November 20, 2011

Quickie Moroccan Couscous and Vegetable

For this one, you can just use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of whatever vegetable you happen to have tat needs using or seems 'right' today, cooked just enough.  I used artichokes, trimmed and steamed for about 15 minutes.  While they were simmering away I made the couscous - possibly the easiest grain-type substance ever to prepare now I have discovered it. (Just equal weight of boiling water, dash of salt and oil, off the heat add the couscous, stir for 2 minutes and add in some butter or oil, done!) I zapped the pistachios for one second first, then just added it all together with the steaming water and some extra up to 2 litres.  It smells and feels utterly, completely fantastic. The gentle warm spicy notes, overtones of mint and earthy pistachio make for happies. :-)  I don't do wheat stuff very often, so now I can really feel what a powerful grain it is.  I used almond dukkah, but any dukkah (it's a North African spice blend full of wonderful aromatic and digestive spices) would do.

For more ordinary human eating, I'd have served these artichokes quartered on a bed of couscous, but first I'd roll them while still steaming moist in a mixture of the dukkah (maybe more) , half the pistachios, the honey (I'd use less) a teeny bit of salt and most of the mint all banged up into a crumbly fineness in a mortar and pestle (or Vitamix), pressing the lovely fragrant crunchy bits in between the layered leaf edges. Or roll my cubed, steamed (or roasted even) veg in it, if not using artichoke.  A mix of pumpkin and grilled peppers would be nice.  Garnish with the remaining pistachios and sprig of mint.  Mm.

Artichokes, medium x 4: 240 cal.
Couscous 150g (dry weight): 536 cal
Pistachios 100g: 564 cal.
EVOO 60ml: 480 cal.
Butter 30g: 223 cal.
Honey 2 Tbsp: 170 cal.
Almond dukkah 1 Tbsp: 112 cal.
Mint, fresh handful: (probably nearly no cal).

Total volume 2 litres = 8 x 250ml servings @ 290 cal each
                                OR 6 x 333.3 ml servngs @ 387.5 cal each.
1.16 cal/ml
34.8 cal/oz.

Also, it's a pretty friendly 67g protein / 116g fat / 193g carb ratio.

Now if you're really wanting to pack in the cals, I'd use something like a litre of pomegranate juice ( the ready-to-drink natural kind) or similar hi-cal red or blue-spectrum juice instead of the water and with an extra 640 cals in there it would take it to:
1.48 cal/ml
44.5 cal/oz
..... and be no thicker.

It's not quite thin enough to gravity bolus, but as usual, I'll dilute a bit just prior to serving.  Nice greenish tinge too.  Enjoy this one. <3


  1. hey quick question, do you use just the hearts of artichoke? i've never prepared or cooked them so unsure what to do with it. thanks!

    1. Hey Joleanna, I use fresh artichokes but you could use jarred hearts too.The great thing about blending is that you can use more of the artichoke than you might if you were eating it. Using a young artichoke means you can eat almost all of it anyway. I just cut off the top third, and pare away probably half of the outermost tough leaves. The best way with artichokes EVER for eating is to simply cut off the top third, cut the stem off flush with the base, remove the toughest outer leaves only, and boil. Then make a dipping sauce simply of LOTS or garlic in LOTS of butter with a squeeze of lemon. You sit down with your artichoke and a little bowl of the melty buttery garlicky goodness, peel off an outer leaf, and dip the base of it (where it was attached to the choke) in the butter. Scrape off the fleshy morsel on the underside of the leaf with your front teeth. Mm. Repeat over and over. You actually get high doing this as you travel further into the artichoke and the flesh gets tastier and larger as the leaves get smaller. Eventually, they'll be too fibrous and you'll have to stop, wishing there were more. One of life's top 50 indulgences in my book.