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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.

carrot cous cous small 2I 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—

Oh nevermind.

carrot cous cous

Cous Cous With Tarragon-Glazed Carrots & Feta {Download & Print Recipe}
By eggton, except that the recipe for the carrots is slightly adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.

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)

Directions:

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.

here take it smallThen, when he finally gets in on the game, she’s gets mad.  Really mad.  Like, “I can-not be-lieve you just did that.”

I cant believe you just did that smallThey repeat this all day, in between naps.

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34 Comments Post a comment
  1. mine was ‘ammmmmm im telling’
    about as acidic as your retorts it would seem!

    March 1, 2013
  2. Amy #

    I didn’t get messed with when i was little, but whenever I had arguments with my friends, we’d always go to my mom for the deciding vote (at my insistence). What made her the be-all end-all source of knowledge?…I have no idea. In fact, when I realized one day that she didn’t actually know what she was talking about all the time, it was a sad sad day and my years of childhood innocence were over.

    I will most definitely be looking for this magazine, and I think your cous cous sounds amazing! (except for the tarragon, it’s the one herb whose flavor I am repulsed by).

    March 1, 2013
    • JillAlameda #

      And I thought I was the only person in the world who doesn’t like tarragon. I wouldn’t say I’m repulsed by it, but it’s my least favorite herb – along with fennel, which it kind of reminds me of
      . Bet we can substitute all kinds of GOOD herbs in this recipe, though!

      March 1, 2013
      • Amy #

        That’s funny because I actually love fennel! Who knows, maybe I just had a bad experience with it. I feel like they always serve tarragon sauce with beef and i just do not like the combo. But you’re right, another herb in here would be great too! Maybe dill??

        March 5, 2013
      • Yes, I think dill is the way to go! Gosh, I love fennel. I even like it raw. But I hate liquorice. Isn’t that weird?

        July 27, 2013
  3. After my mother hissed at the boy I went to the grade nine prom with, she was referred to as “Snake Lady.” No one messed with her. True story.

    Maybe I should make some of that lunch up there for her…

    March 1, 2013
    • reason number 837 i need to someday meet Ms. Rosie Beaucoup.

      March 5, 2013
  4. Orn #

    That lunch looks amazing! Way better than the jar of PB I just ate a spoonful of for breakfast.

    March 1, 2013
    • I just got a jar of almond butter because I’ve never had it and I’m wondering if it’s as good as peanut butter…

      July 27, 2013
      • Orn #

        It’s better! And now an expensive staple in my kitchen!

        August 13, 2013
  5. Oh, this story brought back bad memories of being called things like “Fuzzball” when I was in elementary school. But that appealing salad and the pics of the dogs made those memories go away!

    March 1, 2013
    • My friend, I was called “Monistat” when I was a little kid because my last name is Monahan. It was terrible! I didn’t even know what Monistat was but I knew it was for lady parts and was ashamed. (Feminist theory would have a lot to say about that, I’m sure.) Sigh.

      July 27, 2013
  6. This is gorgeous. Also, I feel like I can speak about cooking, now, because I actually just subscribed to Cook’s, Illustrated. On a related note, I just read about an award-winning costume designer (Penn State alum, in the PSU alumni magazine) who, when under deadline pressure gave up complicated food and lived on carrots, which produced a regular case of carotenosis. Or carotenitis. Something that makes your eyeballs turn orange, so it was wise to include actual other food components in this recipe. Which, again — looks gorgeous.

    March 1, 2013
    • I know all about carrots turning one’s skin orange. Years ago, during a particularly difficult time in my life, I was subsisting on carrots. And, about three weeks into it, I was orange! Not a pretty sight.

      March 1, 2013
  7. I have no desire to go back and relive those school days – wonder how you survived at times! Love coucous – YUM:) Happy Friday!

    March 1, 2013
  8. oh my goodness those photos just made my day
    xo!

    March 1, 2013
  9. jenny_o #

    I just love the pictures you take of your dogs. The food photos are very nice, and usually make me hungry, but the dog photos feed my soul. Thank you for sharing them!

    March 1, 2013
    • Jenny, I know what you mean. I think my brain undergoes chemical changes when I look at pictures of the dogs (or the dogs themselves.)

      July 27, 2013
  10. Go ahead! Call your brother! I will win him over to my side with a big bowl of this fabulous couscous with glazed carrots and feta. Because I’m just guessing he didn’t get any of your bowl. Which shows a distinct lack of forward planning on your part.

    March 2, 2013
  11. “Take it! I dare ya! Hahaha……. wha?”
    I can’t believe what a big guy Seymour is. And yet, of course, Thunder is in charge.

    March 2, 2013
    • Seymour is over 50 lbs now, but he is oblivious to this. His favorite place to be is sitting in my lap facing outward while I try to work!

      July 27, 2013
      • Okay, so are you just getting to your *March* comments? Girl! Bake some cookies and move on!

        July 27, 2013
        • Cookies it is! I made a terrible cake yesterday, so I’m tempted to boycott those for a while. It was in this month’s Saveur–a lemon cake with white chocolate butter cream. The cake was so dry and lackluster that I didn’t even ice it. I would have given it to Thunder and Seymour, but I didn’t, because I know she’d look at me in the morning and be like “you’re giving me DOG FOOD now? PLEASE. Where’s the rest of MY CAKE, WOMAN?”

          July 27, 2013
  12. I think I might win your brother with cake or something… The couscous with fresh tarragon.. I haven´t used that in years. Sounds like a recipe to try, and soon! Dogs are the best, they never tire of the same things.

    March 2, 2013
  13. I’m impressed that you actually tried to tell the other kids off. When I was a kid, I just took the teasings and went home and cried about it!!

    March 3, 2013
    • Anne, to be clear: I cried enough as a child/teenager to fill about 809 bathtubs with salt water.

      July 27, 2013
  14. Your Thunder and Seymour stories always crack me up. Thanks for the laughing out loud at work moments:)

    March 4, 2013
  15. Elizabeth #

    My sister (older) made me go tell off the mean boys for her. I was fierce at age 5! The cous cous sounds delish……wish I had some RIGHT now! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    March 5, 2013
  16. OH couscous; you light up my life when i let you. Problem? Like cereal, if i buy you, i will eat all of you, rapidly, in one sitting. Because i love you. And evidently now you come freckled with carrots and tarragon (which i am not repulsed by, like amy, but i am particular about what it is paired with). I’m so torn right now.

    March 5, 2013
  17. Is it just me or is tarragon everywhere right now? Or perhaps it’s just the fact that I just bought my first package and I’m actually noticing it in things now. Like when you get a new car and suddenly notice that everyone else in the state has the exact same one. Tarragon, you are the Subaru Station Wagon of the herb world.

    March 6, 2013
    • Yes! Or when you learn a new word, and then you hear it everywhere. Or when you see that your dog peed behind the couch and then you start noticing that in fact: they have peed everywhere.

      July 27, 2013
  18. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
    and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

    July 27, 2013
    • Haaaaaa! That is hilarious. And your timing is insane because I have been writing about hermit crabs this week! Seriously. I was trying to write about how I once bought one at the end of camp when we were at a gift shop and the counselors weren’t looking, and how much I wanted it to change shells when I got it home, but it never did.

      What a wonderful story, my friend. I love it. Thank you for thinking to share it with me.

      July 27, 2013

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