Thursday, June 30, 2011

Couscous fail

Couscous is delicious and easy and you can do anything you want to it. Which is one (3?) of the reasons I've never been making couscous for dinner, thinking to myself, I should take pictures of this for the blog. It's easier than a grilled cheese sandwich.

So while dealing with the farmshare foods (making salad, washing things, determining if anything needed to be frozen) on Tuesday, I decided to do up some couscous for our lunches, using the fluffy chard we got. I sauteed up some chard in garlic and cooked the couscous in homemade veg stock and chopped sundried tomatoes, and a fontina rind. Black pepper. Done. It took 10 minutes.

I wish there was something about this that'd be visible to ya'll. The butter fail is easy, you can see what went wrong. The jalepeno fail is easy too... you can see the seeds, and even if you don't do the math to realize how potent they might have been, you can understand what burn feels like. I feel bad that I don't have more to show you on this one.

It was done, I got out the containers to pack it into lunches and took a forkful. And spat it out. Tasted like plastic. Like I had cooked it wrapped in saran wrap. And I had to call Sous Chef Brian in to confirm that I wasn't crazy. "Take a bite, but be ready to spit." He confirmed it. I went back to the cheese rind and sniffed it. Not bad. Cheesy. I pulled out a sundried tomato and tasted it. Plastic. Nasty, burning plastic smell, and the associated flavor. We threw out all the sundried tomatoes. Then Sous Chef Brian smelled the sundried tomato jar. No smell. Ok, tangy tomato smell. No plastic. We had made a mistake. Then he pulled out a piece of chard from the dish. Nasty. Plastic. Ok, it's the chard. He reminds me of the time we bought a basil plant that tasted like soap. It happens.

An hour later, I remember tasting the chard stems while I was cooking (they can be bitter and need a little extra work). They were bitter, but not horrifying. It couldn't be the chard. Sous Chef Brian sniffed my latest batch of veg stock - the stock I used for the first time tonight. "This is it." I sniffed it. No, it was fairly weak stock, but not offensive.

So that was everything, right? It wasn't the olive oil or the black pepper, we use both of those like twice a day. I poured a glass of wine while Sous Chef Brian threw out the pan full of couscous.

Do ya'll remember that time I cleaned out my cabinets? It was three months ago (whoa, they're due for another once over) and I merged two containers of cousous. I even noted the obvious line across the jar where old couscous sat under new couscous. I've only used couscous once or twice since then. I sent Sous Chef Brian to sniff the jar of couscous. Whoa. That's it. Plastic. It reminded me of the smell of spoiled wheat germ, which is something I'm familiar with, because sometimes I buy a bit of wheat germ to use in bread, but then forget about it. I keep my wheat germ in the fridge now and it's fine. So I have two points, and then I'll shut up:

  1. Check your damn staples.
  2. Seriously though, cook sundried tomatoes along with the couscous in stock and toss in some garlicy greens with a splash of cider vinegar.

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