Monday, April 12, 2010

Breakfast Couscous Custard with Peaches: Plus, I Hate Delta

Later today on Serious Eats: DIY Hot Pockets. Cheesy, mushroomy, spinachy delight. More than worth the time investment.

Thoughts while waiting seven hours for a mechanically compromised plane at LaGuardia Airport’s Delta Terminal in Queens, New York:

1) Next time, Jet Blue.

2) Gate 5A was built for about 50 people. Right now, customers waiting for late flights would rival the Puerto Rican Day Parade in both numbers and volume, but not in appreciation of flan.

3) Did we just pay $8 for a Budweiser draft?

4) This has to be the seventh circle of hell. I’m pretty sure I see a guy pushing a boulder endlessly uphill. Or it could be a pilot trying to get his plane off the ground. I’m not positive.

5) Husband-Elect and I create a game called Airport Scavenger Hunt, in which you list a bunch of things to look for (twins, pink shoes, a team, etc.), and then people-watch until you find them. Easy to find: the aforementioned pink shoes. Much harder: sombreros. Why aren’t there more mariachi bands in airports?

6) On Facebook, I post “LGA Delta terminal, hour 7. Please kill me” as my status update. Friends immediately respond:
  • “Noooo! I hate Delta.”
  • “Yikes! Give up and go home.”
  • “Just got off a Delta flight … my luggage didn’t make it.”
7) We are eating lunch at an airport sports bar. The menu lists “brie” as part of my sandwich. On the sandwich: onions, peppers, chicken, and a clear goo of indeterminate origin. 20 minutes later, my heart attempts to escape through my neck. Lesson: never order brie from an airport sports bar.

8) Who knew there were so many people with neck tattoos? (This has nothing to do with our experience. It’s just something I think about sometimes.)

9) In New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport, the computers look to be Commodore 64s. There is smog INSIDE the building, as well as a tip-insistent bathroom attendant whom I’m pretty sure doesn’t actually work there. This is worse.

We will eventually book another flight when it becomes clear this plane will be canceled. 13 hours after leaving the house, we’ll make it to our original destination: Richmond, Virginia. In retrospect, a skateboard would have been faster.

Fortunately, we had eaten Breakfast Couscous Custard with Peaches from Family Feasts for $75 a Week the previous night, so everything was okay.

We’ve written about Mary Ostyn’s stellar cookbook/grocery primer before, but to sum: I can not recommend it highly enough, whether you’re a single person just starting out, or parents-to-be of octuplets. (Octomom reads this, right?) It’s an invaluable guidebook to cooking whole foods healthfully, quickly, cheaply, and deliciously. Basically, my only problem with it is that I wish I wrote it.

But back to the breakfast couscous. Easy to make and surprisingly filling, it’s a neat twist on your average morning meal. I liked it; Husband-Elect loved it. The first few bites elicited a rare, “Oh my god, hon, this is really good.” In our house, that’s equivalent to a papal blessing or Delta taking less than four days to complete a 14-mile trip.

I don’t know if I mentioned? But they’re not so good at that.

If you appreciate this recipe, you might also be enthused by:

Breakfast Couscous Custard with Peaches
Serves 4.
Adapted from Mary Ostyn’s Family Feasts for $75 a Week.
(NOTE: I forgot to take a picture of this dish, so please accept this artist’s rendering.)

1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced peaches, in light syrup or pear juice
About 1-1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt

NOTE: My milk curdled a bit, which I attribute to using slightly acidic canned pear juice. Stirring helped, and it ultimately didn’t make a difference in taste or appearance.

NOTE #2: Mary adds that if you’d rather use fresh peaches, simply combine 1 cup orange juice with 1 cup milk for the liquid.

1) Drain peaches, reserving liquid. Combine liquid with enough milk to make 2 cups of peach milk.

2) In a medium saucepan, bring peach milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add couscous, brown sugar, butter, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Remove from heat. Cover. Let sit for 5 or 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Once ready, shake in a little kosher salt to amplify the flavors. Stir.

3) Divide mixture into bowls. Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with peach slices.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
321 calories, 4.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, $0.87
(With 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar sprinkled on each serving.)

1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced peaches, in light syrup or pear juice: 180 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g fiber, $1.39
About 1-1/2 cups skim milk: 136 calories, 1.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.37
1 cup couscous: 650 calories, 1 g fat, 8.7 g fiber, $1.53
4 tablespoons light brown sugar: 175 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.05
4 teaspoons unsalted butter: 136 calories, 15.4 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.08
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg: 6 calories, 0.4 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, $0.03
Kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
TOTALS: 1283 calories, 17.9 g fat, 11.9 g fiber, $3.46
PER SERVING (TOTALS/4): 321 calories, 4.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, $0.87

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