There is a saying that goes something like 'Necessity is the Mother of All Invention'. This weekend I had the opportunity to prove that saying to be true.
I was flipping through channels and found a cooking show. I'm not generally a fan of cooking shows but this caught my eye because they were cooking Couscous, a Middle Eastern staple that I have only recently discovered. A stew was made in a large stock pot and the couscous was steamed over the pot so that everything was cooked at the same time, and it only took one pot. That along was enough to peak my interest. I tend to be a messy cook and by the end I have a sink full of dirty dishes.
Of course I don't have a steamer insert that will fit my large stockpot, but I was not to be deterred. I wanted to make Couscous and Seven Vegetables, and by golly I was going to make it. So out came the recipe and all the ingredients all layed out neatly on the baker's island. I diligently followed the recipe until it came to steaming the couscous. My electric steamer was to small for the amount called for in the recipe so I looked for another solution.
That solution came to me with a crash as my wire strainer fell, again, off the hook it was hanging from. I layered it with cheese cloth, plopped in the washed couscous and turned to set it on the pot. Not a chance, it was to small along and easily entered the pot. So I took a moment or two to think about and decided to use kitchen cord hang the strainer above the liquid in the pot by tying it off as tightly as possible to the stock pot handles.
It wasn't very elegant but my jerry rigged steamer insert worked like a charm. After two and a half hours of peeling, chopping, and stirring we ended up with a huge dish of couscous, chicken, and seven vegetables. Unfortunately, the recipe said ten servings but they must have been army serving because we ended up with supper and fourteen more servings of a mighty hearty meal in the freezer. Next time, I'm cutting the recipe by four.