So the school year is wrapping up and I am firmly planting my head in the sand related to how I am going to a) keep everyone entertained all summer, b) get my paid work done and deliver a large project at the end of August, c) maintain some sanity amidst the fighting siblings and wet bathing suits and towels on the floor, d) have a house that doesn’t look like it needs an intervention, e) keep the plants thriving outside given that hoses are quite possibly the most annoying thing to use ever, and f) do grocery shopping with an entourage who likes to find every possible piece of crap and put it in my cart.
And this all with cocktail time not starting until 5:00 PM? Can’t we push that up a little?
Oh, but I kid. I complain a good game, but I am actually looking forward to summer. Just the idea of relaxing mornings where we aren’t rushing around to get out the door … or the idea of making a pot of coffee and actually being able to drink a few leisurely cups… and not having to think about getting homework done every night… or throwing dinner together at a seriously uncivilized time just to get to soccer practice. We are all ready for a little vacation.
This dinner was put together on one of those rushed evenings where we were hurrying to get to an end of the school year concert, but I think it would also be a great aprés swimming dinner when you have to divide your energy between hanging up that wet stuff, making a meal, and unpacking the pool bag. To non-parents I know this sounds like a pathetically small task — but you are wrong. Unpacking the pool bag is a terrible task filled with wet stuff, soggy snacks, water bottles, leaky sunscreen, loose change, hats, visors, goggles, Spiderman diving toys, wallets, cell phones, floaties, allergy medicine, and reading material that rarely gets read.
Late Spring Couscous with Spinach, Zucchini, and Pumpkin Seeds
2-3 cups of spinach, stemmed and chopped
1 small zucchini, trimmed and diced
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1-2 large green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
4-5 sprigs of oregano (remove leaves from stem and chop)
2/3 cup canola or olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 t salt
Freshly ground pepper
1. In a large sauté pan, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil with chopped (1 clove) garlic. Sauté spinach until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl.
2. In same pan, heat a bit more oil and sauté diced zucchini until lightly browned and softened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add cous cous, stir, and cover pan. Immediately remove from heat and let stand for about five minutes. Stir to fluff the cous cous and allow to cool a bit.
4. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
5. In a large bowl, combine cooked spinach and zucchini, cooked cous cous, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped green onions, and chopped oregano. Re-whisk dressing and pour about 2/3 of it over cous cous mixture, tossing well to combine all ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Salad can be served at room temperature or chilled. Reserve remaining dressing and add to the salad before serving if necessary (if the cous cous sits in the fridge for a while it will soak up the dressing and may need more.)