Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cooking In The Garage: Couscous

The kitchen as we knew it has been demolished. The kitchen that we now know is in the garage. These are interesting times.
The microwave oven, a rice cooker (borrowed), and a toaster oven are all I have. Though a mixer and a food processor are available, they are a pain to use as there is virtually no counter space and the only dish washer is the manual kind (read: the husband).
These are the chronicles of our meals prepared and enjoyed in the garage.

Several months ago I accompanied my son's Boy Scout troop on an overnight backpacking trip. Since most of the accompanying parents weren't experienced backpackers, the senior scoutmaster wisely took on the responsibility of putting dinner together. It was a fantastic meal, spiced couscous with nuts and pita bread. The ambiance made the meal more memorable; the beautiful campsite dotted with tents put up by the scouts all by themselves, the proximity to the Pacific, the cold spring wind blowing in our faces, the realisation that your first born is no longer a li'l Cub Scout but a Boy Scout!

I was remined of that campfire-couscous when preparing our garage-couscous.
To a cup of boiling water add a cup of couscous (I used the whole wheat kind), some salt and optionally a little oil. Cover for about 4-5 minutes before very gently fluffing it with a fork. I served this couscous with vegetables sauteed in the rice-cooker.

Along with the sauteed vegetables (tomatillos, red peppers, corn, and leeks) I also added a handful of roasted pistachios (walnuts, pine nuts, pecans will work too) and a couple of teaspoons of cumin-coriander powder. The result was a few curry leaves away from being called an upma!

We had a green salad to go with the couscous. Speaking of green, the plates and the bowls we are currently using are green as well; 100% bio-degradable and compostable. Since all the produce we used was locally grown that meant less fuel was used to bring them to our table from the farm; our meal was green in more ways than one.

Coming back to the versatile couscous, what are some of the ways in which you prepare couscous?
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