Last night, I went out for my birthday dinner. 4 days before my actual birthday. You do this, too, right?
Since my birthday is on Sunday, most of our favorite places won’t be open. Also…I didn’t feel like cooking anything last night after a full day of craz-ay work, baking bread on my lunch break, and tending to a needy dog for 8 hours.
So, out it was.
We went to our favorite neighborhood – okay, only neighborhood, but still incredible – place, The Bank.
By now, I guess we’re regulars? We know the manager, the owner, the chef, the staff. If I didn’t change up my drink order every time we went, they would probably be able to just bring me “my usual”….maybe I should just stick to my bufala negra. Hmmm. I know at least one other person that knows how good they are. It’s like, alcoholic adult soda. Does that make any sense? Make one and you’ll know what I mean.
Last night, we tried their new peach and avocado arugula salad and we both ordered the steelhead trout with BACON mashed potatoes, braised red cabbage, and dijon sauce. Whooooh man. I’ve gotten that trout the last 3 times we’ve been and I. just. can’t. stop. If he takes that off the menu…I don’t know what I’ll do.
Then we got dessert. 2 new options: a white chocolate and strawberry mousse shortcake thing with crispy BASIL (that Nick ate, by the way – and then told me how good it was…) AND a frozen ginger mousse with candied bacon, sweet grits, sauteed peaches, and a bourbon cream sauce.
Roll me right outta there.
That bacon candy and ginger mousse? Nick and I both decided that we would totally eat that for breakfast – it was THAT good. And, there just may be some plans to recreate those flavors in a real breakfast soon.
I have no idea why I’m telling you all this when I have a couscous salad to share. I love this salad and ate it all by myself a few weeks ago…but it just doesn’t compare with candied bacon. Ever.
Grain salads like this, even though they’re not as exciting as ginger mousse or crispy basil, are one of my favorite things to make for work day lunches. They’re quick to make, easy to store for a few days, and you can eat them warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Plus, since weekday mornings are hectic around here, having good lunch options in the fridge is pretty much a necessity. Maybe next time I’ll add some candied bacon…
Couscous, White Bean, and Spinach Salad
Makes: 4 main dish or 6 side dish servings
- 2 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat Israeli couscous
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- 1 15 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups baby spinach, torn
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Pour broth into a medium sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
- Stir the couscous and salt into the broth, return to a boil, and lower the heat down to medium. Let the couscous simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to puff up and the broth is starting to absorb into the pasta.
- Add the broccoli to the pot with the couscous and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes until the couscous is tender, the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender and the broth has been absorbed.
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the beans, spinach, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes, then stir in the feta before serving.