Thursday, August 5, 2010

Garden Herb and Tomato Israeli Couscous


1 cup Israeli couscous
1 tsp butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cumin
a couple dashes of red pepper flake
3-5 dried curry leaves
1 2/3 cups vegetable stock

as many garden tomatoes as you like
dash of extra virgin olive oil
dash of tarragon vinegar
1 can of pink beans or roman/kidney beans or chickpeas
1 cup minced Italian flat leaf parsley
1 sprig fresh oregano, minced
2/3 cup diced chives
salt and fresh pepper to taste

1 bottle Green Flash Hop Head Red

1) Melt the butter over medium heat until foaming subsides.
2) Add couscous with the chopped garlic and stir to toast, about three or four minutes--you want the pasta beginning to be golden and fragrant, and the garlic to be cooked. When the couscous smells nice and browned, add all the dry spices including the curry leaves. Toast these as well, 30 seconds or so.
3) Add the vegetable stock. Bring to a steady boil. Cover lid. Turn heat to low.
4) After about eight minutes, remove lid, stir, and turn off heat. Then replace lid and let it sit for another 5 minutes or so. You don't want mushy couscous, just cooked through couscous.
5) Meanwhile, chop your garden tomatoes, mince your parsley, rinse your beans, la la la. Put it all in a bowl with your fresh herbs. Sprinkle this with olive oil, tarragon vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
6) Fluff your couscous again. Stir it in the mix. Season again, to taste.
7) Open bottle of Green Flash Hop Head Red.
8) Enjoy together.


I drank Green Flash Hop Head Red for my birthday. (Photo by Melinda Caric. I'm such a turd, only the couscous photo above is actually mine this time round.)

I turned 30, kids. WHEEE! More on the later, MUCH more on that in a sec here, settle yourselves. Ok, so--Green Flash Hop Head Red. I had it at 4th Avenue Pub in Brooklyn, owned by the gentleman scholar Kirk Struble, and it's some pretty divine sh**.

It's a tough business making a good red style. (Maybe that's why Green Flash claims this beer is, alternatively, an American amber/IPA hybrid. But boy, is it ever red. And this is a grand red. It's resinous, it's bright copper, it's sticky, it's red-grapefruit-tastic, it's bright, it's sweet, it's balanced, it's wonderful. You're going to get a vague note of cinnamon within the slightly burnt-sugar sweetness, and the bitterness continues all the way through to a very pleasant landing so far as mouthfeel goes. A delightful brew. And I drank it on my birthday.


Beer is practically a stranger to food at this point. I'm very sorry for this. It's my fault. I've been writing this new book, see. And a Sherlock Holmes comic series for Moonstone Books. So beer forgot about food and wandered off to be alone for a while, take a little "me" time. Not to mention, Gabe has been working two jobs with one day off. And the day Gabriel turns to me--with one day off per week--and says, "You know what I really feel like doing today, Lynds? Let's blog." That will be the day...nope. That day doesn't seem too close on the horizon line.


It was my thirtieth birthday the other day. We played in the city the night before, and then went up the Hudson to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the next day reveled at 4th Pub in Brooklyn. It was epic.

Meanwhile, I have carpal tunnel pretty bad. It's getting better with the wrist braces, but I'm writing too much for it not to flare up quite often. It's slightly embarrassing, actually. This...impediment. Also my hair turned white, and I have the gout, and lost all my teeth. I'm gonna fall out of bed and break my hip tomorrow, maybe, for variety. Nothing like nerve injuries to really ring in a new decade.

I had a great time with my friends, though. They're swell people, all of them absolutely top notch, and I had a pretty birthday dress. Pretty birthday dresses are very important to me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Also I was wearing my nicely-wrapped-package-necklace. Shown above. Les Klinger says it makes me look like a birthday gift. APPROPRIATE.


Blue Hill at Stone Barns

We had, for my birthday, in the company of the ever-wonderful Luis and Allison:


fried baby corn "corn dogs"
individual mini roasted tomato and goat cheese burgers
fresh garden produce on little pins dressed in a vinaigrette (tomato version pictured above, from their website, that's not mine)
fried yellow wax beans
sesame crusted squash
3 charcuterie meats with a liver mousse sandwiched in dark salted chocolate


bluefin crudo with caviar, green tomato, and pig's ear vinaigrette


18-hour charcoal barbecued heirloom onion with olive tapenade, onion creme fraiche, vegetable puree, and preserved blueberry


baked curried egg with fresh beans under herbed rice paper


gnocchi with chicken mushrooms


fresh baked sourdough with three infused salts: shittake salt, tomato salt, red pepper salt


pork chin, snout, jowl, and loin with avocado and heirloom grains


ribeye with smoked eggplant and purslane


apricot in elderflower tapioca with yogurt sorbet
cornbread with raspberries and peaches
flax brownie with preserved fruit
wild strawberries
chocolate dusted almonds
meringue with raspberries

What a way to turn 30, kids. I am one lucky little skunk. The picture below isn't mine either, but I wanted to show you Blue Hill. It's breathtaking.

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