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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lemon Couscous with Asparagus and Tomato

This is a great side dish for summer. The citrus undertone works well with the veggies and sharp flavors of the cheese.

Ingredients

• 1 cup plain dried quick-cooking couscous
• 12 ounces asparagus, tough ends removed
• Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
• Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons (2 tablespoons zest and about ½ cup juice)
• 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Prepare the couscous according to package directions. Transfer to a bowl.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a shallow pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 4-6 minutes, until just tender. Transfer the asparagus to the ice water; cool for 5 minutes. Remove and dry the spears; then cut into ½ inch lengths.

Add the following to the couscous: asparagus, tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper to taste; toss to combine. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. If the couscous seems dry, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately. (This is best served right after it is made; otherwise the lemon juice will discolor the asparagus.)



African Peanut Soup

From the Colophon Cafe, one of my favorite hangouts in college.

Blend in food processor to create soup base:

1 oz fresh ginger root, scrubbed and diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp crushed chili peppers
3 ¼ cups diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
1 ¾ cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts
1 small onion, chopped

Add the following and cook to 165 degrees:

1 ½ cup chicken stock
3 cups water

Make a roux paste and add to thicken:

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour

Finally add:

2 cups diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
½ lb cooked and cubed turkey or chicken

Hints: Whisk warm roux into soup and simmer to thicken. Add final tomatoes
to thin and add chunkiness to soup. Thin with water to desired consistency.
(For vegetarian version, leave out the turkey and use vegetable stock instead of
chicken stock.)

Garnish with peanuts and cilantro (optional).

Serves 6-8 people.