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Girls’ Night Dinner & A Selection of Music

March 15, 2011

Well, its spring break for me, which means no class and an extremely full to-do list. I’m hoping for lots of productivity as its about to be crunch time as we approach review boards. Review boards might be the most terrifying things that will occur in the month of April. But we breathe, and we carry on and things will work out.

As it is spring break, I am also affording myself some expansive relaxing time. Fortunately for me, cooking falls under the relaxing category; so we will eat well in this, the last spring break of my college career *yay!*. Anyways, last night my sister came over for dinner and a One Tree Hill marathon (OTH is our longstanding guilty pleasure, and a perfect excuse for girls night). On the menu: Smoked Pork Butt, Couscous Salad, Sautéed Asparagus and Irish Soda Bread (and some leftover birthday cake form the freezer). Below I am posting recipes for the Couscous and Asparagus. The Pork Butt came from the freezer (its part of the giant one that Mom sent back with me after Christmas, it also appeared in the New Years post). And yes, my freezer is a magical Mary Poppin’s treasure trove of tasty food; I knew you were all wondering. And the Recipe for the Irish Soda Bread will be posted soon.

Couscous Salad:

1 ¼ cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend Israeli Couscous

1 ¾ cup water

½ white onion, chopped

1 bell paper, chopped

4 carrots, chopped/shredded (about 2 cups)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp honey

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp salt


In a medium pot, bring water to boil and add couscous, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, chop onion, pepper and carrots. Once the couscous is done remove it from the stove but leave it in the pot and mix in the chopped vegetables and spices. This allows the vegetables to soften a little but keeps them a little crunchy. Now you can either cover the pot or transfer the salad to a serving dish or Tupperware and place it in the fridge. Serve Cold.

* You could use plain Israeli couscous, the Trader Joe’s does not have any spices in it, it is just a mix of couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo and red quinoa (though it is mostly couscous)

Sautéed Asparagus:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

½ onion, chopped

1 lbs asparagus, chopped into thirds

2 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce (optional)

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat; add butter, onion and asparagus. When butter is melted and asparagus begins to soften, add Sriracha and spices. Cover (I just put a dinner plate over the vegetables since I don’t have a top to my pan) and turn to low for 10 minutes, this allows the asparagus to cook and steam a little bit and the onions should caramelize.

(post-dinner bonding, a rare sighting in my house)

Dinner success!! We even discovered some great new music- another reason why OTH is actually a beneficial guilty pleasure; after, of course, the excuse to eat an entire bag of break and bake cookie dough: Olin and the Moon. They’re great. I must say that OTH is the source of probably half of the music that currently listen to. It is really great that the show sort of doubles as a debut stage for many up-and-coming music artists. And since we are on that topic, here is the current kitchen play list:

1. Royal Blue- Cold War Kids

2. Orange Blossoms – JJ Grey and Mofro

3. Last Song- Olin and the Moon

4. Walking Far From Home- Iron and Wine

5. Cameras- Matt &Kim

6. The Cave- Mumford and Sons

7.  Skeleton Key- Margot and the Nuclear So And Sos

8. This is The New Year- Ian Axel

9. Whatever Gets You By- The Featurs

10. Almost Everything- Wakey Wakey

I digress, and now back to dinner. I think my favorite part was the couscous salad. The cinnamon is an excellent flavor, almost sweet, which worked well as a side to the smoked pork. I borrowed the idea from a rather delicious tortellini pasta salad that my roommate makes a lot. I also enjoy the equal parts vegetables to grains once the salad is mixed. I chopped the carrots in the food processor, so they added bulk to the couscous, while the peppers and onions added a little crunch to the salad. Plus, the extra bright happy colors are great for spring time! The asparagus were also pretty tasty. I think next time I will add more Sriracha, because it’s a flavor I really enjoy (basically anything hot sauce is always tasty I suppose). I will definitely be making both of these again.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2011 6:58 am

    I love those sauteed asparagus, looks so yummy!

  2. March 20, 2011 8:31 pm

    Looks very delicious:) I never had couscous with asparagus, but sounds like a nice combination!:)

  3. marshall permalink
    March 28, 2011 8:01 pm

    aww… this blog is amazing! Great food may have me hooked as much or more than music! Keep it all, yall. xo


  1. Girls’ Night Dinner & A Selection of Music « The Cooking Channel

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