Choose You Blog

Eating Right: Cous Cous Ca Choo

April 21st, 2011 by - comments (4)

Yeah let’s admit that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to eating right if you’re a parent is, well, being a parent. Busy. Servant to many masters. Servant to many picky and choosy masters. Prone to small children leaping tall tantrums in a single bound. Susceptible to the call of the Happy Meal and its Happy Ending. One person I’ve long admired is Emily Rosenbaum, great writer, hilarious storyteller, and maker of delicious healthy recipes that her children eat, happily, and that also serve happy adults. She recently released a book that I’m greatly enjoying, all about her recipes and how they came to be. If there’s anything I like well, it’s a good, easy to make and eat recipe that comes with a fabulous story. Emily has graciously shared both with us here today!

Lilah loves beans of all sorts.  Benjamin likes most bean dishes, although white beans are hit or miss.  Zachary would not consider eating a bean if it were coated in caramel and dipped in chocolate.

Lilah thinks squash is one of the seven wonders of the world.  Benjamin likes squash unless a better offer comes along.  Zachary would switch seats on an airplane if a squash were sitting next to him.

Lilah loves to try new foods, except on the days she doesn’t.  Benjamin assumes that any new food must be a treat that we’ve been hiding from him, and usually that turns out to be the case, like when he tried scallops for the first time and adored them.  Zachary hasn’t tried a new food since the Bush administration.

The first Bush.  And Zach wasn’t even born yet.

One Monday morning, during some school break or another, I found myself at the grocery store with all three children, a situation I am usually far more adept at avoiding. Sometime between the first and third time the boys decided to wrestle on the grocery store floor, we went down the rice aisle.  “I’m making chickpeas tonight,” I told Benjamin.  “Would you like them on rice or with this?  It’s a special pasta called ‘couscous.’”

“Um, I want that!” Benjamin replied, assuming if he hadn’t had it before, it must be delicious.

Now, their father hates couscous, but, frankly, if I thought about that fact I was afraid my head would start to spin around and my nostrils would blow blue smoke.  So, I bought some whole wheat couscous.

Benjamin’s Couscous

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons or so
  • One chopped onion
  • Several minced cloves of garlic
  • Carrots – sliced in discs
  • ½ – 1 bag cooked garbanzos, drained
  • Two baked acorn squashes or 1 butternut squash (sliced in half, baked face down about an hour on 400 with a little olive oil on them)
  • Chopped dates
  • Chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups cous cous
  • Salt
  1. Melt together the butter and olive oil.  Fry up the onions and garlic until translucent, doing the garlic Andrew’s way.
  2. I poured in a little more than 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil because the couscous package said 1 ¼ cups water to 1 cup couscous, and I wanted a little extra in there since I was cooking up other things, too.  Bring it all to a boil.  Add the carrots and cook till soft.
  3. Then, add the couscous (in this case, I used two cups) and the dates.  Mix up and cover.  After five minutes, fluff with fork, then mix in the cooked garbanzos and chopped up cooked squash.  Don’t worry if they’ve already cooled, as this particular dish is fine warm instead of hot.
  4. Salt to taste, which usually means I forget the salt and then we all rush to add it at the supper table.

My husband actually loved it, despite his deep seeded prejudice against couscous, perhaps due to some childhood trauma involving a Moroccan restaurant.  Benjamin and Lilah loved it, much to the detriment of our dining room rug.

Zachary didn’t try it, but I had also made garbanzo muffins.  Because I’m not an idiot.

Emily Rosenbaum is a writer, mother, cook, and lousy gardener trying to live sustainably in New Jersey.  Her publications include Bitch, Glamour, Hip Mama, and Brain, Child. She blogs at Wheels on the Bus.

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4 Responses to “Eating Right: Cous Cous Ca Choo”

  1. Caroline says:

    Guess what we’re eating for dinner tomorrow night?! This sounds delicious!

  2. Caroline, it is delicious! I’ve stolen recipes from Emily through the years. Happily. :)

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