1. Rinse the couscous well with cool water. Remove the stems of the kale leaves by running a sharp knife along both sides of each stem. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise, then across into ½ inch strips. Rinse the kale well in a colander.
2. Mince the garlic and add it to a large pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium-low heat for one minute, or until the garlic is slightly softened. Add the rinsed kale and sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the kale has wilted and looks dark green and glossy.
3. Add the rinsed couscous to the pot along with vegetable broth. Stir the contents of the pot, place a lid on top, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let the pot come to a boil. As soon as it does, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure the pot is simmering the whole time.
4. After 15 minutes, check the quinoa to see if it is done. Each granule should look slightly transparent with a white outer rim. If there is still a considerable amount of broth left in the bottom of the pot, replace the lid and let simmer for a few minutes more. If there is a small amount of liquid, simply remove the lid and sauté for a couple of minutes, or until the excess liquid evaporates.
5. While the pot is simmering, zest half of the lemon. Chop the walnuts and crumble the feta.
6. Once the couscous is cooked and any excess moisture has evaporated, remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the kale and quinoa. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon over the pot as well. Finally, sprinkle the chopped nuts and crumbled feta on top.
...with couple glasses of wine.
All [kitchen] sounds were recorded with a Tascam DR-100. It has a nice little remote that makes it even easier to avoid the irritating, spring-loaded, button blunk that begins most of my recordings.
Due to the unpredictable humming of refrigerator and other undesirable noises, sounds were cut as to maximize the action while to minimize the unnecessary. Some sounds required more or less of an amount of EQ to remove undesired frequencies. This varied depending on what action was occurring and in what proximity to the drone of the fridge or incessant pollution of the leaf-blower outside. Not the most Cagean of approaches, but because I was more focused on capturing the details of each sound specifically, I found the myriad of buzzing tones to be distracting when editing and arranging. This provided other, and even greater sonic opportunities. For example, take the chopping of garlic with the pounding and peeling of the outer layer, scraping of the cutting board to organize, the chopping. All of these steps are not as fluid when comes to the impact (desired) sounds. There is in between, more space that the environment around us is only too excited to occupy. In a practical sense, there is unwanted and therefore wasted time in there too.
Once desired sounds were isolated, clusters about 4-8 seconds long were looped and individual sounds were arranged to produce some sort of musicality representative of complex action. One inspiration was the well known hip-hop montage technique in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem For a Dream. (Side note, the sound department responsible for the success includes over 40 people.)
These clusters were then arranged in sequence to other clusters. I then consolidated each of these clusters to one track. Additional tracks were added that included two simple chords which were recorded with an acoustic guitar; another with an electric. There is also a finger-picking phrase that is looped, swells in reverse, treated with a large amount of reverb and sits quietly in the periphery. All tonal additives cease with the uncorking of a wine bottle.
The rolling of a drawer, procurement of spices, cutting of garlic, clicking of the gas light, pouring of couscous granules, sizzling of the kale, rinsing with water, mixing in a bowl, sprinkling of salt, squeezing of a lemon, gathering of plates. All these sounds - and editing them - provide a greater awareness of being in the kitchen than I had previously. An unedited (tonal additives/music absent) version of this project is below.