When I first discovered Bob Red Mill’s new line of whole wheat pearl couscous at the BlogHer Food Conference in Atlanta, I was instantly hooked by the nutty flavor. I even smuggled a few sample bags back to San Francisco, and couldn’t wait to play around with the wholesome, round bites of pasta. Except that I actually did wait quite a bit – two entire months – before finding the perfect opportunity to use these precious samples.
The opportunity came in the form of an orzo salad recipe I came across while flipping through Heidi Swanson’s superb cookbook, Super Natural Every Day). I decided to substitute the whole wheat pearl couscous for the orzo to add some wholesomeness while keeping the bite of a small, salad-friendly pasta.
But the combination of a broccoli pesto with broccoli florets, avocado and crunchy nuts were what initially drew me to the recipe. I’ve been known to easily polish off several cups of broccoli – raw, steamed, sauteed, or roasted. Yet I had never tried a broccoli pesto. Clearly, the time was nigh.
Back when I was a teeny bopper, I lived in a town so small that I actually looked forward to going to Fresno for a few weeks each summer to visit my aunt and uncle. You see, besides acting as the home of my fabulously fun aunt, Fresno had Ross, Marshalls, and Safeway, while Atascadero had only K-Mart and Food-For-Less.
While visiting, my aunt would take me on bargain-shopping sprees at Marshalls and put me to work at my uncle’s doctor’s office. And every day around 11:30 a.m., it was time to order lunch from the deli around the corner. I could have any sandwich I wanted. It was incredible. It was decadent … to a twelve year-old whose limited world experience told her that eating a sandwich not prepared at home but rather prepared professionally at a deli was just plain fancy.
But I always chose an egg salad sandwich. Something about that deli’s egg salad was truly transcendent compared to a ho-hum turkey sandwich, and I wasn’t yet adventurous enough to appreciate an Italian sandwich. So, being a loyal gal (and a big fan of mushy foods), I stuck with the reliable egg salad.
While I still enjoy a good egg salad, it hasn’t been the same for me since discovering how much mayonnaise goes into it. And frankly, after about two bites, the standard egg-mayo mash-up is rather bland for my ever-so-slightly more refined adult taste. (more…)