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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Couscous Salad

Many years ago we did a mother/daughter evening at Symphony on the Prairie.  We rented one of the tables up front so we'd have ringside seats - and so the mom's wouldn't have to schlep a folding chair in or sit on the ground.  Everyone pitched in.  I made pork tenderloin with scallion mustard sauce and a couscous salad.  Everyone raved about the salad and wanted to know where the recipe came from.  It came from my imagination.  What is really easy, can be served cold, is refreshing and is a starch?  Potato salad and macaroni salad sounded so pedestrian.  I'd just discovered couscous and wanted to experiment.  Over the years I've changed the recipe a bit.  Back then I just used a box of garlic couscous, a cucumber and some  feta cheese.  Now, I'm known to throw lots of different things in.  This particular version is one I made last week with some of the leftover greek vegetable salad I'd made with the golden cherry tomatoes from the CSA.  We liked it so well that I decided to take it to this evening's Symphony on the Prairie. 

Now, I realize I keep chatting about Symphony on the Prairie and I've not begun to describe it.  Conner Prairie is a living history museum with several ages represented.  It's original focus was 1816. 

Since then, they've added a Lenapi Indian (aka: Delaware Indians) camp, a farm and a tethered hot air balloon. Just as a side note - some day I"m going to make the grape noodles I had once in the Lenapi camp.  We happened to be there a day when they were showcasing cooking as it would have been done way back when.  I actually found the recipe in one of the Bear Wallow cookbooks.  You know the cookbooks that they sell in most of the living history museums?  The little paper ones that are pretty topic specific?  Well, some friends own that company so I was able to call Linda and figure out where the recipe was...  Ok, back to Conner Prairie.  Every summer they have what they call Symphony on the Prairie.  It's put on in a band shell that's erected on the shores of the river. 

There are some tables for rent down in front but most of us bring coolers, folding chairs, blankets, candles, bottles of wine, folding tables...  Folks look like they're moving in when they start hauling their stuff in!!  The Boy Scouts have a great gig taking folks to the prairie using their wagons.  There's a great variety in the entertainment.  A few weeks ago they had three fellows who performed country and bluegrass and who really needed lessons in our opinion.  We left at intermission muttering about the "boiling cat" music.  That was the worst.  Most, though are very good and we don't want the music to end.  Saturday night was like that.  It was Beatles night and it was PACKED.  Conner Prairie is located about 134th and Allisonville just north of Indy.  We normally have a 20 minute trip to get there.  Saturday was a different story.  We were calling back and forth to the friends we were meeting.  Some were in traffic on Allisonville for 90 minutes.  Needless to say, we took an alternate route as soon as possible and approached Conner Prairie from the north.  Traffic was still bad but we figured we cut off 30-45 minutes.  Leaving was just as entertaining.  45 minutes from our parking space to the gate of the museum.  But, it was totally worth it!

Bill danced and danced and danced - and in between took care of opening a bottle or two of wine. 

We all sang along. 

And, since we were on one of the walkways, we enjoyed watching all the folks walking to and fro and singing as they went.  Dinner was wonderful.  I brought some mushroom pesto,

another one that won't load the right way...

the spinach blueberry salad and the couscous salad.  Doris brought ratatouille

and pork tenderloin stuffed with garlic. 

Bill brought wine.  Jeffrey coveted our wine glass stakes.  A great time was had by all!

Couscous Salad

1 c dry couscous
1 cucumber, diced (peel if the peeling is bitter)
1-2 c cherry tomatoes, halved or whole
2-3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
handful fresh basil, coarsely chopped
olive oil
red wine vinegar

Cook the couscous.  Allow it to cool.  Put the cucumber, cherry tomatoes and feta in a large bowl. 

Add the couscous, making sure to break up any clumps.  Toss to combine.  I've found here that hands work better than spoons.  Add the basil.  Then, add olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste.  You can also add a small zucchini (diced) if you'd like. 

1 comment:

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a fun evening! What a pity that the "country and bluegrass" didn't turn out well...I would love the Beatles night too!