Last night was literally a fly by the seat of my pants night (one of my father's favorite phrases). I am still on my cleaning kick and had decided to go through all of my CD's, alphabetize them and take them out of their jewel cases and put them into CD sleeves in a binder. (It was raining and I needed an indoor activity. Still sounds a little lame huh?) Anyway, I finished my project (it is beautiful and so much neater if you still think me lame) just in time for my husband's arrival from work and my children's stomach grumblings. I had left myself no time to cook. I knew had a ham steak in the refrigerator that I could fry up quickly, but what to do for a starch? Hooray! Fast and friendly couscous to the rescue!
Couscous is often thought of as a grain, but it is actually a very tiny pasta that is basically flavorless but will serve as a base for all sorts of Middle Eastern and fantastical creations. Another bonus? It is done in 5 minutes. Here in Eastern Washington, you can buy it pretty cheap at the health food store but in more progressive areas it is starting to appear in the grocery stores by the rice and grains. For my couscous, in order to pander to kiddy palates, I put the known entity of raisins in to soften the blow of a new dish. It ended up being quite good and the leftovers are good cold. Enjoy!
Lemon Raisin Couscous with Peppers and Scallions by Joie de vivre
1 lemon, zested and juiced.
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup couscous
1/4 chopped red bell pepper
1 whole scallion, chopped
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cup water
Place the water in a saucepan with raisins, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. When water is boiling, add the couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Leave for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, uncover, fluff with a fork, add the chopped red pepper and scallion and stir.
Side note: Shame to the French me. You can see from my plate above that I started out with a reasonable portion of ham, but the steak was sitting in front of me and I kept picking at it until I probably doubled my portion of ham! Note to self: remove the serving dishes from the table and place on counter!