In the San Diego Union Tribune
Dec. 16, 2015
Lavender Shortbread cookies
View the recipe and a mouth watering photo here:
In the San Diego Union Tribune
Dec. 16, 2015
Lavender Shortbread cookies
View the recipe and a mouth watering photo here:
November 9, 2015
From Mint Tea and Minarets: a Banquet of Moroccan Memories
(La Caravane, 2013)
Egg Tagine with Olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, very finely diced
1 (14¼-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
½ teaspoon sugar
10 green or purple olives, rinsed, pitted, and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon mashed preserved lemon pulp (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
BAGUETTE slices, for serving
In a tagine or medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, olives, garlic, and bay leaf. Mash lightly with a fork. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes thicken somewhat, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Set aside half of this mixture for garnish.
In a bowl, beat eggs, cilantro, cumin, preserved lemon pulp, and pepper. Add to tomato mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until eggs are not quite set. Garnish with the reserved tomato mixture and cilantro. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
From Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen (Chronicle Books, 1999)
now in its tenth printing
Moroccan Squash with Caramelized Onions
1 lb Mediterranean pumpkin or butternut squash
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/4 C olive oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted
Place unpeeled squash in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel and cut into serving pieces and place in baking dish.
Cook the onions in the oil, with the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and cook 5 minutes longer. Spread the mixture over the squash, cover with foil, and return to the oven to heat for 20 minutes.
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,
May you find much to celebrate this
(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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
a Happy New Year
A traditional French salad for New Year’s Eve
Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories
. . . “As a family, we spent many a New Year’s Day at (Madame Simone’s) seamlessly orchestrated dinner parties. She was far and away the most impeccable hostess within my parents’ circle of friends. Madame Simone left no detail to chance when she entertained. That made more humiliating an incident when my slightly tipsy father shattered a few crystals in a chandelier with an errant cork he launched from a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
The food was always trois étoiles, three star, at Madame Simone’s, even to my then unsophisticated palate. But what I marveled at most was the artistry with which she blindly applied her carmine lipstick. I had plenty of opportunity to study her meticulous technique as she recoated her lips with rouge à lèvres almost as often as we changed plates during the multi-course banquet. While the adults sipped champagne and debated political issues around the starched-linen tablecloth laid with monogrammed cutlery, antique candelabras, and sparkling crystal de Bohème, my brother and I diverted ourselves with the fun-house reflections our faces made in our hostess’s polished silver goblets.
Cheeks flushed from a fingerbreadth ration of chilled Vouvray wine, we savored plump oysters abducted from their beds in the Oualidia lagoon four hours south of town. Like seasoned gastronomes, we devoured dinde aux marrons, roast turkey with chestnuts, and made piglets of ourselves with the perfectly ripened fromages, cheeses, and salade d’endives aux noix, Belgian endives with walnuts . . .”
Salade d’Endives aux Noix
(Belgian Endive Salad with Walnuts)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons walnut oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced tarragon leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed
4 Belgian endives
¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
¼ cup crumbled Blue cheese or Roquefort
½ cup bacon bits
Whisk mustard with vinegar until smooth. Continue to whisk while adding oil in a stream, until sauce emulsifies. Stir in salt, pepper, and tarragon. Set aside.
Wipe endives with a damp paper towel. Trim and discard ¼ inch from stumps. Cut 1½ inches from tips and set aside.
Cut what remains of endives into ½-inch-wide slices. Arrange in the center of a serving platter and surround with separated leaves from the tips. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts, Roquefort, and bacon bits.
from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories. Copyright Kitty Morse 2012. All rights reserved.