Namaste, Foodies! I hope you are all crawling out of your food (and drink) holiday induced comas and puffy suits, ready to face an amazing 2012. I suppose my resolution this year has been to ditch my use of the microwave. Totally easy to do at home where I have a stove, oven, and toaster oven to do my reheating and the food tastes better that way anyway. The problem comes during lunch while I’m at work. I love warm meals, I’m a pitta and a Sagittarius – fire is my thing. But to have a hot meal at work (which they generally keep just below Arctic), it’s either microwave (ick) or buy lunch out ($$$). So I’m trying to explore the world of the “cold” lunch (I try to take it out of the fridge an hour or two before I eat so it’s not quite as cold). Enter the Israeli couscous melee!
But first, why kick the microwave? There are many ongoing studies on what happens to food and the plastic containers we often heat our food in. Just google it and a ton of articles will come up about changes in the structure of food and liquids as well as dangerous off-gassing from plastic food storage containers. Scary. On the anecdotal side from my own life two things really did it for me. 1) why doesn’t the microwave burn food? When you cook conventionally the food will burn. What is the microwave doing in there? it just heats up the water molecules in your food till it bursts or turns into sludge. Yum. 2) have you ever zapped anything with cheese in it or on top? At first it seems melty and then slowly cools and congeals into this strange not-cheese that’s impossible to clean off your teeth and the container you heated it in. Count me out.
I started this journey of kicking my microwave habit with this loaded couscous salad because I’m not a huge cold sandwich or roughage (lettuce/spinach) based salads – I’m always unsatisfied. So I was inspired by the Israeli Couscous Salad from Jimbo’s natural grocery and this is what I came up with!
Israeli Couscous Melee
1 box Israeli couscous, prepared using veggie stock
1 small can sliced olives
1/2 jar artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 jar sundried tomatoes, chopped
1-2 roasted bell peppers, chopped
1/4 red onion, diced
2 handfuls spinach
Feta to taste
Salt/pepper to taste
1) prepare couscous according to the box using veg stock instead of water or a 4:1 ratio of veg stock to water
2) while that is working, dump the rest of the ingredients, except salt/pepper, into a bowl
3) let the couscous cool, then add to the bowl and combine, taste, finish with salt and pepper
4) enjoy now or pack away for lunches 🙂
Please, take this recipe and run with it to your hearts taste buds! Next time I might ditch the sundried tomatoes, double the roasted peppers, and add fresh cucumbers the day I plan to eat it. Anyway, hopefully you can use this to stave off the microwave at least one day a week.
In microwave-free food and fun, stay hungry 🙂