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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markdotnet said...

Can I assume you weren't traveling with children? That would have made it MUCH worse.

Kris said...

Oh, man - we weren't. There were quite a few there, mostly boys around eight-years-old. They held up remarkably well, all considering.

chacha1 said...

LOL my heartfelt sympathies. This would be why DH and I never fly anymore if the distance can be driven in six hours or less.

Breakfast anything with peaches = yum!

Suzanne said...

I have had similar problems coming to my lovely town of Richmond, Virginia. And I have been stuck in Kennedy (or in RIC waiting to go to Kennedy, with children) by Delta and Northwest. You have my utmost, maximum sympathies.

Kathy said...

Just made this as a quick, light dinner and it was so good! Thanks for sharing.

Is there any way you could add protein amounts to your final totals? I always try to make sure I have enough in any one meal, and sometimes it's hard to guess.

bweebud said...

Do you think you can substitute water instead of milk? I think my newborn has a cow's milk allergy so I am trying to avoid dairy for a while.

Anonymous said...

I just made this with whole wheat couscous, and it's fabulous! My only problem is that I used the last of my ww couscous and my last can of peaches, so now I can't make more until I go back to the store. Delicious!

Ginger said...

So I made this today but Someone ate my peaches so I used passion fruit juice and frozen blueberries at the last minute. Heaven, omg it was so good. BUT I stumbled upon something entirely unexpected! I use powdered non-fat milk instead of fresh, and so instead of making it up with water I made it up with the passion-fruit juice, I make buttermilk with it all the time so I knew it would curdle a bit like you said, but instead of curdling it made paneer; a well formed stringy ball of cheese in the middle of the pot floating in the water. Ewwy and gooey, I had just read about the paneer making the other day on this blog, or I probably would have thrown it out. I ate a little piece of the passion-fruit flavored cheese, yummy, and then poured the couscous in it and the cheese just melted into it after some forceful stirring. I am going to make some more of just the passion-fruit cheese later and strain it in some cheese cloth, but I don't know what I could do with it. Spread it on a bagel or something?