Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I made a meal last night that I had to share. I’m proud to say that I did not use any recipe but sort of made this up on my own. My goal was to A) make fresh Pesto B) use veggies C) use Cous Cous

The results were pretty delicious, to my standards at least! And easy! So easy! And of course, healthy and it produced enough for 4 hearty portions so now my “lover” and I both have lunch

I also discovered, after eating the dish—that I had created a different kind of Pesto that I originally set out to make. I had intended to make a traditional Basil Pesto—but I added a lot of lemon juice and lemon zest and totally forgot to add garlic! So what it turned out to be was this very fresh, lemony, basil pesto that actually complimented the delicate nature of the Zucchini, Squash & Cous Cous very well! Try it sometime:


*Please note that I always buy double the amount needed for one recipe so that I can make the same recipe again later in the week! Hence, Half a Medium Zucchini, etc.

**You need a Food Processor—but let this inspire you to get one if you don’t have one! They’re amazing, really!

***Obviously a Zester/Grater is ideal for this recipe! They are great tools—you should invest, you’d be surprised how many times “zest, parmesan & coconut” can appear in recipes—I got mine as a gift and couldn’t be happier with it!

Half a Box or 1 & 1/3 cup Israeli Cous Cous

Half of a Medium-Large Zucchini
Half of a Medium-Large Squash

For the PESTO:

2 really hearty handfuls of Basil Leaves
2/3 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
2/3 cup Pine Nuts
A little less than 2/3 cup Olive Oil
Juice from Half a Lemon, squeezed thoroughly
Zest of a Quarter of Lemon
A little bit of pepper

1. Prepare the Cous Cous according to directions on packet: you might be asked to to “toast” or “sauté” the grains in the pot with some EVOO before you add hot water. I think this gives the grain a nuttier flavor. The measurements are pretty exact with Cous Cous so stick to what the packet says. I used Whole Foods Brand and made only half the box (1 1/3 cup)—I followed the directions and when it was done a little was sticking to the bottom of the pan, which definitely means the water has been absorbed but it still seemed very “wet”. I was alarmed for a moment but I laid the Cous Cous out in my shallow serving dish and let it stand for at least 30 minutes, and at the end of that time, the excess water had evaporated and it began to resemble the Cous Cous I had seen in restaurants—phew.

2. In a separate Pot, bring salted water to boil. Chop your Zucchini Half & Squash Half into equal sized pieces—I cut them into thin circles and then cut each circle into Quarters, this worked pretty well. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add the cut veggies and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with Cold Water to stop the cooking and set aside or on top of the Cous Cous.

3. PESTO: Make sure to WASH THE BASIL LEAVES THOROUGHLY! There is SO much sand in Basil, so wash several times. I remove the leaves from the stalks first and then wash to make it easier. Also DRY THE BASIL LEAVES THOROUGHLY! I used a lot of paper towels—if you have a Salad Spinner, use that, it’d be perfect.

4. In your Food Processor place a Quarter of your leaves in (this should be loosely packed and around the half way mark on your processor). Then add 1/3 cup Olive Oil, 1/3 cup Pine Nuts, Juice from a Quarter of a Lemon & Zest from the surface area from that Quarter of the Lemon. Also add 1/3 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan. Then place Basil Leaves loosely packed until the Processor is full (that should probably be another Quarter of your Basil Leaves).

5. Close the lid and chop & grind! This only takes a few seconds to look like Pesto! Then, with Pesto still inside, keep adding the rest of the ingredients: Half of your Basil Leaves (or a hearty handful), 1/3 Parmesan, 1/3 Pine Nuts, Juice from a Quarter of a Lemon, a little less than 1/3 cup Olive Oil, Salt and a little bit of pepper. *ZEST is the only ingredient you will add just once in the beginning. Chop and Grind again to mix thoroughly and you’ve got yourself enough pesto for you veggies and Cous Cous!

6. In the Serving Dish combine Cous Cous, Veggies & Pesto together, I didn’t have to add any extra oil or water to combine—the Cous Cous was pretty sticky so the Pesto just clung to it.

7. Top with more grated Parmesan cheese (of course). Delicous! Enjoy Hot or Cold.

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