Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy Birthday WHB

Where has this year gone? It seems like just yesterday that Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging celebrated its second birthday, and now birthday number 3 is upon us. This fabulous event attracts so many bloggers each week, I can see it celebrating many more birthdays to come. And now Haalo from Cook Almost Anything (at least once), a notable contributor in her own right, who hasn't missed one week of submitting something yummy to WHB, has taken on the role of overseeing this event. Congratulations to Kalyn, for masterminding this and nurturing it through its infancy. Enjoy your extra time to pursue your many other interests, and congratulations Haalo for taking over the role of ringmaster for the forthcoming year.

As a warmup for this event, Kalyn asked that each day, for three consecutive days, you left a comment on her blog as to what your favourite herb, favourite vegetable and favourite fruit is, to be in the running for some magnificent prizes. I must admit that coriander is my all time favourite herb, but my family is becoming a bit sick of it. If I had my way, I'd use coriander in everything, but they have rebelled. So I chose parsley as my favourite herb, mainly due to it's staying power, it's not overbearing, it's always growing in my garden and there are never any complaints from the inhouse diners.

For my favourite vegetable, I chose the tomato. To a scientist, this is actually a fruit. To a cook, it's a vege. Home grown varieties win hands down in the flavour department, and I'm nurturing my plants daily, eagerly awaiting to pick my first tomato on Christmas day.

Lastly, I chose the olive as my favourite fruit. Strange choice, but I love them with a passion. There are so many olive growers emerging here in Australia, so there is always an abundance of locally grown olives at hand. I have one single olive tree growing in my backyard, and sadly, I'll probably be in a Nursing Home by the time it's bearing buckets full of fruit, but I look forward to the day when I can sun dry my very own olives.

So with that combination I chose a recipe from a 2002 Edition of Gourmet which had all three of these ingredients, plus my favourite Lebanese Mougrabieh couscous.

Mougrabieh with roasted tomatoes and olives

For roasted tomatoes and dressing
  • 2 pints red grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pound)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For couscous
  • 2 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Roast tomatoes and make dressing:

Preheat oven to 250°F.
Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer
in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan.

Add garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
Peel garlic and purée with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.

Make couscous:

Bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.
Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes.
Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing, roasted tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cooks' note:

·Roasted tomatoes, dressing, and couscous can be made 1 day ahead and kept separately, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

1 comment:

Kalyn said...

I love it that you managed to find a recipe with all your favorite ingredients! I've only had this type of couscous once, but loved it, and your version sounds like it has lots of good flavors going on.