Sunday, February 17, 2013

Remember the Couscous, To Hell with Celery Root!

I really did want to like celery root. Just think, a vegetable I've never cooked. The possibilities are endless! Okay, it's not the prettiest plant.

But I really did try.

No dice.

First of all, it tastes like absolutely nothing. It doesn't even taste like celery. I served slaw with Granny Smith apples. My husband said, "Plain apple slaw, huh?"

Second, it looks like Eastern European health food. Because my ancestors probably dug this ugly root from the Russian soil to ward off liver ailments and foot odor, I should have to eat it, too?

Third, it almost ruined my Friday night dinner. Thanks, Martha!

Burnt on the outside, raw on the inside. NOT HAPPY! (I made the recipe twice, same results.)

After banishing the guests to the den, stamping my foot like a toddler, and swearing a blue streak, I put the water on to boil up some couscous.

No, it was not the best thing I ever made. (Obviously, since it wasn't a cake.) It was, however, a successful recovery from a dinner-party disaster after the guests had already arrived. Everyone loved it, and there were no leftovers. So, when this happens to you, don't panic!

  • Just boil four cups of water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Or if you have chicken stock, bully for you!
  • Add two cups of couscous, two tablespoons of butter or oil, and a teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • Clamp on the lid, turn off the heat, and wait five minutes.
  • Use a fork to break up the couscous and turn the contents of the pot out into your serving bowl, fluffing the grains up all fancy-like.
  • Spend just a minute arranging a handful of chopped onions, a handful of chopped nuts, and a handful of chopped herbs on top of the couscous.
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the whole thing, and serve it like your menu was planned last month.
I used shallots, pistachios and dill.
But use whatever you have around. Green onions? Parsley? Coriander? Peanuts? It will be fine.

Good enough to make on a night when you don't ruin the side dish!

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