again, better late than never
PS: My computer crashed towards the end of July 2021 forcing a complete overhaul of this site–thus these late postings
The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
In English and en français
On the cusp of July
It has been a long time..
Notes on my next cookbook
News from Champagne
Miller Beer: The Champagne of Beers. Really?
Recipe: Rice grits
Kitty’s Moroccan items for sale
A request from a reader
Travel? Dare we? Dare we not? That is the question.
I am holding France and Châlons-en-Champagne, my mother’s birthplace, in my sights for September but who knows if I can be lured onto an overseas flight and face the ever-changing travel restrictions/rules overseas? I can’t seem to make up my mind. CANCELLED! The stress of following daily updates about the pandemic in France and other destinations discouraged me.. Next year in Champagne, Inch Allah¡
In the meantime, I remain glued to my computer adding finishing touches to my book. Refining the manuscript like adding dabs of color to a painting, adding little touches here and there to brighten a scene or an image.
Researching the era my great-grandfather served as a surgeon in the French army in WW1, then translating his memoir of WWII, when he kept a journal detailing the advance of German forces in the Champagne region, led me down innumerable rabbit holes overflowing with “la petite histoire.” In writer’s parlance, I succumbed to “research rapture,” a “dis-ease” for which I have found no cure.
Fun discovery: I have started to read the newsletter published in my mother’s birthplace, Chalons en Champagne, l’Hebdo du Vendredi. And this was my FIRST click on the site: Milwaukee (WI) is my family “home” in the US, and I went to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. What do I find on the Hebdo site but a reference to Miller Beer and a Milwaukee street I know well! How dare does Miller Beer refer to its brew as “The Champagne of Beers!” Ooops…
But all research must come to an end…and now the “real” work begins!
A RICE Realization
Speaking of research…I explored the contents of my kitchen cupboards to “rediscover” a container filled with “rice couscous”…a product I had brought back from Morocco to test as a gluten free alternative. I forgot it at the back of said cupboard until last week when I woke up with a start and it came to me that “rice couscous” was the Moroccan name for rice grits.
I prepared the rice grits as I would “instant” couscous (many recipes in my Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes) made my traditional couscous “stew” and voilà: RICE COUSCOUS. You can substitute rice grits for couscous in most couscous recipes. They are a fantastic alternative to polenta as well.
1 3/4 cups water or broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup rice grits
— In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water or broth and the butter to a boil. Add the grits in a stream. Stir once. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand until the grits are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Topping of your choice.
To make your own: Simply place whole rice in a blender or food processor and process into coarse grits. Cook like rice, “steam” or prepare in the “instant manner” as you would medium grain couscous. This is not a pudding like congee, the rice grits must absorb all the liquid and remain dry, as it should for rice.
A reader is looking for a painted Moroccan table. Can you help? If so, e-mail me, and I will forward your message to her.
I AM selling vintage items and antiques from Morocco: decorative objects, textiles, Berber jewelry, brass, hand painted plates, authentic tagine pots, copper bestila pan, and other Moroccan cooking implements. Pls send me an email if you are interested, and I can send you pictures.
Mint Tea and Minarets is available in hard copy and as an e-book. So is Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion.
Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued : souvenirs et saveurs de Dar Zitoun (French translation by Kitty Morse)
Until next time,