What to do with all that Couscous?

I know what you’re thinking. Perhaps the entire Trader Joe’s boycott project is secretly designed to get us to buy up all of the Israel products this weekend and leave us with more couscous than we know what to do with, thus making us sick of the stuff and (at least according to the boycotters scheme) resentful of the country that makes it. (Those clever, clever bastards!)

Well once again, we’re one step ahead of the BDS crowd! Or at least my mom is who provided us all with these two fine Israeli couscous recipes (one savory, one sweet).

Add your own recipes to the comments section and I’ll post a roundup after the weekend.

Recipes including other Trade Joe’s Israel-produced ingredients are also welcome.

Israeli Couscous with Season Vegetables
(From The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan)

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ red cabbage shredded
2 medium onions, diced
1 cup shredded Brussels sprouts
8 ounces Israeli couscous (about 2 cups)
1 cup diced Swiss chard
3 cups water
1 cup diced winter squash (like butternut, acorn, or Hubbard)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and sauté the onions until soft. Remove half and set aside. Ad the couscous to the onions in the frying pan and stir until browned.
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan with a cover. Add the couscous, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley. Cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet and add the reserved onions, the cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, squash, and pecans. Stir-fry until the vegetables are soft.

To serve, drain the couscous, place it in the center of a shallow bowl, and surround with the vegetables. Yield 4-6 servings

Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts (A traditional Moroccan Hanukkah dessert from The World of Jewish Cooking by Gil Marks)

½ cup sugar
¾ cup dried apricots
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup chopped blanched almonds
¼ cup melted butter
¾ cup chopped walnuts or 1/3 cup pine nuts
1 pound steamed couscous*
About 1 cup of milk
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup chopped pitted dates

Stir the sugar and cinnamon into the butter.

Pour over the couscous, tossing to coat. Stir in the raisins, dates, apricots, almonds, and walnuts or pine nuts. Gradually add enough of the milk to moisten the couscous.

Mound the couscous on a large platter and garnish with cinnamon

*To steam couscous, follow the directions on the package.

13 thoughts on “What to do with all that Couscous?”

  1. Rumor has it that Trader Joe's in Brookline has a very nice wine selection. They are likely to caary Israeli wine which would be much easier to consume than these mounts of couscous.

  2. You know, I generally avoid Trader Joe's because the store in our area is very small, and the shopping process agonizingly SLOW (hence my nickname for the place: “Trader Slow's”) but having read about this little BDS project, I think I'll go. I have a new-found respect for the franchise. Do miss the “two buck chuck” here. They don't sell alcohol in grocery stores round these parts.

    Great blog by the way.

  3. Thanks for your advice. Looks like I am heading to my local Traders Joe's and getting a couple of hundred bucks of Israeli products.
    What I am going to do is simple. I am simply going to give some nice gifts to my Jewish customers. What an opportunity to give an Israel bottle of wine to a good customer!
    As to couscous I am already a heavy user…
    Anyway keep the good work and I hope our trader's Joe's will be empty of Israeli products in the old fashioned way- at the cash register!

  4. Way to go, TJ customers! Standing up for what you believe in is wonderful. Now I wish they would stock those wonderful children's books, “Princess Annie and the Magical Pendant” and “The Telling.”

  5. slice an onion & brown in some olive oil, add 1 cup Israeli couscous & toast a bit, add some whole cumin seed -stir then add hot stock (try around 1 3/4 cups) and some grated raw carrots & garlic, cover & cook until done for a delicious Uzbek plov style couscous- add s& p to taste & some chopped parsley.

    btw- re:the recipe from Gil Marks you listed for steamed couscous- this type of big couscous -ptitim- needs to be cooked in liquid- it's a type of pasta & won't work steamed. the smaller grains of couscous can be steamed.

  6. here in ann arbor,although the trader joes boycott attempt never materialized, the boycott (motley)crue ran 2 candidates for the local food coop board ( again cous cous was the target)…combined they polled about 1/8th of the votes cast, so they're now back to ( merely) picketing a local synagogue on sabbath
    ( mostly one creepy guy—henry herskovitz…and a couple of his withered “virgins of paradise” acolytes…superannuated ex-woodstockers.

  7. I don't think it's good idea to make fun of Richard Nixon when it's conservatives like myself who support Israel and leftwingers who organize anti-Israle boycotts but that's just me.

  8. if anyone wants some light reading google “arbor update”, the main blog that was the forum for the boycotters and their victorious opponants..the postings by the defeated candidates, henry herskovitz and chrales loucks, are a virtual re-run of the self-justifying paranoia so wonderfully portrayed by humphrey bogart as captain queeg in THE CAINE MUTINY”..they were effectively and in picador-like fashion egged on /rebutted in that blog by some very funny people…mockery, rather than earnest rebuttal or downright ignoring, is a wonderful antidote to the boycotters, at least our version of them.

  9. I would just like to add a word of agreement to Lefty Larry's comment. My wife is a Democrat. I'm a Republican. We disagree on many issues, but not on Israel. The crack about Nixon, regardless of how strongly you support attacks on this president, do nothing to further the mutual interests of the USA and that of Israel

  10. actually , if politics are on a circular rather than linear continuum, the pro-boycotters are “so far left they're right”. as an unabashed liberal ( and nixon hating) pro-israel person my support for israel and antipathy for islamic extremism ( which i happen to study as a professional academic)is precisely because of my liberal values…but i agree with the above comment that on this issue, “dont ask dont tell ” is the best policy to follow within the pro-israel ranks to avoid needless in-fighting…

  11. As this site's owner, point taken on Richard Nixon.

    The joke actually came from a college lecture I heard decades ago when the lecturer referred to a Japanese politician (Tanaka, perhaps?) who, like Nixon, kept creating new political lives for himself, even after falling from the heights of power due to political scandal.

    Coupling that sentiment with a comparison to Count Dracula, however (not to mention divestment) seems to have turned what was once an obscure gag into a political crack at the expense of one side in the political debate. Since I believe the fight against divestment (and support of Israel itself) has and deserves broad bi-partisan agreement, I will modify that description text so as to not offend people who make a very legitimate point.

  12. Further to the Ann Arbor situation: My friend in the battle against the local BIGots (the pro-Israel take on the boycotteers' acronym for Boycott Israel Goods) is correct in stating that the local attempt at hijacking the People's Food Co-op (PFC) board of directors ended in utter and unequivocal defeat. But, to be more precise, their whuppin' was bigger than stated in that comment made much earlier today. Herskovitz and Loucks–whose ignorance about what a Co-op is and what it stands for is monumental–garnered a _combined_ vote equal to just barely 10%. The victorious candidates won about 90%. The margin of victory was therefore 9-1 against the BIGots, truly a super landslide.

    BTW, this was the third time in less than two years that the boycotteers were rejected by the mostly very liberal and savvy voters of the Co-op in this ultra-liberal town. Fist, in 2007, the BIGots weasled a referendum on bocotting Israeli products sold at the Co-op before its members. It was voted down by 77%-23%. Then, not long after, Charles Loucks, in his first stealth candidacy for the PFC board–like Henry Herskovitz, he has only one issue–and was defeated. Loucks, an officer of the Huron Valley Greens, a group once associated with environmental concerns, has one and only one project now: the dismantling of the state of Israel. This lets you know what Loucks's and Herskovitz's single, rotten platform plank was.

    And, by G-d, if they aren't like Dracula, I don't know who is! No matter how many times and how deep you think you've driven the stake into their wobbly cause, they come back up and try again to bite you!

    I, too, think it's a good idea for a group who has some major issues around which to unite to not bicker along the left-right line and not allow this to come in between us as a wedge in our support for Israel, certainly not on this blog. Such support–I come from the lifelong liberal Democratic side–truly cuts across both sides of the aisle as does hatred for Israel.

    I agree that the boycott and divest crazies are so far off the charts, that even though they may consuider themselves to be “progressive,” their support for some of the most repressive, brutal, barbarous, medieval, hate-filled, misogynist, racist, and, of course, antisemitic regimes and organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, among otehrs, puts the lie to their cleaving to the label “liberal.” So, in this struggle, I too adhere to the “don't ask/don't tell” policy espoused by my fellow Ann Arborite mentioned above.

    BTW, when I last visited the Ann Arbor TJ's over the weekend, they seemed to be sold out of almost all of the Israeli couscous. I grabbed three of the remaining 8 or so boxes plus some feta, the combined grains–including Israeli couscous–and bean product, and Dorot frozen chopped basil. I also e-mailed TJ's and called the local managers as well and told them face-to-face how much I appreciated their carrying these fine Israeli products, but also their refusing to buckle under to intimidation from a loud, obnoxious, extremist minority.

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