Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Israeli couscous with vegetables, bialy focaccia

I enjoy occasionally cooking with the better known (at least to me) Moroccan couscous, but today purchased the small pea-sized Israeli couscous. Inspired by ideas on an American Culinary Federation website, I simply boiled the couscous in water for about ten minutes till al dente. In the meantime, I began sauteeing shallot, two kinds of bell pepper (orange and lavender), various mushrooms, and cabbage. I drained the couscous and added to the saute. I also added some seasoning (including hot sauce, salt, and Kermit's Fresh Lime and Datil Pepper Seasoning) and cooked just for a few more minutes before serving.

I picked up from Whole Foods today some "onion bialy focaccia". I used to love eating bialies in New York City - soft yeasty rolls topped with carmelized onions - and don't remember really seeing them outside of N.Y.C. What Whole Foods had was an interesting fusion that was more like focaccia flat bread with onions instead of spices on top. In any case, I simply heated it and served it with dinner - it was good!

I was quite pleased with Israeli couscous and will try making a similar dish soon, but will add a little more flavor by boiling the grain in vegetable stock. Also, I think the dish I made had too great a couscous to vegetable ratio. In spite of these changes I want to try, I thought that the couscous gave a nice firm addition of relatively neutral flavor to "bulk up" the vegetables, and enjoyed what I came up with. Other variations I plan to try, as recommended on the website, are to simply add the couscous to soup and simmer it for 10 minutes till al dente, and to cook it till al dente and then stuff it into squash or bell peppers and bake.

There were no entries for Monday (Memorial Day) or Sunday. I was out and about both days and ate vegan pizza one day and at the Whole Foods deli the other.


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