of using boiling water try using stock or broth. Since you are a vegetarian then vegetable broth would work great here.

Couscous can be used many ways so the sky is the limit. Add any veggies you like. They will all work.

I am posting this recipe, but I can't vouch for it yet as I have never tried it. I am making it this weekend from Mothers Day though so ask me Sunday night and I can let you know how it turned out.

Cherry-Almond Couscous

4 pieces scallions, chopped (save green part for garnishing)
3 cups couscous
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup toasted almond slices or slivers
3 cups boiling water
Salt and black pepper to taste

Mix scallion whites, couscous, olive oil and cherries. Boil water and add exactly 3 cups to bowl and quickly stir together. Immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand 30 minutes. With a fork, fluff couscous, add almonds and check for seasoning.
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:48 PM   #3
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Thanks, GB. That sounds great. I think I'll try it out tonight and let YOU know how it turned out :).

Do you think I should stick with the recipe on the water or try vegetable stock as you said? If so, should I buy it in cans, boxes, or boullion cubes (if such a thing exists outside of the chicken realm)?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:59 PM   #4
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This is my basic relish recipe. I use it on so many things including tossing it in couscous. You can make this your own by adding to it or changing the vegetables. the original recipe had radishes, but since I don't like radishes I changed it to tomatoes.

Dice very small to the amounts you like and place in a bowl

tomatoes, remove some of the juice
seedless cucumber
vidalia onion or shallot

Mix together

1/4 cup vinegar (white or white wine)
2 t. sugar
2 t. salt

Pour vinegar mixture over the vegetables and stir together. Just use your judgement on the amount. You want it coated, but not drowning.
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Old 05-06-2005, 05:15 PM   #5
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This recipe I have not tried yet. I have put it in my to try folder because it looked so good. It is from 30 minute meals and got good reviews.

Vegetable Couscous
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 zucchini, diced
1/4 yellow squash, diced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, half a palm full
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 /3 palm full
2 1/4 cups couscous
1 vine ripe plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons each chopped cilantro and flat-leaf parsley
Mediterranean flat bread, for passing


Heat a large sauce pot over medium high heat. Add oil, bay leaf, onion, zucchini and yellow squash to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, 7 or 8 minutes. Add pumpkin and broth to the pan and stir to combine. Add cumin and coriander. Bring broth to a boil. Add couscous to the broth, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove lid from the pot and fluff couscous with a fork. Remove bay from the pan, add finely chopped tomato, cilantro and parsley, toss again with fork to combine and transfer to a serving platter. Serve with warm Mediterranean flat breads.
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Old 05-06-2005, 05:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberSlag5k
Thanks, GB. That sounds great. I think I'll try it out tonight and let YOU know how it turned out :).

Do you think I should stick with the recipe on the water or try vegetable stock as you said? If so, should I buy it in cans, boxes, or boullion cubes (if such a thing exists outside of the chicken realm)?

Thanks again!
For this particular recipe I would stick with water, but if you did end up using veggie broth I do not think it would be bad. I think the neutral flavor of water would work well here though.

As for boxes, cans or cubes...I prefer boxes. My favorite brand is Kitchen Basics. It is hard to find sometimes, but if you have a Trader Joes near you they carry it. I like the boxes because you can close them up and put them back in the fridge. Cans are not bad if you need to go that route and and broth that you don't use can be frozen. I like to pour it into ziplock bags and freeze flat so that don't take up a lot of room. I then take a Sharpie marker and mark how many cups are in each bag. I try to freeze one cup and two cup amounts.

Stay away from bullion cubes. They are very heavy on the salt.

I can't wait to hear how it turned out
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:29 AM   #7
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I tried the couscous for a graduation party we threw for my roommates. I ommitted the scallions (my girlfriend is allergic to onions) and instead chopped up a little garlic. I followed the recipe, but when it was finished it was quite dry, so I added more olive oil. That didn't seem to help either. But other than it being a little bland (other than the cherries which everyone loved), it was quite good. All in all it proved to be a good side dish, but I think next time I might try some sort of liquid base for taste.

Thanks, GB!
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:34 AM   #8
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I made it on Sunday and found the same thing you found. It was a bit too dry. I added more olive oil like you, but for me that was enough to moisten it up just enough. I thought it was good, but not great. I found it a bit bland like you did. I have quite a lot leftover so I think I am going to slice up some chicken breasts and add that in. My wife loved it the way it was though. As a matter of fact that was all she had for dinner last night. She ate so much of it that she was too full to do her situps LOL
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