Food

Vanilla Cous Cous Fruit Salad

IMG_5199You know what I love about summer?  Everything.  I love being able to step out of the shower and air dry.  Am I right?  In the summer you can step out on the back porch, drink your beer and if you happen to drink too much and pass out.  Well, you won’t have to worry about frost bite.   You’ll be just fine.  Summer is the perfect season.  Longer days, bike rides, picnics, beach days, hanging out and just having a good time because you can.  You’ve never heard anyone say “Remember last winter when our car wouldn’t start and we had to walk through the snow to the 7-11 because if we would have stayed in the car we would have froze to death?  Man, those were the days.”  I grew up in Ohio and been in New York for nine years.  Not one funny story about how fun winter is.  Not.  One.  Winter is cool when you’re a kid and school gets canceled and you stay home and do nothing all day.  That’s about it.   Work never gets canceled from the snow.

I think the only time I didn’t really like summer is when I was growing up and I was a fat, fat, fatty.  I didn’t really enjoy summers then.  When I was really fat I would sweat just looking at a postcard from Florida.  It bothered me that bad.  The thought of summer made me cringe.    I’m not that fat, fat, fatty anymore but now I’m like a girl and mentally fat.  I’m not sure which is worse?

In the summer I like to load up on my fruit.  Don’t you love the feeling of biting into a ripe plum, have the juices run down your chin and people look at you like you’re a savage, so you extend your arm in offering as if they would actually eat anything after you?  I would take the offer if I were there, just so you know.  A lot of people I know aren’t big fruit eaters, but throw it in a bowl and call it “Fruit Salad” and it’s cool.  It also works in reverse.  I hate McDonald’s but chances are if you threw McNugget’s in a bowl and tossed them with Catalina dressing and called it a salad, you know damn well I’m trying it.

Enter the Vanilla Cous Cous Fruit Salad.  I’ve made this numerous times for cookouts at my families house back in Ohio or brought it with me when I heard of a cookout through friends and invited myself.  I’m sure my not being invited was a mistake.  Each and every time it is a hit.  So I thought I would share it with you here since I now consider you guys kinda like family.  You really can’t go wrong with this one.  Especially at a summer picnic.

So here it goes….

1/2c         Plain Cous Cous
3/4c         Coconut Water
1Tbsp      Honey
1              vanilla bean (split in half and scrape seeds out and add to liquid, save the pod in a can with sugar)

-Bring the coconut water, honey and vanilla bean to a boil.
-Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat, add your cous cous cover the pot and let sit while you prepare your fruit

Some tips for the cous cous.  I don’t care what honey you use.  Use whatever you like.  I don’t care if it’s the one in the bear if that’s what you like, and I do.  Here I used the brand Golden Blossom Honey from the grocery store.  When using vanilla bean, you have to be very careful.  Vanilla bean is pretty expensive and people will notice this.  I never used vanilla bean when I made this back in Ohio.  Two reasons:  One, they might think it’s pepper and not eat it.  Two, someone who watches Food Network will recognize the vanilla bean and think I have money.  “Damn, Gus got money!!”  Trouble.  I guess it really depends if you’re trying to impress or not.  Joking aside, the vanilla bean is very important.  Vanilla extract, to me, is fine for baking but a cooked dish like this nothing beats a fresh vanilla bean.

I shouldn’t have to go into the fruit or at least I hope I wouldn’t.  This part is all you.  Choose what you like.  For this salad though I will say fruits that have a little more juice work best with the cous cous.  I prefer watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe, grapes and pineapple.  Again, it’s in your hands after the cous cous.  Litter the salad with almonds for a nice crunch, sit back and enjoy the summer while it lasts.  Before you know it we’ll be digging our cars out of the snow again.

I hope you enjoy!

Did you notice I did this recipe in cups for you instead of grams?  Probably not.

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Can you see the vanilla bean in there? Beautiful.

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My own little park in the concrete jungle

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Classy photo

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