I just purchased Alicia Silverstone’s new book, The Kind Diet, and I cannot put it down. I have not completely read through the entire book yet but I have been jumping around in excitement and have already dabbled into some of her recipes tweaking things here and there, because, well, that’s just what I do… Last night I made a version of her Radicchio Pizza with Truffle Oil. I turned it into an appetizer by using whole wheat small pita bread for “pizza crust” and quartered each small disc into bite-sized pieces. It made for a flavorful crispy bite. The night grew long with wonderful company and a tad too much wine, so I drank her “Cure-All Tea” (made with kukicha, umeboshi plum and shoyu) this morning, which helped to cure my hangover and ease my digestive system. Tonight I tackled her Morroccan Couscous. I couldn’t help but think of one of my all-time favorite Moroccan Couscous dishes from Cafe Gitane when I saw this recipe. I added a little “Cafe Gitane/Erin flare” to Alicia’s version and came up with something that hit the spot…
2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 cups yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/2 large eggplant, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
2 scallions, chopped
homemade or store-bought hummus
Cook the couscous according to directions and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat a splash of olive oil and add the garlic, onions, squash, carrots and eggplant. Season with salt and pepper and saute. Cover with a lid until the vegetables being to soften.
In the meantime, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, cumin, saffron and freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Cover the pan and steep for 15 minutes.
Add the can of chickpeas to the vegetables and saute together until the chickpeas start to brown a the vegetables are cooked through (butternut squash ad eggplant should be easily punctured with a fork).
Transfer the vegetables and chickpea mixture, along with their juices into a large bowl and add the couscous. Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, then pour over the couscous mixture all at once. Cover tighly with a lid or plate and let sit for 15 minutes. Add the scallions and toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork.
To serve, place a tablespoon of hummus on the bottom of a bowl and top with the warm couscous mixture. Top with a few more scallions and season with crushed red pepper flakes and salt.
Next time I make this I might try adding some golden raisins or dried apricots and toasted pine nuts, flavors that are in Cafe Gitane’s version. Only a few recipes into Alicia’s book… I am excited to get through it all!