John has been making me lots of little spoiledy snacks lately when I am hungry and tired. They are all tasty and tiny and not at all the sort of junk food that I might end up eating while I'm as busy as I've been. On the other hand, everything he's made is strongly like what I make when even a little more full of energy and time.
The other day it was time for couscous and zucchini. This was an excellent plan. It was such an excellent plan that over the weekend I made it again for myself, with slight embellishment. Oh man. I kind of want some more right now, but our garbage disposal is not working and thus we are screwed in all kitchen matters until it is fixed. It's a good thing we have lots of chili to heat up.
Couscous with zucchini and sundries
garnish cheese if you want
First, start on the zucchini etc. Peel and chop your shallot and put it in a sauté pan with some olive oil. Cook slowly while you slice the zucchini and eggplant finely. The amount you use depends on what proportions you want. I would use at least half a small zucchini, or even a whole one, and a quarter or less of an eggplant. Slice these as finely as you can, so they'll cook quickly. You can cut the slices into smaller bits if you want; John and I both cut our eggplant into small squares. Add them to the shallots, add a little more olive oil, and cook until nice and tender.
While things are tenderizing, make everything else.
If you want pecans, toast them by putting them in a pan in a fairly low oven (250F) for ten minutes or so. Check often to make sure they don't burn; take them out when the smell toasty and delicious, without browning much, if at all. You may want to put these on before starting the vegetables, actually.
Make couscous. Couscous is easy, especially if you decide you don't care about properly steaming it. I've made it by steaming, by baking, and by straight instant poured water absorption. The last method tastes just as good to me as the first, so that's how I make it. If you want to go to extra effort, go ahead. If not, get out some couscous and put it in a bowl. Heat some water in the teakettle. When it boils (or a little before, so as not to crack the bowl), pour water to cover the dry cous. It should absorb pretty quickly; add a couple more slugs of water and let the bowl sit for a few minutes. Then taste to see if the couscous is fully cooked. If not, add a bit more water, stir it up, and leave to absorb again. I'm sure there are specific proportions around online somewhere, but this works just as well.
When couscous is done, stick a pat of butter or a slug of olive oil into it, add some salt and fairly copious pepper, and stir it up. If you're using butter, make sure it's covered with cous so it'll melt in the heat.
When everything is done, tip your pecans into your zucchini and shallot. Salt and pepper, mix it up, and scoop it onto your bowl of couscous. Add some shredded parmesan if you want. You could also use lots of other cheeses. I think I may have used cubed leftover fontina when I made it the second time; this is clearly also good, since fontina plus pecans = ++.
Eat it all together. Now eat a pear.