Mr. T frequently gets asked, after a dinner at our place, if he eats like that everynight. Generally, he’ll gleefully say yes, just to the awed / horrified / jealous reactions that flit across our guests’ faces. I’ll be the first to tell you, however, that this isn’t QUITE the case. I’d wager too that Joe’s not always to be found noshing on expertly-crafted dishes when he doesn’t have guests to entertain. That said, I make dinner most nights and–particularly on a weeknight–it’s going to be pasta, or a stirfry, or some combination of the basic food groups that come together into a tasty and balanced, if somewhat random, whole.
This little dish of cous cous, tomatoes, and beans zipped up with a tasty salsa verde, then, is a perfect example of the standard <grain> with <vegetables> and <protein> I frequently prepare for weeknight suppers. Sometimes they stay separate in the traditional “meat & two veg”, but more often than not they’re mixed together into a salad or stacked on top of each other in a chirashi zushi or bimbimbap-like pile. (This will come as no surprise to college friends who were very used to me wandering forlornly around the cafeteria looking for things that wouldn’t make me sick and mixing them all together in a salad bowl–regardless of their inherent saladity…)
Of course, this is really more about the basic formula and one’s own tastes. I could have used quinoa instead of cous cous had I not exhausted my supply and my patience with the quinoa investigation. I do need to restock… I like to a 1.5 to 1 other stuff to grain ratio by cooked volume, particularly if the other stuff is mostly vegetables. It’s always surprising to me how much grains expand on cooking and this helps balance everything out. In this slightly South-of-the-border iteration, I cooked the couscous with a little garlic and cumin, stirred in a can of black beans that had been drained and rinsed, added two diced tomatoes and used that mixture as a bed for sliced avocados and a fried (or poached–poach pods are the awesome) egg or so, all brought to life with the aforementioned salsa verde and a sprinkling of cilantro. Quick, tasty, healthy: a daily dish for this fancy fruit.