Mark has a tendency to win random contests. I keep hoping that one of these days he’ll win the lottery – or maybe a really expensive trip – but so far most of his winnings come in the form of concert tickets, DVDs and other paraphernalia. Over the summer, he won a free copy of Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook from Cool Hunting. I read Bittman’s work in The New York Times pretty regularly, but I’ve never tried any of his recipes.
This week, while trying to develop a relatively healthy post-vacation menu, I decided to see what Mr. Bittman recommended in the salad department. After spending a week eating out (of food trucks), I was eager to try something really and truly new. I opted to test out his Couscous Salad with Pecans and Cranberries.
Actually, I changed the recipe to Couscous Salad with Almonds and Cranberries. I decided to go with a slightly cheaper nut. Who knew pecans were so expensive?
I was a little nervous because I’ve never made couscous before. It turns out that it’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. I combined 1 cup of couscous with 1 1/2 cups of water, brought it to a boil, turned off the heat, covered the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. Seriously. That was it. I’m still pretty amazed.
While the couscous sat for twenty minutes, I was able to chop almonds and scallions, shred carrots, zest and squeeze lemons and measure cranberries and cumin in a large bowl.
The last step was to add the couscous and a bit of olive oil to the bowl. It was the perfect recipe for a late weeknight. It kept very well and it lasted several days – a small serving was actually pretty filling. The best part is that I still have extras for most of the ingredients. I just need to pick up some more almonds and I’ll be set for another week of lunch. This one is a keeper, for sure.