Greek Lemon and Feta Couscous

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A few weeks ago Near East asked me if I’d like to be a part of their Couscous for a Cause dinner campaign, an effort to raise awareness of hunger in Washington state. By hosting a Near East sponsored dinner party, the company would donate 250 boxes of couscous to Northwest Harvest, Washington’s hunger relief agency.

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Of course I did.

I am always behind a heartened cause.

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Now, I’m not very brand loyal when it comes to food. In most cases I find generics, store brands and the like, to suit my tastes just as well as the big labels. Racking my brain now for ones I swear by, only a handful of brands come to mind: Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Heinz ketchup, Bonne Maman raspberry preserves, and then, Near East. The thing is, my mother has been buying the line for years. Different flavors, different pilafs, but always this brand. It’s nostalgic to me in the same way Drake’s Ring Dings and Yodels are. The best kind of taste memory.

Maybe you buy it already. Maybe you love it too. Maybe you’re loyal to another grain. Maybe you want me to stop starting sentences with the same ‘m’ word*.

*Apologies.

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A dinner party was planned.

Seattle is just starting to dry off and freshen up, so it seemed only appropriate to eat outside on the roof deck. More appropriate than, say, when I decided to try Thanksgiving outside. Daniel, get over it.

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I marinated beef sirloin in an herby, lemon olive oil, then grilled it to a hot pink center, sliced it thinly, and served it over a wildly flavorful Greek couscous salad with feta, fresh lemon, zucchini, and parsley. On the side, grilled sweet red onions, zucchini, and summer squash.

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We wined, we dined, we laughed. We listened as Daniel shared anecdotes about me and my penchant for sitting on counter tops, tucking my sweatshirt into my pajama bottoms, and using my sleeve as a cozy for a pint of ice cream.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

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But the meal.

The steak was juicy and tender. Charred and crusted from the open flames of the grill, with the rosiest, most satiny middles. Marinating is the only way to go.

The couscous was the best part. I began with Near East couscous, which practically cooked and fluffed itself in five minutes, and then added fresh lemon juice and zest, a heavy palmful of minced parsley and scallions, and let it chill in the fridge for the flavors to blend.

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For the first time in a while (fib: ever), I laid out a tablecloth: beachy white, with bright Mediterranean linen napkins. I wrapped each in a shiny silver napkin ring that my mother sent me from Crate and Barrel.

This dinner was a joy. Thanks to Near East for sending me a couscous care package, and thanks for allowing me to buy local, grass-fed beef and fresh organic produce to celebrate with my nearest and dearest. Food means so much to me, and I know, to you, too.

 

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Greek Lemon and Feta Couscous

Yield: 6 Servings

Calories per serving: 129

Fat per serving: 7g

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 box Near East Original Couscous
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini (or cucumber, if zucchini is unavailable)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring the chicken broth and olive oil to a boil in a medium pot. Add the couscous. Stir, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the couscous to absorb the broth and then cool slightly.
  2. Fluff with a fork, let stand for 5 minutes to cool, then toss the couscous with remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

Nutrition Information: Calories 129, Fat 7g, Carb 14g, Fiber 1g, Sugars 1g, Protein 4g

http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/05/08/near-east-couscous-for-a-cause-dinner/

*I received free Near East products in conjunction with this blog post. Near East did not, however, influence my opinions and review.

 

Comments

  1. Johnny says

    The cause was a good one and the dinner looked fantastic! Just the kind of meal we love to eat. By the way finally made your choc. chip cookies and they were,as reported, chewy and gooey! :) Have a wonderful day!

  2. says

    This looks lovely Andrea! Isn’t it funny how all the good things in life are referred to as ‘she’? Like when guys look at boats, barbeques, or whatever, and go “She’s a beauty!”. Same goes for couscous!! :)

  3. says

    Love Near East rice and couscous…my mother always made the pilaf when I was younger alongside her ridiculously good roast chicken.

    Your meal looks fantastic! Especially for this time of year. It’s a weekend on a plate. :)

  4. says

    Near East’s couscous with pine nuts is one of my most favorite foods in the world! Add some sun dried tomatoes and feta and it’s so freaking delicious.

  5. says

    Yum, I haven’t had couscous in way too long. And all I want to do is dine al fresco these days. It was just a little bit too chilly over the weekend or else you better bet I would’ve eaten all my meals outside!

  6. says

    Couscous is one of my favorite foods. So much, in fact, that I wrote an ode to couscous last year. Oh yes I did.

    Also, I am glad you are loyal to Heinz ketchup. That makes the Pittsburgh girl in me very, very happy. And it also increases the chances of me proposing within a month 10 times higher

  7. Sarah says

    This couscous is fantastic (and so easy!). I love that you used chicken broth instead of water to cook it. It definitely makes the meal heartier.

    Thanks for this recipe. So good, so simple, so fast! *Was that a few too many s’s? [;

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