Mainer Abroad Posts a Recipe!

Relax while I have a Martha Stewart moment.  I’ve never posted a recipe but you’ve got to try this one.

I love food.  Since living in Europe, I’ve learned to love lots of food and even to cook it.  I had the chance to taste octopus, ostrich, and oysters (though I still hate olives) during my years there and it really proves that I’ve grown up.  My mother would tell you my three favorite food groups growing up consisted of cereal, cheese, and bread and sometimes my dad couldn’t even bribe me to finish my veggies (no “Cosby Show” if you don’t clear your plate!). 

In Spain I learned how to cook tortilla de patata, empanada, and some yummy fried chicken.  I had a pseudo-mother there and she loved to have me in the kitchen.

I also learned how to cook a lot of German food when I lived in Heidelberg.  Of the five seasons I played basketball there, I only lived with a family for one of those seasons.  It certainly wasn’t my favorite living situation, but the stay-at-home mother could COOK.  Yum. 

My favorite meal of hers was a dish with lamb and couscous. Couscous is good but not exactly a staple in the American cupboard.   I made a couscous salad once as part of a school project and loved it but other than that I didn’t find much use for the tiny wheat granules and much preferred to eat the easier/more familiar rice or pasta.  If you feel the same way this is the meal for you!


Lamb (or pork)            Chick peas                              Salt & Pepper                    Couscous                   Zucchini                                   Kidney beans                                     Cumin                         Raisins                                    Onion                                   cardamom                  Five Spice *                             Dates

Simple ingredients, no mixing, just cooking.  I didn’t include any amounts because it’s basically 1 to 1 depending on how many people you want to feed.  One pound, one cup, one teaspoon… you get it.

1.       1. Cook the lamb or pork in a frying pan.  Probably would taste fine with chicken as well.

2.      2. Cut up the zucchini, onions, and dates into bite-size pieces then add to the meat and cook until they are soft.

3.     3. Sprinkle all of the spices including salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of each

       4. Cook the couscous as directed and add raisins to it.  (Sounds weird but really adds some yummy flavor).

*I never actually found five spice but it can, supposedly, be bought at any Asian cooking store and probably Whole Foods Supermarket.  I just used all of the spices that make up Five Spice which would be, surprise, five of ‘em: cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel, and peppercorn.  To be honest (and cheap) I actually only used cinnamon, peppercorn, and fennel because that’s all we had and it still tasted great.

Try it out! She also added cut up eggplant but I opted out of that.  You can be really creative with this as well.  A little more of this, a little less of that, and maybe add a different vegetable.  This recipe will make you feel like a chef so invite some friends over and trick them into thinking it took hours (it only takes about 20 minutes!)

Danielle Clark

About Danielle Clark

I am 28 years old and for 5 years out of college I played basketball for a living. I was a professional basketball player in Europe so I spent most of my years there and came back to Maine for summers and a couple weeks at Christmas time. I thought my years there would open my eyes to what I want to be when I "grow up." That didn't happen. I have discovered, however, that I just have to try something. Just do things and toss myself into them. I have currently tossed myself into being a college basketball assistant coach and one on one reading tutor. I grew up in Corinna, Maine and have been a resident Mainer. I love sports, reading, writing, cooking, baking, watching movies... everything. I have lots of hobbies and not enough time in the day!