Tag Archive: couscous

Simply Lamb

Well, having access to the large and bustling foreign supermarket (it’s called the bazaar, now that’s cool…) has inspired me to make this meal and includes the one ingredient I’ve been craving for weeks–lamb!! This post comprises the menu I served for dinner, two very simple recipes of a salad and meat entrΓ©e. The tabbouleh is a pretty standard dish in Middle Eastern cuisine and is often served in or alongside pita bread (it works real good for lunch, too). I had to do a little bit of research on how to cook lamb properly on the stove but I must emphasize that this turned out to be a very simple, incredibly easy, and amazingly delicious operation. I would recommend searing lamb to anyone, it’s far faster than having to watch it roast for hours on end and it still fills the house (ahem, apartment) with the mouth-watering aroma of this preciously delectable meat πŸ™‚

The tabbouleh recipe is very green with plenty of fresh parsley and mint to call it “herbed”. I supplemented the salad with chickpeas, another one of my favorites, and petit peas (you know, because it wasn’t green enough) to ante up on the protein. My version includes using tomato juice to moisten the salad, but more olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice would work just as well. For the grain, I used coarse bulgur which is just another form of wheat and the cheapest I found at the market; this dish is very versatile and grains are simple enough that you can easily substitute bulgur with quinoa, couscous, or brown rice. Tabbouleh salad is so popular for a reason, it lasts long, it’s healthy, and can come in various forms so I encourage anyone replicating this to have fun and substitute where you like at will, it’s hard to mess up with simple herbs, vegetables, and grains!

As for the lamb, I procured two fillets at the butchers, not your usual cut but thick and lean enough to satisfy me in all respects. Fillets also prove to be very juicy when cooked, which is where the whole process of “searing” really comes in handy because it seals in all the moisture, allowing for maximum flavor (heh, don’t I sound like a chef…) The star ingredient, simply speaking, is none other than the lamb. I was impressed with just how well this turned out and how easy! Lamb has this amazing effect of turning any dish into something special and it’s simple to prepare, especially when your using only four ingredients to cook it, two of them being salt and pepper :] As far as searing goes, my recommendations would be to use plenty of butter to avoid sticking and don’t be surprised at how quickly the meat cooks, the stove top gets dinner done.

Seared Lamb Fillet and Chilled Tabbouleh with Mint, Cucumber, and Chickpeas


(for the lamb)

1 lb. lamb fillet

1 Tbs. dried oregano

sea salt & cracked pepper

1 Tbs. butter

(for the salad)

1 lb. coarse bulgur (sub quinoa, couscous)

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1 bunch fresh mint, minced

1 bunch fresh Parsley, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 large can chickpeas, drained

2 cups petit peas

5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tbs. olive oil

3 Tbs. lemon juice

3 Tbs. red wine vinegar

3 Tbs. tomato juice

2 chicken bouillon cubes


sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot over medium-high heat. When melted, add the bulgur and stir for about 3 minutes until grains are lightly toasted. Next, add the required amount of water, usually about 1 1/2 liters (if using chicken broth, it’s probably about 6 cups) along with the two chicken bouillon cubes. Let everything come to a boil and then immediately lower the heat, cover, and let simmer until the bulgur is soft, about 20 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary along the way. *Bulgur should cool on the side for twenty minutes and then chill in the fridge for an hour before assembling the salad. (2) In a large bowl, combine all the chopped vegetables and herbs, everything from cucumber through garlic along with the cooked bulgur. Moisten the salad with olive oil, vinegar, lemon and tomato juice, stirring well. Let the salad chill in the fridge until ready to eat. (3) Allow the lamb to come to room temperature before searing, halving the fillets for easier cooking. Sprinkle all sides generously with sea salt, cracked pepper, and dried oregano. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until hot and add the lamb pieces. Sear both sides of the fillets for 3 minutes until browned and medium-rare. Let the lamb rest, covered, for another 3 minutes before slicing. (4) Serve each plate with one heaping spoonful of the tabbouleh and a warm lamb piece, garnishing with mint sprigs or dollops of mango chutney if desired.

Serves 4

As I often reflect after cooking lamb, the effort’s always worth it and there is something supremely satisfying about the way lamb tastes πŸ™‚ Don’t get me wrong, the salad’s tasty too, and it definitely lasts longer! As the cold, foggy weather sets in here I’ll have to come up with other hot food recipes to bolster my spirit πŸ˜‰ Not that I’m complaining though, I know it’s not getting any better outside and I’m starting to like being fixed to this new kitchen of mine…

My question: What is your favorite cut of lamb?

I’m looking for ideas (shoulder chops? maybe shanks?) and even some simple recipes too…



Crazy for Couscous

…much like Cocoa puffs, only better πŸ˜‰ Now, I know that I have been on a shpeal about grains this week, but I’ve decided to post another (grain) side dish I made today and had for lunch, in addition to dinner πŸ™‚ So to begin with, everyone knows about couscous, it’s light, fluffy, and cooks in like two minutes.

Usually when I’m eating couscous somewhere, it’s ingredients include spicy or rich flavors, but what about the sweeter flavors? That could be just me, always wanting a little more sugar in everything, but the initial thought that came to my mind after my first two bites were: well, that’sΒ  a new taste. This is to say, I think I’ve created a recipe that is new, unique, and entirely of my own imagination. Initially, I wanted to call it Omega 3 Couscous after I realized just how many of these wonderful fatty acids were included among the ingredients, but I decided to pick a more appropriate title that reflected some of these tasty elements πŸ˜‰

After some contemplation, I assembled the couscous using some of the remaining ingredients in the kitchen, which are dwindling rapidly in the midst of us moving; these remaining ingredients included: flax seeds, apricot paste, and poppy seeds. Ha. I made an apricot reduction with the paste & some chicken broth; this I only added in minute amounts to the couscous, so I left it out of this recipe (it has plenty of natural sugars anyway:) but everything else came in handy.

Flax seeds are typically sold in large bags that are ready to eat (the blue flowers are what this plant looks like in bloom) but the ingredient itself is usually used in baking. The Romans snacked on flax seeds like they were trail mix, so I wouldn’t hold yourself back in you like taste, as even 2 cups would probably be just as delicious if you wanted to maximize on some of these health benefits. Other than that, I think the best ingredient was the fresh avocados which I added right before serving in a tablespoon of lemon juice to ensure they didn’t brown. Despite some gloomy predictions, the Avocado stayed green and delicious for quite some time following this, and it’d probably be green now, except that we ate all the couscous already πŸ™‚

And I present πŸ™‚

Roasted Garlic & Avocado Couscous w/Greens Onions & Dried Currants


1 package whole wheat couscous

2 Tbs. butter

1 1/2 cups dried currants (or golden raisins)

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 ripe avocados

3 Tbs. roasted garlic, chopped (or 1 raw clove, minced)

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

3 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. poppy seeds

2/3 cup flax seeds (optional)

Sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Cook couscous according to package instructions (if available, add 1/2 broth for whatever water the instructions call for if you want the give the couscous a slightly richer flavor πŸ™‚ Remove from heat and add the butter, let stand covered for 5 minutes (2) Peel, pit, and dice both Avocados, combining with 1 Tbs. lemon juice, and set aside. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well, adding vinegar, salt, & pepper at the end to taste. (3) Right before serving, warm the couscous just slightly over low if it has cooled. Add the avocado with the lemon juice before mixing. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Despite prior apprehensions, I was very glad to have gone with my whims and thrown this little dish together. It’s definitely the best couscous I’ve had and I’m happy to have finally satisfied my Avocado craving πŸ™‚

And my question, What was the best-tasting dish you’ve ever been inspired to create?