Can I be honest about something with you guys?
Sometimes I feel awkward when writing posts for Cooking is My Sport. I know that for the most part people just read food blogs to look at the pictures of food and peruse recipes to cook, but more often recently I find myself wanting to write about more than just my motivation for a recipe, or the process of how I cooked it or how it tasted. Maybe it’s just because in addition to cooking, I’m almost semi-obsessed with reading and (yes) even writing, but a lot of times I just want to write about more than the food.
I like being subscribed to a lot of food blogs on WordPress for the food of course, but I also like reading blogs where I can also get to know the bloggers, as well as their food.I don’t know about some of you guys, but a lot of the food that I’ve shared with you so far is greatly influenced by my life and who I am personally. Sometimes I do choose recipes at random to cook and share just out of curiosity, but for the most part I just end up cooking food that:
1) I myself want to eat
2) Represents my Southern/African American heritage
3) Someone in my family asks me to make for them
That’s where my inspiration lies for cooking in general, and I like sharing that with everyone who takes the time to read this blog. I feel like I’m getting way off topic here, but I guess the crux of what I’m trying to say is that in the future I want to try and play with the format of how I write posts on the blog. You guys will definitely still be getting pictures of food, but I may also want to talk about something totally random at the same time. I hope that that’s okay. If it’s not, you can feel free to just skip past everything I say and just to get to the recipe itself. I won’t mind.
And speaking of food…couscous. Before making this dish, I had absolutely no experience with making couscous before. All I knew was that it sounded cute/funny when I said it out loud. Couscous. Heh. I can almost see me naming a puppy Couscous, except maybe I’d spell it differently or something. Yeah, I’m just weird like that.
Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network cooks A LOT with couscous. I saw the episode where she made this one and it looked so good that I thought I would give it a whirl myself. I went and bought some Israeli couscous from my grocery store….and did nothing with it. For about 3 months. I was looking through my pantry one day and came across this $11.00 jar of couscous and (cheap-skate that I am) started getting really irritated that I still had done nothing with this stuff. So I went back onto Food Network.com and found the recipe that I had seen Giada make. I made some modifications of my own to the recipe (like eliminating the feta, I HATE feta) but still kept it pretty close to the original.
Couscous is not only ridiculously easy to cook, it’s also very tasty guys. You should give this one a shot, it’s every bit as yummy as it is pretty.
Smoked Paprika Couscous Salad
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) Israeli couscous
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
- 12 ounces grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or baby heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, halved (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup jarred red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. For the dressing: Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.
2. For the couscous: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add 2 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Mix together the spinach, tomatoes, peppers, parsley, and almonds in a large bowl. Add the couscous and the dressing. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve.