I spent the better part of yesterday en route. My dog spent the better part of yesterday in a crate. It was a messy day. I woke up at an unearthly hour, crammed my large suitcase, the dog crate, my carry-on, a small bag, a diaper bag, baby J, little M, Mr. little M, Me, and the dog into a CRV, and we drove 2 hours to the Toronto airport. I was squished like a sardine in the back of the CRV with baby J in his car seat, the seat belt cutting off the circulation from my neck, and my 75 pound labradoodle on my lap. He's a total spaz. I'm pretty sure he was just trying to hold me down so I wouldn't leave him. My dog gets crazy when we travel. He majorly panics. It's not like a full blown panic, but a sort of quite panic. He pants, paces in circles, and will repeatedly try to get into my suitcase.
Flying a dog is totally bonkers and stressful. Just saying.
I dislike flying on planes, so my dog should double hate it, right? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy that planes bring me awesome places. I enjoy that that it only takes 4 hours to get from Seattle to Toronto, because it's way better than spending a week in a car, but there are just some things that I can't ignore. I don't like being crammed in the middle seat between two over sized men. I really dislike it when people listen to their iphones really loud thinking that no one else can hear them listening to Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran. And I really really don't like the overwhelming fear I get whenever set foot on a plane that I'm going to die. It's very unrealistic.
Ok, so planes aren't any fun whether you're a person or a dog, but Israeli couscous is totally fun. I love how the tiny little couscous pearls boil up into cute little pasta balls. Grilled vegetables are also awesome and tasty, and goat cheese should be put on everything, so why not combine them all and make a beautiful and delicious salad to be enjoyed on a chilly winters day with a delicious bottle of porter. So much better than flying.
makes 4 medium salads
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
1 eggplant, chopped + salt for soaking
1 zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, diced
1 cup Israeli couscous, dry
2 1/2 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
flat leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Wash and slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds. Cover each slice, top and bottom, with a generous amount of salt. Place a paper towel onto a plate, put a slice of eggplant on top, and then another paper towel. On top of the paper towel, place another slice. Continue this process until all slices have been layer. Top with a piece of paper towel, and place a heavy object on top pressing down on the eggplant. This will allow the bitterness to seep into the towels. Let the eggplant sit for 20 minutes, then wash off the remaining salt.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Chop the eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, onion, and tomatoes into bite size pieces. Layer onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss the vegetables in the oil. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes.
In a cast iron or frying pan, heat the butter and diced shallots for 2 minutes on low-medium heat. Add the dry couscous and toast for 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of broth and stir. Simmer the couscous for 5 - 10 minutes or until soft and chewy. You don't want to overcook. Drain any excess broth.
Toss the couscous with the grilled vegetables. Plate each serving and top with goat cheese and chopped parsley.