Category Archives: The Kasbah Chronicles

Monthly eNewsletter with updates, my appearances and book signings, and recipes, all having to do with Morocco or Moroccan cuisine. Do join me!

Your address is never shared with anyone. Send me an e-mail at kitty@kittymorse.com to be placed on the list.

(“Better late than never.”)

Dromallama? Camellama? Abdul or Fatima?

 

Camellama 16 b

. . .has lived with us for 40 years. Sometimes outdoors, sometimes in, always a bit tipsy.  It was born and created in Salé, Morocco.

OO lala, better late than never. December slipped away, and now January.   But the rains have continued, and it is cause for rejoicing.

December 2016 slipped away from me, and so did that month’s edition of the Kasbah Chronicles. I can’t say I am fond of “forced down your throat” holiday cheer.

I met my goal of translating Mint Tea and Minarets into French, and decided upon the title: Le riad au bord de l’oued : souvenirs et saveurs de Dar Zitoun. (Merci, chers amis qui m’avez aidée.) And now begins the hard work of finding it a good home!

I spent the month of December making yak meatballs and blood orange marmalade with the fruit of my overladen blood orange tree, in between savoring Geraldine Brooks’ novels (Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, Year of Wonders, March (Pulitzer Prize), and Foreign Correspondence.

Marmel

Tangerine marmalade bubbling in the pot

Thankfully, the RAIN IS STICKING AROUND!! Lovely, air-cleansing, soul-refreshing, life-giving RAIN. Olive, our scottie, refuses to get her feet wet, but I did my little rain dance, then rushed to the kitchen to make couscous for New Year’s Eve, my favorite comfort food. I overate, bien sur. It was worth every bite. I list The recipe for Couscous Beidoui, Casablanca style couscous with seven vegetables, my favorite comfort food, in all my Moroccan cookbooks. This year, I prepared a variation on the theme: Couscous with YAK meatballs! (though couscous with meatballs is Algerian, not Moroccan.)

My friend Tershia d’Elgin, who wrote The Man who Thought he owned Water, a memoir of her family ranch in Colorado shared a precious pound of ground YAK, raised in the US of A. The dark red lean meat reminded me of ostrich and kangaroo (yes, indeed, couscous with kangaroo is an Australian invention.)The recipe for the meatballs appears in Mint Tea and Minarets. I have to say, even made with yak, they tasted very Moroccan! Recipe on the website www.mintteaandminarets.com.yak mtballs

Moroccan Kefta (meatballs) of American YAK.

(how cosmopolitan can you get?!)

If yak  is not available, stick with a combination of beef and lamb, as in my original recipe in Mint Tea and Minarets.

Links of interest:

News of Morocco:

Morocco’s seeing an auto boom. But will it bust? http://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/your-next-car-could-be-made-in-africa/70241

Have you ever heard of cloud fishing? Well they do that in Morocco!

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/dec/26/cloud-fishing-reels-in-precious-water-villagers-rural-morocco-dar-si-hmad?

OZY.com is one of the most informative and entertaining news sites on the web. Quirky, up-to-date, and well written! (http://www.ozy.com/emailsignup)

Books for sale:

A Biblical Feast or Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion with Recipes, $15.95 plus shipping in the US only.

Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories: only 200 hard copies left! $25.00 plus shipping in the US only.

Books from my shelf:

IN FRENCH: USD95.00

JOURS DE FETE AU MAROC

ACR EDITIONS, 2004

Ilham Ibrahimi and Moha Fedal. Photo Cecile Treal

Jean-Michel Ruiz

In a cardboard box. Brand new. Box is illustrated, and bears some shelf-wear (from my travelling!!) on upper corner. Never used in the kitchen. NEW. This book weighs around 8 lbs, therefore, shipping will be higher than usual even with media mail.

Enormous coffee table book which I hand-carried back from Marrakech. Written by MOHA, one of Marrakech’s top chefs (my group had a cooking lesson at his farm outside Marrakech in 2003 or 2004.) Beautifully illustrated with scenes of Moroccan celebrations and special foods. Recipes included. This is a book to treasure if you have been to Morocco. I have several like it, and do not need this one.

IN FRENCH: USD50.00

LE JARDIN DES COUSCOUS; RECETTES DE LA TRADITION JUIVE TUNISIENNE. by Simon Nizard. L’Aube, 1998. 160 pages. OUT OF PRINT. Paperback. A memoir with food about growing up Jewish in Tunis. I purchased this book in Casablanca about 10 years ago, and read it once. Sticker removed from inside back cover, otherwise like new. Recipes included.

IN FRENCH: CASABLANCA RETRO de 1889 à Nos Jours. $115.00. One of a kind. Numéro 509. 102 pages. ISBN-10: 9954019367  ISBN-13: 978-9954019368

Editions SERAR, Casablanca, 1988. Documents réunis par Flandrin. Edition en fac-simile. 45 planches, Photos Marcelin Flandrin, avec texte accompagnant chaque photo prise dans une année différente.

45 plates showing landscape on one date, then a few years later. Unique book filled with reproductions of historic photographs taken between 1890 and 1928 by Marcelin Flandrin, Morocco’s best known architectural and landscape photographer. Gives you an idea of what Casablanca looked like at the turn of the 20th century. Book has long been out of print. One page shows 2 photos and opposite has explanatory text. ONLY 900 copies produced. This is #509.

Until next time!  Kitty

 

 

ANCHORAGE Here I Come! Sept. 23-30, 2016

I am getting excited! My book tour to Alaska is merely 2 weeks away. If you happen to read this post, and if you know people in Anchorage, please feel free to share the following information. Three other San Diego authors are joining me for this first author exchange with Alaska colleagues: Kathi Diamant http://kathidiamant.com, Marivi Solinen (https://marivisoliven.com), and Susan McBeth (http://adventuresbythebook.com) for this one-of-a-kind experience. I will cook, chat, and give presentations on Moroccan cuisine and on edible flowers.

Here are the events I am participating in:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/319286585087859/

Saturday, September 24: 2:10 to 3:10PM. Roundtable chat

49writers annual conference, Anchorage, Alaska

Kitty Morse on How to write and market a cookbook.

2:10 pm to 3 10 pm:

BP Energy Center

900 E. Benson Blvd.

PO Box 196612 Anchorage, Alaska 99519-6612

www.49writingcenter.org

 

Saturday, September 24: 6PM. Reservations required.

CHAT WITH THE AUTHOR while you SAVOR AN AUTHENTIC MOROCCAN DINNER!

TURKEY RED RESTAURANT

550 S Alaska, Suite 100

Palmer AK

Chef Alex: Email: turkeyredak@gmail.com

Call: 1.907.355.3242

http://www.turkeyredak.com

Books for sale provided by David Cheezum, Fireside bookstore, Palmer, AK. fireside@goodbooksbadcoffee.com

http://www.goodbooksbadcoffee.com

 

Monday, September 26. 6-8PM. Reservations required.

Cooking Class: A Taste of Morocco

Allen and Peterson Home store

3002 Seward Highway

Anchorage AK

http://aphome.com

907-276-0111

 

Tuesday, September 27. 6PM. Open to the public.

Presentation on Moroccan cuisine and culture

Nancy Clark, mgr

Anchorage Public Library

Chugiak-Eagle River Branch
907-343-1533

e-mail: ClarkNE@ci.anchorage.ak.us>

 

Wednesday, September 28: 6:30PM to 8PM. Fee charged.

Sprinkle Flowers on your plate!

Alaska Botanical Gardens Lecture Series

September 28 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

BP Energy Center,

900 E. Benson Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99508 United States

ABG Lecture: Sprinkle Flowers on Your Plate

 

Thursday September 29, 7PM

Presentation on Moroccan cuisine and culture

Anchorage Public Library, Loussac Branch
907-343-1533

http://anchoragelibrary.evanced.info

HOPE TO SEE YOU AT AN EVENT!!!

 

 

 

The Kasbah Chronicles April /May2016

 

More Chilean adventures

Osorno and K

I did it! Behind me, Volcan Osorno

I wasn’t quite done with a report of my trip to Chile in March. I hit the ground running soon after my return, yet “Northern Patagonia” and “Atacama Desert” still sound so exotic that I can hardly believe I actually visited. Could this reflect my French background, since I encountered dozens of other French-speaking travellers? Want to practice your French? Head to Chile!

From pink flamingos at rest on one leg in the lagoons of the Atacama Desert to the pine forests of Northern Patagonia, Chile is a land of contrasts. Not knowing much about Patagonia, I flew south to Puerto Montt, the rather uninteresting regional capital, and a popular stop for cruise ships crossing Lago Llanquihue. Thankfully, my Chilean agent had booked a hotel in neighboring Puerta Varas, “city of roses”, the delightful capital of the Region de los Lagos and a departure point for the seven lake cruise leading to Bariloche in Argentina.

Majestic Volcan Osorno, a clone of Mount Fuji (though Chileans are quick to remind you “it’s the other way round!”) towers over the lake, to create a mystical background. I could see it from my room at the quirky Hotel Casa Kalfu (http://www.casakalfu.cl) painted in a blue reminiscent of the walls of the famed Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech), a pseudo-Victorian edifice favored by Chilean and French tourists. Uneven stairs, slanted ceilings, and a fireplace or two all contributed to its charm. Excursions to volcanoes and waterfalls, a two-hour cruise to Peulla at the far end of Todos Santos Lake, mouth-watering Tablao Patagónico loaded with seafood, sausages and cheeses meals at La Gringa restaurant in Puerto Varas, and salmon ceviche purchased from a food truck kept me hopping until came time to take the ferry to the Island of Chiloe.

A spacious car-ferry links Chiloe to the mainland. Castro, the island’s capital, lies at the northern end of a two-hour drive (about 160 km) along the Carretera Austral (point “0” on the same HIGHWAY 5 that links the Mexican border to Canada.) Another riotously painted hotel, this time in bubblegum pink, welcomed me. The Unicornio Azul (http://hotelunicornioazul.com) brought to mind a San Francisco “painted lady,” with a cozy room, wi-fi, and 4 staff members who lined up to kiss my (right) cheek, a la Chilena, when I left. Nowhere else but Chile! The hotel reminded me of the renowned, still unfinished Winchester House in San Jose, California.

I was on a mission to taste “curanto”, an island specialty consisting of a stew packed with fruits de mer, “fruits of the sea,” as we say in French. Curanto is usually cooked underground, over hot coals, but Restaurant Octavio across from my hotel, features it on the menu. Among the fruits of the sea: cod, mussels (forgive the repetition, but they were really the size of a medium banana), squid, the sweetest clams I have ever tasted, sausage augmented with the area’s famed pink “potatoes” (tubers) and tangerine-size bulbs of elephant garlic. The next night, I returned for crêpe de jaiba, crab crêpe, and more seafood in Tabla Bordemar. The waiter watched me, incredulous at the glutenous amounts of food I was attempting to pack into my small frame (all in the line of duty, of course.) My new friend called out the chef to observe the ravenous foreigner. This led to an hour of talking about global culinary trends while Frank Sinatra hummed in the background. What’s not to love here?

Seafood Castro Chiloe

Sampling curanto led me to the waterfront fish market the next morning. Here, varieties of dried fish, mussels, and seaweed reign supreme. It has to be among the most scenic markets in Chile. That and Chiloe’s unique waterfront palafitas, stilt houses, were enough to entertain a return visit.

Jaiba, centolla crab Chiloe

I would be remiss, however, in ignoring the smaller island of Lemuy, a 10mn ferry ride from Chiloe across pristine turquoise waters crowded with fish farms. Chiloe and Lemuy are famous for their wooden churches, structures dating back to the late 1800s and recognized as a Unesco World Heritage. Interesting though the churches were, it is LUNCH that sticks in my mind (and to my ribs.) Imagine a 30 minute ride along narrow country roads lined with blooming fuchsia (an variety called fuchsia magellanica and its sweet, moist buds called “chilco”), and taking a sharp turn onto an unpaved stretch leading to . . . the jungle. This was Parque Yayanes (www.parqueyayanes.cl) a hideaway with cabins to rent, and an acclaimed restaurant overlooking a forest of greenery. Our hosts: the owner, Jaime Perez, a tall, distinguished, elderly gentleman with flowing white hair and beard who originally hailed from Macedonia (!!) and his Romanian cook Perla Kohan (!!) They had garnered a mention in the New York Times several years before. “We built our cabins and no one came,” explained Jaime. “So one day, we looked out our window, and we realized this was our real treasure: Our view. And the restaurant took shape.”

To be continued (and then, enough already). . .

 

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