I think it’s fair to say that most of us have moms, so I’m sure you’ll understand my next point.
My parents are proud of me for starting this blog, and I think they look at this website and get excited. My mother gets so excited, in fact, that she feels the need to tell me about every necessary addition I need to make IMMEDIATELY. My most recent example centers around a roast chicken that I made for my friend Joanna last night.
Although I ask my mom to keep her criticisms to a minimum, she had to speak her mind this time: “you made great roast chicken last night? And you didn’t take any photos?! Ashley, you have to put these things on the blog. Every one needs to know that you have a life, I’m sure they want to know what you do besides making recipes for one.” Maybe my mom is right; much to my chagrin she’s right most of the time. All I can do is swear that I have a pretty normal life outside of making recipes for one, and that this life usually revolves around food: eating it with others, making it for friends, or dreaming about it. Just kidding…who dreams about food?
Now let’s get back to a recipe that I feel a little guilty writing about (but which is nevertheless the entire point of this blog): Israeli couscous with a fantastically easy yogurt-feta sauce, all for you. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I love foods that pack a lot of punch. If there is any sweet-salty combination going on, chances are I’ll like it (bacon in chocolate, anyone?!). So I clearly adored this recipe for Israeli couscous that combines sweet Medjool dates with salty feta and slightly bitter yogurt. I made the sauce on the side, but I of course slathered it all over the couscous before digging in.
There might be a lot going on in your mind right now. Maybe you’re thinking:
1) I don’t have Medjool dates, and I don’t even know where to get them. I’ve never even heard of this Medjool character.
I say it all the time but I think it’s so important when you’re cooking for yourself: use whatever you have on hand. If you don’t have dates but you have some killer raisins or awesome dried apricots, toss ‘em in!
2) This recipe looks OK I guess, but what am I going to do with a leftover can of chickpeas?
Listen, you got me on this one. Because I, like you, am now stuck with some leftover canned chickpeas. But I know exactly what I’m going to do with them: toss them in a salad with mesclun greens, feta, avocado, and a lemon-olive oil dressing in the next few days. What will you do with them?!
3) Sauces sound difficult and time-consuming.
Maybe I should have used another word, because when I say sauce I really mean feta and yogurt mixed together with some water. Easy peezy.
4) I don’t like couscous.
If that’s your reaction, then forget it. You’re hopeless and I give up. Once again just kidding…I have no intention on giving up on you anytime soon.
If you are a couscous lover, then try this recipe out and let me know what you think. The flavors are daring but they make this dish so flavorful without too much effort. The only thing you need to chop is the dates (if using) and the parsley (if using).
Happy Wednesday. I hope you tell the people in your life how important they are to you. I just did that with my sister Yasmin on gchat! Thanks for being the best sister ever Yaz.
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4-cup thick Greek yogurt (I adore Fage)
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
For the couscous:
- 3/4-cup chicken broth
- 1/2-cup Israeli couscous
- 1/3-cup canned chickpeas
- 2 Medjool dates (or other dried fruit), pitted and roughly chopped – makes about 2 tbsp chopped dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1. To make the sauce, place feta and yogurt in a small bowl and combine with a fork. Add warm water and mix with fork until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add parsley if using.
2. To make the couscous, bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan.
3. Once boiling, pour broth over couscous in another small pot, cover, and simmer until most liquid is absorbed, about 6-7 minutes.
4. Remove lid and add chickpeas and dates. Stir once or twice to combine, and cook until all liquid is gone, about 2 minutes more.
5. Add almonds and parsley if using, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with yogurt sauce.