Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aztec Couscous Salad

I gravitate towards the unglamorous.

Exhibit A:
  • I dream about driving across North Dakota. I might be the only person in America who has this on his bucket list.
Exhibit B:

  • If I had a choice between being Paul Giamatti or Brad Pitt, I would be Mr. Giamatti. I'd rather be talented, versatile, and artful than have my picture taped in the lockers of high school girls. Mr. Pitt is talented and an artist, but he has to deal with the baggage of being glamorous.
Exhibit C:
  • I like my coffee black.
My cooking lately has been very unglamorous.

I've been cooking a lot with whole grains, the Paul Giamatti of American cuisine. I'm cooking with whole grains to add another healthy element to my cooking, but I'm also doing it because it's fun. I like getting outside my comfort zone and learning something new. When I stand in front of the bulk grain bins at my local market, I experience the same giddiness I feel at a library or at the start of a road trip. There's great energy in the possibilities.

Today I'm sharing a recipe that provided me with a safe, tasty introduction to cooking with whole grains. It's a recipe from Whole Grains for Busy People by Laura Sass.

Aztec Couscous Salad

(Would the Aztecs eat couscous? WWAE? What would Aztecs eat? )


  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice


  1. Defrost the corn, and then slightly heat it in the microwave oven.

  2. Place the couscous in a heavy saucepan. Use a wooden spoon to stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Continue stirring until the couscous are thoroughly coated with oil. Add the salt, cumin, garlic and corn.

  3. Stir in 1 1/2 cups boiling water into the couscous. Cover and let sit off heat for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

  4. While the couscous is steeping, combine the beans, green onions, cilantro, roasted red pepper, and jalapeno in a large bowl. Toss he couscous mixture, the remaining olive oil, and lime juice. Season with salt, if needed.

"unglamorously" yours,

PS. . . Despite my allegiance to the unglamorous, it would be cool to be Johnny Depp.


High Plains Drifters said...

Brad Pitt might get the girls, but Paul Giamatti gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame for free. No brainer in my book.

muddywaters said...

Yes, but I think it would get old hearing about the whole Pete Rose thing.

Jenni said...

I've dreamed about driving across and photographing North Dakota (and other desolate places) since long before I read this article in National Geographic:
That article only convinced me further that it was not a crazy dream.

Brad Pitt is too damned pretty. He does seem to be getting a little deeper and more interesting with age, but he's still just a pretty boy to me. Paul Giamatti is an incredible actor. (I don't get the baseball references, though.) Johnny Depp has got the looks and the talent, but what kind of person is he? I just get the sense that Paul Giamatti is a nice guy, but I could be wrong.

Cream and sugar in my coffee, please. Sometimes a little something extra--cocoa, cinnamon, rum, or even a little Jack--but always sweet with cream. I'm back home now, and I'm looking forward to trying this recipe as well as the quinoa.

muddywaters said...

I'll need to browse the North Dakota article. North Dakota is booming right now with gas and oil wells. I guess that there is a shortage of housing and labor.

Paul's dad is Bart Giamatti who was Major League Baseball Commissioner who banned Pete Rose from baseball.

I love Paul Giamatti in the HBO mini-series John Adams. I also love his role in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Duets.

High Plains Drifters said...

speaking of whole wheat: