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.


10 Ways Tuesday: Rose

I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with rosewater and dried rosebuds in winter:

1.  Rosewater Madeleines

Madeleines are miniature French sponge cakes, baked in a cute little sea shell shape. They are dainty and sweet, a simple “cookie” made with butter, sugar, and eggs that lends itself to endless variations from lemon to chocolate, or even a hint of rosewater. The delicate perfume of rose can really be appreciated in madeleines, and Martha Stewart adds her special touch with a sprinkling of pink sanding sugar to decorate the cookies just as they come out of the oven. I found a couple of different approaches to baking rosewater madeleines: Martha bakes the cookies plain, then brushes them with rosewater syrup once cooked, while Nigella Lawson incorporates the rose water into the madeleine batter in her recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess.


Ingredient of the Week: Rose

Rosebuds & Rose Water (c)2012

You may be hoping to receive a delivery this Valentine’s day, a dozen crimson roses surrounded by baby’s breath, perfuming the house or your office cubicle with their floral aroma. Here at la Domestique, I’m looking forward to cooking with roses all week, savoring the heady fragrance of brittle, dried rosebuds in spice blends and adding delicate rose water to fruit salads, pastries, and cocktails. Cooking with preserved rose essence brings spring into the winter pantry, battling the blues we feel during this time of year when fresh produce is difficult to find. Though using roses in the kitchen may seem bizarre, dried rose blossoms and rose water are a pantry staple in the Middle East and Northern India. It’s all about balance, though, and a heavy hand with this ingredient can easily overpower. Dried rosebuds are used in spice blends to balance floral and savory, spicy and calm, bitter and sweet. The musky aroma of dried rosebuds adds depth and intrigue to spice blends used in meaty stews, couscous dishes, and curries. Rose water, milder than orange flower water, is subtle, yet luxurious, in puddings, sorbets, cakes, and cookies.