Roasted Carrot Almond Raisin Couscous

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Dinner for a single person is delightfully simple. You can have whatever you want, combine random ingredients, and if it doesn’t taste incredible, you’re the only one suffering, which is much preferable to serving guests something less than desirable.

On the other hand, if you create something amazing you don’t have anyone to share it with. But then you can eat it all yourself, so. And share it on your blog later.

This is not one of the most delicious dishes I’ve prepared, nor the most inventive—heavily inspired by Internet wanderings. But I like it because it’s a good representation of what you can do, for yourself, by yourself. A meal is an amazing experience where a collection of ingredients suddenly transforms into a dish, aromatic and flavorful. Not all cooking has this result, I don’t know if it’s the spices or just the particular combinations of flavors, but that completeness makes meals infinitely more satisfying.

Another reason this is a great dish is because if you keep roasted carrots (and/or other roasted vegetables) on hand, along with pre-toasted almonds (both of which you should), it takes approximately five minutes to prepare (well, caramelizing onions maybe takes a little longer, but you can skip that if you’re in a hurry).

I generally think of couscous as the tiny granules of dried processed wheat, kind of like spaghetti that’s been cut up into tiny pieces. Fortunately Wikipedia agrees; and I’d definitely like to try cooking it the traditional way after reading the entry. There’s also Israeli couscous, the larger pearly chunks, but they are a little different. This kind is awesome because it cooks basically instantly, but doesn’t seem like a scary instant product like instant rice, mashed potatoes, and the like.

Roasted carrot, almond, and raisin couscous
Roasted carrots (maybe 1/2 cup?)
Caramelized onions, if desired
A few tablespoons of raisins (I used Golden raisins, but whatever you have. Cut-up prunes will also work)
1/2 cup semolina couscous (or whatever you'll eat. With equal amount of water)
A dash of each: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, pepper, allspice and cumin if you feel like it
1/2 cup boiling water
A handful of toasted slivered almonds

Heat up carrots, if necessary. Place raisins in a bowl (with heated carrots, if you like) and cover with dry couscous. Mix in spices (or you can add them later if you aren’t sure what you’ll like), then pour boiling water over the whole thing. Cover and let sit for about five minutes, then fluff with a fork, toss in the toasted almonds, and enjoy, adjusting spices as desired.

Can also be made with other roasted vegetables; chickpeas make a nice addition as well.

If you don’t have roasted carrots on hand, cook them in a pan with the caramelizing onions—they should take about 20 minutes to get soft and sweet, but still with a slight crunch.

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