Sunday, June 17, 2012

couscous with mint & fruit

I'm venturing out! In my attempt to increase my cooking vernacular, I cooked with three ingredients I've never used before. (go me). Shallots, mint, and this peculiar orange fruit, known as a loquat. Have you guys tried this before? It looks like a longer apricot, but tastes like a sweet, subtle pear/mango/something or other...

Anyways, you can use a loquat, but if you can't find it, I'm confident whatever in season fruit (apricot, plum, pluot, etc.) you decide to use will taste fancy and delicious.

First make the dressing:

Combine shallots, rice vinegar,
honey, and oil. Stir to combine. Then add mint and garlic salt. Set aside. 

Other ingredients: 
4 ½ cups water
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/3 cups dry Couscous (2-10 ounce packages)
½ cup Dried Currants or Golden raisins
½ cup chopped dried plumcots, apricots, plums, apples,
or kumquats
1 bunch green onion (trimmed and thinly sliced)
Extra mint for garnish
1 cup pistachios and almonds (or other favorite nuts)
4 fresh loquats, plumcots or red flesh plums (chopped)

To taste...
Garlic salt to taste
White pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
Lemon juice from 1-2 lemons 

To prepare:
1) In a large saucepan, combine water, oil, cumin and salt.
Bring to a boil on high heat. Turn off heat and stir in Couscous. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add in dried fruit and raisins then fluff with a fork.

2) Toss dressing with couscous, then mix in green onions. Add in lemon juice, pepper, and more garlic powder, and salt if needed.

3) Toss in nuts and fresh fruit. Garnish with chopped mint and fresh sprigs.

4) Top with a some protein (or mix in some garbanzo beans!) to make it a complete meal or bring
to your next summer picnic.

Kinda messy...but worth it. 

Makes about 12 cups. Recipe courtesy Cathy Thomas from Melissa’s Everyday Cookingwith Organic Produce via the Great Park.

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