Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Holy Cous Cous!

Well Ashley and I made another kitchen masterpiece and I have been so excited to blog about this and share the recipe. When I say this meal is probably one of the top 10 meals that we have ever cooked in our cute little kitchen, I am 100% serious. This was all made possible by a fabulous recipe form the kitchen of Giada De Laurentiis (my kitchen idol) whose creations never disappoint.

Giada's Israeli cous cous is by far the best cous cous I have ever had. Israeli cous cous has a significantly larger grain than the Moroccan variation. They are like delicate pearls of delight and look gorgeous when they are cooked and ready to be plated. I love it when food tastes good but when it is equally as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste buds, that is a special perk! The green apple chunks and cranberries provide a brilliant color palate that looked especially bold on our trendy black plates. Giada's cous cous dish is absolutely perfect for the summer though the flavors are reminiscent of the fall...think November...if Thanksgiving had a flavor, this would be it! (the rosemary and cranberries give it that Holiday ambiance that I adore oh so much.)
Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberries, Apples and Herbs

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous (or barley or orzo)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium green apple, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, see Cook's Note

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, and almonds.
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.
Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before using.

To Accompany this heavenly dish, we brushed fresh Tilapia fillets with olive oil and a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Our vegetable of choice, Brussels Sprouts with lemon pepper.

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