Israeli Couscous with Maple Kale and Sweet Potatoes

by brookefiore

Noticing life only enriches it.


DSC_0020I know I am not alone when I share my thoughts of noticing the finer details of life. The way the snow flies behind the Amtrak train like a shimmering ghost. Or catching a devoted photographer out on the streets of town in the predawn hours as I begin my daily commute.  Wool socks. Dancing candle flames. And like catching those small moments to stow away for gloomy days, I get a little bit of joy when I cross paths with another person who feels the same way I do.


I’ve always been one for paying attention to detail. Sometimes it crosses over with my perfectionism and other times it reveals itself in my thoroughness and mindfulness approach to most everything. Often times I find happiness among the finer threads of a woven life. While I also believe in creating happiness, these small details add up, paving the way for continued happy thoughts ahead.


I realize I am a total foodie. Through and through I love food, for sustainability, for pleasure, for comfort, for career. Food plays a substantial part in my life. I like to think I have a great relationship with food, but like any relationship, it requires tending to, modest effort, and patience.


Tonight I was home by myself, with a big empty kitchen, a (nearly) fully stocked refrigerator, and some kale that was about 24 hours from becoming unsatisfying mush. I could have gotten take out. I could have had a bowl of cereal. Instead, in true foodie style, I cooked up a well rounded meal for four, guest of 1. With leftovers for lunch (paired with some fresh fruit – see below) and family.


The way the kale cooked up to a grass green in the cast iron pan and the warmth of cinnamon and cayenne wafting from the oven brought both comfort and satisfaction to such a lonely kitchen. I could have chosen to focus on the exertion from my depleted energy stores, or the clean up of non-dishwasher safe pots and pans. I could have. But I didn’t. The finer details of this meal were the real key players here. Aside from the disease fighting vitamins, minerals and fiber of course.

Israeli Couscous with Maple Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from Poor Girl Gourmet

1 pound of sweet potatoes (about 1 large, or 2 small) skin on, sliced into 1/2 inch discs then cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1 1/5 TBSP olive oil (for potatoes)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves

1 TBSP olive oil (for shallots)

1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped

4-6 chives, chopped

1 Bunch of curly kale, washed, dried, with leaves ripped from stems and torn into pieces

1 cup dry israeli couscous – cooked according to manufacturer’s directions

3 TBSP Maple Syrup

Goat cheese as desired

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. After cutting sweet potato into 1/2-inch chunks, toss in a medium bowl with olive oil, cinnamon, thyme and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Place in a single layer in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Cook the Israeli Couscous according to manufacturer’s directions – this should take about 10 minutes.

With about 20 minutes left on the sweet potatoes, heat remaining olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and chives and saute about 3 minutes, until shallots are translucent. Add kale and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add in couscous and sweet potatoes and drizzle maple syrup over top. Mix to combine and serve. Topping with goat cheese and seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.