We spent our New Year’s Eve celebrating a late Christmas with Eric’s family and then officially slothing-it-up when they left…pajamas, a movie, a board game, and chips and salsa to close out 2011. We sat in our warm house watching it rainsleetsnow outside, happy we weren’t driving with the 100+ crashes and spinouts reported in the metro area last night.
I like New Year’s Day. Mostly because, since the tender age of 6, I’ve delighted in making and crossing things off of lists. But this year’s a little different…because this will be a year of firsts for us…a year in which I’m not even sure which lists I need to make, which qualities to aspire to, which skills to seek to obtain. Because this year, I will become a mom, and Eric will become a dad, and around the end of May, a baby will join our family!!!
So, here’s to a year of learning. A year that will be NEW in every sense of the word. A year of lists and resolutions that I didn’t even know existed….
But I know there’s one resolution I won’t be making. Dieting. Blech. I spent most of the months of September and October eating bananas and saltines, and deceitfully posting recipes like bruschetta which I didn’t even attempt to eat. (Oh, how I missed you, garlic!) But now? Now my appetite has returned with a vengeance, and beyond that, there’s way too much butter used on this site to even pretend like 2012 will contain any dieting for me.
Regardless, I thought it’d be nice to start 2012 out with something fresh. After the copious amounts of cookies and fudge I’ve consumed in the past weeks, I was craving salad…but it’s January. And this is a seasonal blog after all. So I made this Moroccan couscous salad, to get some veggies into my system and to transport myself away from this wintery-mix-wonderland to somewhere warmer and more exotic as broth boiled with ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin filled our house with a scent that I wanted to bottle and douse myself with…like perfume. So, whatever you’re resolving to do this year, mix up this quick couscous salad and enjoy the start of the 2012.
P.S. Please tell me I’m not alone in my list-making delight.
What are some of your hopes for this coming year?
(recipe from epicurious.com)
(yields 12 servings as a side dish)
I adapted this recipe to be seasonal for January. By all means, if you are making this in the summer, use fresh vegetables. But I used bell peppers and green beans that I had frozen from the farmers' market. The peppers had been flash-frozen (never cooked), so I simply thawed them before using. But I boiled the frozen green beans for 1 minute so that they still remained firm. I also left out a cucumber and instead tripled the carrots. Finally, I doubled the raisins because I love them in dishes like this and doubled the cumin because more cumin is always a good idea. This recipe makes a lot, but is easily halved.
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
10 oz. couscous (app. 1 1/2 cups)
1 c. raisins
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I thawed frozen peppers)
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 c. green beans, chopped (I thawed frozen green beans and boiled them for 1 minute)
2 tsp. lemon peel, finely grated
1/4 c. lemon juice
Bring broth, 1 tbsp. olive oil, ginger, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin to boil in saucepan. Pour broth mixture into a large bowl and add couscous.
Scatter raisins over, cover, and let stand until couscous softens, about 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork, breaking up any lumps.
Add red bell pepper, carrots, green beans, and lemon peel.
Whisk remaining tbsp. of olive oil and tsp. salt with the lemon juice in small bowl. Add to couscous; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Can be eaten chilled or at room temperature