Cook in the Moment: Rose Water Scented Couscous with Citrus, Yogurt, and Almonds

Rose Water Scented Couscous with Citrus, Yogurt, and Almonds (c)2012

It’s 6:00 am. I can hear my husband’s alarm softly ringing from his cell phone on the bedside table. My eyes open, and I’m startled by a wet nose in my face. Minnie, our daschund, is asleep between us, blissfully unaware that it’s Monday. The sun has yet to rise, and after my husband silences the alarm we both shut our eyes for a few minutes more.

The alarm goes off again, this time more urgently. My husband springs from the bed, breaking free from a deep sleep. The dog groans and boroughs further into the covers. I stumble out of bed and into the bathroom. Splashing water on my face washes the sleep from my eyes, along with fragile memories of last night’s dreams. I scurry into the kitchen to make breakfast, ears perked, taking note of where he’s at in the getting ready for work process. The sound of running water in the bathroom sink lets me know he’s shaving, I have plenty of time.

Over the years, breakfast has become our favorite meal together. The day is still unwritten, a clean slate to be filled. As the sun rises, shining golden rays through the large windows of our top-floor apartment, I set the table with cloth napkins and tea cups. It’s a proper breakfast, some days pancakes, or eggs and bacon with toast. Today, I feel like cooking something special. Inspired by the flavors of Morocco, I prepare a bed of rose water infused couscous adorned with slices of citrus. Mint leaves, yogurt, and a drizzle of honey finish off this bright and stimulating dish, a cheerful way to start a cold winter day.

The sound of water boiling in our tea kettle signals breakfast is ready. We sit at the table together and he pours me a cup of tea. Conversation about the day ahead inevitably leads to a lively discussion of business and current affairs. He tells me about his next project at work and I listen intently. I share plans for an upcoming photo shoot and he gets excited about my ideas. We laugh, we argue, we dream about the future and reminisce about the past. He offers me a hot drop to warm my tea and before we know it, he’s late for work. Again.

We hug and he’s out the door. I smile. How lucky we are to linger over breakfast together- still holding on to every moment, after eight years. When you’re married to your best friend, every day is Valentine’s day.

Ingredients for Rose Water Infused Couscous with Citrus, Yogurt, and Almonds (c)2012

Each week I contribute an article expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas to the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder website. To learn more about this recipe and read the full article, click on the icon below.

Rose Water Scented Couscous with Citrus, Yogurt, and Almonds

serves 2 generously


1 tangelo
1 blood orange
1 mandarin orange
3/4 cups water
1/2 cup couscous
1 cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
zest from 1 Meyer lemon
rose water
1 small container of Greek yogurt, 6 ounces honey
a small handful of fresh mint leaves for garnish

Prepare the citrus, cutting off the peel and segmenting the fruit into bite sized pieces.

Cook the couscous. Place the grains in a small pot with the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods (lightly crushed with a spoon), and a couple of pinches of sea salt. Boil water in a kettle or separate pot, then pour it over the couscous. Cover the couscous with a lid and let it steam until the liquid is absorbed, about 5-10 minutes.

Toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring in ground cinnamon. Cook until the almonds are golden brown and fragrant, just a couple of minutes. Pour the toasted almonds into a town and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of powdered sugar. Set aside.

Once the couscous is done steaming, fluff it with a fork, discarding the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Pour melted butter over the couscous and stir in Meyer lemon zest plus 1/2 teaspoon rose water.

Divide the couscous into two bowls. Stir 1/4 teaspoon rose water into the citrus and arrange the citrus segments atop the couscous. Place a couple spoonfuls of yogurt in the center of the couscous and drizzle honey over top. Garnish the couscous with the sliced almonds and fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Rose Water (c)2012


  1. What a beautiful post, Jess! I, too, love to linger over breakfast with my husband and I agree that being married to your best friends makes Valentine’s Day feel like any other day (though my husband never forgets to get me flowers ;). I have rose water in my pantry and am always trying to find new ways to use it. This is it! xo

    • Thank you for the kind words, Kasey!

  2. Love this! I listen for “where in the routine” my husband is, too. He is sadly not much of a breakfast person, but we chat as we get ready and listen to NPR. This dish is beautiful and sounds fantastic!

    • I love it, Nicole! Listening to NPR and pottering around getting ready in the morning sounds wonderful!

  3. So here is the rosewater – what a lovely breakfast. I am very devoted to breakfast and often have it twice (this is also because I like toast, butter and marmalade so much I am reluctant to forsake it and so have all the other wonderful egg/bacon/porridge/yogurt/kippers/croissant/jam/eggy break/pancake options in the second round) I am still having a cake and milky coffee breakfast phase at the moment.
    You have created a just wonderful blog, happy to be here.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Rachel. Two breakfasts sounds wonderful. :)

  4. Oh, this was so lovely! I would love to wake up to that beautiful plate of food. Congratulations on eight beautiful years!

    • Thank you!

  5. I love everything about this post.

    • Thanks for reading, Kelli!

  6. So sweet – what a wonderful way to start the day. I’ve seen rosewater in my favourite import shop, and you’ve given me some great ideas. Loved your Tuesday post as well!

    • I can’t wait to see how you cook with rosewater, Renee!

  7. i love all of these rose recipes because i have a full bottle of rose water i used to make ice cream and didn’t know what to do with it again… love it!!! hope you’re having a nice weekend!

    • Rose ice cream sounds lovely and I’m picturing it garnished with candied rose petals. Thanks for stopping by, Elie!

  8. This is such a great post- the food, the writing, all of it! This sounds like such a lovely way to start Valentine’s, or any day. Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal and I’m looking forward to trying this on a lazy morning!

    • Thank you, Kathryn! I hope you enjoy the recipe, and I’m sure you’ll put your own fantastic twist on it!



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