July at the Kasbah

A quick recipe for  a summer dinner!

Tunisian Egg Briks

Briks are deep-fried filo turnovers, very popular in Morocco. Now that I have the time, and that Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion is at the publisher’s (December 2014 pub date!), I am rediscovering my “old” books, and favorite tested recipes. So much work goes into developing a good one, why reinvent the wheel???

Here is one I particularly like, even though it calls for action at the last minute. Frying the brik and serving it piping hot is part of the fun. So is eating it with your fingers and having a little egg yolk dribble down your chin! ! Briks are usually filled with an egg, a little diced onion, and chopped parsley and cilantro to taste.   I sometimes opt for a savory mix of mashed potato and tuna. Let your imagination run wild!

1 package frozen filo dough

vegetable oil for deep frying

For the filling:

1 cup onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley per brik

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro per brik

12 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

wedges of lemon

Thaw the filo overnight in the refrigerator, or two hours at room temperature.  Unfold filo. Using an 8-inch bowl or plate as a template, cut filo rounds with a sharp knife.  Each sheet of filo should yield two rounds.  Place the rounds on a plate, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Use two filo rounds per brik.  Rewrap and refreeze any leftover filo for future use. Stack the rounds you are going to use.

Pour 1 inch of oil in a large skillet, and heat until a piece of phyllo sizzles.

Break one egg in a bowl.  The yolk must not break.

Have the chopped herbs, the chopped onion, and the spices ready.  Separate two rounds. Gently place them in the skillet, half in, and half hanging over the side.

Carefully place the egg on the half inside the pan, sprinkle with cilantro, onion, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Quickly fold over the other half of filo to form a turnover, and hold the edges sealed with a fork.

Using two spatulas, turn the brik over gently to fry the other side until golden brown.  Remove immediately, drain well on paper towel, decorate, and place on serving plate with a wedge of lemon.

Variation: Try a little Mexican salsa over the egg, instead of the herbs.
From The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books 1998) by Kitty Morse.

PS: While I am at it:


I had had several requests for information about tours to Morocco lately. I am happy to share the name of the travel agent who handled 18 of my 24 tours. Just send me an e-mail.



You can consuult the  Travelling to Morocco page on this website, and sign up for a phone consultation. I do not recommend latest hotels and eateries (there are dozens and dozens) but I can suggest what to do and not to do in the cities you visit. My fee is USD100 an hour, payable by Paypal.

ALO Magazine/Mint Tea and Minarets

MInt Tea and MInarets and recipes reviewed in


Alo magazine is dedicated to the Middle East and North Africa:

“ALO magazine has served as a forum for understanding the Middle Eastern culture and

a tool for those within to keep true to their heritage. Despite the world’s disorder and

conflict, ALO’s central focus remains unchanged: maintaining editorial integrity while

striving to push the publication’s quality ever higher each quarter. – See more at: http://www.alomagazine.com/about

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALOinsider

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/alomagazine/

June 2014/Sliding into summer

Photo Michael Pawlenty

Roasted salmon with Borage Yogurt Sauce from the upcoming

Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion

Chef’s Press (Fall 2014)

Aside from giving talks about Moroccan cuisine and culture around SD County, I am

cooking up a storm for the next edition of Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, which

Chef’s Press will publish in late Fall.

NEXT Appearances and Book Signings
I am currently booking events for late summer and Fall.

A Taste of Morocco
Thank you to all involved at the La Mesa library for creating a great turnout on June 14th.

Next up:
Presentation, book signing, and sampling
Saturday, June 28, 2014. 12-2PM
Come in and chat. No need to purchase anything!
Le  Creuset Company Store
5600 Paseo del Norte
Carlslbad CA 92008. (760)931-6868
At the Flower Fields, off Palomar Airport Road

Tuesday, July 1. 6-7:30PM
First Tuesday program
Rancho San Diego Branch Library
11555 Via Rancho San Diego
El Cajon. (619)660-5370
information: frans.leppanen@sdcounty.ca.gov

Wednesday, July 9. 10:30AM
San Diego County Library
Talk with the author
Lakeside Branch
9839 Vine Street
Lakeside. (619) 443-1660
information: doris.adam@sdcounty.ca.gov

Spend some time perusing this great Emagazine, meant for anyone interested in all

things culinary:
“…Our June 2014 issue
a table-full of thoughtful dishes for umami-powered nibbling!
MUSIC TO READ BY: Music Editor, Duane Spencer’s soundtracks for your tasty reading (sprinkled throughout the issue). Natahsa Saje’s CAPON, a young cook’s perspective of her palate-less employers. . . Eva Szaboevokes an early morning heat where dough rises and so does a young mother and baby inBread.

Book review of Kitty Morse’s enticing and enchanting

Mint Tea and Minarets.
(Each month’s servings are also archived for nibbling any time)”

Blogposts for food lovers:
Laura Groch, former food editor for the North County Times, writes a blogpost dedicated

to food. Check it out! www.beyondbites.com

OC Food Diva in Orange County, CA:
ocfooddiva.blogspot.com reviews Mint Tea and Minarets:



and this terrific weekly newsletter announcing international events: The San Diego

Participant Observer, a publication of The Worldview Project, is an educational

non-profit dedicated to promoting greater understanding and interest in cultures and

peoples around the world.

Interested in the rankings of  MOROCCAN WINES in the US?

I am often asked to recommend Moroccan wines. Here is what the experts say:
Top Value Brands of the year according to  WINE & SPIRITS MAGAZINE.

Moroccan Rose 2013
Moroccan White Blend 2012 Best Buy 88 points  (W&S)
Moroccan Red Blend 2011 88 points   (W&S)
Syrah 2010   90 points  (W&S)
Chardonnay 2011    89 points (WE)
Medaillon Red 2011  Best Buy 89 points   (W&S)
Medaillon Sauv Blanc 2012 88 points  (W&S) and (WE)

SOURCE: www.nomadicdistribution.com

Alimentum, The Literature of Food, reviews Mint Tea and Minarets

I am a fan of Alimentum, an online magazine dedicated to the Literature of Food. The editors try their best to showcase some of the best food writing around. I was doubly thrilled with their review of Mint Tea and Minarets.

So here it is, and do visit their website. You’ll leave hungry for more!


Bon appétit!





After the fires/May 2014

The lingering smell of smoke from the terrible fires in San Marcos (about 7miles east of us) has evaporated.  The breeze swept away the film of burnt ash that covered our patio. What a sinking, heartsick feeling to stand on our rooftop terrace and view the macabre fireworks lighting up the string of nearby hills around Cal State San Marcos, about 7 miles away. The university was evacuated, and their commencement ceremonies put off for a week. Couple that with incessant TV coverage of the worst hit areas around us, and you get the idea: San Diego County suffered.


 The dramatic episode brought to mind our long ago honeymoon: I insisted on taking Owen to the Moroccan oasis of Ouarzazate (now Morocco’s “Hollywood”). It must have been at least 115 degrees in the (non-existent) shade. Not only did we battle burning “chergui” or “sirocco” winds similar to California’s Santa Anas, but in Morocco, they carried clouds of ravenous locusts. Ha! Memories!

Events like the fires help put things in perspective. I am always amazed at the equanimity of newly homeless homeowners. “We’re alive, our family is safe, and so are our animals. That’s what’s important. We will rebuild.”


Would I react the same way? I don’t know. One thing is for sure, I am REALLY going prepare my emergency suitcase, just in case. If you were told to evacuate NOW, are you prepared?  What would you put in the “grab and go” boxes before a hurried escape?


 A touch of spring lingers. A mockingbird wakes us up each morning with a concert of chirps, obsessed with its need to attract a mate. The bird, like homeowners with burnt out houses, take the long view. I will try that approach!