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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On the Whole... Grain

I was late to the whole grain party, and it's only in the last couple of years that I've begun to think about grains at all.  It's not that I don't like all those healthy for you grains.  It's more a matter of sticking with what I know I like.  Like rice.  White rice.

What can I say?  I'm just not all that adventurous about grains.

But I live in the real world, or at least I live in the world where things like bulgar and farro and quinoa, are trendy.  Go to any restaurant, and I guarantee that lurking somewhere on their menu is a whole grain something.  Hell, those cute little goldfish crackers now come in whole grain.  Henceforth, generation of kids will never have the thrill of eating a pizza flavored goldfish cracker because they don't come in whole grain.

So imagine my glee (okay, maybe glee is a strong word here), when I discovered whole grain couscous.  Who knew?  Well, probably a lot of people already knew, because there it was -- whole grain couscous -- right below the real couscous on the shelf at Trader Joe's.

Being an adventurous person, I picked up a box and set about coming up with a method whereby the whole grainy-ness would be well camouflaged.

Ina Garten's Curried Couscous Salad is chock full of so many yummy ingredients, not to mention a healthy dash of both curry powder (I used hot curry powder), and tumeric, that the couscous was merely the delivery method for everything else.  I just substituted the whole grain couscous for the regular couscous and the the result was a really hearty, flavorful side dish.

Mission accomplished.

Recipe:  Curried Couscous Salad
(Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999)


1 1/2 cups whole grain couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion


Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

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