Thursday, June 28, 2007

Couscous and Garbanzos renewed

Ah, the osso bucco was delicious to the last bite. But that last bite was well before the end of the couscous and garbanzo mixture I made to go with it. And that lovely covered dish in the fridge just begged for a second chance. A new dress..........some new accessories............Well....you know what I mean. So I pulled it out, sat it on the counter and uncovered it for a while. We looked at each other, searching for a point of reference.

Perhaps it was the music I was listening to at that moment - Claudia Montes - a Spanish singer with a lyrical voice. I heard the Arabic influences in the music of Spain, and my mind wandered to that region of the world. Once there, it became obvious what my next step would be. I walked to Whole Foods and bought an eggplant, some tomato and a large yellow onion. Got home and fired up the grill. While it was heating up I peeled and sliced the eggplant, laid it out on a large dish and sprinkled some kosher salt on it. While the salt drew the juices out, I cut the onion in quarters, and sliced the tomatoes thickly. I then made an olive oil balsamic vinegar mixture and added a little ground black pepper and some more kosher salt. I patted the eggplant dry, poured the mixture over the veggies and headed out to the grill.

I find grilling veggies to be an exercise in focus. At least with my grill it is. It's an old grill and the flames aren't even -- one part gets a high flame and the rest is hit or miss. So I stand there, tongs in hand and spatula at the ready. I am constantly peering under the slices, watching them anxiously, waiting for that moment when they are toasty with those lovely grill lines across them, but not burnt. Flipping them over is a challenge, too, because I never know if they will slip through the grill and into the flame or actually land on the metal and stay there. I was lucky this time - only lost one tomato slice.

Headed in with my pile of grilled veggies. The couscous went into the micro, the cotes du rhone went into a glass, and when the grains were heated, I pulled them out, added the veggies, stirred, checked and corrected the seasonings and sat down to one of the best meals I had eaten in ages. I don't generally pat myself on the back in public, but folks, this one was a winner! Those grilled vegetables added a depth and complexity that even the osso bucco couldn't compete with. I lifted my glass and toasted the chef, and when I was done, I gave myself a standing ovation (much to my cat's disgust!)
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9 comments:

Terry B said...

Toni--I'm still thinking of the version I made of your garbanzo/couscous dish I made last night [and the rave reviews it received all around--again, thanks for the inspiration]. I'd been thinking about trying a similar use of couscous with sautéed vegetables. Hadn't thought about grilling them--you've inspired me once again!

Toni said...

Terry - I consider it a compliment of the highest order to know that I inspired you. I got the idea of using couscous with garbanzos many years ago, from a friend of mine who was vegetarian at the time. He talked about needing "substantials" in a vegetarian dish, and the garbanzos served that purpose. But he also like to use "substantial" vegetables, like eggplant - or cauliflower if he was headed more in an Indian direction.

Susan said...

We just moved into a new place with a grill, and grilled veggies are first on my list to make. You're making me crave them even more now!

Toni said...

Your timing is excellent - a grill for summer. How perfect! And grilled veggies rule in summer...

Chris said...

Yum! Toni, This has got my name all over it! :) Love, love, love couscous!

valentinA said...

this is sommething I'll find hard to say no to:)

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira.(If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. Thanks for the attention, bye). Até mais.

Toni said...

Chris - Welcome back!! I've missed you!

Valentina - Don't say no, then. Just come on over and we'll have some. You bring the dessert!

Chris said...

Hi Toni! Thanks for your kind words! Kinda weird, but its sort of a nice feeling knowing that people missed you...

I have tagged you - if that's okay! Head over to my blog for details. Thanks!