Monday, October 23, 2017

Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms

Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms
You have probably seen the video of Deshaun Watson giving his game check to 3 workers in the Houston Texans’ cafeteria who lost much in Hurricane Harvey.  At age 22, he is the starting QB.  His is the top-selling rookie jersey.  But he didn’t win his first trip to the college national championship.  He didn’t win the Heisman Trophy (the first time or the second time that he was nominated).  He wasn’t drafted first to the NFL.  During an interview with Brad Sham at the Dallas Habitat for Humanity Dream Builders event, he didn’t seem to care.  He was focused on the future and what he could accomplish.  He was grateful for his past – his Habitat for Humanity home, his coaches who mentored and pushed him, his mom, his college degree that he earned in 3 years.  In this world where it seems like the goal is to be first, the best, the brightest, to receive the gold star, the blue ribbon, the trophy, I appreciate the humility of a young man who takes his “losses” in stride, uses them as motivation for his next objective, demonstrates perseverance and resilience, remembers where he came from, and considers he has a larger purpose in life than just football yet positively utilizes his platform to make an impact.

Even old people like me can have “firsts.”  At this dinner, they were serving steak – a big, beautiful, juicy piece of red meat, except that I’ve stopped eating red meat for health reasons.  It’s such a bummer.  Some of my favorite recipes are beef: beef tenderloin sandwiches, prime rib and French dips, carne asada.  I asked for a vegetarian meal.  Hello?  That’s funny.  Me?  David, yes.  Me, no.  On the plate was this really good Israeli couscous with mushrooms.  I had to find a recipe and recreate it at home.  Ruth Reichl’s was my favorite.  Travis preferred this variation.  Either way, enjoy your first!

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as porcini, morels, cremini, and stemmed shiitakes, trimmed if necessary and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/4 cups (12 ounces) Israeli couscous

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, soy sauce, and sugar and cook, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off has evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook couscous in a 5-quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt) until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Add couscous to mushroom mixture, along with parsley and remaining 1 tablespoon butter, tossing to combine. Season with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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