Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mission Cookbook: Couscous Stuffed Peppers

As many do, I have quite a few cookbooks and cooking magazines that I never quite get around to trying recipes out of. Sure, I cook and create (I have made a few recipes of my own) but it's rare that I crack open a cookbook and make the wonderful dishes inside.

 My Cookbook Collection

I decided recently that I would begin to change that trend and start making things out of my cookbooks. I also made the decision that to keep me motivated, I would make this a regular feature on my blog. I'm calling it...


I know, it's very creative. If you've got a better idea - I'm open to it; just leave it in the comments. I may use it, you never know... especially if it's more creative than that.

The basic idea for this feature will be that each week Steve will pick a cookbook (he asked if he could when I told him about this) and then from there I will pick a recipe to make. When I post about it, to respect the authors/publishers of the cookbook I will NOT be posting the recipe itself; instead I will post the main ingredients, our thoughts on the recipe, any modifications if I were to make it again, and a link to the book (just incase you want to buy it yourself or find it at your local library).

Anyhow, for my first recipe I picked Couscous Stuffed Peppers from the Mediterranean: Food of the Sun cookbook that I got in the Borders bargain bin a couple of years ago. This was the first recipe I've made from it, and it was pretty tasty. The main ingredients were sweet red peppers, couscous, onions, and raisins.

This was the first time I had ever made stuffed peppers of any kind (Steve is not a fan of the traditional American stuffed peppers that have ground meat, rice, and tomato sauce) so I was excited for the experience. The entire process to cook them took about an hour (30-40 minutes prep, 20-25 minutes to cook). There were a couple of things that I did differently from the recipe:
  • I eliminated the 1 tsp of olive oil that it called for. I didn't think it would make a huge taste difference in the small amount across the large portion of filling that it called for - I was right.
  • After the 20 minutes baking until tender that the book called for on the recipe, I turned my oven to "Broil" for 1 minute to create the tasty red-pepper charring that I enjoy and that it showed in the picture.
I served the peppers with a small side salad of romaine lettuce, raisins, Texas Toast croutons and balsamic vinaigrette. When I entered the recipe into Livestrong to get our calorie output, each pepper only contained 182 calories - and they were pretty filling, especially with the small salad on the side. For a nerdy cute touch, I served it with a beverage of seltzer and lime slices and made sure to add the mint leave garnish that the recipe suggested.

If I were to make this again, I think I would add a little bit of basil, maybe a dash of cinnamon, and a bit of feta cheese. The couscous stuffing was good, but felt like it was missing something more that even the teaspoon of olive oil wouldn't have replaced. Overall though, I liked using the sweet red pepper as the one to stuff. It added a wonderful flavor that the green bell peppers used in traditional American stuffed peppers just don't have. The husband litmus test was passed, he ate it all and we'll be saving the other 4 peppers for our lunches this week.


Laura Haven said...

mmmm sounds good! Love your cookbook idea! I haven't put up a shelf in my kitchen yet for my cookbooks so I tend to forget about them- thanks for inspiring me to get them back out! :)

kat said...

What a neat and yummy idea :). Kinda like Julie from Julie & Julia. I never saw the movie but read the book and thought about doing something similar. Can't wait to see all the things you'll be pampering Steve with :) said...

Awesome pictures and description!! Thank you!