Cous-Soup and Burlington Recap

Cous-soup? it’s a quick, thick soup made with cous cous instead of noodles. It comes together “soup-er” fast… sorry bad pun. In the time it takes the stock to boil, you can prep the ingredients and start sautéing some of the veggies. Then throw the cous cous and veggies in the stock and cook for a few minutes… and presto, delicious soup.

So a little recap. Mark and I made this soup on Thursday night while I was still in Burlington… on Friday, we made French toast with the left over bread from dinner and the left over fruit from a peach blueberry pie that we also made on Thursday. Mark had the day off from work and we were starting on a great adventure of watching his boss’s cats for the holiday weekend. I’m allergic to cats but I sucked it up because his boss has a house on Lake Champlain… it’s only my dream to own a lake house. So we went over to the house, and went kayaking on Lake Champlain where I (probably illegally) harvested some Cambrian age red sandstone. For lunch we went to August First Bakery and got some delicious food… a tofu salad for me and some curried chicken salad for Mark. This is defiantly one of Burlington’s hidden gems. That night we went to the Skinny Pancake… a crepe place on the lake that had live music. The food was good but the crepes were massive… too much for me. Then we watched the sun set over the lake

On Saturday we had breakfast at the Inn at Shelburne Farms. I got a frittata with farm made cheese, turnips, greens, onions, and pea shoots… so good. We wandered around the grounds for a bit, looking at the lake and the gardens.

 

 After some digestion we set out to hike Camel’s Hump, the 3rd tallest peak in Vermont, 4,083ft. Boy was that a good butt toning hike, it was straight up the whole way… no exaggeration… it was like doing the Stairmaster. We lunched at the top and headed back down. We bbq’d for dinner… local veggie burgers, some local sausage for Mark, grilled asparagus, corn and salad.

On Sunday we had a filling breakfast of peach, blueberry, banana pancakes then we went to go see the Intervale Community Garden and walk along the Causeway, which connects a little north of Burlington with Grand Isle. The causeway is a 3 miles long stretch of marble fill that was used to for train transport until the 60’s. Since then, the tracks have been removed and it has been converted into a park. We made burritos and “Mexican dumplings” for dinner… I know Mexican food for the 4th of July? Then we watched the Fireworks from Overlook Park.

 

Sadly, I left around noon on Monday; I was SO not ready to leave. But enough rambling about the copious amounts of food I ate this week and missing Mark, and back to the recipe. You can use pretty much any veggies you’d like but I’d really recommend the broccoli.

Cous-Soup

4 heaping bowls or 6-8 normal bowls

4 cups of low sodium veggie stock

4 cups water

4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes, (half if you don’t like spicy food)

1 box cous cous (or 1 cup uncooked) we used Near East Parmesan and threw in the spice packet as well for some added flavor

1 small head of broccoli, cut into pieces about the size of the top half of your thumb

2 cups mushrooms sliced, we used chanterelles

8 stalks asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic scapes, cut into very small pieces (optional)

Grated cheese for garnish (optional) we used sharp cheddar

Sliced green onions for garnish (optional)

Black pepper

So this is completely optional but I crushed up some red pepper flakes and let them sit in 2 tablespoons of oil for a few hours to infuse the oil with the flavor of the red pepper, hoping to intensify the heat. If you don’t want to do that just add the 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes into a large pot with the stock and water and onion and bring to a boil. While the stock is heating up, add the other 2 tablespoons of oil to a sauté pan over medium heat, add in garlic scapes and mushrooms, sauté for about 5 mins, until they are soft, stirring occasionally. Once the stock is boiling throw in the cous cous and seasoning packet provided, stir and cook for 1 min. Then toss in the broccoli and asparagus. Cook for 3 mins, stirring occasionally. Then add in the sautéed mushroom and garlic scapes and cook for an additional minute, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and spoon into bowls. Top with shredded cheese, black pepper and green onions if desired.

We ate our soup with some local 7 grain bread and Vermont Hummus Company roasted red pepper hummus.  We also made a peach and berry pie. I bought a pre-made whole wheat pie crust and filled it with 1 pint of blueberries, 2 peaches sliced and 4 tablespoons each of sugar and corn starch. Bake for 45 mins or so at 375ish… clearly I made this up… the bottom was a bit soggy so I’m going to work on that. I read that if you brush the empty crust with egg whites and then bake for 3-4 mins before filling, it can help prevent a soggy bottomed crust. Though the pie fell apart a bit, it was still delicious. Enjoy!

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