Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Accidental Lunches (Vadouvan Spiced Couscous), or in Which I Discovered the First CakeWalk Series...

Today, a Wednesday, is Library Day. Most weeks, boy-o and I walk to the library for a story time, then play at the park for a bit weather depending, and then walk home for lunch. I love that when I wake in the morning, I would have no idea what is going to be on the table for lunch. Most of the time it's just leftovers from the day before...but occasionally, I am inspired and something erupts either out of necessity or inspiration. Such was the case with the Accidental Lunch Salad back in June, and such was the case today with Vadouvan Spiced Couscous.

The flatbreads in the background are another of my favorite things, I happened to have some in the freezer, and also happened to have the oven on, so I popped one in to heat up and it was if I had just made them...
Another local obsession is The Spice House. (Find them online here: When I go in, I am addicted to asking what's new. The last time I went, in May, it was this spice that if I remember correctly is popular in Britain. It smelled great, like a mild yellow curry, and I bought a small packet to try.
I must confess to a small arsenal of small packets of Spice House treasures. Most of them I try right away, and then try to keep the packets organized in my cabinet. This Vadouvan however, managed to get a little lost in the shuffle, and happily rediscovered today. Originally, I had some leftover couscous, and cold home-canned corn (from my Mom), both peering back at me from the lonely confines of my fridge...then I used up two packets of frozen veg from the freezer: peas and green beans. I was really looking for Japanese Seven Spice Powder (Shichimi Togarashi) that was another such purchase from the Spice House, but remembering that I didn't have any more, I saw this Vadouvan looking up at me.

I think the resulting recipe, which could be easily changed to accommodate any leftovers really, would make a good side dish to any supper...or even a main dish with some kind of protein - currently obsessed baked Tofu or chicken comes to mind. As with all things I cook, amounts are approximate.

Vadouvan Spiced Couscous

1 1/2 to 2 cups leftover couscous

1-2 T. olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced

1-2 T. Vadouvan spice

1 cup corn 1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup frozen green beans

salt and pepper

(Normally I don't microwave much, but I did today since boy-o was whiney and tired and needed his PB&J...) Microwave peas and green beans in 1/4 c. water for about 3 minutes until done. Drain and set aside. Saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat until just starting to release some liquid. Add Vadouvan spice, and continue cooking until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add corn, and saute until heated through. Add couscous and heat through, then add peas and green beans with salt and pepper to taste, and let everything get nice and hot, about 3 minutes. The longer you leave the couscous on the heat, the crunchier it becomes.

You could certainly add more veg, cubed carrots and red pepper would have made the cut here if I wasn't trying so hard to be fast. I hope to post all future Accidental Lunches as they become imagined, and will try to measure my ingredients a bit better in the future to approximate more accurate recipe writing...

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