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Friday, April 29, 2011

Lunch Box: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Pictured: Cream cheese, Cucumber and Rocket
+ the Royal Wedding:

For those of us who didn't merit an invitation, but have been a fussy dribbling mess over the whole business for weeks, this post is for you (er, me too). I woke up at five thirty to get ready for work and brew a few cups of tea; which, is no small order at quarter of six o'clock. The real die hards got up even earlier, and even though I missed Catherine's (formerly Kate) grand automobile entrance, and the live coverage of the balcony kiss, I count the morning as a success. Where would we be without the Internet, I ask? It was a small consolation to know that I was not alone on this auspicious day, and an even greater consolation to have shared the morning with early rising friends over tea with cream and these traditional English cucumber sandwiches. For those of you who missed the great event, I've posted a highlight of links at the bottom of the page.

Once the glow and applause of the ceremony wore off everyone - a select few hundred - retired to an elegant royal luncheon while I clung to a germy hand rail in a train rattling through clouds of exhaust towards Friday morning at the office. All the kitsch and the hype could never have prepared me for the gentle elegance of the event: the beautiful femininity of the gown, the easy smiles and happy poise of the couple, the pageantry and subtle reminders of the union of tradition and a lustrous vibrant history - and the hates, my God, the hats! The hats alone would have been worth waking up for.

There were a number of commemorative efforts made well before the bells rang in Westminster, however. My personal favoritewas, in fact, the Royal Wedding donut distributed by Dunkin Donuts: a heart shaped donut, glazed and drizzled with chocolate and a romantic - if indiscriminate - red jelly filling. Call me conservative, but I hope no event in my life is ever commemorated with something as homely as a donut. The lack of a belly-button like hole and a "jelly" that, undoubtedly, squirts out after the first bite could not really make it worthy of commemorating royal nuptuals, could it? Perhaps not in the United Kingdom, but here in America it most certainly did. (For a more complete list of the edible honor guard check out the Eatocracy blog on cnn.com)

The British, for all their indulgent tea-time sweets, have a reserved and elegant palette when it comes to luncheons. I have no doubt that the Queen's post-ceremony lunch will be the embodiment of that elegance. So, for the peons who faced and eight hour work day instead carriages, parades and quail eggs this recipe for Cucumber Tea Sandwiches is quietly appropriate. The recipe itself comes from Waitrose Super Market (a British chain). The cool crisp cucumber pairs beautifully with the soft, sweet bread. A few sprigs of watercress (or rocket) add a lightly peppery flavor that blends perfectly with your Earl grey or English breakfast tea. Packing your lunch, even if it is just to go to work, does not have have to be a drab affair. After all, peanut butter and jelly is no way to celebrate a royal wedding.

When I was younger I loved to watch Mr. Bean, a character performed by Rowan Atkinson. (Of course, Rowan was in attendance at William and Catherine's wedding) I couldn't help but remember this skit "Making Sandwiches in the Park" when I was writing this post. It is grosely humorous in a subtle British way that is almost beyond my grasp. Almost. I about died when he put lettuce leaves in a sock and spun it around his head like a helicopter. In the end, Mr. Bean taught me everything I needed to know about a good, wholesome British sandwich. Educate yourselves before continuing.

Notes: I love tea sandwiches, but I never can never bring myself to use white bread. A classic tea sandwich would be served on white bread, but you can also use pumpernickel or wheat and still be on the right path. Make sure you use something fresh and steer clear of baguettes and anything with a crispy, chewy crust. If your bread is particularly fresh be sure to let your butter come to room temperature, otherwise you will tear the bread trying to spread it with butter. If you prefer, you can also cut these sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters or, for an even more elegant twist, thin the bread slightly by rolling it with a rolling pin and moderate pressure between two sheets of waxed paper.

Classic Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Recipe by Waitrose market, via cnn.com

3 1/2 tablespoons butter (goat's)
4 tablespoons chopped watercress or rocket (aka arugla)
8 slices sandwich bread
1/4 cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
cracked black pepper (optional)

1. Let the butter warm up on the counter 20-30 minutes. Or, give it a zap in the microwave, but don't melt it.
2. Wash and dry the cucumber, peeling it if desired. Slice 1/4 the cucumber into very thin rounds.
3. Stack two slices of bread one on top of the other. Using a serrated knife, cut down to remove the crusts completely. Butter both slices of the bread lightly.
4. Layer a few slices of cucumber on one slice of bread. Top with the chopped water cress or rocket, pepper and the second slice of bread. Repeat.
5. Cut on a diagonal to form triangles.

For a little more sustenance you can butter one slice of bread and spread room temperature cream cheese on the other side, topping with cucumber and water cress as listed above.

Links from the big day:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dean & Deluca Coconut Macaroons

w/ orange peel and cranberries + C0conut nests:

A few weeks ago I went to Georgetown - where I enjoyed the notoriously delicious "Goat cheese and Asiago" crepe - and happened upon the most beautiful macaroon display at Dean & Deluca's. I was enthralled by the tower made of tiers upon tiers of pastel colored french macaroons: lavender, vanilla, passion fruit, chocolate and mango (pictured). Alas, I ardently lamented my lack of photographic equipment. I wouldn't have been able to bring myself to actually take photos inside a D&Ds, of course. I would have been too worried the trays of ethereal confections would simply disappear in a cloud of vanilla scented smoke the moment I did. Around the corner there was a more homely display of apothecary jars, chocked full of coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. These were hardly as elegant, but equally as inspirational.

I bought a box and took them home to share. The coconut macaroon was dense, not overly moist and with beautiful crispy edges. One or two of them appeared a bit darker than I would have liked, but the insides were sweet and sticky enough I didn't much care in the end. I was not a fan of the white chocolate the macaroon was dipped in, but the tart and sweet flavor of the cranberries was perfect with the smooth, fatty coconut. The only thing that could have made them tastier would have been a little orange zest. I can't even begin to talk about the mango flavored French macaroons with their sensual vanilla butter cream - not here, not like this. They were almost too delightful to put into words.

So, time passed and I mused and mused about macaroons. I went home last weekend for Easter, and in addition to dying Easter eggs, getting a pedicure and consuming copious amounts of candy I managed to dig up my "ye ole standby" coconut macaroon recipe. I was pretty sure I could re-create the Dean & Deluca's coconut macaroons with only a little trouble, but I wanted to make them my own. So, I nixed the white chocolate (a blessing) and added a teaspoon or so of fresh orange zest. I also upped the amount of coconut and flour from the original recipe and added a little more almond extract as well, just to keep things lively. The results were, in a word, scrumptious. Sure, they lacked some of the elegance of the French macaroon, and they weren't filled with butter cream, but they were ready to eat in half an hour, and just as sweet and even more satisfying.

As the first pan was baking, I noticed something extraordinary through the open kitchen door. In the dew speckled grass there were perhaps a dozen Easter eggs scattered around the yard. Was it an Easter miracle?! Had the Easter bunny come to visit... ME! Upon closer inspection I realized it was just a show of good will on our neighbor's part; after all, their Easter egg hunt started at a robust 7:30 that morning right under my bedroom window. Despite a little broken sleep, I was thrilled and promptly crept out in my pajamas and scooped them up. I was so tickled in fact that I used the remaining macaroon batter to re-create a nostalgic childhood favorite: the jelly bean coconut nest. There was always one tucked in our baskets as children. My macaroon was, per the original, very nearly, sickeningly indulgent even without the chocolate. But, it was dreadfully simple and the unconventional flavors of the jelly beans (I used Jelly Belly) added an extra element of surprise. I only wish I had found the time to whip them up earlier this week so I could have given them to neighbors and friends.

Notes: The first time I laid eyes on a French macaroon I was enraptured. I have never made any out of shear, unadulterated fear. But, I feel comfortable enough with whipping out some coconut macaroons until I get my nerve up. According to wikipedia a macaroon (or macaron) is composed of egg whites, almond powder and sugar. However, industry names like David Lebovitz describe the macaroon as more of "the result of a technique, rather than following a mere recipe". Lebovitz provides a list of great links to learn more about that mysterious, beautiful confection on his website. For the humble, timid follower of the coconut macaroon I list my recipe for "D&D Macaroons" here. Enjoy!

D&D Macaroons
Variation from a "Pillsbury: Best Desserts" recipe

2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 (7 ounce) bag coconut
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly grease and flour a cookie sheet.
2. Whisk/Beat the egg whites until they are frothy and white. Add the sugar, flour, salt, almond extract, orange zest.
3. Add the coconut and cranberries and mix until thoroughly coated.
4. Drop the coconut mixture by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 13-17 minutes until lightly golden. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Coconut Nests:

1. Add two drops of green food coloring to the prepared macaroons, stirring until the dye is evenly distributed and the coconut is the desired shade of green.
2. Drop the macaroons by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet and bake as directed.
3. As soon as the macaroons come out of the oven, press 2-3 miniature jelly beans into the hot coconut, pressing gently to create a "nest".
4. Remove the nests from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.

Disclaimer: Better photos to follow shortly, I got my hands on a family member's Nikon this weekend so I'm at her mercy for the actual photos.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tibetan Style Chai Tea

+ SPUDS on TastyKitchen.com:

Did it rain where you were yesterday? It did here, and it poured.

I can't say I minded much, though. A rainy, sleepy Saturday was exactly what I needed. The Friday finale at work wasn't as bright and uplifting as I had hoped it would be. Responsibilities are piling up, as they seem to do in the government, with much grumbling and nit-picking while the clock ticks. I did some grumbling too, but it came in the form of despondent sighing and much cleaning of messy desk drawers instead of outright apathy. I wonder, does that make me more or less disgruntled than my co-workers?

Regardless, I didn't step out of the house once all Saturday. I even skipped stretch class and only got gussied up in my sweat pants and t-shirt because we had a visitor a little after lunchtime. It was the sort of Saturday when you watch an entire season of your favorite Showtime drama, order sushi for takeout (and have your very thoughtful boyfriend pick it up) and drink three or four cups of tea just because cradling something warm and aromatic is the perfect, if not picturesque, way to spend your cozy day off. It is also the type of Saturday a bandita like me spends trolling food blogs. I've been a closet Tasty-Kitchen follower for some time, but on Saturday I made it official. See that badge on the right-hand side of the page? Give that a click. SPUDS is very excited to, finally, be a part of it. We even think the Pioneer Woman herself gave our recipe a peek - if even if it was just to make sure we weren't posting any lewd advertisements instead of a delicious, easy cake recipe. But that counts, right?

Even before the weather changed - Friday was a beautiful, breezy sixty-something with sun - I had it in my mind to make this chai for the weekend. I got the recipe form a yoga instructor who, in turn, got it from a fellow yogini who begged it from a very zen and generous soul in the Himalayas. I'm awfully glad that they did. I have always been in love with chai - it is probably my favorite thing on the lunch buffet at Indian restaurants. The warm, milky sweetness and aromatic spices make it the perfect accompaniment to anything from a bad book review to a wedge of cake. I've wanted to make it at home since I started spending a fortune on watered down versions at cafes the country over. But, I've never found a recipe I quite liked or that didn't seem like it would cost a fortune to make. There is a trick to making good chai at home: not going broke on the ingredients.

In the past I have always been leery of "difficult" international recipes because of the pricey ingredients. After all, most chain grocery stores have limited stores of expensive exotic spices likes cardamom seeds. Take cinnamon sticks, for example. In our local Safeway a regular jar (5-6 sticks) was $5.99. But, if you go to your local Indian or Asian grocery you can buy double the product for about half the price. If you stop to think about it, this makes perfect sense. Chai tea, for example, is something every family makes. Therefor, any grocer with a savy business sense would keep these popular ingredients well-stocked and reasonably priced. Isn't it the same way with spaghetti sauce? And since most bigger cities have one or two International markets you're bound to find what you're looking for. So the next time you're trying your hand at making Miso or paella or even this chai tea (highly recommended) stop in at your local international market before heading to your normal grocer to pick up the more exotic items called for in your dish. Your wallet will be very glad you did.

Before I go off on a tangent about how delicious, and easy, this recipe is let me talk a moment about the ingredients. I used a Darjeeling tea; although, the recipe mentioned Orange Pekoe as an alternative. A cup of Darjeeling without any accompaniment might be a little too strong for most casual tea drinkers, but paired with the barely sweet milk and warm spice it provides the perfectly balanced tea flavor. Therefor, I highly recommend it. Dried spices like powdered ginger should not be substituted. For me, the fresh ginger is the real star of this chai because it provides a spiciness that is incomparable to the powdered version. Fresh ginger is sold, almost universally, in the produce section of your grocery store. You can peel the root or leave the peel on in which case I would wash it to remove any dirt. You can even freeze it if you're afraid you won't find a stir-fry or quick bread to use it in before it goes bad. But, once you start using it you really will have a hard time putting it down. Lastly, the milk. I used a skim milk because that is what we had available, but feel free to use a whole milk or even a soy milk if you're into that. Regardless of whether your version is non-fat, "skinny" or soy it beats the stuff in that green and white paper cup - you have my word on that.

Notes: This tea is so soothing and warming it is bound to dismiss the rigors of even the most vigorous of days at your desk. I reduced the amount of sugar used from the original recipe because I am not one for overly sweet tea. But, feel free to add a few teaspoons more if you like -the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup. Let the milk cool before storing in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Warm gently before enjoying.

Tibetan-Style Chai Tea pictured here with a Maple Snack cake. Also try Cinnamon Raisin Biscotti.

Tibetan-Style Chai Tea
A (slight) variation on a recipe from Lacy

5 cups water
3-4" piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into coins
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3 cinnamon sticks
4 Darjeeling tea bags
4 cups milk, warmed
1/4 cup sugar

1. Bring the water, ginger, cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks and tea bags to a boil in a large pot.
2. Reduce the temperature and let the mixture simmer for 7-10 minutes. The longer you let it simmer the stronger the tea flavor will be.
3. Warm the milk in the microwave, 30 seconds to one minute. Remove the tea bags from the pot.
4. Add the milk and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat up and bring the tea mixture to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat and let the chai tea simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain the spices out and serve warm.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lunch Box: Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

The post you thought you'd never see:

I wrote this post last week and I liked it so much that I have to post it, even though I've got a delicious salmon (salad) sandwich still on my lips and on my mind. It goes without saying that the shadowy threat of a possible government shut-down ignited fears as well as appetites last week. Even my candy jar had been all but wiped clean by lunch time. On my way to the Metro Thursday night I noticed a food truck, that usually clogs the courtyard at lunch time, was poised for sale at four-fifty in the afternoon. Since I was hungry, I slowed down just to catch a glimpse of the smiling vendor squeezing mustard onto a naked pink hot dog as his customer clawed through a basket of bagged chips and pretzels. I quickened my pace.

As a child I understood the magic that held a hot-dog together and gave it that remarkable texture. It never failed me. I always picked a hot dog when we cooked out, and cherished the cracked, charred surface slathered in mustard and onions or covered in coleslaw or, more traditionally, mustard, ketchup and relish. I even remember a fellow student exclaiming at lunch one day, "ew, you put boogers on your hot dog," in the fourth grade. That sort of killed the relish fetish for me for a good five or six years.

As I grew up I became less enchanted and more eerily aware of the hot dog and its place in society, the refrigerated section and my lower GI. My aversion to boiled hot dogs was already strong thanks to my Mother. I seem to be a minority, however, here in the states, and especially in the hungry working cities like the Nation's capital where food carts abound, drawing workers like flies. That wasn't quite the imagine I was hoping to conjure, but so be it. Still, I'm not surprised, really. Hot dogs are cheap, quick and easy to eat - either while driving or navigating your blackberry - and inherently satisfactory to the American psyche. College students and single young adults rely just as heavily on the hot dog as the rest of us at lunch time. But, that doesn't mean you have to settle for that insipid dog with the pert squeeze of mustard and not much else just for the sake of convenience.

A recent article in the Washington Post's "Express"showcased a variety of hot dog carts and diners in the Metro area. My own campus back out west had a local grease pit that had been around since the tertiary period, serving up heinous dogs, burgers and grilled cheese for dastardly cheap prices. I went once, maybe twice, just to be indoctrinated. I was disgusted with myself and the institution that little hole in the wall had become. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to taking my children there one day. But this article, with the artistic combinations and brilliant photos, reignited a little bit of the magic that marked the end of cold, rainy days and the beginning of a long, if sweltering, spring and summer.

I was especially intrigued by the Chicago style dogs with their menagerie of veggies - just never ketchup. And while I couldn't bring myself to make a special trip to downtown (read: to actually eat the mysterious cart hot dog regardless of its toppings), I also couldn't help but want to try the hallmark Chicago flavors - I had missed my chance in the Windy City a year ago. And as fate would have it a trip home last weekend would break my five year hot dog hiatus. Originally, I wanted to make make a rudimentary slaw of sorts, using all the same Chicago flavors. But, in the end, a Chicago-style hot dog is easy enough to make for your lunch box that making a "slaw" of your toppings would probably pan out being more trouble than its worth. Granted, the recipe below is more of a guide line than an actual recipe so don't say I took any credit. In my opinion the cheddar cheese was the best addition, as was the crisp dill pickle spear, but the preparation of your dog is what really makes or breaks your frank. I, personally, like mine grilled - if it's raining we've been known to split our franks in half and saute them in a dry pan to simulate the same crisp, grilled outside. But, whether you boil or microwave your hot dogs just do it to your taste.

Notes: I really don't want to know too much about hot dogs. But, the truth of the matter is no one really does. If you want some questions answered, or a little inspiration, check out the links below. Also, forgive my photos, but they were taken via iPod and lack a certain... level of clarity. You get the idea. How about those paper plates?!

All about hot dog toppings, sales and famous joints: LINK
For the "Express" Article that inspired this post check out this link: DOGS

How to lunch box your Chicago Style Hot Dog:
-Grill, boil or pan fry your dog the night before
-Wrap your bun in a paper towel and wrap in plastic wrap
-Layer your toppings in a Tupperware container and refrigerate

@ work:
-Simply reheat your hot dog and bun (still wrapped in paper towel) top and serve

Chicago Style Hot Dogs
From the books

Cheddar Cheese, shredded (not strictly traditional)
Hot Salad Peppers
Dill pickle spears
Onions, diced
Mustard, plain
Tomatoes, chopped
Poppy seeds, or poppy seed hot dog buns

Hot dogs

1. Cook your dog according to your preference.
2. Warm your bun in the microwave wrapped in a barely damp paper towel to steam it for 10 seconds.
3. Top your dog with cheese and the remaining toppings. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with poppy seeds to finish.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lunch Box: Middle Eastern Carrot Salad

Middle Eastern Carrot Salad, a Clementine, pita and Greek yogurt to round it out.

w/ couscous, carrots and cinnamon:

I have been a terrible bore recently. What's worse, I have been a terribly reclusive bore. I could blame sitting at a desk for eight hours, staring at one of three "work appropriate" web pages, as the culprit, but that wouldn't be fair. The knockdown, drag out truth of the matter is: I am just being lazy. There, I said it. Here I am virtually swimming in a pool of weird human behaviors, and I haven't taken more than a few minutes to observe and evaluate them. I spend two hours a day commuting to work, five days a week and I have posted perhaps two minutes worth of anecdotes and comical character sketches. I mean the things people say, do, EAT!? Today, I saw a man today cradling a bag of Chipotle burritos, near to bursting, with all the careful reverence of a new-born. I mean, burritos are good but... are they that good?

Like students, working professionals consume food constantly as a means of staying awake, wasting time, combating boredom and out of general need for nutrients - these first three being stronger reasons than the last. In many ways I feel more like I have returned to college, rather than abandoned it entirely. I wake up early - I rarely had the luxury of afternoon classes - I guzzle caffeinated beverages to fight spells of mid-afternoon drowsiness and I wage a constant battle against the bulk candy bin at the convenience store downstairs. To me, this all sounds eerily similar to fall semester of my freshman year. But, the most startling bridge between the professional world and the academic bubble is the pinnacle role lunch time plays in the daily grind. It remains the highlight of the day - the golden hour you work towards all morning and then cherish as precious "me" time sandwiched between boredom and drudgery. Other than breakfast - which is largely the only reason I can get out of bed at the crack of dawn - it is the most important meal of the day. Bearing that in mind, a great and wondrous variety of lunchtime options is essential to making your hour of freedom, actually feel like an hour of freedom.

Eating out, whether at a dining hall or the falafel truck outside, chews up your cash flow, and just like in college expenses abound in the working world. I spend about seventy-five dollars weekly in metro passes and parking fees, and about thirty dollars bi-weekly in gas - that's roughly three hundred-fifty dollars a month just to get to and from work. (I rue the day I ever complained about taking the free campus bus service). For me, tacking on another fifty dollars a week in take-out lunches would only exacerbate the already irritating rash of hidden expenses, but options like the traditionally spongy ham and cheese, chips and a soda can be an ordeal rather than an afternoon delight. Luckily, there is a solution: recreate popular take-out meals at home. Think you can't without the price tag? Think again.

At work "Perfect Pita" is a popular, but disappointing option. For about five dollars you can get a giant pita bread filled with iceberg lettuce, grainy tomatoes and, if you're lucky, a spattering of feta cheese - tack on a few extra dollars if you want lamb or chicken. The catch is that you have to pay extra to get minute portions of all the good stuff: hummus, tabbouleh, marinated olives etc. Grab a drink and you've brought your lunch total to a less than satisfactory twelve dollars. A twelve dollar lunch can be a steal at some places, but for a greasy pita it is all but highway robbery - a six pack alone of pita bread only costs $2.99. The good news is that you can make a variety of delicious "Perfect-Pita" style dishes at home for a fraction of the price per lunch. Try this recipe by Cooking Light for "Middle Eastern Carrot Salad", for example. It is chocked full of fresh parsley, sweet carrots and tangy garlic and lemon and Israeli style couscous for only about seven dollars - and serves 4 generous servings.

Notes: This is the second or third time I have made this dish, and I have to say I'm always a little disappointed the couscous is as soft as it is. Personally, I think it is just an overly critical cook being, well, overly critical. The flavor is amazing but it is best served warm. The truth of the matter is, reducing the cooking time by a minute or two and reducing the cooking liquid by a few tablespoons should help keep both (carrots and couscous) from becoming too soft. At least that's what I did. The original recipe calls for a mixture of parsley and cilantro, but since I didn't feel like buying both, using one or the other is just fine. I've also added extra lemon juice and went generously on the garlic. I have even been known to toss in some green onion or fresh spinach to make the couscous heartier. Tossing in some tangy Feta cheese, or even grilled shrimp or chicken, would do the trick too. Need a quick dinner? Serve this salad (ready in under 30 minutes) with "Spice Rubbed Chicken".

If you're planning on eating this dish at lunch, reserve some of the dressing and pour over after reheating. Otherwise, the couscous will soak up all the sauce and become a little more like a jello salad and less like the couscous wonder it really is.

Middle Eastern Carrot Salad
Variation on the recipe by Cooking Light

2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup Israeli style couscous
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bunch parsley
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 large clove of garlic
1/3 cup finely diced green onion

1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with the lid off.
3. Prepare the rest of the ingredients.
4. Remove the couscous from the heat, draining any excess liquid. Stir in the remaining ingredients, serving some of the dressing if you plan on eating this for lunch. Serve at room temperature.

For our European Friends:
Cook your couscous according to the package directions (it should give you appropriate measurements and cooking times). I would still reduce the cooking time slightly though just to ensure your couscous doesn't get too soggy. The rest of the recipe can be surmised according to taste - no exact measurements necessary. Just go with the flow.