Surviving The Times
When I was a kid and the boys at school were mean, I’d flash a mouth full of braces at them and say:
You’d better cut it out. My dad’s a police officer.
It was a pretty good line, I thought. They wouldn’t dare mess with me if my dad could get them in big, big trouble.
It didn’t work, though. I had underestimated the number of kids who knew my dad was a professor with a friendly beard and a green Ford Taurus.
The days he dropped me off at school in his Birkenstocks did not help.
So I came up with some new retorts–real zingers like “I’m going to get my mom to call your mom.”
That one had some real potential. My mom is an Italian force to be reckoned with, and she could have gotten those doofuses grounded for months if I’d asked her to. But I didn’t. So when I said “I’m going to get my mom to call your mom,” it was about as threatening as chirping “I’ll have my people get in touch with your people so we can pencil in a lunch!”
Which brings me (with a screeching halt) to my next topic: lunch. And not the elementary school can-I-sit-next-to-you, do-you-want-to-trade-me-your-twinkie type of lunch, either.
This lunch is a classy toss of cous cous and feta and tarragon-glazed carrots.
I recently started getting Fine Cooking magazine and I love it. It’s like a cross between Cooks Illustrated and Bon Appétit or Food & Wine. I made their glazed carrots, cutting down on the sugar a little because carrots are so naturally sweet. Then, to make a meal of it, I tossed them with whole wheat cous cous and crumbled feta. The fresh tarragon glaze was flavorful enough to dress the entire bowl, and the salty brine of the feta was the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the carrots.
If you don’t make this recipe soon, I’m going to call my brother, and then. . . and then? Yeah. Then, I’m going to get him to. . . hmmm—
Ingredients: (Makes 4 small bowls)
2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ inch rounds (2 + cups)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
4 oz. feta cheese (I buy mine in a block because it’s moister, but the pre-crumbled kind will work fine)
5.8 oz. cous cous (I used 1 package of this blend of whole duram wheat semolina and durum semolina), cooked according to the directions on the package, which usually means something like:
–1 1/2 c. broth or water (I use chicken broth)
–1 Tbsp. butter (substitute the amount of butter or oil specified in the package instructions for the cous cous)
–1/2 tsp. salt (substitute the amount of salt specified in the package instructions for the cous cous)
Put the carrots in an 8″-wide, 3-4 quart sauce pan and arrange them snugly so they’re touching. Add the butter, sugar and salt. Then add just enough water to cover the carrots, but no more. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, about 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a light glaze and the carrots are just tender. (If the glaze is done before the carrots, add a little more water (about 1/2 c.) and continue to cook. If the carrots are already tender but there’s still water, not glaze, in the pan, remove the carrots and boil the water until it’s syrupy.) Lower the heat to medium-low and add the tarragon. Toss and remove from the heat.
In the meantime, prepare the cous cous according to the package instructions. Make sure to move the cous cous off the burner, instead of just turning the burner off, when you let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
In a medium-large bowl, combined the crumbled feta, the warm carrots and the warm cous cous. Toss until combined. Taste it. I didn’t need to add anything at this point, but if you want you can add salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate the left-overs but pop them in the microwave to take the chill out before re-serving.
Here’s something that happens nine hundred times a day: First, Thunder begs Seymour to play with her and her ball by running up to him and sticking the ball in his face.