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CHARMOULA marinade served at White House Dinner!

You’ll find a recipe for this classic Moroccan marinade in each of my books!

Obama Welcomes African Leaders for Unusual Dinner

WASHINGTON — Aug 5, 2014, 10:49 PM ET

White House dinner

“The menu featured a largely American-style dinner with hints of Africa sprinkled throughout each of the four courses.

Guests dined on chilled spiced tomato soup and socca crisps, which are made of chick peas; chopped farm-stand vegetable salad using produce from the first lady’s garden; and grilled dry-aged Wagyu beef served with chermoula, a marinade used in North African cooking, sweet potatoes and coconut milk.

Dessert was cappuccino fudge cake dressed with papaya scented with vanilla from Madagascar. American wines were also on the menu.”

The Kasbah Chronicles May 2015

OOOPS:

I had first written in my April  Enewsletter that my presentation at the Cardiff Library would take place on April 21, 2015 ( I sent out a second message with the correct date.)  Two, sharp-eyed readers caught the error.

It is on THURSDAY May 21, at 6PM

Cardiff-by-the-Sea Branch

San Diego County Library

2081 Newcastle Ave.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

760 633 3631

Gabriel.aguirre@sdcounty.ca.gov

 

The Kasbah Chronicles

May 15, 2015

Two recent trips had me wondering why I yearn to hop on a plane towards distant continents.

 

The first was a drive with my mother along Highway 1’s legendary Big Sur, to Carmel, Monterey, and Salinas.

 

What pleasure to rediscover narrow roads free of traffic, emerald pastures dotted with HAPPY CALIFORNIA COWS, (the TV ad is right) and hundreds of dozing elephant seals who lay claim to the stretch of sand at Piedras Blancas.

Santa Barbara and its jacaranda-lined streets surely rival the Côte d’Azur in topography, natural beauty and architecture. In the hills, behind the awe-inspiring Mission Santa Barbara (http://www.santabarbaramission.org), we strolled through a meadow carpeted with California wild flowers, exotic displays of succulents, and even a small grove of redwoods (not to mention a lovely gift store) at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens (www.sbbg.org/visit)

Bouchon and Opal’s, two well-known downtown Santa Barbara restaurants, left delectable impressions. As did the weekly farmer’s market, where I learned that coffee grows in the Santa Barbara hills.

A short stretch of 101 freeway separates the gardens from Montecito and Casa del Herrero (www.casadelherrero.com), an authentic Andalucian-style estate built in the 1920s. The décor includes tiles (many inscribed in Arabic) hand-made by Tunisian artisans.

While in Montecito, I headed for Tecolote Books, a charming independent bookstore, to drop off copies of Mint Tea and Minarets.

To our surprise, tiles inscribed in Arabic also decorated a wall of the Hearst Castle. Upon arrival, my mother needed stair-free access to this hilltop landmark. A driver in a golf cart took us on a circuitous ride to the back door and the castle’s Gargantuan KITCHEN where we perused the yards of stainless steel counters and sinks. (Did you know you can purchase farm-raised beef from the ranch at the site’s cavernous welcome center?)

A few miles up the coast, the hundreds of dozing elephant seals at Piedras Blancas appeared not to have moved an inch since I had last seen them when I was tracking down commercial mussel and abalone farms to include in The California Farm Cookbook.

The unending curves of Highway 1 were easy to navigate on a beautiful day, giving us time to appreciate the natural beauty of sea, sky, and hills.  The terrace of Nepenthe, one of Big Sur’s iconic restaurants, offered one of the best views of the coast along enormous sandwiches.

Carmel’s gorgeous mission basilica is one of the first landmarks to welcome visitors into this celebrity filled town. Lucky for us, the parking lot was free of the usual tour buses. The gift store (where you will find A Biblical Feast) holds a variety of treasures, not all religious in nature.

What I longed to visit again was the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. I last visited in 1993 on assignment to explore Steinbeck Country. I visited Cannery Row with Bruce Ariss, an acquaintance of Steinbeck’s. Ariss has passed away, but his memory lives on Cannery Row (see photo above.) At the Center, you can spend hours viewing the lifelike displays, films, posters, artwork, and films related to Steinbeck and his oeuvre. The California Farm Cookbook contains a recipe from the Steinbeck House (steinbeckhouse.com), where volunteers man the restaurant a few days a week.

A few days after my return home, I was on the road with my husband towards a totally different world, the Anza Borrego Desert and Agua Caliente County Park located along the famed Butterfield Stage mail route. Driving from the “flatlands” of the coast into the pine-covered hills of Julian, then gently “sliding” into the desert brought to mind Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains. Similar praire like fields and boulder-strewn hills line the road from the Alpine town of Ifrane to Errachidia on the edge of the pre-Sahara. The only thing missing were Barbary apes and caravans of dromedaries. (Ooops: Did I mention Oasis Camel dairy in Ramona, CA?! www.cameldairy.com)

Travel details:

Agua Caliente County Park has 7 cabins for rent. Bring your on bedding and food. Park closes May 21 because of the heat. In season, you can explore the trails and soak in warm spring-fed pools and a large indoor spa. www.sandiegocounty.gov/parks/Camping/agua_caliente.html

Idyllwild: Breathe in the crisp mountain air at this pretty mountain resort and artist retreat east of Los Angeles. Local resident Julie Pendray’s informative blog (specialsnotonthemenu.com) lists local happenings

Appearances and book signings:

Thursday, April 21, 2015

Repeat performance!

Come sip a glass of iced mint tea and sample

Fresh Flavors of the Kasbah: 

Moroccan adventures in food and travel

6PM

Cardiff-by-the-Sea Branch

San Diego County Library

2081 Newcastle Ave.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

760 633 3631

Gabriel.aguirre@sdcounty.ca.gov

 

Repeat performance #2!

Macy’s School of Cooking

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Noon-1:30PM

Phone: 888-424-3663

1555 Camino de la Reina

Mission Valley – San Diego

Moroccan Cooking Cass

Join in the fun as I cook with renowned Chef Bernard Guillas of La Jolla’s Marine Room at Macy’s School of Cooking. Watch us prepare a sampling of Moroccan dishes. Come early. First come first seated (120 seats.) Line starts forming 45 mns ahead of time! A book signing will conclude the class.

Menu:

Tomato, fava bean, and preserved lemon crostini

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Tagine of Eggs with Olives and Cumin

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Orange Slices in Orange Blossom Water with Candied Almonds

How to preserve lemons, Moroccan style

Iced mint tea, Morocco’s national drink

Note: I am still booking programs for summer and beyond.

Do you follow Nan Sterman’s terrific new show, A Growing Passion, on KPBS? Nan was kind enough to invite me on the April 16, 2015 segment:

Preserving the Harvest segment

http://agrowingpassion.com/tv-schedule/?utm_source=Nan%27s+list&utm_campaign=c06d92e724-April_15_Newsletter4_16_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_97e9ba1dff-c06d92e724-70362153

A French review of Mint Tea and Minarets on Toile d’Epices, a French site dedicated to spices

http://forum.toildepices.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=547&p=2056&hilit=morse

The Kasbah Chronicles May 2015

OOOPS: Two, sharp-eyed readers of my newsletter caught the mistake: I announced my presentation for April 21, 105 when in reality, it is taking place on MAY 21, at the Cardiff Library (see below). I did send out a correction right after the original message. I apologize.

May 15, 2015

Two recent trips had me wondering why I yearn to hop on a plane towards distant continents.

The first was a drive with my mother along Highway 1’s legendary Big Sur, to Carmel, Monterey, and Salinas.

What pleasure to rediscover narrow roads free of traffic, emerald pastures dotted with HAPPY CALIFORNIA COWS, (the TV ad is right) and hundreds of dozing elephant seals who lay claim to the stretch of sand at Piedras Blancas.

Santa Barbara and its jacaranda-lined streets surely rival the Côte d’Azur in topography, natural beauty and architecture. In the hills, behind the awe-inspiring Mission Santa Barbara (http://www.santabarbaramission.org), we strolled through a meadow carpeted with California wild flowers, exotic displays of succulents, and even a small grove of redwoods (not to mention a lovely gift store) at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens (www.sbbg.org/visit)

Bouchon and Opal’s, two well-known downtown Santa Barbara restaurants, left delectable impressions. As did the weekly farmer’s market, where I learned that coffee grows in the Santa Barbara hills.

A short stretch of 101 freeway separates the gardens from Montecito and Casa del Herrero (www.casadelherrero.com), an authentic Andalucian-style estate built in the 1920s. The décor includes tiles (many inscribed in Arabic) hand-made by Tunisian artisans.

While in Montecito, I headed for Tecolote Books, a charming independent bookstore, to drop off copies of Mint Tea and Minarets.

To our surprise, tiles inscribed in Arabic also decorated a wall of the Hearst Castle. Upon arrival, my mother needed stair-free access to this hilltop landmark. A driver in a golf cart took us on a circuitous ride to the back door and the castle’s Gargantuan KITCHEN where we perused the yards of stainless steel counters and sinks. (Did you know you can purchase farm-raised beef from the ranch at the site’s cavernous welcome center?)

A few miles up the coast, the hundreds of dozing elephant seals at Piedras Blancas appeared not to have moved an inch since I had last seen them when I was tracking down commercial mussel and abalone farms to include in The California Farm Cookbook.

The unending curves of Highway 1 were easy to navigate on a beautiful day, giving us time to appreciate the natural beauty of sea, sky, and hills.  The terrace of Nepenthe, one of Big Sur’s iconic restaurants, offered one of the best views of the coast along enormous sandwiches.

Carmel’s gorgeous mission basilica is one of the first landmarks to welcome visitors into this celebrity filled town. Lucky for us, the parking lot was free of the usual tour buses. The gift store (where you will find A Biblical Feast) holds a variety of treasures, not all religious in nature.

What I longed to visit again was the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. I last visited in 1993 on assignment to explore Steinbeck Country. I visited Cannery Row with Bruce Ariss, an acquaintance of Steinbeck’s. Ariss has passed away, but his memory lives on Cannery Row (see photo above.) At the Center, you can spend hours viewing the lifelike displays, films, posters, artwork, and films related to Steinbeck and his oeuvre. The California Farm Cookbook contains a recipe from the Steinbeck House (steinbeckhouse.com), where volunteers man the restaurant a few days a week.

A few days after my return home, I was on the road with my husband towards a totally different world, the Anza Borrego Desert and Agua Caliente County Park located along the famed Butterfield Stage mail route. Driving from the “flatlands” of the coast into the pine-covered hills of Julian, then gently “sliding” into the desert brought to mind Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains. Similar praire like fields and boulder-strewn hills line the road from the Alpine town of Ifrane to Errachidia on the edge of the pre-Sahara. The only thing missing were Barbary apes and caravans of dromedaries. (Ooops: Did I mention Oasis Camel dairy in Ramona, CA?! www.cameldairy.com)

 

Travel details:

Agua Caliente County Park has 7 cabins for rent. Bring your on bedding and food. Park closes May 21 because of the heat. In season, you can explore the trails and soak in warm spring-fed pools and a large indoor spa. www.sandiegocounty.gov/parks/Camping/agua_caliente.html

Idyllwild:

Breathe in the crisp mountain air at this pretty mountain resort and artist retreat east of Los Angeles. Local resident Julie Pendray’s informative blog lists local happenings. (specialsnotonthemenu.com)

Appearances and book signings:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Repeat performance!

Come sip a glass of iced mint tea and sample

Fresh Flavors of the Kasbah: 

Moroccan adventures in food and travel

6PM

Cardiff-by-the-Sea Branch (behind Seaside Market, a foodie paradise)

San Diego County Library

2081 Newcastle Ave.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

760 633 3631

Gabriel.aguirre@sdcounty.ca.gov

 

Repeat performance #2!

Macy’s School of Cooking

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Noon-1:30PM

Phone: 888-424-3663

1555 Camino de la Reina

Mission Valley – San Diego

Moroccan Cooking Cass

 

Join in the fun as I cook with renowned Chef Bernard Guillas of La Jolla’s Marine Room at Macy’s School of Cooking. Watch us prepare a sampling of Moroccan dishes. Come early. First come first seated (120 seats.) Line starts forming 45 mns ahead of time! A book signing will conclude the class.

 

Menu:

Tomato, fava bean, and preserved lemon crostini

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Tagine of Eggs with Olives and Cumin

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Orange Slices in Orange Blossom Water with Candied Almonds

How to preserve lemons, Moroccan style

Iced mint tea, Morocco’s national drink

Note: I am still booking programs for summer and beyond.

Do you follow Nan Sterman’s terrific new show, A Growing Passion, on KPBS? Nan was kind enough to invite me on the April 16, 2015 segment:

Preserving the Harvest segment

http://agrowingpassion.com/tv-schedule/?utm_source=Nan%27s+list&utm_campaign=c06d92e724-April_15_Newsletter4_16_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_97e9ba1dff-c06d92e724-70362153

 

A French review of Mint Tea and Minarets:

Toile d’Epices: a French site dedicated to spices

http://forum.toildepices.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=547&p=2056&hilit=morse

 

 

 

The Kasbah Chronicles April 2015

Exciting news!  I am to be a guest on A Growing Passion, a wonderful garden show hosted by Nan Sterman on San Diego’s KPBS station. Nan has gathered a number of “experts” who will show and tell how to preserve the harvest. Should be fun! The show airs Thursday, April 16 at 8:00 PM and repeats Saturday, April 18 at 3:30 PM.  The subject of this episode is preserving the harvest – pickling, canning, preserving (make your own Moroccan style preserved lemons!), fermenting, and more. For information on upcoming shows or viewing the current show online after it airs visit www.agrowingpassion.com 

I had the pleasure of speaking to a Global Studies class at C-SUN (Cal-State University Northridge) a few weeks back. I was thrilled to receive this feedback from professor of art history Peri Klemm, PhD.

“Subject: Inspired… “I made some Moroccan garbanzo beans for dinner with cinnamon, turmeric and other seasonings!!  I loved meeting Kitty today, so fun! “Thanks, Erin

Love to inspire someone to try Moroccan cuisine!

On another occasion, I was hosted by culinary students of Vista High School. Chef Kim Plunkett is in charge of a wonderful program that prepares high school students for a career in the culinary arts. One graduate is now employed at the Biltmore in New York City.

Upcoming classes and appearances:

Cardiff Library

Thursday, May 21, 2015. 6PM

Second time around! Join me for an informative evening and sip a glass of iced mint tea.

A Taste of Morocco presentation followed by a sampling and book signing

Macy’s School of Cooking

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Noon-1:30PM

Phone: 888-424-3663

Address: 1555 Camino de la Reina – Mission Valley – San Diego

Observe and have fun as I cook with renowned Chef Bernard Guillas of La Jolla’s Marine Room at the beautiful Macy’s School of Cooking. Watch us prepare a sampling of Moroccan dishes. Come early. First come first seated. Line starts forming 45 mns ahead of time! A book signing will conclude the class.

Menu:

Tomato, fava bean, and preserved lemon crostini

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Tagine of Eggs with Olives and Cumin

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Orange Slices in Orange Blossom Water with Candied Almonds

How to preserve lemons, Moroccan style

Iced mint tea, Morocco’s national drink

Saturday, May 30, 2015

For members only. Why don’t you join? I will lead a farm tour of North San Diego County for the Culinary Historians of San Diego. My admiration for California farmers developed long before the farm-to-table movement became popular. The California Farm Cookbook is still in print and available on Amazon.com. It features a number of farmers from San Diego County including the farm we will visit.  www.CHSanDiego.com or find them on Facebook.They generally meet on one Saturday morning a month at our gorgeous Central Library.

More later!

 

The Kasbah Chronicles February 2015

Musings

Who would ever think of endowing apostrophes and commas with human attributes? If you have time to spare, take a look at Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a brilliant little book that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Am I the only one? I am embarrassed to admit that I purchased a Kindle Fire, then decided to return it. My brain rebelled at mastering yet ANOTHER electronic gadget. Enticed by free eBooks and the promise of free movies on Amazon, I used my Kindle to watch two, strangely absorbing series, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Choosing free eBooks full of unknowns proved more of a quandary. Thus, the Kindle Fire and I parted ways: the Kindle returned to to Amazon, and I, to my local library’s second-hand store, where I perused through shelves of REAL books, Eat, Shoots and Leaves among them.

Freed from the irresistible pull of the Kindle’s screen, I made orange blossom preserves. A carpet of delicate white petals covered the ground of our “family orchard” (about 6 citrus trees.) In between rain showers, I was able to gather the two cups of blossoms to test my recipe. (for Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion, coming out soon, Inch Allah!

Food for Thought: The Muslims of Early America

By PETER MANSEAU

FEB. 9, 2015

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/09/opinion/the-founding-muslims.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

In it, M. Manseau mentions our Zemmouri hero, Estebánico/Al Zemmouri, the black slave from Azemmour who walked from La Florida to Mexico with three Spanish conquistadores in 1535 (you might want to refer to the article I wrote for Aramco World in their April 2002 issue.)

. . . In 1528, a Moroccan slave called Estevanico was shipwrecked along with a band of Spanish explorers near the future city of Galveston, Tex. The city of Azemmour, in which he was raised, had been a Muslim stronghold against European invasion until it fell during his youth. While given a Christian name after his enslavement, he eventually escaped his Christian captors and set off on his own through much of the Southwest (and all the way to Mexico City.)

Two hundred years later, plantation owners in Louisiana made it a point to add enslaved Muslims to their labor force, relying on their experience with the cultivation of indigo and rice. Scholars have noted Muslim names and Islamic religious titles in the colony’s slave inventories and death records . . .”