Thursday, January 8, 2009

So that's what you do with that...

Since moving to West TN, I have become THAT vegetarian. I stalk the bean aisle (unintended pun). I mow down the grains aisle (that pun was). I rack up at the spices aisle. We do, after all, have to eat from other sections of the grocery store than just the produce section. Did I say aisle? More like section of one row. The selection at stores is more limited (reasonably so) in these areas. A typical glance across the bean selection is: bags of black, pinto and blackeyed peas. Cans of black, lima, red, and baked. (Cause why would you ever need plain ol' pork & beans?) Grains--What isn't Zatarain's or Rice-a-Roni is long grain, medium grain, brown or white rice.

But yesterday...I found couscous. Yup. A little yellow package shoved back behind two other packages of pearl barley (also a find!). I slapped that package in my buggy so fast the lady down the aisle jerked her head up. Feeling a little like Lewis & Clark viewing the Pacific, I stocked up on some other goodies and headed to the check out. The manager stopped me as I was helping the girl bag everything and said, "Ma'am. I've been meaning to ask. What do you do with that?" Glad you asked! Couscous is the food of the gods, and I was happy to share with him my favorite "summer" version:

10 oz. couscous (whole wheat or regular)
2 cups water (or use 1 & 1/2 parts water to 1 part couscous)
1 tablespoon butter

**Salt the water and allow water and butter to come to a boil. Pour in couscous and immediately remove from heat. Cover pot and allow to sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. If you ruin it, you're probably already pretty challenged in the kitchen.

Serve with:
Cucumber Raita
*Mix 1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt with 1 tsp. cumin, 1 peeled and grated cucumber, and 1/2 t. salt. Add more cumin to taste.
Feta Cheese
Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
Chopped Cilantro

Still working on my favorite "winter" version, but last night I ate it with 1/2 c. red beans cooked with garlic, cumin, and chipotle and a sprinkle of cheese on top!Couscous bliss ensued.

And then I knocked over the pot, and 3 cups of freshly-cooked couscous ended up all over my kitchen floor. Note to self: turn pot handle other direction when stumbling all over kitchen. Note to reader: allow couscous to dry and cool before attempting to sweep up. Wet, it just sticks to everything.

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