Tag Archives: couscous

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 Unpublished article on Tioumliline by Lamia Radi, Rabat, Morocco.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.

,

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!

 

The Kasbah Chronicles APRIL 2019

The Kasbah Chronicles

Until my return from Morocco. . .

I leave behind these gorgeous Vista clouds

Contents

MUSINGS

RECIPE

Talks and presentations

March slipped away from me. In am in full “packing” mode. We have a full tour! April 23rd to May 2nd, I will be in Morocco with Adventures by the Book. And this is the view of the Mother of Spring river from Dar Zitoun’s atrium window.

I am still basking in the thrill of my lunar adventure (before it appeared in the NY Times!)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/travel/anniversaries-in-wyoming-and-huntsville-alabama.

Space Camp was one of the most fun experiences of my life. Please bear with me: just one more picture!

 

Kitty’s Blood Orange Syrup and Jelly

Ripe fruit fall off our blood orange tree faster than I can pick them! To savor their flavor at other times of the year, I make this ambrosial syrup, keep it in the fridge, and serve it with champagne or with carbonated water for a refreshing summer beverage.

2 ¼ cups fresh blood orange juice, strained

½ cup water

1 1/3 cups sugar

For the syrup: Place juice, water, and sugar in heavy pan. Simmer for 20 to 30 mns to viscous liquid stage. Refrigerate. Add 2 tablespoons to a glass of white wine, champagne, or prosecco. Or simply combine with water and ice cubes, to taste.

For the jelly: Simmer 20 mns longer, or until mixture forms a very soft ball when dropped in cold water.  Let cool overnight on the kitchen counter. Store in sterilized containers and seal. Spread on toast, or use as a topping for yogurt, mascarpone, ricotta, etc . . .

 

Kitty in the media: http://online.anyflip.com/dmdy/nwaa/mobile/index.html

Wine Dine and Travel Spring is a gorgeous online travel magazine, and free for the download. This issue features Argentina in depth. I am very excited to be among its contributors. Read about my trip to Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most historic cities.

 

Classes and presentations:

LIFE, Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA

www.miracosta.edu/instruction/programsforseniors_life.html

Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE) Oceanside LIFE.

 

Why attend Adult Space Camp in Huntsville, AL?

Kitty Morse and co-space junkie Pat McArdle celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

July 19, 2019. 2PM

 

LIFE: Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA

www.miracosta.edu/instruction/programsforseniors_life.html

Kitty Morse: Revisiting Morocco’s Sahara and the mythical Kasbah Trail.

FRI. AUG 2, 2019

 

Culinary Historians of San Diego:

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Savoring Morocco’s Kasbah Trail

The Kasbah Chronicles: Nov.2018(cont. . .)

My secret garden at Dar Zitoun, our riad in Azemmour, 90 km south of Casablanca

CONTENTS:
Join me in Morocco. . .

ADVENTURES BY THE BOOK MOROCCO TOUR IS FILLING UP!
DEADLINE FOR EARLY BIRD SIGN-UP is DECEMBER 2, 2018
http://adventuresbythebook.com/moroccoadventure/

@novelnetwork bookchat page on Facebook

Sunday, Nov, 18, 4PM Pacific

Happiness is being close to home (for now)
Día de los Muertos in Escondido (CA)
In Santa Barbara: Art opening at the Botanic Garden
Solar Cookers in Danang, Vietnam
Overheard
News from Morocco and beyond
Meanwhile, back at Versailles

Join Kitty for a LIVE FACEBOOK CHAT
on Sunday, November 18, 2018
(see below)

‘Tis almost the season!
EDIBLE FLOWERS: A Kitchen Companion
Free shipping in the US for signed copies until December 5, 2018

Musings:

Thank goodness the elections are over. I thought I would be traveling at this time, but stayed home instead. Every day, when my husband and I take a walk along the Pacific Ocean, I remind myself how lucky I am to live here.  This inspirational passage in Ralph Marston’s daily newsletter hit home:
 “. . . The richness of your life does not live in some distant time or faraway place. It is here, now, ready to be experienced and expressed. . .”
OR, as NANCY (as I call it) , the very annoying, GARMIN female voice likes to repeat while I am driving: RECALIBRATING..

So I recalibrated. . .For me, that means putting the finishing touches on Le Riad au Bord de L’Oued, the French version of Mint Tea and Minarets. As it turns out, I am traveling without leaving home, communicating via Facetime with a childhood friend and retired professor in Nice, who is helping me polish the text. It is SO MUCH fun to dip into the French-speaking side of my brain to rediscover the appropriate wording. The next challenge, of course, is getting it published.

Another good reason to stay close to home was to celebrate the 22nd annual Día de los Muertos at California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Nov. 1, from 6-9PM (artcenter.org). The festivities kicked off with a procession around Grape Day Park by Public Address artist Luis Ituarte. Celebrants in costume escorted the cart filled with flowers specially grown in Baja California for the occasion. The museum provided the yellow marigolds called cempasuchitl or flower of the dead, to anyone who decorated the square meter of ground that serves as a personal “altar.”

My two friends and I brought a few mementos of our own to celebrate our mothers. Some families offered a loaf of “pan de muerto” to their departed. Food trucks! Mariachis! Sugar skulls for kids to decorate! This is a family friendly event to suit all age groups. Jot this on your calendar for November 1, 2019. It’s free!


One of the “altars” at Día de los Muertos

Upcoming art show opening in Santa Barbara:
If you live in or near Santa Barbara (CA), my dear friend, Lenore Tolegian Hughes has a new exhibit opening at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens on December 6, 2-4pm. She illustrates the power of love in Ancient Greek mythology in an exhibition of visual art based on the love of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvest, for her daughter, Persephone. Her fascination with mythology inspires this dynamic exhibit of watercolors and collages. https://www.sbbg.org/classes-events

Overheard on the campus of Mira Costa College:
“. . . It should have never happened, but if it did. . .  I could handle it!”
(I wonder what that was about?!

And during our daily walk along the Pacific:
“. . . who wants to be eight months pregnant and go to Disneyland?

‘Tis almost the season:  Need a gift?

I will sign and ship copies of EDIBLE FLOWERS  anywhere in the United States. Send me an email (info@mintteaandminarets.com)
You can pay by Paypal (checks OK too!)
Free shipping until December 5, 2018.
$17 includes book and tax.

. . . speaking of gifts:
Have you visited http://sallybernstein.com ? Sally carries all sorts of delicious edibles, and much more. Check out her website.

French speakers rejoice!
https://france-amerique.com/fr/louisiana-joins-la-francophonie/
C’est officiel ! L’Etat américain rejoint l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) en tant que membre observateur. Sa candidature a été acceptée ce jeudi par les Etats membres de l’organisation réunis en sommet à Erevan en Arménie. Lire la suite.

It’s official! The American state has joined the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) as an observer member. Its application was accepted this Thursday by the organization’s member states at a summit in Erevan, Armenia. Read more.

Versailles restored: Thank you, America!
https://france-amerique.com/fr/versailles-american-splendor

News of Morocco and beyond:

Acrobats, story tellers, and musicians are nightly attractions on the famed Place Djemaa el Fna, Square of the Dead, in Marrakech (which we visit on the Adventures by the Book tour in April 2019), but this acrobat has gone far beyond walking between two tall buildings in Santiago, Chile. telquel.ma/videos/un-funambule-marocain:
High wire artist from Morocco performs in Santiago (CHILE):

Mustafa « Danger », funambule de profession, a réalisé son premier exploit en Amérique latine.
Solar Cooking in Vietnam

Solar Serve News No.56
 https://www.facebook.com/Solar-Serve-Vietnam-
I visited this forward-thinking company in Danang, last April. They need all the encouragement they can get!
“ we have received a huge order to help thousands of poor families in North of Vietnam with our clean cookstoves. We have already employed five new workers and others will be added soon if necessary. For us as Solar Serve it is a big challenge, so again stand with us. Thank you so much!
Greetings,
Solar Serve team

Bismillah
and
Bon Appétit!

Thanks to you, the Kasbah Chronicles is now in its tenth year!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2014 (with recipes!)

Another shot from my most recent trip to Morocco:

A cup of Starbucks Coffee at the HUGE

Morocco Mall in Casablanca.

A little cafe nearby serves mint tea,

thank goodness!

May you find much to celebrate this

holiday season

(preferably with a champagne toast.)

As I was huffing and puffing through my Jazzercise class this morning,

my instructor said she purchased 35 pounds of masa to make her

Christmas tamales.

For those outside Southern California, tamales are a Mexican Christmas

delicacy wrapped in corn husks, eaten mainly during the Christmas season.

Around these parts, families get together to make dozens and dozens

(and dozens) of savory and sweet tamales to share with loved ones.

Still huffing, my thoughts turned to my own version of tamales, one using

couscous instead of the traditional Mexican masa. I once took dozens

(and dozens) of corn husks to Dar Zitoun, to demonstrate to my Moroccan

friends how to make tamales (TAMALES FREEZE!)

The recipe is long, but believe me, the result is worth it!

 

Excerpted from my book, Couscous (Chronicle Books, 1999)

 

Kitty’s Pineapple-Banana Couscous Tamales with

Cream of Coconut

 

The inspiration for this recipe was a pineapple tamal I tasted while serving

as a food judge at the Indio International Tamale (sic) Festival, in California’s Coachella Valley.

 

Serves 12 (makes about 2 dozen tamales)

 

32 corn husks (see Note)

2 2/3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups couscous

3/4 cup coconut cream (see Note)

4 medium bananas

1/4 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cups dried candied pineapple chunks

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for garnish

3 tablespoons rum

1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Immerse corn husks in a large pot of boiling water. Remove from the heat,

and let stand until soft and pliable, 40 to 45 minutes. Drain husks and pat

dry. Reserve 3 or 4 husks to line a steamer basket or colander.

With kitchen scissors, cut  2 of the husks lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips.

Set aside.

 

In a large saucepan, bring the water, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the butter to

a boil. Add the couscous and 1/2 cup of the coconut cream. Stir to blend.

Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand until the couscous is tender,

12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside.

 

Quarter the bananas lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining butter. Add the dark brown sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the diced bananas. Stir to coat. Cook until the bananas soften somewhat, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the pineapple chunks, cinnamon, and rum. Stir to blend. Set aside.

 

To assemble the tamales, position a husk so the long edge faces you. Place

1/4 cup of the couscous mixture in the center. With a spatula, flatten the

couscous to form a 3-by-3-inch square about 1/4 inch thick. Set a heaping

tablespoon of the pineapple-banana mixture in the center of this square, and

form into a sausage shape. Leave a 1-inch border of uncovered couscous

top and bottom, and 1/2 inch on the sides. Grasp the bottom edge of the husk and fold it in half lengthwise. Compress to seal the couscous to itself and enclose the filling.

Gently unfold the husk, then wrap it around the couscous, as you would an

egg roll. Fold over the tapered end, and tie with a reserved precut strip of husk. Compress the other end. Leave open. Proceed in this manner until all the tamales are assembled.

 

Line the bottom of a steamer basket or colander with the reserved husks.

Set the tamales upright, closed end down, inside the colander. Bring water

to a boil in bottom part of the steamer. Cover tightly. Steam the tamales

until firm and heated through, 40 to 45 minutes.

In a chilled metal bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the

vanilla and remaining coconut cream. Set aside.

Place a steamed tamal in its husk on a dessert plate. With kitchen scissors,

cut away a large, V-shaped piece of husk to expose the couscous. Spoon a

generous dollop of coconut cream sauce on or near the tamal, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve.

Note: Cans of coconut cream are available in liquor stores or Asian markets.

To celebrate both the holidays and persimmon season, I offer up the

following in memory of my friend Margie Oakes of Oakes Knoll’s farm in

Fallbrook (CA), provider of the plumpest persimmons in San Diego County. Margie was also a contributor to my book 365 to Cook Vegetarian (Harper Collins 1998)

with her recipe for Easy Overnight Lasagne, an unusual meatless version

assembled a day ahead.

Fuyu persimmons can be eaten out of hand, like an apple (they resemble

a square tomato.) Hachyias must attain a pudding like consistency. In France, persimmons

are called “KAKI.” Go figure.

Margie’s Persimmon Crisp

4 or 5 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, seeded, and sliced (like an apple)

Fresh orange juice to barely cover the fruit

Candied ginger, diced, to taste

OR

Fresh, grated ginger, to taste

a sprinkle of cinnamon

 

Place all the ingredients in a pan, and bring to a simmer.

Cook about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

Refrigerate until ready to eat. The mixture will thicken as it cools.