I don’t know Sally Struthers and, thus, I imagine she would be surprised to learn she played any role in my childhood. My father loved All in the Family. It was one of his favorite shows and Struthers’ character, Gloria, was a true bright spot on the program. In fact, watching this show with my father is one of my earliest memories. It’s a good memory, indeed. However, Struthers’ character, lovely as she was, is not the reason for her impact on my childhood. It was her appearances on television as a spokeswoman for a charitable organization that struck me. She was frequently seen in commercials surrounded by a group of sad and hungry children pleading earnestly for donations. I was struck by these images. They made me terribly sad. I hated to see those poor children with their distended bellies and eyes, but I couldn’t look away. Hunger became a true childhood fear along with fire and imprisonment at the long derelict Alcatraz prison.
I used to think my preoccupation with hunger during my fundamental years was unusual until a friend recently confessed to something similar. He admitted he slept with a slice of bread under his pillow for years just in case desperate times fell upon his family. I never went so far as to do this, but that’s just because I was not much of a problem solver. These days, I plan ahead a whole lot more. I guess that’s what happens when you become a mother.
I haven’t seen Struthers much lately. I don’t even know whether she is still a spokeswoman, but I do know that there are hungry families all around us. One need not look to developing nations to find this problem. It’s sad, but it’s true. However, I’m certainly not here to preach about it. I don’t have the wherewithal to lecture. I’m too sleep deprived for such things.
I do want to tell you, however, about Couscous for a Cause. I’m sure you’ve heard of Near East couscous, right? I imagine you might even cook with it on a regular basis. Well, the company is doing such a wonderful thing for hungry families that I agreed to participate in this sponsored post. It’s something I have not done in the past, but this is a worthy cause. Based on this post, alone, and a wonderful dinner party I co-hosted with dear friends for Easter, Near East is donating 250 boxes of couscous to Northwest Harvest.
Isn’t that great? There was never a better reason to host a dinner party. Thanks to Near East who donated the couscous for our meal and Whole Foods who supplied the groceries, we feasted on roasted cauliflower couscous, grilled lamb and cooked artichokes. The meal was glorious and the couscous was remarkably easy to make. I managed to cook the dish while wearing Maeve in a baby carrier. It turned out deliciously savory with spicy hints and an earthy flavor brought out by roasting the fresh cauliflower. It was a meal that will not soon be forgotten.
I’m delighted I was asked to post about this product. Couscous is a staple around this house and will likely be one of the first things I teach Maeve to cook. If you are interested in learning more, check out Near East on facebook. If you “like” them, you will prompt a donation. Also, they are around town in Seattle today supplying free samples of the product and recipes as well. Follow Near East on twitter to find out where!
1 lamb shoulder (approximately 4 lbs.), patted dry, butterfly cut, and rubbed with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon olive oil
Grind the herbs, zest, juice, and salt into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and slowly add the oil in a slow stream whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Grill lamb shoulder over medium heat, about 10 minutes per side until cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving with sauce.
Roasted Cauliflower and Couscous Salad
One large head of cauliflower about 3/4 lb., cut into smaller more bite size pieces
2 boxes Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons parika
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted almonds, sliced thinly
1 cup English cucumber, sliced thinly
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat the cauliflower florets with half of the olive oil and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, for approximately 20 minutes until the florets turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat the chicken stock until it boils. Then, add it to the couscous and flavor packet in a large bowl and stir until mixed together. Cover until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and cauliflower to the bowl and toss with the couscous. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately warm or chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
For the artichoke recipe, click here.