November 8, 2012
The more ubiquitous instant couscous becomes, the more the genuine version of this tiny semolina pasta is misunderstood. But once you taste the real thing - moistened and rubbed with oil and butter by hand, then steamed in a couscousière double-boiler over an aromatic pot of stew - you can begin to taste the more profound flavors of North Africa. And that is exactly what you get with this hearty chicken and vegetable couscous at Argana, the diner-turned-Moroccan soul-fooder in suddenly cosmopolitan downtown Lansdowne.
October 18, 2012
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: First off, I have the recipe for that fantastic Israeli couscous I was bragging about last week. It comes from my good friend Michelle Shlomo, who shares it with our family every year under their sukkah. Here it is: www.philly.com/couscous . Reader: Favorite fall beers (pumpkin and/or Octoberfest) this season? C.L: For pumpkin, I've always loved the Dogfish's Punk the best - don't like my beer to taste like pie. Though I haven't done an extensive survey, I feel pumpkin ales have become like the molten chocolate cake . . . Drank those, pretty much done with 'em. For 'fest, I'm always partial to the brews of Ayinger, one of my favorite German breweries, period.
March 8, 2012
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: Last week, I got to do some home cooking after some weeks of travel, including an awesome taco night (thanks to the fresh tortillas and green and red salsas from Tortilleria San Roman in the Italian Market, best fried chips in the city, too!), plus some great fresh chorizo sausage from Los Amigos Meat Market. My favorite meal, though, inspired by a dinner at the Fountain: Moroccan-spiced fish over couscous, herbed broth, and curry-roasted cauliflower.
November 14, 2010 |
'Can I get a real couscous around here?" It was a good question, posed to me recently by a French expat hankering for a bowl of North African soul food. The mere suggestion, of course, kick-started my own craving - with savory flashbacks to a Morocco trip and the rustic little couscouserie I lived over during my student days in Paris. And that query was also the main reason I ended up below ground near Rittenhouse Square, waiting hopefully on the elaborately tufted couches of the quirky subterranean nook called Argan Moroccan Cuisine.
November 11, 2010
Joan Nathan will share the culinary journey behind her new cookbook "Quiches, Kugels and Couscous" ($39.95, Knopf) over a brunch of Jewish and Mediterranean fare from Argan Moroccan Cuisine, Hershel's East Side Deli and Zahav, noon-2 p.m. Saturday at the Painted Bride Art Center (230 Vine St., 267-402-2055). The event is part of the First Person festival. Tickets are $35; $28 First Person members. There's much more to sparkling wine than Champagne these days. Find out what's bubbling up and contribute to a good cause at Phiz Fest 2010, 6-8:30 p.m. Nov. 18, in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt at the Bellevue.
September 2, 2010
ZATAR SPICED LAMB SADDLE, MEDITERRANEAN COUSCOUS AND FETA-KATAFI BOMB 4 each lamb saddle or loin (cleaned, sinew removed, cut in half) 1 cup zatar spice blend (equal parts marjoram, thyme, oregano, savory, sesame seeds, sumac) Kosher salt Fresh ground pepper 1/2 onion, finely minced 3 cloves garlic, finely minced Olive oil for sautéing 1 quart chicken stock or water 1 cup couscous 1 cucumber 3 plum tomatoes 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (mix chives, parsley, mint)
April 9, 2009 |
Fresh sea scallops served on a bed of spinach-flavored couscous is a quick dinner that takes about 15 minutes. Scallops, which need very little cooking, should be prepared so that the inside remains creamy. Prolonged cooking will shrink and toughen them. The secret to searing the scallops is to make sure your skillet is very hot. The scallops will only need a couple of minutes to cook this way. If they seem very large, check for doneness by slicing into one. If the meat is opaque they are done; if translucent, cook 30 seconds more.
March 26, 2009
Authentic North African This extraordinary hand-rolled M'hamsa couscous from Les Moulins Mahjoub in Tunisia should be a revelation to those who only know this Berber staple in its cheap boxed version. Unlike those instant industrial pasta specks, which so often turn mushy and bland, these irregular-shaped tiny beads of semolina pasta have a toothsome chew and distinct earthiness that comes from toasting in the North African sun on straw mats. It's sold plain at Di Bruno Bros.' Italian Market store, but is also available at the Rittenhouse location threaded with ribbons of sun-dried peppers that add an extra layer of soft, exotic spice.
February 12, 2009 |
There's nothing like Valentine's Day to make a nice guy feel like a chump. Overnight, the price of everything from flowers to chocolates to your favorite neighborhood restaurant has nearly doubled. Suddenly, you're expected to perform a romantic miracle, when just last weekend Chinese take-out and a movie rental would do. Or so my friend Adam J. Schiff was complaining one night a few weeks ago. When I suggested he cook his valentine a homemade meal, Adam politely chuckled, assuming I was making a joke.
September 3, 2000 |
North Africa is home to one of the world's great dishes - couscous, made in innumerable variations. Say the word couscous and you'll understand why it is said to have originated from the sound of hissing steam as it passes through the holes of the couscoussier, the special pot-bellied, two-part steamer in which the grain is cooked. The bottom of the pot holds some kind of stewing ingredients; the top contains the couscous grain, which cooks in the flavorful juices created by the stew.