Sunday, November 13, 2011

Green Israeli Couscous

Have I talked yet about feta?  Until a few years ago, I always bought pre crumbled feta.  It was just easier to sprinkle it in.  But also, I used to shop where there were just two options:  crumbled and not crumbled.  Same brand usually, just two options.  And whether IIII crumbed it myself or not, it always tasted the same.  

But please listen to me people: don't buy feta that way.  It is so dry.  So chalky.  And while that salty bite is nice, the real deal feta is 3000 times better.  

The real deal that I am talking about is the block of feta that sits in a liquid (like fresh mozzarella).  I wish I had a picture, but I am not that smart.  It is so soft, full of moisture, but still has the salty, tangy wonderfulness that we all need in our feta.  It is so good you would actually want to eat it by itself.  Go for it!  I promise you will be happy you did.  

Using a good feta is probably crucial to our 9 and 10 ratings.  The Israeli couscous is tossed with feta, peas, sauteed zucchini, pistachios, and some lemon zest and juice.  I used fresh English peas, but frozen wouldn't be detrimental to the dish.  I just think this mixture is perfect.  

Also, pistachios are close to my heart.  I have fond memories sitting around the table with my family, and especially with my grandma, shelling and eating pistachios.  I remember one particular time when my grandma and I were eating them and talking about how good they were and my grandma told me they were bad for us or had a lot of fat in them, something like that.  And I asked her why.  She goes, "anything that tastes this good, can't be good for you."  Amen.  But, then again, when I was really young I asked my grandma if there was fat in water and she goes, "Honey, there is fat is grandma's water."

Green Israeli Couscous
based off of Joy the Baker

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry Israeli Couscous
generous pinch of salt
1 zucchini, diced
2 cups fresh English peas, boiled in salted water for about 5 minutes and drained
4-5 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2-1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios
salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
about 3 tablespoons olive oil
about 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, bring three cups of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, followed by Israeli couscous. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until couscous is just tender, with a slight bite, about 10 to 13 minutes. Drain into a fine mesh strainer and set aside.

In the meantime, in a large skillet, sauté the zucchini in a little bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add cooked couscous and cooked peas. Toss with the rest of the ingredients, taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  10/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

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