Monday, February 16, 2015

Colorful Couscous Salad:

I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen one day when she gave me a couple of cook books. “Rechy, I get most of my recipes online these days, and I definitely have not touched these in years.” I was more than happy to add some cookbooks to my meager collection. One of them was a paperback book called “Kosherlicious Dishes” by Chabad of Owings Mills. This definitely was the least appealing to me from them all. It was simple: no pictures of recipes, no glossy pages, and no graphic design.
Every so often, generally when I am hosting guests, I get into these nervous frenzies were I am like, “I have such boring recipes. I need something new!  I need something different!” And then I take down all my cook books and start manically turning the pages trying to find that elusive recipe.
Well it happened one Thursday night, when all my cookbooks were strewn across the kitchen table, and I was frantically searching for a new and exciting recipe. Frustrated with my lack of progress, I dug deeper into the cabinet that held my cookbooks and pulled out the small paperback Chabad cookbook. “Hmmm, maybe this has something.” I was shocked to find some wonderful recipes in the salad and kugel sections, recipes that I still hold dear today.
I just want to take a moment to apologize to the “Kosherlicios Dishes” Cookbook for not giving you a chance right away.
In any case, I was especially pleased to find the “Colorful Couscous Salad”. There is a very well-liked Shabbos take-out in Baltimore that has an array of beautiful salads and the “Colorful Couscous Salad” reminded me of one of the salads they sell.

The thing I like best about this salad is that it could be prepared in advance to the meal and it does not require much cutting and dicing. It’s great for making in bulk. A couple of months ago, my friends and I made a Kiddush (party) in my apartment for my friend Sarah who was moving with her family to Detroit. To be honest, it was a really nice Kiddush. I wish I could have taken pictures. Sarah’s mother had brought over around 3 dozen cream, pink, and yellow roses, and they were placed on the various tables. And there was cakes, cookies, fruit, potato kugel, cholent….and salads! This was one of the salads served. At least 3 people asked for the recipe. It’s just pretty, yummy, and simple….A real keeper!

Colorful Couscous Salad:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yields: 10 to 12 servings

2 cups couscous
4 ½ cups water
2 tsp oil
1 can mandarin oranges, drained, liquid reserved
1 can chickpeas
½ cup chopped scallion
¼ cup craisins

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp oil
¼ cup orange juice
1/3 cup reserved mandarin orange juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ cup parsley flakes, for garnish

1.       Cook Couscous in oil and water
2.       Place couscous in bowl and add remaining ingredients
3.       Combine dressing ingrediants and add to couscous mixture
4.       Garnish with parsley flakes before serving

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