Tag Archives: Morocco

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:

The Kasbah Chronicles November 2015


 Clkshp 4

Chef David Thorne of Elysian restaurant in Glendale, CA


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.


 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?

San Diego Living Show, Channel 6, NOV. 2015

This link to San Diego’s Channel 6, the CW, San Diego Living should be accessible until December 2015, I hope.

It was great fun on sandiego6.com

Monday, November 9, 2015

San Diego Living, 9AM

Mint Tea and Minarets


Please insert the link in your browser if you can’t access it here.

It is worth it! Heather, from Channel 6, was a most gracious host. We had fun!


Recipes from San Diego Living, SD Channel 6, Nov. 9th, 2015 TV appearance

November 9, 2015


From Mint Tea and Minarets: a Banquet of Moroccan Memories

(La Caravane, 2013)

Egg Tagine with Olives

Serves 4

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

8 eggs

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

(serves 4)


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.

Summer updates and a trip to Catalina Island


View from Mr Wrigley’s casino (THE Mr. Wrigley chewing-gum)

NO gambling allowed

“Only 26 miles across the sea” . . . but decades removed from the mainland. Even though we have lived in California since 1973, we had never been to Catalina! Rather than the classic “26 miles” I could imagine Alvin and the Chipmunks belting out “Won’t you take me to Funky town” as a more apt description. I took my husband to celebrate a momentous anniversary, and also to see if I would get seasick during the 90 mn crossing from Dana Point to Avalon. Success! I didn’t toss my cookies (or rather a rather so-so fish taco lunch from a restaurant in the Dana Point Harbor. Skip the downstairs terrace of Harpoon Henry’s!) The weather was glorious, the crossing smooth, and the boat flew across the waves towards Calatina.

Much to our pleasant surprise, we landed smack in the middle of a set for Grounghog Day, a combination of a small Mediterranean seaside village lightly touched with the colorized exoticism of a vintage postcard. The hotel only reinforced the impression of stepping back in time. We could see the Hotel MacRae’s bubblegum pink facade from the ferry landing. Up the staircase we went (no elevator) to the office set in a corner of the terrace. The establishment reminded us of old hotels in France and Spain, where you first climb upstairs to a “lobby”, and then up more stairs to your room. This hotel offers a great location and very comfortable rooms. Next to the entrance is a karaoke bar open half the night, so make sure you ask for a room at the back.

The quality of the food on the island turned out to be a pleasant surprise, as well. The menu and the décor of Blue Water Grill are equally appealing. We dined on the deck with the waves crashing under our feet the two nights we spent in Avalon. We walked along the harbor, past Mr. Wrigley’s (yes, THE chewing gum Wrigley) famed art deco casino (well worth the visit), towards the Descanso Beach Club. a private club open to the pubic. The menu needs some rethinking and the food is overpriced, but you can’t beat the location on a palm-shaded deck with steps leading to a pocket-sized beach. The wait-staff consisted of a group of young foreigners, here on a tourist visa for the summer.

No cars in Avalon! (some waiting 30 years apparently, to obtain a permit.) Private golf carts dart around the narrow streets lined with diminutive beach cottages, most of them vacation rentals. The main beach is nothing to write home about, but you can reach more remote harbors by boat. The drive up to the Airport in the Sky was memorable not only for the excellent guide (via the Catalina Island Company tours), but also for hairpin turns that reminded me of driving through the High Atlas Mountains. I still don’t understand how he navigated the extreme turns in a BUS! Even though I don’t suffer from vertigo, I had to refrain from looking down the cliff in a few cases.

48 hours later, home we went, rolling our suitcases down the main street towards the ferry terminal. We may return! We celebrated July 4th with  a Moroccan menu consisting of zahlouk eggplant salad, brochettes (kabobs) of chicken, lamb and beef liver (try it!) marinated in charmoula spices. Aren’t we citizens of the world?!

4th of Jul kabobs 2

Petites salades