If you’ve ever read my food blog you’ll know that I love, love, love to open the refrigerator and see what miscellaneous items I can combine to make a delicious meal. For me this kind of cooking is an act of creation, just like writing a story or poem only I get to eat the lovely result. Well … add in the burgeoning bounty of a vegetable and herb garden (courtesy of my wonderful, summer cottage landlord, Lisa) and I am in heaven!
Take the other night, for instance: What to do with a container of leftover couscous my son, Dan, brought me (along with various other interesting food items) before he left on a 10-day surfing trip to El Salvador?
“Ah-ha!” I said.
What with a tomato sitting on the counter and parsley, chives and basil lush in the garden, a form of tabbouleh … Plynn’s version, of course … seemed in order. Just the right accompaniment for a left over, black bean burger from a BBQ a few days ago, which I already intended on having for dinner, covered with a delectable, thick slice of Provolone cheese and smothered with sautéed onions, mushrooms and hot, green peppers (peppers also from the garden).
Here’s what I came up:
2 cups cooked couscous (use traditional bulgur wheat or try cooked orzo)
1 T (heaping) chopped chives
1/2 cup chopped parsley (I used Italian, but curly would work just fine)
1 large basil leaf, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, diced into small pieces
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 – 3 T olive oil
1 t white wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (I used lime because I didn’t have a lemon; it was delicious)
Good dashes of onion and garlic powders
Several good dashes of Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt (I take it with me wherever I cook) or other seasoning salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper
In my world, oil, vinegar and seasonings are always added according to personal taste. Start with my quantities and increase if you desire. Mix all ingredients together and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix again, and serve!
I’ve never made anything with fresh herbs that was not absolutely delicious. Test your creation muscles with these amazing greens this summer. Try making your own chimichurri sauce; use a combination with potatoes, roasted or in a salad; toss with pasta and lemon or cream; make a salad dressing with them, chopped and mixed with mayo or yogurt; marinade meat in a combo with olive oil and minced garlic before you grill … oh, the possibilities are endless!
A side note: I had some of this salad left over from dinner, so the next day I added 4 diced, slices of organic salami, two chopped, jarred artichokes and some crumbled goat cheese (all resources from my fridge), drizzled with a bit more olive oil to make a very, very lovely summer lunch. Voila!
Eat well. Be happy!