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View this email in your browserThe Kasbah Chronicles: September 2021
Back again!


End of Summer 2021
Lightning in Carlsbad CA.during a rare summer shower
From Instagram.

The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
In English and en français

 Please don’t give up on The Kasbah Chronicles!
Ne m’abandonnez-pas!


Safe splashdown of Spacex capsule as I write. Exciting

Kitty’s Salmon Spinach Bestila
Links of interest in English and en français
More Moroccan items for sale


Here I go again, making amends for being weeks late in publishing my newsletter. Please don’t give up on me. This has been such a strange summer, and, fortunately for us in Southern California, quite cool though California is in dire need of rain. We watch in horror as fires consume millions of acres in the north, and are now threatening our beloved giant redwoods. It cannot be possible that these 2,500-year-old natural icons are in the path of a raging monster fire. Let’s hope tiny sprinkles come down in the next few days. That said, I looked on, equally horrified at the hurricanes drowning the south. And I cried all over again during the 20 year remembrances of 9/11. How our lives have changed since the

If we are on our way to sending human colonizers to Mars (poor Mars,) is there no way to divert water from one end of the country to another, here on earth? I know…Money is always involved.

Throughout these events, my working hours appear to zip past. I feel I am playing catch up most of the time. I  keep my nose to the grindstone with my next book. Writing is rewriting, as all writers know. And I do keep rewriting! The challenge is what motivates me. Suffice to say that my research has led from the Belle Epoque (remember Midnight in Paris??), through the cataclysmic events of World War 1 and World War 2, delving into family documents and mounds of historical research, and testing family recipes. Stay tuned!

Next week, I will shed my skittish COVID persona (doubly vaxxed, and hoping for a 3rd), to rejoin the human race for a literary tour of New England with my friend Susan McBeth of Adventures by the Book. (www.adventuresbythebook.com.) I am looking forward to revisiting Boston where I was invited to cook at the Ritz thirty years ago (yikes!!)and visiting points north during the changing of the leaves. AND EATING LOBSTER ROLLS!! Next year, Inch Allah, I will head overseas again.

PS: I travel on my stomach.Does anyone have recommendations for lobster rolls and seafood eateries in Boston secrets spots, Portland, or Kennebunkport?

In the meantime, part of my days is spent in the kitchen, which for me is a creative form of relaxation. Here is an updated salmon bestila you might enjoy. DO NOT be intimidated by phyllo dough: remember, YOU are the boss and rips are easily corrected by pasting a patch of phyllo painted with melted butter them.


Kitty Morse’s Salmon Spinach Bestila
Adapted from
Cooking at the Kasbah: recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen (Chronicle Books)
Copyright 2021

Serves 6

10 green onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound boned salmon fillets
12 ounces frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
10 sprigs fresh cilantro, minced (about 1/4 cup, loosely packed)
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs or almond meal
2 tablespoons (or more) diced preserved lemon rind
1 teaspoon salt
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Finely dice the green onions. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, paprika, and ground cumin, stirring until spices begin to foam, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salmon fillets and cook through. Discard the skin and shred the salmon with a fork. Add the drained spinach and preserved lemon. Stir fry until spinach is hot. Cool a few minutes and combine with the cilantro and half the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Stack 8 sheets the phyllo on a work surface lined with a damp towel. (Rewrap remaining phyllo, and refrigerate for future use.) Cover with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.

With a pastry brush, paint a pie plate with melted butter. Stack 4 sheets of phyllo on the bottom, painting each one with butter, and dusting the 4th sheet with the remaining bread crumbs. Top with the cooled filling, leaving at least an inch free around the sides.  Use the remaining buttered sheets to enclose the pie. Carefully fold the bottom sheets over the filling. Then, carefully tuck the top sheets under the pie. (At this point, the pie can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated, or frozen.)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake on the middle rack until the pie turns golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Serve hot.
Bon appétit!

And to top it off, our friend Ron Baker’s GRILLED PEACH SUNDAE..YUM!
Ron is also a professional photographer. View his food and travel shots at

One of my rare ventures out this past month was to visit Zion Market. This giant supermarket in the Clairemont Mesa area of San Diego combines foodstuffs from Korea and most of Asia, live seafood, and acres of frozen specialties which I could not even decipher. And dozens of varieties of kimchee!!

Asian mushrooms galore…

and frozen gizzards

and every Asian vegetable under the sun

and especially

In the same space is one of the BEST French bakeries I have come across in San Diego, Paris Baguette—a South Korean chain now conquering the US.. https://www.parisbaguette.com/
The French pastries with an Asian twist are worth the detour.
Who knew???: “Born from a love of bread and a passion for quality, we are an international bakery founded in 1988, specializing in French-inspired goods. In addition to chef-inspired cakes, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and signature coffee and tea, we offer a unique experience to thousands of guests daily. Today we have over 4,000 locations worldwide, satisfying cravings and taste buds of all ages and backgrounds.”

Sandwiches just like in Paris.. 

Kitty in the media:
My most excellent Whale adventure in Baja California.
A trip I hope to repeat one day.

Links of interest:
My absolute favorite American food writer, and my longtime inspiration:
Laurie was a writer for Gourmet magazine (remember?!) and has written a series of brilliant books about food and cooking. May you cook up a storm wherever you are, Laurie…

San Diego County residents: A wonderful CSA, Good Neighbor Gardens…I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had attended a farm to table dinner at Sage Hill Ranch Gardens in Escondido, CA. https://sagehillranchgardens.squarespace.com, in Escondido, CA. At the time, I met Mia Vaughnes, the charming founder of this local CSA. Check out their website.

Urban Sharecrop.com

San Diego, CA
From their website:
“We farm yards and schools in San Diego homes to deliver organic, locally grown, pesticide-free produce through a CSA model. Good Neighbor Gardens provides garden installation and consistent maintenance for interested homeowners, affectionately known as The Gracious Neighbor. Our skilled crew will assess your land, develop detailed design proposals and work with you to create your ideal back yard farm. The harvest team gathers surplus crops from all Good Neighbor Gardens across the county to assemble weekly produce packages, deliver them to our Harvest Share subscribers… “

Nouvelles en français (the following links are in French and in English.)

https://france-amerique.com/la-haute-culture-fait-rayonner-arles/?utm_source=Weekly+Newsletter+ LA HAUTE CULTURE FAIT RAYONNER ARLES
Haute Culture Illuminates Arles

“Being a Francophile Is a Life Sentence”

Roger Cohen, le plus francophile des journalistes américains, dirige le bureau du New York Times à Paris, ville dans laquelle il a débuté sa carrière de correspondant il y a bientôt trente ans. > Lire la suite

Roger Cohen, the most Francophile of all American journalists, heads up the New York Times bureau in Paris, where he began his career as a correspondent almost 30 years ago. > Read more

Le French Tacos and the Hidden Meanings of What We Eat

« Un monstre gras sans véritables racines culinaire » : c’est ainsi que notre correspondant à Paris décrit le French tacos, la déclinaison française du traditionnel taco mexicain. > Lire la suite

“A fattening Franken-food without genuine culinary roots.” This is how our Paris correspondent describes le French tacos, the Gallic take on the traditional Mexican taco. > Read more

Kitty is downsizing (again and toujours)
The holidays are looming!
I am selling Moroccan artifacts from my father’s estate in Morocco, as well as Moroccan handicrafts, throw rugs, lithographs, baskets, hand woven textiles, hand embroidered kaftan, vintage ceramics, pottery, ginger jars, a gorgeous large hand-made tagine (serves at least 12) made in the US, vintage brass copper trays and Moroccan copper cauldron, antique Victorian glass hanging lamp, brass boxes, antique Moroccan daggers, brass Moroccan floor lamps, unusual vintage hand carved thuya (ironwood) box from Essaouira, Moroccan costume jewelry,
as well as various pieces of antique French silverware.

Should you wish to see them in person, just email me and we can schedule a masked and vaccinated private visit.
e-mail: info@mintteaandminarets.com
Just to give you an idea:
  and a matching pair of antique stained glass windows from a Victorian home in Wisconsin (We acquired them in Milwaukee.) They are stunning!As always
Bon Appetit
and keep COVID and its variants at bay.

The Kasbah Chronicles July 2018: More Vietnam and more Morocco!


June and July 2018

A Vietnamese snack…

. . . more Vietnam adventures
When in Hue, head for Han’s
You missed a good one: Book Club Bingo and Novel Network
California Center for the Arts: Watercolor Show
Got art? Need frames?
Very, very cool: radio stations around the world
Cookbook collectors: get organized
Talks and presentations
Lots of interesting links en français
and in English
Tipping remains a mystery? Here’s help.

Matisha thrives!

Spanish Potato Tortilla..with tomatoes


As I write, the 12 young soccer players and their coach have been extricated from that ghastly Thai cave. Thank Goodness the divers succeeded. The far away drama took our minds of dramatic political events closer to home. And then the peripatetic Anthony Bourdain decided to take his own life. I don’t know about you, but my brain is exhausted. What else is there to do but carry on!

Last month,  I left you in Hanoi.. Today, let me take you to Hue:

This former Imperial City and now a World Heritage Site, lies midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon.) Its imposing Chinese Citadel suffered major damage during the “American War” and is undergoing extensive Unesco-funded restoration. Less known to the outside world, is that Hue is renowned for its cuisine. When in Hue, head for Han’s and sit down among the locals for a memorable lunch:

Then take part in Being like a farmer at Eco Garden. We began with a leisurely bicycle ride among orchards of pumelos and rice paddies of Thyu Bieu village a few miles outside of town.

After our bike escapade, we donned the outfits of a Vietnamese farmer, complete with brown baggy pants, loose shirt, and coolie hat, before trying our hands at milling rice. I tried in vain to manipulate the grindstone and sift the rice meal. . . not possible. Before long, we were hard at work digging for sweet potatoes along the banks of the Perfume River. Later, we savored the fruits of our labor at dinner served under a thatched-roof hut and a cacophony of cicadas.

The next morning a mini cruise on the Perfume River was capped with a cooking class at the Hue EcoLodge.

Clad in EcoLodge aprons, and inspired by the scent of grilling pork kabobs marinated in lemongrass and stir-fried green beans fresh from the lodge’s garden plots, we followed the instructions of our young instructor. As I bit into a warm bite of the sweet potato we had just dug up, it occurred to me that the Hue Ecolodge may be riding the crest of a new food trend: Farm-to-Chopsticks

 Suite au prochain numéro (next time): low-key, historic Hoi An..

I came across this site par hasard earlier a few weeks ago. In case you missed their review of Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, a couple of years ago, here it is. FYI: Alimentum is one of the best sites for food literature on the web. Thank you Alimentum


Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories

“… But if you don’t cook Moroccan at home, are not near a Moroccan restaurant, and are nowhere near Morocco, you can still smell the aromas, feel the air and atmosphere, hear the languages of both Arabic and French, by opening a book: Kitty Morse’s Mint Tea and Minarets.

Ms. Morse was born in Casablanca and spent her growing-up years there. Her father was English, her mother French. So her perspective straddles both Western and North African customs. Her newest book (she’s written many) is an exotic yet personal memoir festooned with spectacular recipes.

Ms. Morse journeys back to her family’s home just outside Casablanca. She has a mission: to sprinkle her father’s ashes in the river near Dar Zitoun (the name of her family home) and to transfer the title of the property from her father to herself. Both activities come with a full set of red tape that puts Ms. Morse through an obstacle course filled with cultural antiquity and modern day greed. The true colors and characters of Morocco emerge. This is at once familiar, frustrating, and endearing to Ms. Morse. Her endeavors bring her back in contact with a large part of her identity—a part she treasures and needs. The longer she stays, the more she is drawn back into this unique lifestyle. And its food. ..”

New this month: My editor and I are hard at work turning Mint Tea and Minarets into an eBook downloadable on Kindle and all other platforms. I am very excited since I only have 120 hard copies left.. with no thought of reprint. .

Stay tuned! Use your KINDLE!
Kitty in the media:

Seasonal Pantry: How to make a Middle Eastern feast

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

This one is inspired by a recipe in “Cooking At the Kasbah: Recipes From My Moroccan Kitchen” by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books, 1998, $22.95). NOW IN ITSTENTH PRINTING!

Kitty’s next presentation:

I love our local libraries. They serve as community centers for all age groups rather than as just a depository for books. And librarians are models of patience. Last week, I was invited by the Poway Public library. Thank you for the lovely welcome!

On July 25th, at 1PM, catch me at the San Marcos Public library for a talk (and food samplings) on Mint Tea and Minarets. It’s fun, educational, and air conditioned! And need I add, FREE of charge!

For information:

2 Civic Center Drive

San Marcos, CA 92069

(760) 891-3000

New art exhibit in Escondido:

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido (I am a docent there, book a private tour!)is holding its upcoming exhibition beginning July 14 to August 26th.

The American Watercolor Society 151st Traveling exhibition and local color.http://artcenter.org/museum/

Amis français, le saviez-vous:

French school named for North County D-Day veteran


“…. une école a mon nom. . . ..from our own North San Diego County….who knew??

Book clubs: Have you checked out Novel Network? In the last Chronicles, I announced that I participated, along with 22 other writers, in Book Club Bingo, an event organized by the newly formed Novel Network and Adventures by the Book. You missed a good one! Close to 100 participants gathered on the top floor of San Diego’s architectural wonder, our Central Library, for a day of seminars, meet and greets with authors, a luscious box lunch, and networking galore. This is the brilliant concept: Book clubs register for free on the Novel Network website, look for an author (now at 45 and increasing) and book their favorite. Voila… I can also conduct SKYPE interviews no matter where your club meets!    Ever thought of writing a family cookbook? I can help you with that too!

Got Art? Need frames?

Just to let you know we have a wonderful frame shop right here, in Vista. The gifted Gina of Art and Frame Studio, 610 E. Vista Way (760)806-7777 (same parking lot as Chin’s restaurant) carries a wide assortment of frames. She just reframed a half-dozen pictures for me, and I am thrilled.

Links of interest about Morocco and elsewhere:

An addictive site: Live music streaming from stations around the world

http://radio.garden/live/vancouver and elsewhere

For a laugh and an education! Accents around the world


Cookbook collectors may find this of interest: Organize your collection. . .  I have always wondered how to do that…

CELL PHONES IN CLASSROOMS? What do you think?? Teachers, especially?

The Beat Generation in Tangier:

Vous les connaissez ces messieurs-dames?

Sooooo condescending from my point of view. Didn’t they have anything better to do, surrounded by maids, cooks, drivers, and who knows what other kind of help, but smoke, drink, get high, and criticize the “natives”? Is that what makes a literary icon?


Les courses automobiles à Casa dans les années 50,

When I was growing up in Casablanca, my father helped organize car races. Remember Sterling Moss? I recall the cars roaring along the Corniche and meeting the famed racer: who does these days?


 Zagora, in the Moroccan Sahara. We hunted far and low for medfouna (meaning: hidden) which I managed to track down (this was in 1970), and adapt for my first cookbook, Come with me to the Kasbah: A Cook’s tour of Morocco. Sort of a cross between stuffed pizza and calzone. . .


IS the US a visa free country?


Incroyable mais vrai? Et honteux….And I thought being bilingual was an advantage:


France: Dommage, les bons petits bistros disparaissent. . .

Les petits bistros de quartier disparaissent : https://france-amerique.com/fr/parisian-bistros-appeal-for-unesco-world-heritage-status/?

Meanwhile in Tunisia, where I spent many weeks researching recipes for my book,The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books)

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/may/02/return-to-tunis-why-now-is-the-time-to-visit-this-historic-city? (Actually, Tunis looks much like Casablanca, a treasure trove of Moorish Art deco architecture. Sidi Bou Said, on the sea, is charming! It is VERY VERY hot in Tunis in the summer)

And in 2016, Tunisia ranked 62nd on the Global Entrepreneurship Index. Today it ranks 40th worldwide and is No. 1 in Africa for entrepreneurs.


Bravo to Khaled Bouchoucha who started his career working on planes – now he’s running a startup that optimizes the health of hives. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-data-engineer-on-a-mission-to-save-tunisias-bees/87037

 Confused about tipping? I am. Here is a possible guide.


Has anyone cooked with this? I haven’t tried it yet. I have to laugh though: you have to purchase most ingredients to take advantage of the barley inside the packet?

To keep you cool, a Vietnamese drink!

and Bon appétit.




BOOK CLUB BINGO with Adventures by the book June 10, 2018


Do come and join us.


Event Details

San Diego Central Library, Shiley Special Events Suite, 9th Floor
330 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
Open to every reader; you do not have to be in a book club to attend this event.
$85 early bird pricing (extended to May 10, 2018) for NovelNetwork members** & San Diego Public Library Foundation donors
$95 early bird pricing (extended to May 10, 2018) for non-members
*Proceeds from all book sales support the San Diego Public Library
**Register your Book Club for NovelNetwork now or at the event (it’s free) and your members qualify for the Book Club Bingo discount. And each member of a registered NovelNetwork book club who attends the event will receive a free custom-designed book bag!

About the Event

Adventures by the Book®, together with the Library Shop*, a non-profit gift shop supporting the San Diego Public Library, are pleased to invite you to San Diego’s biggest and most exciting book club extravaganza of 2018, our inaugural Book Club Bingo Adventure, featuring New York Times and international bestselling author Jenna Blum, together with at least 20 other amazing and talented popular book club authors, like Juliet Blackwell, Patricia Bracewell, Janelle Brown, Julie ClarkMatt CoyleLaura Dave, Kathi Diamant, Amy Mason DoanLoretta Ellsworth, Liz Fenton, Janna KingSusan Meissner, Jan MoranKitty Morse, Robin OliveiraKate Quinn, Kristin RockawayMarivi Soliven, Natalia SylvesterAbbi Waxman, and J. Dylan

The Kasbah Chronicles April 2015

Exciting news!  I am to be a guest on A Growing Passion, a wonderful garden show hosted by Nan Sterman on San Diego’s KPBS station. Nan has gathered a number of “experts” who will show and tell how to preserve the harvest. Should be fun! The show airs Thursday, April 16 at 8:00 PM and repeats Saturday, April 18 at 3:30 PM.  The subject of this episode is preserving the harvest – pickling, canning, preserving (make your own Moroccan style preserved lemons!), fermenting, and more. For information on upcoming shows or viewing the current show online after it airs visit www.agrowingpassion.com 

I had the pleasure of speaking to a Global Studies class at C-SUN (Cal-State University Northridge) a few weeks back. I was thrilled to receive this feedback from professor of art history Peri Klemm, PhD.

“Subject: Inspired… “I made some Moroccan garbanzo beans for dinner with cinnamon, turmeric and other seasonings!!  I loved meeting Kitty today, so fun! “Thanks, Erin

Love to inspire someone to try Moroccan cuisine!

On another occasion, I was hosted by culinary students of Vista High School. Chef Kim Plunkett is in charge of a wonderful program that prepares high school students for a career in the culinary arts. One graduate is now employed at the Biltmore in New York City.

Upcoming classes and appearances:

Cardiff Library

Thursday, May 21, 2015. 6PM

Second time around! Join me for an informative evening and sip a glass of iced mint tea.

A Taste of Morocco presentation followed by a sampling and book signing

Macy’s School of Cooking

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Phone: 888-424-3663

Address: 1555 Camino de la Reina – Mission Valley – San Diego

Observe and have fun as I cook with renowned Chef Bernard Guillas of La Jolla’s Marine Room at the beautiful Macy’s School of Cooking. Watch us prepare a sampling of Moroccan dishes. Come early. First come first seated. Line starts forming 45 mns ahead of time! A book signing will conclude the class.


Tomato, fava bean, and preserved lemon crostini

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Tagine of Eggs with Olives and Cumin

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

Orange Slices in Orange Blossom Water with Candied Almonds

How to preserve lemons, Moroccan style

Iced mint tea, Morocco’s national drink

Saturday, May 30, 2015

For members only. Why don’t you join? I will lead a farm tour of North San Diego County for the Culinary Historians of San Diego. My admiration for California farmers developed long before the farm-to-table movement became popular. The California Farm Cookbook is still in print and available on Amazon.com. It features a number of farmers from San Diego County including the farm we will visit.  www.CHSanDiego.com or find them on Facebook.They generally meet on one Saturday morning a month at our gorgeous Central Library.

More later!