Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus & Brown Rice (in my case, Couscous)

I'm really going to make an effort to be somewhat Devon-like and share some of the tasty recipes I try. I cook a LOT at home. I would say I probably eat dinner out only 1 or 2 nights a week, I eat lunch at home just about every day, and of course, I have breakfast at home every day. Ever since I moved to Santa Rosa and really have my own kitchen (I had a shared household in Berkeley), I find the 'task' of cooking to be such an enjoyable experience. I try new recipes all the time, rarely going back to ones I've already cooked before. There are SO MANY recipes out there, who needs to go back to ones you've already made?

Unless, of course, they happen to be favorites. Then I DEFINITELY go back for more.

It's so awesome when you can sit down to an amazing meal you just cooked up, pair with an excellent wine and think "wow...this is better than going out." That doesn't ALWAYS happen, of course, but I would say I am much more often very happy with what I created than not.

My intent on sharing all of this, then, is that I pick out what the good, quick, somewhat-easy recipes are so you don't have to go try the not-so-good ones.

Last night I finally was able to make something I've been wanting to try for a long time now. I printed the recipe from 101 (a fantastic website for vegetarian recipes - I'm not a vegetarian, but I LOVE veggies) last year and then it sat in my recipe folder, completely neglected. I was going to make it on Monday but I forgot to pick up Tahini sauce at the store so I nixed it. On the way back from yoga yesterday evening I was determined to use the delicious asparagus I had picked up over the weekend, and stopped at the store to pick my sauce.

Below is the recipe. I was hungry after yoga and didn't want to spend the time making brown rice, nor did I have any frozen brown rice as she suggests. Instead, I used whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe's. The other thing I modified was that I also had some really great-tasting green beans, so threw those into the mix as well.

I'm kind of slow with recipes the first time I make them, so this did not take me 10 minutes. I would say it took me more like 30, but just because I'm very methodical and it takes TIME to zest lemons!!

As for how it turned out, I thought it was absolutely DELICIOUS. I LOVED the Tahini dressing. I could've eaten that by itself. I think the couscous went really well with the asparagus and green beans, and the onions are a great addition both for texture and flavor.

I made a Greek salad to go with - sliced up come cucumber, on-the-vine tomato, Kalamata olives, sprinkled some Feta, pepper and drizzled some olive oil and I was set!

I ended up pairing it with a Rosé wine from Blair Estate that I had open in the fridge; it was an okay pairing but I think a great Dry Riesling or a Viognier would go really well with this recipe.


Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus & Brown Rice
From 101

This picture is from the website - I forgot to take a picture of mine. :)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
3 cups pre-cooked brown rice
1 cup almond slivers, toasted
fine grain sea salt

Tahini Dressing:
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup tahini
zest of one lemon
scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

If you're using frozen rice (did I just say that?), heat it on its own in a pot or per package instructions.

Make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.

Add a couple glugs of olive oil (roughly 3 tablespoons) to a big skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil around to coat the pan, then add the chickpeas and sprinkling of salt. Let the beans saute there for a couple minutes (I like to try to get some crusty color on them). Be careful, they seem to hiss and pop more then other beans over high heat. Add the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch or two of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam - just until the asparagus brightens and softens up just a bit. Uncover and stir in the rice and almond slivers, reserving a few almonds for garnish. Taste and add more salt if needed (likely). Serve family-style in a big bowl drizzled with a few tablespoons of the tahini dressing, let each person add more dressing to their tastes.

Serves 4-6.


Rainmaker said...

Sounds good...

The 101Cookbooks blog does indeed rock! I've been following it for a long time and like while you not a vegetarian - it does have a ton of great veggie recipies on it.

Kelly said...

hey, you know megan dibiase?

Anonymous said...

I am now starving! Thanks for sharing this....I am try it out.