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The Kasbah Chronicles: October November 2020

These seals at Oceanside Harbor have the right idea: Wake me up when COVID is over…

MUSINGS

The Kasbah Chronicles

Les Chroniques de la Kasbah

In English and en français

Musings

Notes on my next cookbook

A new twist on a Moroccan classic

Links of interest

News of Morocco and beyond

Improve your spoken French!

Moroccan items for sale

Musings:

In this, the ninth month of the COVID pandemic, I am at a loss for words. I cannot complain, since our Vista Kasbah is the best place for me to be sequestered—but boy, am I getting itchy feet. Yet, the idea of getting on an airplane still does not appeal to me.

Actually, the pandemic has served an exciting purpose: I have been hard at work on my next book, Bitter Sweet: legacy from my Alsatian ancestors (working title). Beautiful food photography included too!

I received an email blast from the High Atlas Foundation, a most worthy NGO in Morocco :

https://mailchi.mp/highatlasfoundation/article-reviving-a-monastery-for-community-development?e=4GUbJ49kBE. Unpublished article on Tioumliline by Lamia Radi, Rabat, Morocco.

Toumliline remains a magical name in my mind. Toum as we all called it, was a refuge for Catholic nuns in the Middle Atlas Mountains. It was a popular destination and Catholic retreat for many of my Catholic friends, especially at Easter:

“On part a Toum….” they would announce… each year.

Those among you who accompanied me to Morocco will remember the longest day of the trip as we crossed the Atlas Mountains from Fez to the oasis of Tinehrir. Half way up, Tioum hides among the forest of cedar trees not far from the snow slopes of the Mishliffen. Macaques on the way to Toum…

The very first avocado from our very own tree..

 

Let’s head to the kitchen

 new twist on egg tagine with lox

Morocco meets Brooklyn

(variations in Cooking at the Kasbah, The Vegetarian Table: North Africa and Mint Tea and Minarets.)

do you get the idea I love this egg dish?!!

Egg Tagine with Olives and lox

Serves 4

Make the tomato chermoula sauce ahead of time:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, very finely diced

1 (14¼-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

10 green or purple olives, rinsed, pitted, and coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

¼ cup minced cilantro

In a tagine or medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden, 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. Add cilantro.

Adapted from Mint Tea and  Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories.

For ONE person:

One egg, beaten

1 or 2 slices of lox, diced

Pour the egg in a small oiled skillet. Swirl around as for an omelet. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with 2 tablespoons of the chermoula, and diced salmon.

Copyright Kitty Morse 2020

More: The French are crazy about “crumbles” savory or sweet. Who knew that “crumbles” (and biscuits d’Halloween) would make such an impact?

Crumble de courgettes  au Parmesan

Serves 4

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 T bread crumbs (or almond meal)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • 4 slices of ham or prosciutto (optional), cut into ribbons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring the oil to medium heat in a pan or skillet. Saute the zucchini slices until soft. Drain and set aside.

For the crumble, combine the flour, bread crumbs, parmesan, and salt. Add the softened butter and mix with your fingertips. Alternate layers of zucchini, and ham (if using) in a medium baking dish. Top with the crumble mixture and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

My friend Stephenie Coug

hlin, owner of Seabreeze Farm in Del Mar (CA) a mere 2 or 3 miles from the ocean, grows and delivers her own GORGEOUS produce. Heck her out!

https://csa.farmigo.com/store/seabreezed

News of Morocco, France, and beyond:

Casablanca is undergoing a renewal, and hopefully a getting a good coat of paint. We lived on Avenue Hassan II, across from the park, one the city’s main arteries. This is what our building looked like in the earl 1920s…a beautiful Moorish art deco structure. it needs a new coat of paint in this century. Local casablancais have finally realized what an architectural treasure they have in downtown Casablanca..

https://aujourdhui.ma/culture/un-programme-de-mise-a-niveau-du-centre-ville-historique-de-casablanca-voit-le-jourIl+s’articule+autour+de+quatre+projets+Dans+le+cadre+du+plan+de+sauvegarde+et+de+valorisation+du+patrimoine+de+Casablanca,+la+Société+de+développement+local+Cas :

MOROCCAN ITEMS FOR SALE:
PLEASE VIEW DEDICATED PAGE ON THIS WEBSITE

Bellows, camel leather, copper and wood. ABout 48 years old.. Works fine.

 

All these will appear on my dedicated page.

These lithographs were produced by he same printer who printed my first book, Come with me to the Kasbah. Printer and publishing house are long gone

I am asking USD70 a piece. Shipped in a tube. About 23.5 by 15. 5 inches.

,

Wine Dine and Travel, award-winning emagazine

In addition to writing cookbooks, I have long written travel features focusing on foods of all sorts, from how to make couscous in the style of Casablanca, to food markets around the globe. Truth be told, my favorite pastime, wherever I am,  is to meet local growers and producers, be it farmers, ranchers, or cheese makers everywhere I travel. Gathering wheat for making couscous in Morocco; exploring Adelaide’s (Australia) bustling Central Market; savoring Chile’s acclaimed mussels on the island of Chiloe; taste-testing (!!) cava (champagne) and oysters in l’Ampolla, Spain; grazing through Barcelona’s famed La Boqueria; and eating Cuba’s iconic ropa vieja. . This passion began decades ago when I wrote a weekly column titled “In Season” for the San Diego edition of the Los Angeles Times–My agricultural education lasted two and a half years, starting with the first ever farmer’s market in San Diego County, the granddaddy of them all Vista Farmer’s market (held in the parking lot of our library in the very early 1980s, with just 18 farmers, many retired military. My “farm” experts then were the managers and market co-founders, wonderful and generous Dick and Margo Bauman, both now deceased. The LA Times left San Diego, and that only inspired me to continue seeking farmers around the state, and to write The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing, 1994). For the next year or so, I sought out and visited with dozens of farmers long before Farm to Table became overused  buzzwords.

More recently, this GORGEOUS Internet magazine  allows me to resume my path: Wine Dine and Travel magazine (http://www.winedineandtravel.com), an award-winning quarterly that features wine, dining, and globe trotting! I am now a staff writer. Here are links  to my articles.

Our most Excellent Cuba Adventure (Fall 2020)

Morocco’s Kasbah Trail (Spring 2020), my favorite itinerary in Morocco

THE KASBAH TRAIL

Barcelona’s La Boqueria Market (2020)

http://online.anyflip.com/dmdy/tzrk/mobile/index.html#p=105

A Vietnamese paradise for foodies: the ancient city of Hoi An: Discovering Argentina issue, p. 236

http://anyflip.com/bookcase/duev

 

 

 

The Kasbah Chronicles: July 2020

A PERSONAL MILESTONE
Under Confinement
 50 years and counting!


Then

Now
Our confined celebration!

NO Travels (except on paper)
My oyster binge in L’AMPOLLA, Spain
California’s Historic Highway 395

 
Classes and presentations via ZOOM
A virtual cooking class with Spice and Leaf
 
Podcasts
Kitty chats with….
 
My NEW project
A new, family cookbook
 
News of Morocco and beyond
 
Links of interest
Despite all my good intentions, these  Chronicles are about 6 weeks late.  How can time fly by so fast when we are confined? As my mother used to say:
“C’est toujours vendredi.. It is always Friday.”  So:

HAPPY (BELATED) FOURTH OF JULY!

The ongoing confinement and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests brought to mind  the  “Long Hot Summer of 1967” race riots when America was once before in turmoil. I was confined to my apartment with my roommate for 4 days, while the inner cities of Milwaukee, Chicago, and Detroit were going up in flames. This was my first introduction to political unrest in the US, and it was an eye-opener.

The past weeks brought a sense of heartbreaking déjà vu at this turning point in our nation’s history. I remain a (grateful immigrant) optimist.

Memories of a 1967 confinement:
One outcome of my 1967 confinement: we avoided hunger pangs with cans of tuna fish (my cooking career evolved long after the riots!) Thanks to my wonderful American roommate, Ann, I discovered the subtle “delights” of tuna casserole: a basic white sauce, a can of tuna and a few frozen peas and voilà: a great topping for boiled rice!  What a taste discovery! After 4 days confined to our first-floor walk-up, the casserole attained the rank of comfort food for me, although it will never top couscous in the style of Casablanca, or my French grandmother’s purée de pomes de terre (mashed potatoes)!
 
The present confinement reactivated my culinary juices. I finally put pen to paper with an idea that I had been harboring for some time: a cookbook combining family history with recipes from Alsace Lorraine, my mother’s birthplace (much like The Scent of Orange Blossoms, which featured my North African ancestry). Among the French documents I inherited, I uncovered the journal of my great grand-father, a French army doctor who served during WWI, and hand written recipes from his wife, my great-grandmother, who died at the hands of the Nazis just before the end of WWII. So what is a cookbook author to do? Immerse myself in cuisine bourgeoise de famille, and test and cook. Cook and test.
NO title yet…STAY TUNED!

Le confinement me pousse à cuisiner–très à propos car parmi les papiers de famille de ma mère, j’ai retrouvé des documents relatifs à ses grand-parents alsaciens–qui malheureusement ont disparu sous l’occupation nazie. J’ai donc hérité de photos, de documents de famille–et d’une centaine de recettes écrites à la main par mon arrière grandmère,  typiques du Grand Est–en particulier de Châlons sur Marne maintenant appelée Châlons en Champagne, ville natale de ma mère. Que faire de ce trésor familial sinon écrire un livre en leur souvenir?  choucroute, baekhopf, bredele (Alsatian cookies) et bien plus. Plus de détails à venir…
 
Mon but ce mois ci est d’écouler les bottes de chou friséMy present challenge is to cook with the bunches and bunches of kale and chard obtained from April Viles at  SandnStraw Farm in Vista (CA). The farm stand is opened 2 days a week. Check out their website www.sandnstraw.com
Here are two recipes I developed:
Chard and Garbanzo Bean Hummus (Hummus au chou frisé et pois chiches):
1 (14-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup COOKED and chopped chard
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
A squeeze of lemon juice
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Sun dried tomatoes optional)
 
Blend all ingredients together, and voilà, chard hummus
 
Kitty’s Curried Chard and Zucchini Soup
Velouté de Courgettes au curry et chou frisé

Serves 4
I serve this hot or cold, depending on the season.
 Prepare this a few hours ahead of time, and refrigerate.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced (or leeks)
4 small zucchini, peeled and diced (courgettes)
1 cup COOKED, drained, and chopped CHARD and Kale!!!
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoons mild curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
 
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, chard, and potato. Sprinkle with the curry powder. Lightly brown the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to medium low. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft. Adjust curry powder and salt. Let cool.

Place half the vegetables  in a blender or food processor. Add half the broth and half the yogurt. Blend until very smooth. Repeat the process until all the vegetables are used. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate. Sprinkle with herbs, and serve.

Feedback: Thank you!
Hi Kitty,
I thought you would like to know that I tried your husband Owen’s recipe.  I love Costco’s scallops…always a good quick meal.  And, of course, I sear them. So I cut them up (frozen) into about 6 pieces each, sauteed them in butter, added lemon juice and white wine, salt and pepper, let them caramelize, and put them on top of a large salad (with avocados).  (Steak salad without the steak:) It was delicious!  Owen rocks!. . .
Best regards,
Janet


Just for you, a tall glass of freshly squeezed blood orange juice from our very own blood orange tree: Un verre de jus de sanguine?


Kitty in the media: PODCAST a new experience for me:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/990508 
My host, Jessica, explained:
“I wanted this episode (the very first!) to be about Sephardic food in North Africa and to get to know you better (and your love of cilantro!) Jessica, A Jewish Convert Talks To A Global Community in her new blog..This is the link to my website, specifically the post about your wonderful cookbook, it was one of my first posts: https://newjewkitchen.com/the-scent-of-orange-blossoms/ I

Kitty’s recent published articles:
Staying put while roaming the globe before confinement:

California’s Historic Highway 395, along the eastern sierras.
https://www.creators.com/read/travel-and-adventure/06/20/us-highway-395-leads-back-into-california-history  
 
My oyster binge in L’Ampolla, Spain
https://www.creators.com/read/travel-and-adventure/06/20/catalonias-hidden-gem-the-delta-del-ebre

COMING UP:
Trinidad, Cuba
A night on the Queen Mary in Long Beach (CA)


Classes: ZOOM in on A virtual cooking class! 
JOIN ME for this Fun event:

Sunday, August 2, 4PM Pacific
www.spiceitupwithdeb.com. Please open the link to view the menu.
I will chat alongside my energetic friend Debbie Kornberg, on
Spice It Up with Deb: A Live Cooking Experience.

  • Pick your cooking class
  • Receive a list of ingredients and recipes.
  • Order your SPICE + LEAF products through AMAZON. 
  • Cook in your kitchen at the same time I am cooking in my kitchen all in real-time with guided instruction!
  • Explore the flavors of the world without having to leave your kitchen!
  • By the end of class, you will have a meal ready to serve.

Included in the class price is a copy of Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion
Reader Feedback:

Hi Kitty,
I got the books (Edible Flowers) today.  They are beautiful. I really love them more than I expected and I had very high expectations.  They are beyond beautiful and wonderful. So I put another check in the mail to you for two more books. . .”  Carole
 
Links of interest en français et en anglais:
site bilingue pour les français aux USA.

Frenchly.us and French Books
Frenchly is the premier website for Francophiles in the US and abroad, covering news, arts, culture, style, and all things French. Check out their French books:
https://frenchly.us/20-books-that-have-changed-french-lives/

Voyages en France tout en restant chez soi:
How about touring France from the comfort of home?

https://france-amerique.com/fr/the-best-virtual-tours-for-cooped-up-francophiles/?ct=t(France-Amerique-newsletter-28-june-2018_COPY_01)
 
Moroccan cookies anyone?
In time for the upcoming Feast of the Lamb (Aid el Fitr) or any celebration:
For the best mail order Moroccan cookies visit https://www.meskasweets.com. Made in New Jersey and shipped to you fresh. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
From their website: “Our cookies are available in traditional variety as well as fusions with the trendiest flavors… As such we offer a Gluten Free Moroccan Macaron line with Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea, Coffee… All of our treats are freshly made in NJ using the finest ingredients, have no preservatives and no GMO products. In addition to being delicious, our treats are Kosher (OU) Pareve.

Kitty still has copies of:
Shameless plug: If you have read any of the books, in English or en français, a review on the Amazon book site is always appreciated….

Min Tea and Minarets
https://www.amazon.com/Mint-Tea-Minarets-Moroccan-Memories/dp/0985216441/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued
https://www.amazon.com/Riad-Bord-lOued-souvenirs-saveurs-ebook/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1
and Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion
https://www.amazon.com/Edible-Flowers-Companion-Kitty-Morse/dp/098521645X/ref=sr_1_1?dc
ALL downloadable on Amazon.com

Yes, even the Pope liked A Biblical Feast (via Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, CA) …the book is out of print. Downloadable, however


 Morocco is (almost) out of the woods. Moroccans are allowed to travel to England but we are not! One reason perhaps: Even Moroccan buses wear masks….


and in the words of WOODY ALLEN



Bismillah
Bon Appetit
and STAY SAFE

PS:
 
Si vous avez une liste de correspondants e-mail, vous pouvez faire circuler lien pour
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued sur la page Facebook ou sur Amazon.com
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued-110970043646415/about/?notify_field=blurb&notif_type=page_profile_completion
 
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Le+Riad+au+bord+de+l%27oued&qid=1570749667&s

From the Kasbah: Let’s celebrate: Fete du Muguet, Mother’s Day and Ramadan 2020

à la française: MAY 1, 2020

 

WE NEED SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE

IN THIS TIME OF COVID-19

at a social distance!

 

BONNE FETE DU MUGUET!

American-style MOTHER’s DAY:

From May 1 to May, 10th, 2020 Kitty will ship signed copies of her book, Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion for more than 50% OFF list price(details below).

RAMADAN started on April 25. Time to make Ramadan pastries. Ramadan Mubarak!

WHAT IS LA FETE DU MUGUET ?

In France, it is customary to give a sprig of lily of the valley on May 1st. The day doubles as a celebration of springtime as well as Fête du Travail to honor workers of the world

Origins of Fete du Muguet in France

« . . l’origine de la fête du muguet remonte à l’époque romaine, en latin, le 1ier mai : maius mensis, mois de la déesse Maïa, on célébrait sa fête le 1ier mai, en plantant des arbres de Mai, symbole du réveil printanier de la nature (cf Grand Larousse Encyclopédique de 1962 tome 6 page 997) »

“…the origins of the Fete du Muguet harks back to Roman times, in Latin the month of May translates as: maius mensis, month of the Goddess Maia, whose feast was celebrated on May 1, in planting Trees of May, to symbolize nature’s rebirth. . . “

IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY!

Do edible flowers grow in your garden (without the use of pesticides). It might be rosemary, thyme, parsley, or cilantro (my favorite!), or even roses. You will find a recipe for these blossoms in the book.

SPRINKLE FOWERS ON YOUR PLATE (OR YOUR FRIEND’S PLATE) Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, is a lovely seasonal gift for a mother, grandmother, sister, or a gardening friend.

From May 1 to May 10th, 2020, purchase a copy of Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion for over 50% OFF the list price

Book: $7.50

Shipping in the US only: $3.00 ( I will bundle books if you purchase more than one)

TOTAL for ONE copy: $10.50 includes shipping in the US.

I will personally sign each book per your instructions. Send me a message with a shipping address.

Note: The book is also available through amazon.com (LINK) as a hard copy and for download.