Red Chard and Pork Loin with Couscous

Red Chard, Pork Chops, Tomatoes, Chop 1 TBSP of yellow onions and clear the leaves off two stems of red chard. Slice the stems lengthwise and then chop into small pieces.

Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil and add the onions. Grate about 1/4 tsp of fresh nutmeg on the onions and let them cook until tender. Add the stems and let them cook until tender. Cut a boneless piece of pork loin chop into small pieces and add. Add salt and pepper. Sauté until done.

Meanwhile heat water until boiling. Add 2/3s cup water to 1/3 cup of couscous and let steep until all the water is absorbed.

Chop the red chard leaves, add to the sauté pan. Cut 4 grape tomatoes into quarters and add to the pan. Cut 5 dried cherries in half. Toss in about 1 TBSP of red wine vinegar.

Serve with a bed of couscous and put the red chard and pork on top. It is a delicious blend of hearty chard, sweet cherry and tomatoes and aromatic nutmeg with a dash of sour vinegar.

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Spinach, Pomegranate, Apple and Couscous Salad

Spinach, Apple, Pomegranate Couscous Salad

It was a hot day today. I went to the World’s Largest Louie Louie Sing-A-Long downtown so I was not interested in cooking or making anything difficult, but I wanted some rich and complex flavors. I kind of just started with some couscous and added what appealed until I ended up with something scrumptious.

  • 1/3 cup of couscous
  • 2/3rd cup of boiling water
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1/3rd cup chopped red onion
  • 10 toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, chopped.
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

I took 1/3 cup of couscous and poured  2/3rds cup of boiling water on top of it in a small bowl and put a lid on it. While it absorbed the boiling water, I prepped a pomegranate. I used all the seeds from half of a pomegranate.

There is a fast and easy way to prep pomegranates. Carefully cut through the skin without cutting deep, leaving the pomegranate seeds whole. Once you have cut through, give a little twist and it will separate into two halves. Take a half and pull and twist the edge a bit to loosen it, then turn it upside down in the palm of your hand and whack it hard over and over and all the seeds will fall out. I only needed half a pomegranate, but I cleaned both halves and stored half the seeds in a plastic container for another day.

I toasted some almonds in a clean dry skillet and chopped them in half after they cooled.

I cleaned and chopped a bunch of fresh spinach, chopped up some red onion and tossed them in with the pomegranates and couscous. I added some salt and pepper, the feta and toasted almonds.

I then chopped up 1/2 of a granny smith apple and tossed in some balsamic vinegar.

I put a lid on the bowl I was mixing this all up in, shook it up a bit and refrigerated for about an hour.

This was delicious and so rich in texture from the crispy apple, crunchy almonds, tender couscous and the juicy bursts of pomegranate. The flavor is grounded in the couscous, the spinach adds a nice fresh taste, the red onions a bit of heat, the apples some sweetness, the almonds some umame and the pomegranate a lovely sweet-sour tang. The feta gives a bit of richness, making it all come together in this big explosion of flavor and texture and color.

Makes two servings.

 

Sweet & Sour Pork With Couscous

Sweet & Sour Pork Couscous

This was very fast and easy to make.

First I boiled some water for couscous. I put 1/4 cup of couscous with 1/2 cup of boiling water in a bowl and put a lid on it to soak up the water while I cooked the rest.

Then I put 2 tsps of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. I added 2 TBSP of chopped onion and a small sliver of fresh ginger, some salt and pepper and cooked until tender. I cut a 3 oz. piece of boneless pork loin steak into small pieces and added them to the onions. Meanwhile, I pitted 6 fresh cherries and cut them in half and chopped up about 1/2 of fresh cilantro.

When the pork was done, I added the cherries and the couscous. I added two packets of sweet and sour sauce I had saved from a takeout from Panda Express. I don’t use many condiments except mayo and mustard. I don’t like ketchup and buying any condiments is just a waste, so I save a few from when I eat out. They come in handy as I didn’t want to make a batch of sweet and sour this size and probably won’t make something using sweet and sour sauce for months. So, I mixed in the two packets and added the cilantro at the end. This made one serving. It was flavorful, with sweetness from the cherries and tang from the ginger and onions and a nice freshness from the cilantro. The sweet and sour sauce could have been left out, it would still be good, but I liked how it married the flavors.

Couscous with Red Chard, Celery, Leeks, Tarragon, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Almonds.

Couscous with Celery, Leeks, Dried Cranberries and Toasted Almonds.

This was a fast and easy salad to make. In the morning when I made tea, I poured 2/3 cup of boiling water on 1/3 cup of couscous (tri-color couscous) and sealed the container it was in, letting it rest on the counter until I was ready to make the salad. I also toasted about a dozen almonds in a dry pan and let them cool off on the counter for later.

I got out my mandoline for fine slicing. I sliced two stalks of celery and 1/4 cup of leeks. I tossed them in with the couscous along with a  handful of dried cranberries. I cleaned two stalks of red chard and rolled them up so I could cut them into thin slices. Then I chopped them the other direction for small pieces.  I removed the leave from 1 bunch of tarragon and chopped the leaves up. I chopped the almonds in half and tossed them in. Then I added some salt and pepper and about 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 TBSP of olive oil. I put the lid back on and shook it all up and let it rest in the fridge so the flavors could marry.

This made about 1.5 pints of salad, 4 servings.

There is a nice bite from the leeks, a bit of tang from the tarragon, earthiness from the chard and zingy sweetness from the dried cranberries. The balsamic blends the flavors perfectly.

Couscous with Carrot, Red Chard, Scallion, Dried Apricots, Almonds and Feta

Couscous almosds chard carrots scalions dried apricots feta

This is an easy salad. I knew when I was making coffee this morning that I would make a couscous salad this afternoon, so after I heated my water to press some coffee, I put 1/3 cup of couscous in a container, added 2/3rds cup of my hot water and put a lid on it and let it sit. In 15 minutes, I stuck it in the fridge so it would be cold when I made the salad later in the day.

I put about 10 almonds in a dry pan on the stove o medium high heat and let them toast while I was prepping the salad. As son as they were toasted, I removed them from the heat.

I sliced and diced 1 TBSP of fresh scallions and diced on small clove of garlic and put them in a bowl with 2 tsps of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of buckwheat honey, 1/2 tsp of mustard and the juice of 1 small fresh lemon. I mixed this all up. Buckwheat honey is thick so it takes a lot of stirring to mix it all in.

I removed the stem from 1 stalk of red chard and put it back in the crisper to use in another meal. I chopped the red chard up finely and mixed it into the dressing. There is just enough dressing to coat all the chard. Then I stirred in the couscous and mixed it thoroughly.

Next I peeled and cut up one small carrot into small matchstick. I also cut up 3 dried apricots, slicing them as thin as matchsticks and then slicing them in the other direction so they were diced small. I tired in the apricots and carrots and shock a couple tablespoons of feta on top. I chopped up the almonds and tossed them in and then put a lid on the container and shook the ingredients together, mixing them up well.

I put it in the fridge for a few hours, letting the dressing flavor everything. It is important to let it rest because when it is first made, the mustard flavor is a bit strong, but it mellows as it merges with the sweetness of the dried apricots and the richness of the feta. I made only a small amount of dressing, so it did not soften the feta, but its flavors still came through. This is a delicious salad and actual prep time was very short. It made one pint, two small servings or one large one.

Couscous almosds chard carrots scalions dried apricots feta

Couscous, Carrots. Scapes and Green Beans

Couscous, Carrots and Green Beans

This was heartier than it looks at first glance, those green beans have real substance and make a delicious and hearty lunch.

First, I made the couscous by toasting 1 cup of couscous it in a dry pan on medium for about 3 minutes before adding 1 cup of boiling water and putting a lid on it. I set it aside and cooked the vegetables.

I used 2 tsps of olive oil. I added some cinnamon and cumin and heated until aroma filled the air.

I added 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped, and salt and pepper, and cooked until tender.

I chopped 2 small carrots and 2 garlic scapes into 2 inch long, but thin pieces, the size and shape of green beans. I added them to the oil and sauteed until nearly tender. Then I added 1 cup of frozen green beans and cooked nearly done. Before it was finished, I added the couscous to the pain and let it finish cooking.

This made 4 side dish servings or 2 entree size servings. The flavor was hearty, yet light.

Couscous with Asparagus and Garlic Scapes with Feta

couscous asparagus garlic scapes

I made a quick and easy lunch with some asparagus, garlic scapes and couscous.

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 5 asparagus
  • 4 garlic scapes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper

First, I set 1 cup of couscous in a kettle on medium heat to toast a bit. This is not a required step and you can always skip it but I like the added nuttiness you get if you toast the couscous first. In a teak kettle I heated water. I then removed the couscous from the heat. I added 1 cup of boiling water and put a lid on it and let it do its thing. In a few minutes I removed the lid and forked the couscous, lofting it so it did not get sticky.

While this was going on, I chopped 1/2 of a small onion and added it to 1 TBSP of olive oil heated to medium in a sauté pan. I added about 1 tsp of ground cumin and salt and pepper. I let the onions sauté while I cut up about 5 asparagus stalks and 4 garlic scapes. The stalks were mid-sized so I cut them in half before slicing them and the garlic scapes on a diagonal. Cutting them in half lets them cook a little more quickly and evenly. The diagonal slicing makes them look prettier in the dish. I added the asparagus and garlic scapes to the onions and let them all cook until done, tender but still toothsome. I then squeezed in the juice of one lemon and let it cook into the veggies for about a minute or so before adding the couscous and stirring it all together. This made two servings. One for a hot lunch and one for a cold salad later in the day. Sprinkling some feta on top and mixing it in added just the right amount of bite.

Red Chard, Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Feta

Red Chard Couscous

This was a fast and easy supper dish that is incredibly flavorful, filling and delicious with just minutes of cooking. Of course, anything with couscous is pretty quick and easy to make.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, dice
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 10 0z can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sm can chickpeas, drained
  • 6 red chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese

So, first I heated a tbsp of olive oil in a small kettle with a lid while I chopped 1/2 of a yellow onion and diced 1 clove of garlic. I added the onion and garlic to the oil with some salt and pepper, sautéed for a minute then added 3/4 cup of uncooked couscous and salt and pepper. I used the three-color couscous that has been colored with spinach and tomato. I toasted to couscous for about three minutes. Remember to add salt and pepper at each stage of cooking. Adding small amounts incrementally will use less in the long run and develop deeper flavors.

While the couscous was toasting, I heated 1 TBSP of olive oil  while I chopped up another clove of garlic and the stems of 6 red chard. I added the stems and garlic and salt and pepper and let them sauté while I opened and drained a small can of chick peas (garbanzo beans). After a minute or two, I added the beans. It’s now time to go back to the kettle of couscous.

Then I opened a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and added it to couscous along with 1/2 cup of water. I turned the heat up and as soon as the liquid began to simmer, I put the lid on and removed from the heat. I left the lid on for a few minutes until the liquid absorbed (3 minutes or so). By then the chard was done, but if you’re cooking a bit more slowly, just remove the lid and fork the couscous a bit to lift it so it doesn’t get soggy.

Turning back the the sauce pan with the stems and garbanzo beans. I chopped the red chard leaves very fine and added them to the stems. I added 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and let everything cook until tender. As soon as the chard stems and leaves were tender, I added the couscous and stirred it all together. This made four large servings or eight small ones. The nice thing is that this is delicious hot or cold.

When I served it, I sprinkled feta on top to add a bit of richness, but it is delicious without the feta, too. Without the feta, it is a nice vegan main dish. The chard gives it an earthy depth that is offset by the heat of the diced tomatoes and chiles and the sweet cranberries. The couscous is light and airy while the chickpeas add substance. The feta adds a nice bit of salt and fat that make it more filling and satisfying.

Veggie Couscous

This is my clean out the fridge cous-cous casserole as basically it’s a quick cook up of everything that was left in the vegetable drawer before going shopping.

couscous & veggies

I heated 1 TBSP of olive oil and tossed in 1/2 of a small onion, diced and 1 jalapeño pepper, diced. I  chopped up some zucchini and red peppers and tossed them in. I added some salt, pepper and cumin ad let them cook. I tossed in some Israeli couscous and water to cook it in, turning up the heat so it simmered. I chopped up some black olives and tossed them in right before it was done. I served with some fresh cilantro on top.