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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 2016. My travels to Chile

A CHILEAN ADVENTURE!

Llamas 1

LLamas in the Lago Andino District town of Peulla, CHILE, on the way to Bariloche, Argentina.

I would like to set Morocco aside, to tell you about my latest travels. In March, I headed south instead to CHILE, a country that has fascinated me since childhood. I have always wanted to see fist-hand my hometown’s namesake Valle de Casablanca, home to dozens of Chileans wineries. Geography classes at Casablanca’s Lycée de Jeunes Filles nourished my dreams with exotic names like Antofagasta, Valparaiso, and the Atacama Desert (even though the Sahara dunes were a mere day’s drive away from where I sat.) I must not have been alone in my imaginary wanderings, for practically every tourist I encountered during two and a half weeks in CHILE was a native FRENCH-speaker! Hardly a gringo in sight.

Casa CHILe 3

My husband doesn’t think that spending the day (or night) on a plane is a way to have fun, and thus chose to remain home. But I had itchy feet! I cashed in my miles, organized my itinerary with a delightful travel agent in Santiago (over the Internet), and finally, decided to give the Air B and B experience a try (over the Internet.) Success on all counts.

My charming Air B and B hosts, Loreto and Federico, a couple of young journalists, live in the center of Santiago in a residential area called Providencia. My room, adjoining bath, and kitchen privileges cost about USD35 a night. A concierge kept watch over the multi-storied apartment building day and night. Gladys of www.passtours.com devised my custom itinerary: 6 days in Santiago, 4 days in the Altiplano desert (how exotic is that?!) and San Pedro de Atacama, and 5 days in the Lake District. I d

ecided to forego glaciers, since I had seen glaciers in Alaska last year. I headed instead to the Region de los Lagos Andinos, the Lake District, of Northern Patagonia. I even spent a day cruising one lake, Lago de Todos Santos, the first in a series of seven that eventually end up at Bariloche, Argentina.

Salt flats CHI

Suffice it to say that I met lovely people everywhere (in how many countries does your taxi driver drop you off, but not before giving you a friendly kiss????) travelled through scenery reminiscent of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite (in the south), hiked the slope of volcanoes as striking as Mt Fuji, explored the Atacama desert, the

driest place on earth and home to the Valley of the Moon, gushing geysers, lagoons filled with pink flamingoes, and a vast plateau dotted with herds of wild vicuñas.

Already familiar with Pablo Neruda’s food poems, I wanted to visit La Chasco

na, his house in Santiago. And, thanks to my Chilean friends Humberto and Yoli, I got to have lunch at El Meson Nerudiano, Neruda’s favorite restaurant. Friends took me to the gorgeous Casas del Bosque winery in the Valle de Casablanca, where I sampled the famed “Carménère” wine, one with origins in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, and thought to have gone extinct, and “rediscovered” in Chile in 1994.

But the place that remains foremost in my mind is the Island of Chiloé.  This  mystical island, where fairies and spirits abound, produces out-of-this world seafood including mussels the size of a medium banana, and lies just a short ferry ride from Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, two of the main departure points for the Lagos Andinos.

To be continued . . .

Pebre, Chile’s counterpart to Pico de Gallo

Pebre 1

Kitty in the media:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

San Diego’s CW, Channel 6

San Diego Living

Having fun with edible flowers!

http://www.cw6sandiego.com/edible-flowers-for-this-spring/

Laura Groch, former food editor of the North County Times, has a (what else??) food-focused blog. Subscribe at http://beyondbites.com/2016/03/23/its-spring-so-lets-eat-some-flowers/

The Kasbah Chronicles February 2016

Musings:

Author Celebration makes for strange bedfellows:

I was honored to be included in the 50th celebration for local authors at the Central Library recently, but I had to chuckle at the juxtaposition of titles. Nothing against the subjects, however!

K ED FL Baby Pp IMG_0148

Some of you have attended a demonstration featuring recipes from my latest book, Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion. I promised to give out the address where you can purchase fresh edible flowers as well as candied flowers (if you don’t make them following my recipe, that is!) by mail order. The flowers are grown locally, and are distributed through www.gourmetsweetbotanicals.com.

Thank you to those who suggested stores, markets, farms, catalogs, and any other venue that might be interested in carrying Edible Flowers. Catherine in Marina del Rey, thanks to you, the book is now at the Marina del Rey Garden Center. I will send your free book to you soon! In the meantime, I am following up on other suggestions, and will keep each one of you updated. All I need is a name or a website, better still, a human contact of independent bookstores, large nurseries with gift stores, botanical gardens, and garden or flower catalogs that might be interested in featuring the title.

Looking forward to:

April 16, 2016:

Come to a chat on Edible Flowers which I will co-host along with Nan Sterman, host of KPBS’s A Growing Passion, for the Culinary Historians of San Diego at the Central Library. If food or food history interest you, then this group dedicated to feeding body and mind, is for you. Open to the public. Check out

CulinaryHistoriansOfSanDiego.com

 

May 14, 2016: Benefit Cooking Class. By invitation.

 

May 21, 2016:

San Diego Herb Society. Members only.

 

More events in June and July.

What is Pecha Kucha?

“It is not a club – just a night for creativity and not for profit.  The original organizers – 2 architects in Japan – designed it so that they could be held in “disused aircraft hangs, churches, supermarkets, schools, factories, warehouses, historic buildings restaurants, clubs, cinemas, theaters, etc” – anywhere where there can be a social component with a beer or wine break.  Each Pecha Kucha Kucha organizer agrees to certain principles, signs an agreement, and given a license free of charge.”

For more information on the Feb. 27th meeting in Del Mar, CA, write sarah@fairtradedecor.com

More later!

If you do not yet subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter, The Kasbah Chronicles, a portion of which is reproduced on my website, just send me an email, and I will out you on the list:

inf@mintteaandminmarets.com

My interview on Pink Pangea

This lovely travel site bills itself as a travel site for women.

Very interesting and informative, and they published an interview about Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Published on Pink Pangea on December 31, 2015 at this link:

Edible Flowers in the San Diego Union Tribune Food Section

In the San Diego Union Tribune

Dec. 16, 2015

Lavender Shortbread cookies

View the recipe and a mouth watering photo here:

Shortbread blossoms with lavender

or

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/dec/15/shortbread-blossoms-with-lavender/

The Kasbah Chronicles November 2015

Musings:

 Clkshp 4

Chef David Thorne of Elysian restaurant in Glendale, CA

THANKSGIVING at THE KASBAH:

In need of “comfort food” I broke my tradition of basting a turkey inside and out with PRESERVED LEMON PULP to prepare a TURKEY COUSCOUS from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan Memories (page 221, CH 22). Couscous= a balm for the soul.

And then came Paris. We remained glued to the television, as was the rest of the world. To paraphrase my French friends and relatives: “We must go on as usual, or we allow THEM to win. “ The world’s response to the catastrophe reached San Diego, where Susan McBeth of Aventures by the Book (adventuresbythebook.com) put together a Je Suis Paris benefit event in barely 6 days, and raised over $5,000 for the Croix Rouge Française. Merci Susan, and merci, author Jen Coburn (www.jennifercoburn.com), for co-organizing.

In honor of the victims, hold on to your hankies and listen to this: http://www.lefigaro.fr/musique/2015/11/27/03006-20151127ARTFIG00251-hommage-national-natalie-dessay-fait-l-unanimite.php

     I got a break from mulling over current events with an invitation to “chat” at Kan Ya Ma Kan, a dinner organized by Clockshop (www.clockshop.org) to celebrate the food, culture, and music of Morocco’s Sephardic Jews. Chef David Thorne, who heads the adjoining Elysian restaurant (www.elysianla.com) shares the airy space with Clockshop in a former warehouse nestled among ancient buildings perched on the banks of the LA River in Glendale, CA. I licked my own chops with Chef David’s rendition of my Tagine of Duck with Prunes and Caramelized Persimmons in honey sauce!

News from Morocco: An ancient DATE crop is making a comeback:

Figuig: A troubled home for, AZIZA, Morocco’s rarest date variety.Very interesting paper written by a young intern at the High Atlas Foundation, an organization of Morocco Peace Corps returnees.

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/

 Incroyable mais vrai! Morocco is thinking about BANNING the use of plastic shopping bags.

Anyone who has traveled in Morocco, or other developing countries (and, for that matter, parts of the California desert) bemoans the unsightly trash that makes these areas “bloom.” My husband and I refer to the fields littered with ubiquitous black plastic bags, “fields of flowers,” when we encounter them along Moroccan roads.

How ironic that this is a prevalent sight in countries that produce such wonderful artisanal straw baskets.

Irony 1: I have used the SAME Moroccan baskets for over 30 years!

Irony 2: WE end up purchasing these same imported straw goods at US farmer’s markets.

SACS PLASTIQUES – Interdiction par le parlement marocain

La Chambre des représentants a adopté à l’unanimité, le projet de loi n° 77-15 portant sur l’interdiction de la fabrication, l’importation, l’exportation, la commercialisation et l’utilisation des sacs en plastique.

MORE good news from Morocco:

It is among the safest countries to visit, says the British Foreign Office. Let’s keep our fingers and toes crossed.

Le Maroc parmi les pays les plus sûrs au monde, selon le Foreign Office. (“Morocco among the safest countries in the world,” according to the Foreign Office.) The British government encourages its citizens to visit.

“Le Maroc figure en bonne place dans le classement 2015 des pays les plus sûrs au monde établi par le Foreign Office, aux côtés de pays européens et d’Amérique du Nord, rapporte “Le360“. La Grande-Bretagne déconseille à ses citoyens le voyage dans pas moins de 60 pays, principalement ceux de la Région du Moyen-Orient et d’Afrique du Nord, dont la Tunisie frappée l’été dernier par une vague d’attentats terroristes . . . Seule exception de la Région MENA, le Maroc est classé par le Foreign-Office parmi les pays les plus sûrs au monde. «Toutes les régions du royaume sont sûres», assure le Foreign Office, conseillant les ressortissants britanniques de s’y rendre sans s’inquiéter le moins du monde. MarocZone

New FRANGLAIS word for you to ponder:

” le startuppeur de l’année” en Afrique et au Maroc . . . Les projets primés recevront le label Startuppeur de l’année 2015 . . .

Question: Are you acquainted with any startappeurs?