What I had for dinner:
Long time no see, eh? Amazing the amount of time that rock & roll can take out of one's life, even for someone sojourning along the sane side of the fringes!
Anyway, today --yesterday already actually-- was the first Panix Picnic of 1997, and as tradition requires the weather was superb. Sunny weather wants salads, so here goes: a quick trip to Fairway for supplies and an hour in the kitchen while I was doing my e-mail.
First thing is to prepare the couscous so it will have time to cool. For 1 cup of couscous, I brought 2 cups of water to a boil, added 2 tbsp of butter, some salt, 1 tsp of curry powder, and 1 generous pinch of saffron, then the couscous all at once. Off the stove the mixture was stirred from time to time until the water had been absorbed, then a handful of dried cranberries was thrown in. The whole thing was transferred to a cold aluminum dish and placed in the fridge (uncovered) to cool down, with some occasional stirring and fluffing with a fork.
One bunch of red radishes and half a large red bell pepper were diced and set aside, and two bunches of parsley (not the curly kind) were chopped coarsly and set aside as well. One handful of slivered almonds was toasted carefully (400F oven, 4 minutes with stirring), then transferred to a cold dish to avoid overbrowning (almonds get unpleasantly bitter very quickly as they start to brown).
When the couscous had reached room temperature, it was thoroughly worked with two forks to break any lumps, then all the other ingredients were mixed in, followed by 1/4 cup of capers, 1 1/2 cup of small mixed olives (Fairway's Spanish olives mix), and finally seasoned with Tabasco and chipotle sauces, olive oil, and black pepper.
In retrospect, celery or fennel would have probably been a better choice than radishes, but the thought did not enter my mind at all until now. Maybe next time.
Oh, and for beer: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and La Binchoise Speciale Noel.