Has this happened to you? Get a call to an impromptu get-together with the fateful add-on: “Please bring a dish to share.”
Phone rang Monday with invite for neighborhood Christmas party on the next evening. Should be plenty of time to pack up some of the Christmas cookies already baked. But…the cookies were already packed for family giving, sweets would predominate; what could I make that didn’t require a trip to the grocery store and wouldn’t take long. Need to explain here that food shopping (other than milk, bread and coke) requires a 40 minute round trip; this is Minnesota and it has been snowing every day so roads are iffy.
When I woke up the next morning, the solution appeared–as it often does after ‘sleeping on it’. FRUIT
Surveyed existing supply and it wasn’t pretty; everything was on it’s last legs of ‘freshness’. The cupboard yielded a box of couscous and a brand new bottle of my favorite dressing, Briannas Ginger Mandarin Dressing. I was saved–no trip to the store and wouldn’t take long to whip up.
The Clementine oranges were in great shape, AND, they are so easy to peel. I left the membrane (no time to segment) but cut in half to release juice/flavor. Contrary to it’s exterior condition, the banana was actually perfect. The apple was borderline but still sorta crisp. The grapes were really sad but managed to pick-and-choose enough. No squash in this recipe–it just hangs out in the fruit tray.
Prepared the plain couscous according to directions but substituted orange juice for the water per box suggestion. Popped it in the freezer to quickly cool and stirred frequently to prevent clumping. Dressed couscous to taste. The orange juice cooking water really added a lot of flavor so just used a couple of tablespoons dressing. Now that I think of it, could have probably used more orange juice (instead of dressing) to coat couscous–or olive oil, balsamic vinegar, whatever is available that suits your taste buds.
Toss in the cut-up fruit; sprinkle with slivered almonds and it’s done!
Couscous Note: (Koose-Koose) is tiny grains of pasta that should be in every pantry. It is so quick to make–just heat liquid, pour over couscous, wait for liquid to be absorbed, fluff. Also good with veggies–cooked or raw. Check out the many different flavors as makes a great side dish with meats.
Almond Note: these just happened to be flavored with salt and pepper so added crunch and slight peppery tang. The almonds (or any preferred nut/crunch) were served on the side as knew one of the neighbors did not like nuts, plus, what else would go in that small compartment on the serving dish. “Necessity is the Mother of Invention!”
As anticipated, lots of cookies and candies, so the fruit was a good menu contrast both in flavor, color and texture. Everyone went back for seconds.
Recipe: A Dish to Share
1 box plain couscous
Briannas Ginger Mandarin Dressing/OJ/olive oil/balsamic vinegar/you choose
Fruit: approximately 2 cups of cut up fruit; whatever is on hand, preferably colorful and contrasting textures
Prepare couscous according to box directions; add dressing of choice/to taste–start with 1/4 c; cool.
Cut up fruit; toss with couscous; adjust taste.
Sprinkle with almonds/crunch or serve on-the-side
Prep Time: 30 minutes to cut/peel fruit, prepare couscous, combine ingredients
Cooking Time: 2-3 minutes to bring water to boil for couscous
- Need a name other than Neucarol’s Dish to Share. Suggestions requested.
- Comment on FB page. Winner gets a box of couscous.
Look forward to reports on your versions of the Dish to Share.
Merry Christmas all.