Hints of Summer

Sorry for the long delay in recipe goodness. Since my last post an embarrassingly long time ago, I’ve been doing things like settling into a fantastic job, choosing a grad school, and trying to find a place to live that is affordable, where I can have compost pile, and where my cat won’t get smushed by cars. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Excel “pro vs. con” template and I’ve noticed that my highest weight factors usually were food related. As I was telling one of my friends, “I really can’t consider living in a place where my food isn’t transported only by human powered vehicle.” What a bike + food snob.

This week the forecast predicts temperatures in the low 90s; summer is nipping the spring bud. In our CSA we received a tomato and 3 (!) zucchini, which were both grown in an unheated greenhouse, but still grown here. Summer is coming and fast! We’ve been getting little baskets of strawberries in the CSA for weeks now, but with the sudden heat they’ve gone from tasting like wet Styrofoam to fragrant, delicious berries.

Israeli style couscous is a bit different than “normal” couscous – it is spherical and much larger. I think it has a nice bite (I’m not a fan of how mushy normal couscous gets) and is traditionally toasted prior to boiling, giving it a pretty golden color and mouth filling taste. If you can’t find Israeli couscous, substitute orzo, shells, or another small pasta, but not normal couscous.

Here’s what has been happening in the kitchen:

Honey, I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

Strawberry Juice
For this recipe, you will need:
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
3-4 medium-ish frozen strawberries (to make it cold!)
2 tablespoons of honey (unfiltered, preferably local to combat seasonal allergies)
1-2 cups water
Mint spring

Measuring things
Blender or food processor or hand-mashing dedication

1. Place all strawberries, honey, and water in the blender.
2. Whirl until pureed.
3. Taste and consider more honey or water.
4. Pour into glass/es (I suggest hoarding it all for yourself) and garnish with the mint spring so you feel like you are on vacation.

Zucchini Israeli Couscous
Modified from Animal, Miracle, Vegetable

For this recipe, you will need:
1 ½ cups Israeli style couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 quarts water for boiling couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 spring onion, chopped (including some green parts)
2 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
1 to many zucchini, with peel, shredded
1-2 sprigs thyme
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons (or more) milk (almond, soy, rice, etc. all work great)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

Medium-large heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven
Mesh colander
Garlic press
Measuring things

1. Place the couscous and oil in the pan and cook over medium high heat. Stir occasionally.
2. Continue toasting until the majority of couscous pearls are golden brown and the pan is emitting a heavenly fragrance, similar to baking bread.
3. Add water (watch out for splattering!) and stir to break up any chunks of pasta. Boil over medium heat until the pasta is cooked through.
4. Drain couscous into the colander. Rise excess starch off.
5. In the same pan, add another 2 tablespoons olive oil with the onions. Saute over medium heat until translucent.
6. Add garlic, zucchini and thyme. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the couscous back in with the nutritional yeast, milk, salt, and pepper.
8. Top with chopped basil. (If you don’t have fresh basil – skip it. No need for topping beautiful pasta with gray leaf confetti).

Thanks to the beautiful and talented Rachel Silverstein for the glorious drawings.

Posted in Green Grub.