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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 March 2015

It seems I just send off one edition of The Kasbah Chronicles, my monthly eNewsletter, only to begin jotting down ideas for the next one. If you would like to subscrib, just send an email to info@minteaandminarets.com.

Our wildest hopes, here, in Southern California, for a rainy winter have been dashed once again. Winter has come and gone, and the warm weather arrived weeks ago. I am not complaining, mind you, but I feel so sorry for the plants. You can almost hear them thinking if is this the right season to bud? To bloom? To produce fruit? Our apricot tree is totally confused and will probably yield nothing but a few leaves, as it did last year. Indeed, the water shortage may force us to cut down a few citrus trees.

Have you ever heard of Liquid Saffron? In exploring an international market recently, I found liquid saffron. I had never heard of it. Have you? If so, how do you use it? I’d love to know.

Information please. If you know of any book festival that takes place in the major Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, or Ottawa?? I am hoping to book events in Canada for next year.

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 . . .”

 

Cooking Classes and Appearances 2015

Spring and summer 2015:

March: Cal State Northridge: Art History dept

April: Vista High School: Moroccan cuisine

Summer 2015:

Looking forward to:

The Bowers Museum, Sana Ana,

San Diego Museum of Art and various private events

 

 

Classes and Book signings:

Monday, March 9th. 6-7PM.

Cooking with Gold: Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice

Old Town Spice and Tea Merchants

41925 Fifth Street, Suite 101

Temecula CA 92590

(951)587-2223

Reservations: atealover@live.com

 

Saturday, March 14th.

La Mesa Library

Jake Sexton

8074 Allison Avenue

La Mesa CA

jsexton@sdcounty.ca.gov

619-469-2151

Private event: March 18th

Need a program for your organization or book club? I am presently booking events for summer 2015.

 

Sponsored by Adventures by the Book

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2:30PM

Preserved lemons galore!

Samples served.

In a private home in Tierrasanta, Ca.

Visit www.adventuresbythebook.com for information and reservation

(619)300-2532

$35 per person

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2014 (with recipes!)

Another shot from my most recent trip to Morocco:

A cup of Starbucks Coffee at the HUGE

Morocco Mall in Casablanca.

A little cafe nearby serves mint tea,

thank goodness!

May you find much to celebrate this

holiday season

(preferably with a champagne toast.)

As I was huffing and puffing through my Jazzercise class this morning,

my instructor said she purchased 35 pounds of masa to make her

Christmas tamales.

For those outside Southern California, tamales are a Mexican Christmas

delicacy wrapped in corn husks, eaten mainly during the Christmas season.

Around these parts, families get together to make dozens and dozens

(and dozens) of savory and sweet tamales to share with loved ones.

Still huffing, my thoughts turned to my own version of tamales, one using

couscous instead of the traditional Mexican masa. I once took dozens

(and dozens) of corn husks to Dar Zitoun, to demonstrate to my Moroccan

friends how to make tamales (TAMALES FREEZE!)

The recipe is long, but believe me, the result is worth it!

 

Excerpted from my book, Couscous (Chronicle Books, 1999)

 

Kitty’s Pineapple-Banana Couscous Tamales with

Cream of Coconut

 

The inspiration for this recipe was a pineapple tamal I tasted while serving

as a food judge at the Indio International Tamale (sic) Festival, in California’s Coachella Valley.

 

Serves 12 (makes about 2 dozen tamales)

 

32 corn husks (see Note)

2 2/3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups couscous

3/4 cup coconut cream (see Note)

4 medium bananas

1/4 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cups dried candied pineapple chunks

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for garnish

3 tablespoons rum

1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Immerse corn husks in a large pot of boiling water. Remove from the heat,

and let stand until soft and pliable, 40 to 45 minutes. Drain husks and pat

dry. Reserve 3 or 4 husks to line a steamer basket or colander.

With kitchen scissors, cut  2 of the husks lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips.

Set aside.

 

In a large saucepan, bring the water, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the butter to

a boil. Add the couscous and 1/2 cup of the coconut cream. Stir to blend.

Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand until the couscous is tender,

12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.

 

Quarter the bananas lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining butter. Add the dark brown sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the diced bananas. Stir to coat. Cook until the bananas soften somewhat, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the pineapple chunks, cinnamon, and rum. Stir to blend. Set aside.

 

To assemble the tamales, position a husk so the long edge faces you. Place

1/4 cup of the couscous mixture in the center. With a spatula, flatten the

couscous to form a 3-by-3-inch square about 1/4 inch thick. Set a heaping

tablespoon of the pineapple-banana mixture in the center of this square, and

form into a sausage shape. Leave a 1-inch border of uncovered couscous

top and bottom, and 1/2 inch on the sides. Grasp the bottom edge of the husk and fold it in half lengthwise. Compress to seal the couscous to itself and enclose the filling.

Gently unfold the husk, then wrap it around the couscous, as you would an

egg roll. Fold over the tapered end, and tie with a reserved precut strip of husk. Compress the other end. Leave open. Proceed in this manner until all the tamales are assembled.

 

Line the bottom of a steamer basket or colander with the reserved husks.

Set the tamales upright, closed end down, inside the colander. Bring water

to a boil in bottom part of the steamer. Cover tightly. Steam the tamales

until firm and heated through, 40 to 45 minutes.

In a chilled metal bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the

vanilla and remaining coconut cream. Set aside.

Place a steamed tamal in its husk on a dessert plate. With kitchen scissors,

cut away a large, V-shaped piece of husk to expose the couscous. Spoon a

generous dollop of coconut cream sauce on or near the tamal, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve.

Note: Cans of coconut cream are available in liquor stores or Asian markets.

To celebrate both the holidays and persimmon season, I offer up the

following in memory of my friend Margie Oakes of Oakes Knoll’s farm in

Fallbrook (CA), provider of the plumpest persimmons in San Diego County. Margie was also a contributor to my book 365 to Cook Vegetarian (Harper Collins 1998)

with her recipe for Easy Overnight Lasagne, an unusual meatless version

assembled a day ahead.

Fuyu persimmons can be eaten out of hand, like an apple (they resemble

a square tomato.) Hachyias must attain a pudding like consistency. In France, persimmons

are called “KAKI.” Go figure.

Margie’s Persimmon Crisp

4 or 5 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, seeded, and sliced (like an apple)

Fresh orange juice to barely cover the fruit

Candied ginger, diced, to taste

OR

Fresh, grated ginger, to taste

a sprinkle of cinnamon

 

Place all the ingredients in a pan, and bring to a simmer.

Cook about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

Refrigerate until ready to eat. The mixture will thicken as it cools.