Friday, September 2, 2011

The end is near

That title sounds a little doomsday-ish, doesn’t it? But I suppose that’s how some of us feel about the end of summer. Me? I’m ready for fall.

We haven’t had our typical Californian make-the-rest-of-the-country-jealous kind of summer this year. I can’t complain too much as we’ve had plenty of perfect days, but there weren’t too many nights when sitting outside all evening didn’t require a sweater or a blanket. Now it’s just downright chilly after the sun goes down. And as soon as we can feel that telling briskness in the night air, Andy and I start dreaming of the next season. To us, fall means perfectly cloudy, grey days, hours spent reading in front of the fireplace, curling up on the couch to watch football, cozy sweaters, mulled wine, hearty stew and weekends when we’re “stuck” inside. Funny for two native Californians, huh?

As ready for fall as I am, I still have a little trouble with the fact that I’m already seeing Halloween costumes and candy popping up at stores. Fine, it is only two months away…I guess I can handle Halloween. But I’ve also started seeing Christmas merchandise at a certain warehouse store, and I have a big problem with that. It’s just September! Let us enjoy fall before throwing us into winter and Christmas! Once the holiday stuff starts showing up, the end of the year is imminent. Now it’s all happening too fast…maybe I’m not ready for summer to be over after all!

Around here though, it’s not surprising to see warm, sunny weather into October, so we’ll go gradually into fall…it makes the transition easy and time seems to slow a bit. And of course, the summer produce is still in full swing at the farmer’s markets. Red, ripe tomatoes, juicy peaches and plums, sweet corn…all tastes of summer.

This salad makes me think of summer, although you can get these ingredients pretty much year ‘round.  If you need a sunny pick-me-up come November, this would be a good dish.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
heaping 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
1 cup deseeded and sliced cucumber
3/4 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped red onion, rinsed and drained*
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 box Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil couscous**

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine first 8 salad ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together and reserve.

Prepare the couscous according to package directions.

When couscous is ready and still warm, combine in bowl with produce. Immediately pour dressing over and stir lightly. (Use a fork to fluff the salad instead of packing it together.)

Salad is best if allowed to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to let the couscous absorb the dressing and flavors. (Can also be refrigerated and served cold.)

*I rinse the chopped red onion to subdue the flavor a bit. If you like stronger onion flavor, skip this step.
**Plain couscous would probably work fine here, but I like what the roasted garlic and olive oil flavor adds to the dish.

This is such a simple dish to make but it has so much flavor that it tricks you into thinking it must have required more effort. I made this so many times this summer that I thought we’d get sick of it, but every time we ate it we oohed and ahhed and couldn’t wait to make it again. I have a feeling this will be a staple all through the year.

Enjoy these waning days of summer…and if you see a crazy person running screaming from the Christmas displays, it just might be me.

Giveaway winner: The winner of my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil giveaway is Hippie_Mom. Congrats!


  1. This looks delicious and colorful, Thanks for sharing!

  2. That's a beautiful summer salad! Great way to hold on to the last remnants of the season :) Since I live somewhere that doesn't have seasons, I look forward to your 'fall' dishes!

  3. What a gorgeous salad! I love the pom seeds in there!

  4. While I'm not the biggest fan of couscous, this is a great farewell to summer salad!

  5. This is such a pretty bowl of food!! Perfect side for a BBQ!

  6. The colors are so vibrant, it looks fabulous! I bet the leftovers would be great for lunch the next day - not that there would be any leftovers!

  7. Yum...I MUST make this before summer is over, which is another couple of months in Texas! I'd have to leave out the bell peppers, because I can't eat them. But? The rest is the pom arils!! Pinning...

  8. This salad is beautiful! The little pomegranate seeds look like jewels. I think I actually have most of these ingredients on hand, so this may be lunch this weekend :)

  9. The end is not even close down here in L.A.! Hotter than, well, you know. This couscous looks so yummy. And happy blog-a-versary to you. I loved the raspberry limoncello cocktail too!

  10. I love all of the bright colors in this salad. It definitely looks like a summer salad.

  11. .. going to give this a try if I can find the 'boxed' couscous...

  12. I love the colors and flavors in this salad, especially with the couscous. I have to make this soon, as Fall approaches in Chicago Land. We already have lots of falling leaves. Gorgeous pics!

  13. Here in NY we had Christmas stuff popping up in August. It really made me sad.

    I want some of this salad right now. I ate a really heavy meal and this light salad would have been perfect instead.

  14. This is a beautiful dish....colorful and tasty! I am not ready for fall, but I can enjoy this summery salad in November, just as you suggested!

  15. I adore fall, but the problem in New England is that fall means winter is coming and it can get pretty miserable. So I am still jealous of you in Cali! Beautiful salad.

  16. We had several ingredients fresh from our garden. What a pretty, colorful salad. Nice combination of flavors and textures. We ohhed and ahhed with each bite.

  17. I love couscous! Your couscous salad is so colorful and inviting. Beautiful photos.

  18. We made this and took it to a barbecue yesterday. It was a hit!

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  20. Lovely salad recipe. This is surely one thing I should try soon.

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