Monday, April 20, 2009

Autumn Roasted Veggies with Israeli Couscous

In my last post, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I was trying to avoid getting whatever sickness was ailing Todd. I speculated that I may have "jinxed" myself for recently declaring out loud that I hadn't been sick all winter. I also wondered if posting this on the internet could possibly exacerbate the affect of any potential jinxness. Well, I'm here to tell you that I think it did! In a matter of hours I went from the I think I may be getting sick phase to the bed-ridden I want my mommy phase of sickness. I was in bed with a fever and horrible cold, unable to even read a book, for 3 days. I mostly slept, blew my nose and stared at the ceiling. I didn't even get to have any of my Feel Better Soup because I was too sick to go to the store and get the ingredients. I had made some other soup the night before being stuck in bed which was tasty, but didn't have the magical qualities of Feel Better Soup.

Just before getting sick, I had made some roasted veggies with Israeli couscous. It's a very simple dish, but tasty and I think the roasted veggies pair well with this kind of couscous. It's probably the last time this year I will make any winter roasted veggies. The butternut and acorn squashes, and turnips that have been in storage someplace all winter are really getting passed their prime. I will probably try it again with some spring/early summer veggies before it gets too hot to turn on the oven. But, I wanted to make sure I captured this so I remember to make it again next year.

Autumn Roasted Veggies with Israeli Couscous
1 white potato, peeled and diced
1 small sweet potato, washed and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1 small butternut or acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 tblsp olive oil
sea salt
1 tblsp herbs de provence
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (or balsamic)

1. Toss all veggies in 1 tblsp of the olive oil (or a little more if necessary). Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper, and roast in 400 degree oven until tender and beginning to brown. (Probably 30 to 45 minutes)
2. Cook Israeli couscous: In a 2 quart saucepan, heat 1 tblsp olive oil over medium heat and sautee the cousous until lightly brown. Add veggie broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to simmer. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
3. In small saucepan, simmer cider vinegar until reduced to a syrupy consistency.
4. Spoon veggies over couscous and drizzle with vinegar.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Feel Better Soup

I made a big mistake the other day. I said, "I have not been sick at all this winter despite all the nasty viruses that were being passed around my office..." I should never have said that out loud. It's not that I'm really superstitious, but it seems I have had other instances where I've said similar things and "jinxed" myself. I believe it was around this same time last year when I said, "I've never taken a spill on my road bike." Sure enough, a couple of weeks later I was practicing cornering next to someone at the spring race clinic, when our bikes touched and I hit the ground hard. My seat came flying off, my helmet broke and I tore my shoe. (Is it worse, I wonder to make statements like this on the internet vs. to just one person? Hmm... I guess I'm going to find out.)

Todd has been home sick for almost a week with a really nasty cold and cough. I'm doing my best to take care of myself and avoid getting this myself. But, just in case I do, I pulled out this soup recipe. I call it my "witches' brew" soup because it really is like a magical potion to ward off illness. It doesn't have any eyes of newt in it, but it is also not a soup that you'll be saying, "Yummy! I can't wait to have this again!" It's not offensive, it's just not delicious. It does work though. There have been many times when I've made the soup at the first signs of feeling sick or when I've been sick, and it's either stopped the cold/flu right in it's track or shortened the life of it. Apparently it's the seaweed that is the magic ingredient. It is also the thing that lends to it's not so yummy taste. The downside is there's quite a bit of chopping, and if you're not feeling well, chopping might not be high on your list of preferred activities. It'd be nice if someone wanted to make it for you.

You might be wondering why I didn't make this for Todd while he's been sick, and the truth is I didn't think of it until today. It's too late in the game for him now. I think it's past the point where it might help him. I've been an o.k. nurse though. I did make him some minestra, and was also a nice vegetarian girlfriend and bought him some chicken soup at Whole Foods.

Feel Better /Witches' Brew Soup
2 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
6 cups veggie broth
2 large bunches watercress, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried green lentils
1/2 cup raw brown rice
1/3 cup wakame or other seaweed (dried is fine)
1/3 cup chopped kale
1 white potato, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil over medium high heat, and add onion and celery. Cook, stirring until softened, not browned.
2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours until rice is tender. (The rice will take the longest to cook).