If you know me, then you know I learned everything about cooking from my beloved grandmother, Grandmere. My Grandmere is a sweet, little French woman with a fascinating history. She grew up in Morocco as a child during WWII, because France had been invaded by the German Nazi’s. She lived in Morocco her entire life until she met my grandfather, who was in the U.S. military, and they married. She moved to the U.S. where she learned to speak English and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Much of my childhood was spent with my adoring grandmother because both of my parents worked, and Grandmere and I were best buddies. Naturally, she taught me how to cook and bake – we spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Many of my best memories are cooking and baking at her waist side, hoping to catch a glimpse of what she was preparing.
My all time favorite meal from her arsenal of ethnic foods is the traditional cous cous, Moroccan style. The traditional recipe calls for lamb, poultry, peas, garbanzo beans, turnips, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes and zucchini squash for the savory stew that you pour over steamed cous cous. The stew is simmered in paprika, cumin, and other spices to give it it’s full-bodied flavor. Then, you can top this mound of munchies with caramelized onions and raisins, as well as a homemade hot pepper sauce.
Since going vegan, Grandmere has adapted the recipe for me. She makes a small pot of a vegan-friendly variation with all the delicious veggies listed above, but doubles up on the garbanzo beans so I get all the protein I need. She told me she follows the directions on the cous cous box to cook it to perfection – any plain-style will work just fine. For the stew/sauce portion of this, she begins by browning sliced onions and crushed whole garlic cloves. She then adds the veggies: zucchini, carrots and turnips. Once everything is beautifully browned, she adds the spices consisting of paprika, cumin, salt/pepper, and something else that is a secret! Then, she adds veggie stock to create the “juice” for the stew and finally the garbanzo beans and green peas. Everything cooks for awhile – until the veggies are fork tender or softer. Once ready, you spoon the cous cous grain in a shallow bowl, add the veggies and a good ladle of the broth/juice. You don’t want to skimp on the broth/juice because the cous cous grain tends to absorb this, and it’s so delicious! Next, you would normally add the caramelized onions with raisins, and a drizzle of the homemade hot pepper sauce. This makes everything slightly sweet and spicy without sacrificing savor.
This has always been my favorite dinner since I was a child, and will likely remain to be forever. I hope you all find this as satisfying and comforting as I do!
Grandmere also made a delicious steamed asparagus, hearts of palm and artichoke hearts cold salad with a mustard vinaigrette for the side dish. DELICIOSOOOO!
Thank for giving plants a chance!!