Hello readers, I can’t believe it’s already mid-December! It can’t just be me, but it seems that time flies by faster the older one gets. I’ve been swamped by work and absolutely behind on Christmas shopping and gift-wrapping. I have not even fully unpacked my bags from trips to Costa Rica and California in late November. And the last time I’ve done laundry or cooked a real meal? I can’t even remember! So today’s entry is a quick and easy one-person dish that fills my tummy on a busy/lazy day. It cooks up in 5 minutes, and prep is a snap, especially if you have some supermarket help.
This is a great weeknight dish, but also a great side dish for a more elaborate meal, perhaps paired with lamb chops and harissa or goat kebabs. Couscous is literally just broken bits of semolina pasta, and takes about 5 minutes to ‘cook.’ Just follow directions on the package, and let the grains sit in some hot water/broth for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork before consumption. You can use any assortment of veggies, and I usually stick to onions, bell peppers and zucchini. For some added ease, spend the extra 50 cents and buy the pre-chopped/pre-diced packages that you can find at any super market. The veggies are cooked soft, dressed in sweet and tangy vinegar, then unceremoniously and unfussily (is that a word?) dumped over the fluffy couscous. Sometimes, I don’t even bother with a separate bowl – I’ll eat it right out of the pot. Recipe serves 1.
1-1.5 cups bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
2-4 tbs balsamic vinegar, to taste really
1 tsp salt
tiny pinch of sugar, to taste
1/4 c dried cranberries (optional, but adds nice sweetness and texture)
handful of nuts such as toasted almonds, pecans, pepita, pinenuts etc (optional but nice nuttiness and texture as well)
1 serving of cooked couscous
In a skillet on medium-high heat, add a splash of olive oil then sautee all the vegetables until soft and succulent. While sauteing, sprinkle in a bit of salt to help the veggies release that their liquids. Then add a splash of balsamic vinegar – the pungent smell should really hit you. Allow the vinegar to cook off and thicken, and season with additional salt and sugar as needed. Remove from heat and toss in cranberries and nuts if using. Serve over a bed of cooked couscous. Enjoy.
A really simple dish, and it tastes like sunshine, especially during the winter months. It’s bright and tangy, and you get a nice serving of veggies.
I promise to provide a better update and more recipes soon – once work cools down a bit, and I’m off the hot seat. Until then, I hope you all are enjoying the preparations for the holidays. It’s really the most wonderful time of the year.
PS. I am now shooting with a new camera and still figuring out how to use it, so please bear with me while I do so. Thanks!