Category Archives: Ecrivez-moi!

Cette ancienne Casaouiya parle français! Je serai ravie de communiquer avec vous si vous avez des questions a me poser. Bon appetit et Bismillah!

The Kasbah Chronicles: Valentine’s edition 2021

MUSINGS

The Kasbah Chronicles

Les Chroniques de la Kasbah

 

Happy Valentine’s DAY

Bonne Fête de Saint Valentin

In Praise of CENTENARIANS

Kitty in the media:

WineDineandTravel magazine: California’s historic HIGHWAY 395

Podcast with Kitty: Moroccan cuisine: an overview

Classes and presentations

 

Links of interest

News of Morocco and beyond

Moroccan items for sale

 

MUSINGS:

     I perch on the edge of another momentous birthday, I need to salute two centenarians in my life: Flor, my mother’s first cousin, who reached this milestone last August—and whose voice sounds as lively today as that of an 18-year-old’s; and Irene, who has reached 103 and was one of the very first passengers to join me on my gastronomic tour along the Kasbah Trail three decades ago. What role models!

Covid and confined — with a BIG difference: My husband and I got our first dose of the vaccine. Funny how a weight has been lifted from our shoulders—even though we need a second dose.

The confinement has not put halt to my work. I am knee-deep in family history spanning WWI and WWII—recipes from Alsace-Lorraine included, bien sûr.

My thoughts return to last year at this time: I was in heaven petting the whales in Baja California and making snowballs in Baja’s sierra. That trip has kept my wanderlust at bay for the past 12 months, but enough already!

Je voudrais saluer deux amies centenaires : cousine Flor, qui a passé le cap en août dernier, et Irene, qui va avoir 103 ans! Toutes deux dignes de ma profonde admiration.

GROSSE différence entre ce mois de confinement et mes dernières Chroniques : mon mari et moi avons finalement obtenu la première dose du vaccin. Si vous regardez les nouvelles, vous savez que les USA ont été lents à démarrer. J’espère que les choses se sont mieux passées chez vous. On respire mieux, mais à 6 pieds de distance! Heureusement que l’an dernier à cette date, j’ai pu aller au Mexique, en Californie du Sud caresser les baleines !

Virtual presentations:

Spices in Moroccan cooking

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021

2-3:30PM

FREE

Registration required

Coronado Public Library (and it is a beautiful one!)

The use of cumin in tagines and other Moroccan dishes. This is a great program sponsored by the library called Spice it Up, Coronado! FREE! But you need to register.

https://live-coronado.pantheonsite.io/events/february-spice-it-coronado

Facebook and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/CoronadoPublicLibrary/

Kitty in the media:

WineDineandTravelmagazine.com

Looking for a sort of STAYCATION (nouveau mot à la mode: en vacances près de chez soi.)

Un autre voyage très sympa en janvier 2020.

Here is my article on California’s Highway 395—a slice of historic California

https://winedineandtravelmagazine.com/wdt/calcoast/

Kitty and a Podcast:

Moroccan cuisine: influences and history

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX-WfB9r00U.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC7_bInxIfE.

Apricots in Silicon Valley even rate their own museum: Abricots de Silicon Valley.

https://heritageparkmuseum.org/sample-page/orchard-heritage-park

Il ne faut pas oublier qu’avant de devenir le paradis des techies, Silicon Valley était couverte d’arbres fruitiers notamment des meilleurs abricotiers du pays.

I was thrilled to read the article on apricots, and had to share my apricot adventures in Silicon Valley. I visited several farmers in late 1999—among them the famous Mariani orchards in Morgan Hill, CA. Andy Mariani, who is still in business, is one of this country most knowledgeable stone fruit experts (https://andysorchard.com.) (They ship!) He shared a recipe for The California Farm Cookbook (Kitty Morse, Pelican Publishing).

CALIFORNIA APRICOTS: A History (and a recipe)

Mariani Orchards’ Apricot-Amaretto Sandwiches

“On our family farm,” says Andy Mariani of Mariani Orchards, “autumn is a favorite time of the year.”  The tall, dark-haired, and soft-spoken Andy is proud to carry on the family tradition–one begun by his forefathers who originated in Vis, an island off the Dalmatian Coast.  The senior Mariani began farming in California in 1932, finally settling in the idyllic Morgan Hill area of the Santa Clara Valley–the perfect location to grow plump apricots and sweet cherries.   Andy’s brothers and sisters help in the running of the orchard as well as in the ever-expanding mail-order business.  “Fruit grown elsewhere in California doesn’t seem to have the sweetness ours do,” says Andy, who credits the high quality of the Mariani fruit to the proximity of the ocean, and to a cool growing season.  The delicious result of the Mariani’s labors is evident when biting into the oversized, dried Blenheim apricots which they use to make their superb Apricot Amaretto-Sandwiches.

Marzipan OR almond paste (available in supermarkets or specialty food stores)

Almond extract or Amaretto liqueur

Jumbo, dried Mariani apricots to suit

Guittard A’peels dipping chocolate (#9760)

If using marzipan, which is sweeter than almond paste, use a few drops of almond extract or Amaretto to cut sweetness.  Roll marzipan or almond paste into a log shape, until it reaches the same diameter as the apricot half.  Cut round patties about 1/4″ in width.  To assemble sandwich, trim apricot half to perfect circle on sheet of wax paper.  Place almond paste patty on top, and cover with second apricot half.  Squeeze slightly so filling adheres to apricot.  Trim to size.  If smaller sandwich is preferred, simply cut in half.  For extra special treat, dip sandwich in melted chocolate.  Let cool on wax paper.  Store in airtight container until ready to eat.

Note:  Almond paste is available in bulk from large bakeries.  Commercial marzipan found in supermarkets tends to be very sweet.  Guittard A’peels dipping chocolate #9760 is specially formulated to stick to dried fruit.  You can order the 2″ wide jumbo apricots directly from the Marianis.

Flashback to Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, and our historic medina of Azemmour.

Azemmour vu du ciel 2020 Nous vous proposons des vues d’Azemmour comme vous ne les avez jamais vu.

https://youtu.be/CTMLXL2rxg0

Speaking of COVID:

https://laquotidienne.ma/article/actualites-economiques/covid-19-le-premier-scanner-de-depistage-au-maroc-et-en-afrique-installe-a-casablanca United Imaging Healthcare (UIH), grand acteur international dans le domaine des équipements médicaux, a introduit le tout premier système de dépistage Covid-19 en Afrique.

Did you know ?
French in Africa: French is the official language of 21 countries in Africa. (They don’t mention North Africa, but they should!

Nouveau mot de vocabulaire:

New FRENCH WORD: OVER THE TOP !!! I leave it up to you to translate.

Un afterwork au bureau, des amis à la maison, une envie d’Alsace, un match de football, basket ou rugby…

Received from Morocco: I love the spellings…« le nouveau président (djo baidn donc bay bay korona »

Bon appétit! A la prochaine!

Kitty

Recipes to Fend off the Coronavirus

Here are recipes I mention in the March/April edition of the Kasbah Chronicles. I hope you enjoy them

I love getting feedback, so if you like them or have a question, please contact me or post a request on the page

A bas le corona virus

Kitty’s Fight the Virus Vegetarian Harira with Kale

Serves 8

I use my crockpot!

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, sliced

1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

8 Spanish saffron threads, crushed

½ bunch cilantro

10 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup wheat berries, soaked and preferably, pre-cooked

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans

4 cups chopped kale leaves (or chard)

Wedges of lemon

In a slow cooker or soup pot, heat the oil and cook the onions until wilted.

In a blender or food processor, process in increments until fairly smooth, the tomatoes, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add this mixture to the onions and bring to a boil. Add the broth and wheat berries and cook until tender.

About 20 minutes before serving, add undrained garbanzo beans and kale.

Serve in large soup bowls. Squeeze a little lemon juice into each bowl. Leftover harira freezes very well.

Adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian by Kitty Morse

You will also find variations of this recipe using lamb in Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen (Chronicle Books 1999) and Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories (La Caravane 2014.)

 

 

Kitty’s  What’s in my Fridge

Kale Soup with zucchini and onion

Leftover roasted zucchini

3 boiled baby potatoes

1 cooked sweet potato

4 to 6 leaves Kale or Swiss chard, broken up

½ onion

Make 2 cups broth with BETTER THAN BOUILLON!

In a small pan, cook all ingredients except bouillon until tender. Let cool.

Blend until smooth, adding bouillon in increments. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Kale with Chermoula:

Serves 2 or 3

Adapted from From Cooking at the Kasbah: recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen, p. 59

I  blanch the leaves for a minute or two. I strain them and let them cool. Using scissors, I chop them into small strips. Then, I am ready for action! Kale ( or chard, or mallow (bokkola in Morocco, or spinach)  with Chermoula. This is a dish dear to Moroccan hearts.

1 bunch baby kale

5 or 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika

Preserved lemon rind, finely diced, to taste (refer to my video on YouTube)

½ cup water

Blanch the kale, and strain. Cut into thin strips.

In a small pan or skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, cumin and paprika. Stir to blend and do not burn or the spices will turn bitter. Add kale and water. Cover and cook until kale is very tender, 15 to 20 mns. Add diced preserved lemon rind to taste, and a pinch of salt, if necessary. Stir again. Remove from heat. Serve at room temperature.

Easy Overnight Vegetarian Lasagna

Adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian by Kitty Morse

Prep:  35 minutes

 Cook:  1 hour 30 minutes 

Stand: 8 to 24 hours

Serves about 6

You can prepare this the day before and refrigerate until cooking time.

I sometimes spread fresh or creamed spinach or fresh diced tomatoes over the zucchini.

Note: I like to mix red sauce and white sauce. I sometimes add dabs of basil pesto on my layers (Costco has a delicious)

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce

1/2 cup red wine

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes

2 cups sliced button mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

9 to 10 uncooked lasagne

4 medium (about 4 cups) peeled zucchini, very thinly sliced

Shredded parmesan cheese

  1. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Cook onion, pepper, and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add spaghetti sauce, wine, stewed tomatoes, and mushrooms. Cover and cook over medium heat, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from heat. Add parsley and salt and pepper.
  3. Cover bottom of a lightly oiled 9×13-inch baking dish with a thin layer of sauce. Arrange 1/3 lasagne over sauce.  Top noodles evenly with zucchini slices.  Cover zucchini with a little sauce.  Repeat procedure in the same order until all ingredients are used. Cover final layer with sauce.  Sprinkle with cheese

You should have 3 layers of lasagna. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring dish to room temperature. Bake, covered, for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

 

Bon appétit!

 

The Kasbah Chronicles: January/February 2020

LES CHRONIQUES DE LA KASBAH

TWELFTH YEAR

DOUXIEME ANNEE


Palm trees and snow covered mountains:
C’est la Californie du Sud
 The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
Twelfth year
Douxième année
MUSINGS
January/February 2020Travels in Cuba (suite)

A night on the Queen Mary
Une nuit sur le paquebot mythique Queen Mary

The BEST restaurant in the US (according to YELP)
In San Diego!

Kitty in the media

For winter
Boozy Black beans
from 365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian

Links of interest en français and in English

A new cookbook germinating:
About Champagne, pays de ma mère

Ha Ha and Ha

MUSINGS:
Where to begin? So much to do, so little time. Thus, the Chronicles are a month overdue. NO time to waste!

Cuba is still on my mind, and may call for a return visit in the not too distant future (after petting whales in Baja California, travelling to my mother’s birthplace in Champagne to research my next cookbook, and spending the night on THE, yes THAT, Queen Mary, now a floating hotel moored in Laguna Beach, CA).

Back to Cuba, this most extraordinary island 90 miles off our coast, cut off from the United States, and caught in a 50s time warp. I already mentioned how much Havana reminded me of my hometown of Casablanca in the fifties. Old buildings crying for a coat of paint, intricate and rusted wrought-iron balconies, splashes of original art deco, and a “quartier” named “Fusterlandia” on the outskirts of Havana–an area covering several blocks inspired by the mosaics of Niki de St Phalle and Gaudi. Yes, we rode around in 1950s vintage automobiles, a kick in itself, we pretended to puff on a cigar (I have NEVER smoked), and we listened to musicians playing in the street. We stayed in casas particulares (b and bs), and rode around an eco-farm on HORSEBACK (YIKES!! I don’t even ride, but that was FUN). So much more, you will have to read my upcoming article for the award winning, online, Wine Dine and Travel magazine.

 

What comes to my mind regarding Cuba, is that despite extreme hardship and pervasive poverty, Cubans have such a friendly and open disposition. Amis francophones? Vous rappelez-vous du tube des années 60 : Cuando Sali de Cuba ? Dejé mi vida, mi corazon… He bien, il est inconnu à Cuba, car évidemment, c’est une chanson d’exil. De nos jours, l’accès à l’Internet est strictement règlementé. Une politique irrationnelle de tous côtés il me semble.

Gracias once more to our superb guide, Carlos, and to Karin of www.espiritutravel.com who handled the land arrangements. US citizens can go to Cuba as individual travelers. We purchased our Cuban visas at JFK’s Jet Blue counter, along with retrieving our boarding pass.

This video might give you a little flavor of Havana en fête.
Conga and Carnival in Havana
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/jan/16/conga-and-carnival-havanas-jazz-festival-in-pictures

Two weeks ago, I spent a night on the Queen Mary, the transatlantic ship now moored in Long Beach.

Le Queen Mary a fait bien des traversées entre les Etats Unis et l’Europe—et a même servi de navire-hôpital pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Saviez-vous que le Queen Mary est plus long que le Titanic ? (Moi non plus!) Long Beach est l’un des plus grands ports des Etats Unis, au sud de Los Angeles. Si vous allez vers le sud, vous suivrez le bord de mer jusqu’à Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, et autres villes mondialement connues des surfers.

 

Did you know that the Queen Mary is longer than the Titanic? I attended an exciting Adventure by the Book event (www.adventuresbythebook.com) on board—20 authors from around the US conducted presentations and book signings. Sign up for the organization’s newsletter to learn about other exciting literary adventures. Would be authors and established authors too—don’t miss next year’s event.

Our Adventure took place in the Queens’ salon, one of the most beautiful ballrooms on board The Queen’s Salon: talk about Art Deco, wooden panels, authentic light fixtures, all restored. Turn a corner to face a picture of Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, mafiosi, presidents—and dozens more.

The Queen Mary is worth a visit (skip the food on board, however. A rip off). Our room was an authentic cabin lined in original wood panels, with a vintage armoire, original bathroom fixtures (that worked!) and two portholes.

Another gastronomic adventure awaited in South Park (one of the hippest places in San Diego) in front of a food truck considered as The Best Restaurant in the US according to YELP reviews. It was even mentioned on the CBS Evening News with Nora O’Donnell. The parking lot of a liquor store on the corner 30th and Grape shelters the footprint of The acclaimed Shawarma Guys! So I ordered their freshly made falafel and a marinated wagyu Beef shawarma with homemade garlic paste (to DIE for), wrapped in a toasted pita. One bite of the golf ball sized falafel, and fireworks broke out around me: they are not only HUGE, crispy, and piping hot—they are the BEST falafel I have ever tasted. Go there!

Sit on plastic chairs in the parking lot, and go at off hours because the line can wrap around the block. I asked Brian, one of the Chaldean chef/owners, about the fresh herbs and spices in the falafel: ”It’s a secret!” Bien sûr. They come in a box of 6—and a doggie bag.  (http://www.theshawarmaguys.com/menu)

3012 Grape St, SD
619-857-7373

While you are waiting (a solicitous server will put you on a list and phone you when your name comes up) go across the street to a darling florist/gift shop called Native Poppy (www.nativepoppy.com)

Would you believe the Pope approves of A Biblical Feast?!! Photo taken at the Mission San Luis Rey (Oceanside, CA) gift store:

Kitty in the media:
Crown City magazine, a magazine in Coronado, CA.
Televents of Coronado, first cable TV station in San Diego, was the start of my “brilliant” career!  Read about my reminiscences as a young Navy wife!
(https://issuu.com/crowncitymagazine/docs/ccm_jan2020_150dpi)
pp.46-49

Book club visit booked through Novelnetwork.com:
Thank you Carey fort he lovely welcome from your book club.

Wine Dine and Travel online magazine:
I am now a staff writer at Wine Dine and Travel online travel magazine (www.winedineandtravel.com)
You might enjoy my article on Barcelona’s incredible food:
La Boqueria, Barcelona’s binge-inducing public market
http://online.anyflip.com/dmdy/tzrk/mobile/index.html#p=105

Head spins! What to sample? That is La Boqueria–

As a docent at the CA Center for the Arts in Escondido (CA) I invite you once again to call ahead and request a docent for your private tour. (760) 839-4149.  The present exhibit features artists bringing awareness to our environment. Endangered: Exploring California’s Changing Ecosystems and Finding Heaven in Hellhole Canyon open from Saturday, January 11th through March 8th, 2020. This exhibition focuses on artworks that address the wonder and destruction of local flora and fauna throughout California. An interactive and educational contemporary art exhibition, Endangered, brings greater awareness to the current environmental issues in California. Finding Heaven in Hellhole Canyon (Valley Center) includes the work of 14 local artists advocating for the preservation and enjoyment of California’s natural environment.

FYI: The art scene in Los Angeles:
https://hyperallergic.com/537435/a-map-and-guide-to-art-spaces-across-los-angeles/

Donnez moi des idées !
Je pense à un nouveau livre de cuisine basé sur des recettes familiales. Je me dirige vers la Champagne, pays où est née ma mère, au moi de mai prochain. Pouvez-vous me suggérer des plats traditionnels champenois, et surtout des endroits à ne pas manquer à Châlons en Champagne et dans les environs ?

LINKS OF INTEREST :
NEW! A First in Morocco and North Africa, a public TV channel, à la PBS—
The reason: le “piratage”. There was no way to protect the contents from hackers. Thus, the content is now free for everyone. Brilliant!
https://www.telerama.fr/television/le-documentaire-de-creation-en-premiere-partie-de-soiree-sur-la-chaine-marocaine-2m,n6566806.php

Vive les idées géniales des français :
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/30/france-passes-landmark-law-to-stop-unsold-goods-being-thrown-away?CMP=share_btn_link

A novel idea to fight hunger à la française.
Les français combattent la faim :
https://www.ozy.com/good-sht/how-french-restaurants-are-feeding-their-neighborhood-for-free/96499/\

et en Amérique, sur beaucoup de campus, les étudiants n’ont ni assez à manger, ni où se loger : CHOQUANT :
One of America’s most serious housing crises isn’t where you would expect it. https://www.ozy.com/the-new-and-the-next/universities-combat-their-next-crisis-homelessness-on-campus/253173/

Tunisie, où les dates manquent d’eau :
I spent a good while in Tunisia, first to study Arabic at the Bourguiba School, and then to research my book, The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle, 1998). Climate change? Of course not says our government. . .
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jan/14/the-dates-are-drying-profits-shrivel-for-farmers-as-the-heat-rises-in-tunisia

And from Australia:
I could hardly bear to watch the pictures of Oz burning and magical Kangaroo Island too:
I have visited this extraordinary continent on 3 occasions, twice to participate in food related events. Australians know how to throw a party, and their cuisine is unlike any other thanks to the strong Asian influence. I was fortunate to meet many of Oz’s best-known food tv personalities at the time, including Margaret Fulton, Australia’s counterpart to our Julia Child. Maggie was the one who introduced French cooking to her fellow Australians.

https://www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/news/the-cookbooks-that-changed-how-australia-cooks-20191129-h1k1ci?nps

PS: Thank you to all those who have taken the time to write a review on the Amazon.com page for Mint Tea and Minarets.

Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued a une page Facebook. Pouvez-vous la « like » ???
Et, si le coeur vous en dit, vous pouvez telecharger Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued sur amazon.com (et non pas Amazon,.FR). et ecrire quelques mots au bas de la page.
Merci.
https://www.facebook.com/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued-110970043646415
Si vous avez une liste de correspondants e-mail, vous pouvez leur envoyer le communique de presse pour Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued ou le lien sur la page Facebook..
https://www.amazon.com/Riad-Bord-lOued-souvenirs-saveurs-ebook/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Every little bit helps.

Merci infiniment,

As always

Bismillah
And
Bon Appétit

 

sent to me by a reader of these Chronicles! Isn’t this a lovely sight? Spring is around the corner in Oakland CA..

Le Riad au Bord de l’oued: winner (translation) Gourmand World awards

What a lovely surprise to wake up to this message on December 1, 2019

Le riad au bord de l´oued  is the Winner for Morocco in the Gourmand World Awards in the category B12 Translation .

You now qualify to compete for Best in the World 2020  with winners from other countries in the same category. This year a total of 225 countries participated in the competition. You can see  the complete list of winners 2020 on www.cookbookfair.com

The following link will give you a General Presentation of the Gourmand Awards, including our Gourmand World Summit 2019 at UNESCO, the International Village of Gastronomy in front of the Eiffel Tower, and the  awards ceremony in Macao. last  July

https://www.cookbookfair.com/images/pdf/Gourmand_Awards_General_Presentation_2019_11.pdf

Your book will be in the events next year. . .”
Congratulations and best wishes for 2020

Edouard Cointreau
President

Onwards!

Please like the Facebook page or the Amazon.com listing. Every little thumbs up helps, I am told!

https://www.facebook.com/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued-110970043646415

Visit Le Riad page on this website.

Merci!