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.

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

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?