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Hi, welcome to our kitchen I lived in France many, many years ago. I lived in Paris and I fell in love with couscous when I lived there they have so much incredible Moroccan food there.
So couscous has become a staple in our world and I ate so much of it there I just could not leave it behind. So I have a really luscious, wonderful gratin which ever you want to call it to share with you it’s basically couscous, which actually I can see my chicken broth. I’ve got a couple of cups of chicken broth going right here with a few tablespoons of butter boiling and I’m going to take my couscous, I’ve got about a cup and a half of couscous I’m going to dump in.
You will not believe how unbelievably simple it is to make couscous if this is not part of your current orbital it would be a great, great thing to include because all I do is put that in and them I throw the top back on and in five to seven minutes to just flop with the fork that is so simple.
So that’s why I love this because it’s so no-brainer. Then the cool thing about this crouton that I’m going to make is I will cut up all kinds of wonderful vegetables and you can use whatever vegetables you can find at the farmers market or the grocery store or wherever you do all your shopping.
And if it’s summer you got all those fresh, fresh tomatoes that is just so great. And I will put the couscous down and I will lay the vegetables over the top in beautiful concentric circles, put some lusciousness on the top and we’ll have a complete meal, you know, you have had to serve anything with it and if you want to this is an awesome side dish.
So, right now my couscous is basically doing it’s thing just sitting there absorbing all of the water and that little bit of butter. I also started a little while ago I’ve got gorgeous onions that I’ve caramelized and I’ve got a couple of tablespoons of garlic in there, you know, a girl just cannot cook without garlic around here. I like to cook with garlic because I might run upstairs I smell it all wafting up the stairs it’s just one of those smells that I love cooking in our house.
Then I’m just going to right now cut up my tomatoes and my eggplant, now in our market today we did now have a little skinny eggplant, I love those wonderful little Japanese eggplants but that’s okay I got this one, so you know what like I always say to you guys. Use what you can find, do not panic when you read a recipe and you run to the market to get the what you need and they do not have it you know, don’t feel like “Well now that was pit shot, I cant do it anymore”. Just improvise and the more you learn to improvise the more comfortable you will feel cooking, the more comfortable you will feel being able to make substitutions.
You know it happens to everybody so don’t feel like you’re the only one that it happens to because believe me there are plenty of times that I create a recipe or I find some amazing recipe that I want to cook. I get to the grocery store and you know of course they don’t have half of the things I want specifically because I’m probably you know sometimes shopping out of season.
You can see the vegetables I’m chopping I did the tomatoes at about a quarter of an inch, I’m doing eggplant add about a quarter of an inch. If you’ve got time and you want to, you can take eggplant and set them aside salt them a tiny little bit on a paper towel. And they will sort of weep water and that’s kind of a nice thing to do with eggplants just get a little bit out of the water out of them. I like the small Japanese eggplants better because I just think they’re sweeter and they’re just prettier.
So I like to grow those in our garden too, so the eggplant I may just have too much here but that’s okay. And I also don’t like how big these circles are because I want this to be you know sort of smaller circles but anyway, it’s not a big deal. And then I’ve got a zucchini. Now if you wanted to this is also another great recipe that you can of course very easily substitute vegetables say for instance you are at the grocery store and they don’t have this things. Well you know you could easily throw some potatoes into this you know whatever it is, you could throw peppers into this if you want to.
Maybe you don’t like the vegetables I’m using and you just flat out and want to use something else. So you know do that, that’s what’s fun about this recipe is you can change it up a million different ways. What I do love about this recipe is it’s so beautiful. So right about now my couscous is probably about done and all I’m going to do is mix those two together and then flop it off lay to my pan. I’m going to show you a wonderful topping before I do that.
So basically I’ve got breadcrumbs, this are not breadcrumbs out of a can or whatever you call those tub things. This is really breadcrumbs that I bought of off loaf bread I cut it and I let it dry over night and them I whirl them around in the food processor. Do whatever you will I prefer them this way because I just think they're more texture in there, it’s just more delicious. So I’ve got my breadcrumbs, I’ve got about three quarter of cup of gruyere you know I love my gruyere cheese, I’ve got bacon I know I love bacon. It’s sort of like sneaks its way into just about every other thing I’m making. You don’t have to put bacon if you don’t want to.
And then, the smell of summer I’ve got thyme which is just look how beautiful it smells and it’s so pretty because it’s also creates a wonderful look and smell to the whole recipe. And then I’ve got about a quarter of a cup of olive oil. So I’m just going to mix that up, now this is so cool because it makes this perfect really savory, yummy, decadent topping. And everyone needs a little bit of decadence in every recipe. I’d rather eat it really well, oh, look how gorgeous that is. So you know, this is a wonderful topping and again this is another really fun place to play around, if you don’t have these ingredients you know put something else in it but you know this is gorgeous. And it’s the kind of—it smells so good.
So let me just check my couscous I’m guessing it’s probably done. So look I’m just going to show you, you can really tell the couscous is done because it’s basically flattened itself up that means it absorbed all the water and essentially at this point all I’m going to do is grab a fork and you can see how nicely it just flops. This is so great, I mean at this point you could just grate some cheese over and grab a spoon and go to town and have a little glass of wine. But it’s also you know, really so good, hang on I’m going to shut my timer off. It’s so good with some onions in it, so all I’m going to do is add these onions too it because this makes kind of this wonderful base.
When you buy the couscous too I just wanted to mention I prefer the small couscous and the kind that I’m using in this recipe is actually the quick cook couscous that’s why this all happened so quickly, visually while we we’re filming, so look how pretty this is, you know it’s basically it really does work better to flop it with fork it’s just heftier that way. So check this out, I’m going to, I want to oil my pan and I’m going to grab my oil. And I just want to put couple of tablespoons of oil in the pan. You know, you just can sort of eyeball that one, get it all over so you can see.
And then I’m going to—it’s a little hot, get my couscous in the bottom of the pan. Okay, and this pan, this is a pan I’ve had forever, I love it but if you have an oval you know Taint just use, you know, whatever you’ve got. If you’ve got like a pie pan or something like that, that’s just great too. You know, you’re going to get the same results this is just something I’ve had forever and I’ve used a million times over. And then here’s the fun and kind of easy creative part. You just basically make concentric circles, so you know, that’s all I do, is I sort of keep repeating.
So you can see here when I said to you that the eggplant would be nice if it was like a little bit smaller, you get where I’m going with that, right? So I don’t know if you guys have ever made anything like this but to us this is a really wonderful dinner. And then I’m just going to finish this up, I’ll put the topping on it and then we’ll pop it in the oven.
So I needed just a tiny bit more tomato and you know that it happened sometimes you know, when you’re in the middle of a recipe and you realized, “Oh, the tomatoes I bought are a little bit smaller, a little bigger” it just depends like in the summer when we grow beef steak tomatoes those things are so huge. So in that case I would probably only use like one tomato and you can see I’m even tucking this under just tinniest little bit.
So you can pack this really tightly if you want to, you know, you can show us all the creative flavor you’ve got. You can turn it into your thing. if you want to you can also do straight rows, you don’t have to do the circular thing and even have like a little bit extra zucchini left. So I’m just going to tuck a few little pieces in here and there.
So then that’s so pretty, isn’t I mean it’s such a beautiful thing to bring to the table. And then I’m going to take all of this goodness so remember there’s a fair amount of salt too in the cheese. So at this point you can salt it, I usually do because I tend to like a little bit more. But you know, put a little bit of salt on it and also you know, put some pepper because I think it’s always great to have some extra pepper on everything, it’s wonderful.
And I do also pour about a quarter of a cup of white wine or so, if wine is not your thing you could use like a little extra chicken broth, I just want to make sure this whole thing doesn’t dry out and when I cook it, when bake it mean. I put it in a 375 oven and I go for about 40 minutes you know sometimes it take a little bit longer it depends on how the vegetables are looking to me. I always want to make sure that the vegetables really look like they’re cooked especially the eggplant. There’s nothing worst to me than an uncooked eggplant. I just think it’s just not good tasting.
So this wonderfulness is just I sprinkle it all over the top and what it will do, it will melt in and I kind of like to you know, push some of it down in between the vegetables because you also don’t want to cover-up all that pretty that you just made. So you know, get a little bit of it down there and it well melt and become all this beautiful melted gruyere that will be so tasty and it will add this extra flavor that you truly are going to flip over.
I mean honest to God I could eat this breakfast, it’s so yummy. So there’s a last little bit isn’t this pretty so I’m going to throw this in a 375 oven like I said 40, 50 minutes and then we’ll taste a little bit together.
Our splendiferous couscous is just about done, I have been checking on it and it smells amazing. I mean so amazing, so like I said you guys you know for me this could be a whole meal. Well I kind of take that back since we have six people we always need a bunch of options but I’m going to grab it out of the oven and show you how beautiful it is I will tell you that I did put a little foil over the top. Isn’t that beautiful for a little while and you can see the cheese is beautifully melted and I also want to tell you that while it looks cooking a couple of times I would go over and just drizzle a little bit of oil on it. You know if that is something that you don’t want to do, just kind of take a peek at it you don’t want it to get too dry on top and like I said cover it with foil.
And that is fine, let me find a little something, so I just want you to see how absolutely beautiful this is served. So I’m just going to take a nice scoop, the wonderful thing about the vegetables, oh look how pretty that is, it’s like it’s my own version of a facial. And you know I don’t get those very often for little voice, facials I don’t remember having one of those. Look how very, very pretty this is and what I was just about to say before it got my facial. What’s great about this is that the vegetables to a very nice job along the couscous to stay moist.
Besides the fact that you know we pour a little olive oil on it and also we did our little white wine business in there so I’m just going to take a little scoop out of here. See if we like it, how many times have you guys seen me that I nearly burned my lips off? It’s all right, it’s very good. The couscous is fluffy and very tasty and the breadcrumbs you know how I told you to kind of put them down in between. Very, very delicious, so I do hope you try this. If couscous is new to your world I think you’re going to have a new favorite.