Monday, March 5, 2012

Springtime salad, local honey and special music

- Even though it's still winter, spring is definitely in the air, and so I made a favorite springtime dish on Sunday afternoon - Vegetable Couscous Salad.  I had all the ingredients except for parsley, which seems expendable.  The recipe is at the bottom - let me know if you make it.

- Someone once shared with me that she consumes a tablespoon of locally grown honey every day and that keeps her from suffering from seasonal allergies.  I've never forgotten that tip, but never see honey that is exactly from my area, until Saturday, when I spotted this Purple Wildflower Honey at the natural food market.  I'm going to put it in my morning oatmeal and see if it works.  Here's a link to an article I found about the tip. 

- The music director at my church has been there for 20 years and the choir celebrated on Sunday by performing a piece of music composed just for this occasion.  They had been practicing in secret every Monday night since September off site, so that it would be a surprise.  I've never seen anyone more overwhelmed by anything as Ed was by this.  It was a lovely morning.


Vegetable Couscous Salad

1/3 cup water
1/4 sherry or balsamic vinegar (I used seasoned rice vinegar yesterday)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (.6 ounce) envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked couscous
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously.

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Combine couscous, bell pepper, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing mixture. Toss couscous mixture gently to coat.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Best when made the night before. I hope you enjoy! Cheers!


G. B. Miller said...

The honey sounds fantastic, although I could never partake in the stuff.

Strange side note: saw the following item at a discount store:

Sugar-free honey.

As for the choir director, that sounds like it was a fantastic gift given to him by the choir.

Leonora said...

Thanks for the recipe- it looks good and I'll definitely make it.
I have heard this about honey. We have several local honey producers, some of who sell at local farmer's markets.
That was a beautiful way to honor your music director. Music composed from the heart!

Fireblossom said...

What a sweet thing the choir did!

Granny Annie said...

First I must ask, what is couscous?

That makes a lot of sense about taking local honey as a remedy for allergies. I was taken back by G's comment on seeing "sugar-free" honey in the store. What???

Your music director must have felt like Richard Dreyfus in Mr. Holland's Opus. Anyway that's what I picture happening.

Joanne said...

Yay! I'm so excited for spring and I love the sound of this dish.

Lynn said...

G -

Sugar free honey - I can't think what that would be like.

And the music was incredible. The composer is Samuel Adler, who is a teacher at Juilliard and a "prominent American composer." This piece was written to be performed just this one time. (I'm sure to the delight of the choir members, who said it was difficult to sing.)

Leonora -

It's a favorite salad to take to potlucks and is a good tailgate recipe. You can load it in one of those big ziploc bags and it fits nicely down in a cooler like that.

FB -

There was also a harpist thrown into the mix. Just a beautiful morning filled with music.

Granny Annie -

Couscous is a type of North African semolina made from crushed durum wheat. Look for it in the section of the grocery store where rice is sold. Some recipes show cooked couscous topped with stewed meat and beans, such as garbanzo beans.

And the music - it was just like that - I was not sitting where I could watch his face during the music, but there was a plaque presented and he was wiping his eyes throughout that.

Joanne -

Let me know if you make it. I can't even think where this recipe came from, I've been making it for so long. I love it. It's great with a little hummus on the side + a salad with spinch and toasted pine nuts.

LL Cool Joe said...

I wouldn't make this only because my cooking could easily kill someone but it does look good!

My mother eats honey every day, it's meant to good for stomach issues too.

TALON said...

What a sweet way to fight allergies.

The salad looks scrumptious!

What a lovely gift to the music director! It must have been really something to see his face! :)

Jannie Funster said...

WOW, a secret since September. That's just so beautiful, Lynn.

Yes, I was aware of that local honey thing. Not sure why, but my allergies which some years have been quite debilitating, this year have spared me.

gotta run


Sage said...

I like to try to find local honey--it's normally better too, but mine generally comes in mason jars! The music sounds like it was a treat, and the salad looks delicious.

Riot Kitty said...

I thought I was full. NOM! Thank you for including the recipe.

Elephant's Child said...

Whst a lovely gift for the music director. One from the heart (which contains no batteries and doesn't need dusting). A memory to hug and cherish.

Snaggle Tooth said...

That looks yummy. Would you believe I've never made couscus before? Must be alot healthier than pasta salad-
I haven't found any local honey, always put the regular kind in my oatmeal tho. Also eating live culture yogurt everyday is supposed to head off pollen allergies.
What a great surprize for Ed the choir director- n a wonderful experience for your congregation!

Dr Zibbs said...

Oooh get me that!

Louvregirl said...

"They had been practicing in secret every Monday night since September off site;" way cool idea here! That couscous salad looks hot!

Lynn said...

Joe -

Good to know about the honey - I have a friend with stomach issues, so I'll tell her.

Talon -

Love that - a sweet way, indeed!

Jannie -

I can't believe he didn't find out - they had a dress rehearsal last Monday night at our church and didn't expect him to be there, but he was. So they had to get his daughter to call him to come over to her house to help with an invented emergency.


Sage -

Honey in a mason jar sounds wonderful!

Riot Kitty -

Nom is right! I had some last night with a dollop of hummus and a spinach and mushroom salad.

Lynn said...

The Elephant's Child -

No batteries and no dusting - exactly and it was perfect.

Snaggle -

I like to make couscous because it cooks so quickly and with little fuss. Let me know if you try it.

Dr Zibbs -

Thanks for stopping by! That was a rare photo of food - but I talk about it all the time. :)

lg -

If you mean hot in a good way, then it is. :)

Chatty Crone said...

That couscous dish looked great! sandie

Lynn said...

Sandie -

I had it for dinner again last night - delish.

Chen Mingi said...

Delicious recipe. Thanks! The parsley really makes a difference, though, to add some green-tasting texture. Maybe experiment with half of the recipe. Even try fresh cilantro or mint and I bet you'll see an amazing aliveness.

How wonderful that story about the specially composed and personally sung gift for the choir director. I bet most would be happy to have their choir rehearse at all!