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:



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

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

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!

OC Food Diva in Orange County, CA: 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)


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!




Estebanico/Al Zemmouri, “our” hero, the man from Azemmour


I realized recently that I have never posted anything about this fascinating figure who hails from AZEMMOUR, where our riad, Dar Zitoun, is located. Not only that, but the story of Estebanico/Al Zemmouri’s  extraordinary achievements reach the shores of the Gulf of California. His name is inscribed at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego (CA) as one of the earliest explorers of the American southwest. Better yet, how could it be that this man, a Berber from Azemmour, was killed by a Zuni arrow just outside the pueblo of Hawikuh?

Bronze bust by sculptor John Houser/The Twelve Travellers

I talk briefly about our local hero in a chapter of Mint Tea and Minarets, but my husband and I wrote an in-depth story several years ago for Saudi Aramco World magazine (a magazine on Muslim culture, free for the asking.) The nine year odyssey of this extraordinary Berber, a forced convert to Christianity, and that of  his fellow  “travellers”, three Spanish conquistadores who walked from Florida to the Sea of Cortez, is what makes La Relacion  by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, one of Al Zemmouri’s companions, a book difficult to put down.

In early 2002, my husband and I retraced Al Zemmouri’s steps by taking a trip to Hawikuh, near the Zuni pueblo in northwestern New Mexico. Our hero’s exploits will soon be immortalized in El Paso (TX) with a bronze sculpture by sculptor John Houser who has been commissioned  by the city to create larger than life renditions of the twelve most notable explorers of the American Southwest.

Our story appears here:
Vol. 53, #2

Saudi Aramco World : Esteban of Azemmour and His New World ……

Esteban of Azemmour and His New World Adventures
March/April 2002

“From famine-stricken Morocco under Portuguese military occupation, a young Muslim man was sold into Spanish slavery, given the name Esteban and taken with his master on a disastrous expedition to the New World. With a handful of others, he survived for years, was enslaved again by local Indians, won fame and respect as a healer, learned six languages, escaped, guided …”

So begins our story:

“In the spring of the year 1539, a tall black man lay mortally wounded by Zuni arrows in the village of Hawikuh, in what is today northwestern New Mexico. If he prayed in his last breaths, he surely addressed God
as “Allah.” How did a Muslim come to visit—and die in— New Mexico in the early 16th century? I had never come across such a figure during my university history studies
in the United States, nor had I read of him in French history books at the lycée in Casablanca, Morocco, where I grew up. I heard of him only quite recently, by accident. . .

. . .whom we know today thanks to the lengthy, detailed memoir of conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, which carries the title La relación y comentarios del governador Alvar nuñez cabeça de vaca, de lo acaescido en las dos jornadas que hizo a las Indias (The Account and Commentaries of Governor Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, of What Occurred on the Two Journeys That He Made to the Indies).
Al-Zemmouri’s town derives its name from a Berber word for “wild olive tree.”

The story of this Zemmouri inspired us so much that we wrote a screenplay . . .



WGA Registration Number: 1507267


Any producer interested in reading the screenplay, please get in touch! Hope springs eternal!