Tag Archives: Space Camp

The last Kasbah Chronicles of the decade: CUBA-December 2019 (a little late)

The Kasbah Chronicles (short version)
Entering its 12th year
Entre dans sa douzième année
the last one of the DECADE
MAY YOU LIVE THE NEXT TEN YEARS IN PEACE AND GOOD HEALTH
QUE LES DIX PROCHAINES ANNEES VOUS APPORTENT PAIX ET BONNE SANTE

Mieux vaut tard que jamais
Better late than never

Thank you for still reading my musings after all these years.
So much to do and see! So little time!

IN CUBA
You can RENT A FANTASIA
 
With or without a cigar!

Cookin’ in Havana in a great Italian restaurant. Pizza sampling! The crust is so thin and crispy as to resemble a crackers. These guys know pizza!

 

 with new friends. Hola amigos!

Why do I keep writing The Kasbah Chronicles?

What started as a press release has turned into a selfish pleasure: writing
I love to share information on food and travel and whatever else catches my fancy.
So, I thank you for your feedback: my favorite part!

Pourquoi continuer à publier The Kasbah Chronicles?
Ce qui a commencé comme communiqué de presse s’est mué en plaisir égoiste : écrire. Je suis une accro de cuisine et de voyages et j’aime partager mes découvertes. Donc, chers lecteurs, je vous remercie de m’encourager à continuer.

For that and more, I am fortunate and thankful:
What a year for me: Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, playing at being an astronaut; co-leading a tour to Morocco for Adventures by the Book and taking a memorable dromedary ride at my favorite destination, the Moroccan Sahara; binging on tapas at Barcelona’s famed La Boqueria public market; downing oysters and drinking cava (champagne) at an oyster farm in the middle of the Bay of l’Ampolla (Catalonia); exploring California’s Highway 395 gateway to Death Valley in the Eastern Sierras (now under several feet of snow).
 

2019 fut une année mémorable:

-Jouer à l’astronaute au Space Camp à Huntsville, Alabama (où s’entrainent les vrais astronautes)

-Accompagner un voyage au Maroc, avec randonnée à dos de chameau dans les dunes de Merzouga
-Me farcir de tapas au marché de La Boqueria à Barcelone
-Manger des huitres et boire du cava (champagne) dans le parc à huitres de l’Ampolla
-Explorer la route historique en Californie, la route 395 qui mène à la Vallée de la Mort

 
And in December 2019:  to cap it all off:
Et en décembre: CUBA

My latest adventure took me to CUBA. My travel companion was my friend Susan McBeth, founder of Adventures by the Book. (https://adventuresbythebook.com/events)   

Biggest surprise: US citizens can go to Cuba as individual travelers.It’s the US’s best kept secret: We purchased our Cuban visas at JFK’s Jet Blue counter, along with our boarding pass and flew to Havana on Jetblue. Carlos (more on our trip in the next issue) “driver/guide” par excellence, was waiting for us at the airport in Havana. All thanks to Karin of Espiritutravel.com

Cooking class in Trinidad: our instructor:

and of course, more sampling

yucca, plantains, ropa vieja and more Cuban classics. Too much food!

To cap it all: A day on an eco farm- member of SLOW FOOD…They make award winning own salami and cheese.

Mon dernier voyage, voici quelques semaines, m’a menée à CUBA—île interdite (soit disant) aux citoyens des Etats-Unis. Surprise : une amie et moi avons simplement obtenu nos visas au comptoir de Jet Blue à l’aéroport de Kennedy, avec nos cartes d’embarquement. Et Carlos, notre guide cubain par excellence, nous attendait à La Havane. Je donnerai plus de détails dans les prochaines Chroniques.

 No, I don’t smoke, but I just had to roll my own cigar! A hoot!

 

Cubans are eager to meet Americans—The embargo has practically put an end to tourism from the United States (though the island is very popular with Europeans and Canadians). Imagine: just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
 Street Food: CUBANO with shredded roasted pork..

Trinidad, Cuba, museum entrance
Cette porte me rappelle la porte d’entrée de Dar Zitoun, notre riad au Maroc
This blue door with Moorish influence reminds me of our front door at Dar Zitoun
 
AND MORE OUTSTANDING NEWS:
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued, primé
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued is an award-winner

What a lovely surprise to wake up to this e-mail on December 1, 2019
From M. Edouard Cointreau, founder, World Cookbook Awards:

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

Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued est gagnant en traduction (MAROC) du Gourmand World Awards, établi par M. Edouard Cointreau.

“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.” (Parisiens, vous pourrez vous rendre au Village de la Gastronomie devant la Tour Eiffel, l’été prochain,

En attendant: Merci d’écrire un commentaire sur la page  Amazon.com ou sur Facebook
Thank you for writing a review on Amazon.com:
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued available as an ebook on Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Le+Riad+au+bord+de+
for a 40 page preview . Vous pourrez lire un extrait de 40 pages.
 
Please like Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued on its facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued
Visitez ma page facebook pour Le Riad. Cliquez LIKE!

Et si le coeur vous en dit:
Dar Zitoun Riad: notre riad à Azemmour est toujours à vendre
Our riad for sale in Azemmour. Please continue to help me spread the word.
Merci!
 Si vous avez une petite minute, allez voir le site sur Facebook et faites suivre,….
  https://www.facebook.com/Dar-Zitoun-Riad-571764203267186
 Merci à tous

Bonne Année
Bonne Santé
 
Bismillah
And
Bon Appétit !

Briouats for my hero, Neil Armstrong

Briouats for Neil Armstrong

By

Kitty Morse

As many of you know from past Kasbah Chronicle MUSINGS (March 2019), I attended SPACE CAMP on Valentine’s Day weekend 2019, and played at being an astronaut with my friend Pat McArdle, who is, like me, a space “cadet”.

This is what spurred on the whole idea:

The 50th anniversary of the landing spurred a long-held desire to attend Space Camp at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.

Such was my initial fascination with the moon landing that, on D-Day, July 20, 1969, I organized a moon party in Milwaukee (WI) where I attended university, and served up a green sponge cake to family and friends. (Remember when the moon was made of green cheese?) Little did I know at the time that the Man on the Mon himself would appear at my doorstep decades later.

I had picked up a brochure advertising Space Camp in 1996. Each year since, I added it to my bucket list and slipped it under my desk calendar. The time had come to act! I called the number on the faded brochure. Yes! Adult Space Academy (US Space and Rocket Center(www.spacecamp.com) offered adult weekends of astronaut training. A fellow space junkie joined me in my lunar fantasies and we booked a fight to Huntsville.

Space Camp, aka www.RocketCenter.com, is the brainchild of rocket scientist Dr. Werner von Braun who spearheaded the development of the Apollo-era rockets that took America to the moon, and his colleague Edward Buckbee, the camp’s first director. Indeed, the Huntsville site counts a number of astronauts, engineers, and space scientists among its alumni, as well as among its docents.

The 363-foot-tall replica of the Saturn V moon rocket, visible for miles across the flat Alabama landscape, serves as a beacon for Space Camp. Upon arrival, we checked in at Habitats for Space Camp, a building resembling a well-fed caterpillar, to claim our bunk beds, before heading out across Tranquility Base where the enormous Pathfinder shuttle simulator and Saturn V, hold center court.

Our lunar-centric program kept us on the go from 7:30 in the morning until 9 at night. Over two-and-a-half days, we bonded with the dozen millennial members of our Team Pioneer, directed a simulated shuttle landing, bounced off bungee cords to experience lunar gravity, built a model rocket, and explored the nooks and crannies of the Space Station. We had the opportunity to tour NASA’s (real) Marshall Space Flight Center where scientists are in constant contact with the International Space Station.

The highlight was taking part in the Extra Vehicular Activity (pardon me, the EVA) which mirrored the Hughes Westar Satellite Repair spacewalk, an actual mission performed in 1984 to repair a communications satellite and replace the antennas to restore communication.

For that, two experienced attendants helped me into an ice jacket (the space suit is so hot that astronauts need to wear such a clothing item for an extended mission), and then into a space suit and helmet. The extra 15 pounds of ice made it somewhat arduous to crawl out into ‘space’ where I was tethered to a harness about 15 feet off the ground. My mission was to pull myself along a cable encircling the satellite, retrieve a malfunctioning antenna, and hand it to my partner who stood on a mechanical limb 20 feet off the ground.

The next morning, we breakfasted at the Mars Grill in the company of former NASA scientists and engineers, one of whom had designed the lunar rovers used during several moonshots. Both the Lunar Rover and the Saturn V Apollo moon rocket are on display inside the hangar-like Saturn V Hall of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. We were left awestruck in front of the extraterrestrial accomplishments of Neil Armstrong and his moon bound colleagues.

Barely a dozen years earlier, I had the good fortune to meet the “man on the moon” in person on my home turf in Vista, CA. Friday April 20, 2005, we received a call from our neighbor, Bob H., a distinguished retired Marine test pilot.

“We are expecting a special guest. Would you like to come over for drinks?” Neil Armstrong and Bob were roommates in flight school and their friendship went back decades. The astronaut was to drop by Bob’s on his way to accepting an award from the Golden Eagles, a prestigious association of military flyers. That year, the organization was holding its annual meeting in San Diego.

Needless to say, my anticipation reached its peak when we knocked on Bob’s door. He had advised us not to allude to the moon landing. Neil had had enough of the world’s attention (we later learned that a barber had been selling locks of the astronaut’s hair on eBay). Neither should we ask him to pose for pictures (though Neil later broke his rule for us.)

“Hi, I am Neil Armstrong,” said the man himself, as he stood up to shake our hands.

His broad built came as a surprise. In my mind’s eye, he was still the youthful, slender astronaut who first stepped onto the lunar surface and declared to a transfixed planet earth glued to millions of television screens:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Decades on, I faced a grey-haired man in his sixties, wearing coat and tie. His eyes sparkled behind his glasses. He looked unmistakably like the younger Neil Armstrong.

“Hi, I’m Kitty Morse,” I stuttered, almost mute with awe.

My husband, more quick-witted than I, had his opening message ready:

Hi!” he said, shaking Neil’s hand. “Neil, I have had a mound of trouble trying to coax your former roommate out of his shell!” Bob, of course, being the quintessential extrovert.

“Well, that must have taken all of five minutes,” responded our visitor with a chuckle. Our former neighbor, Bob, was probably one of the most gregarious men we had ever met. At one point, knowing I was born in Morocco, the astronaut broached the subject of Moroccan cuisine. He was an avid golfer who had been a guest of the King of Morocco on numerous occasions. Indeed, Hassan II, father of present King Mohammed VI, appointed Armstrong to the Moroccan Academy of Sciences. Thus, the astronaut had visited my home turf a number of times. He sampled my briouats (Moroccan eggrolls): “My, these are tasty,” he said. “Do Moroccans use curry?” I explained as diplomatically as I could that curry is not a spice in the Moroccan repertoire. No matter. My hero reached for another briouat.

I floated on air on my walk home. The phone rang as soon as we stepped inside our front door. It was Bob.

“Hey, neighbors! Neil really enjoyed his visit with you. Could he come over and have his picture taken with you two?”

“Wait! Let me check my watch: “OK!” Owen and I floated off into “space” with excitement.

Briouats served to Neil Armstrong!

For about 24 (2  /12-inch) briouats:

3 boneless chicken thighs

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger powder

½ medium onion, diced

½ cup water

1 egg, lightly beaten

Salt and pepper to taste

15 sprigs cilantro, minced

½  a preserved lemon, rind finely diced

8 lumpia wrappers or thickest quality phyllo dough,  (available in specialty stores, Arab markets, Asian markets, and many large supermarkets in the fresh Asian ingredients section)

Oil for frying

In a medium saucepan, place the thighs, cinnamon, ginger, onion and water. Cook over medium heat, turning the thighs over to coat with spices, for 15 to 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a cutting board. Let cool and finely chop the chicken.

To the pan, add the beaten egg. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and the egg sets. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sauce to the chopped chicken. Add the cilantro and the preserved lemon. Mix well. Set aside.

Stack 3 lumpia wrappers. Cut into strips 2  ½-inch wide. Proceed in a similar manner for the remaining wrappers. Stack the strips on top of each other and keep them covered with plastic wrap or a lightly dampened cloth to prevent drying while filling the briouats.

Place 1 teaspoon of the filling about 1 inch from the bottom edge of the strip. Fold a corner of the strip so the bottom edge lies diagonally across half of the filling, but NOT flush with the long edge. Fold over to the opposite side, this time, flush with the long edge, as you would a flag.  Fold side to side until you reach the top of the strip, to obtain a triangular shape. Tuck the unused end of the strip inside the last fold. Repeat with remaining strips until all the filling has been used.

At this point, briouats can be frozen. Place on a tray and freeze. Transfer to a tightly sealed container. Freeze up to 3 months.

To fry, do not thaw. In a heavy medium saucepan, pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat it until it reaches 325 degrees F, or until a piece of dough dropped into it sizzles instantly. Fry the briouats in batches until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm in the oven. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of lemon juice.

 

All text and photos copyright Kitty Morse 2019

 

 

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

Kitty’s Adventures at Space Camp! and.. upcoming tour to Morocco

Kitty MOST EXCELLENT ADVENTURE AT ADULT SPACE CAMP in HUNTSVILLE, AL.

TWO GOLDEN AGERS

(IF THAT’s WHAT WE ARE AT THIS STAGE OF OUR LIVES??)

https://www.thecoastnews.com/vista-seniors-cross-off-bucket-list-after-return-from-adult-space-camp/

Space Camp

https://www.spacecamp.com/img/2018/PG2018.pdf program guide

Where to begin? The article explains most of it. This was, for me, the kick of a lifetime. My friend Pat (www.patmcardle.com), a novelist and solar cooking expert , feels the same way. So we attended Space Camp..

Kevin Joest, a talented young composer, was a member of our TEAM PIONEER at Space Camp. Most members were young techies, space groupies as I were, as I am. Listen to Kevin here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HIf6qZ5xlU&fbclid=IwAR0Z6yGl2JW3wXha1yqQ7tXFwR3Qi6xnIKeFcrc03J5CNPXFTrdKyfCGF2A

Our great Team Pioneer (we won the prize for the best team!)

Chef Clementine feeds up to 850 children a DAY in the summer!

Then this: IN SPACE FOR REAL!!

In a historic moment of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company’s Crew Dragon craft successfully docked at the International Space Station on Sunday . . .

The Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA: Fascinating!Step into Air Force 1 (the old one), a piece of the Berlin Wall, the suit Reagan wore when he was shot, learn how to set a table for a state dinner at the White House(really!!) and much more. A very entertaining and educational 2 hours—

Presentations: Oceanside, CA.

Lunch and chat, thank you so much! Encinitas Literary Ladies: 

“Thanks Kitty! 

It was great having you join us today for lunch.  I know everyone had a wonderful time.  I think it was a book club gathering that will be remembered for a long time!  I will pass along the Kasbah Chronicles information to the group.  We look forward to seeing you again some time in the future.  Have a wonderful trip to Morocco (Your book helped us feel like we’ve been there).”

 All the best, Pam

Presentation: SPACE CAMP ADVENTURES!

Kitty and Pat will give a talk on their adventures at Space Camp, July 19th, 2019

for the LIFE group (Learning Is For Everyone) at Mira Coast College in Oceanside (CA) (LIFE link)

Catalina and Avalon: a throwback to quieter times

Kitty in the media: Crown City Magazine,Coronado, CA

and

https://www.creators.com/read/travel-and-adventure/02/19/wrigleys-dream-thrives-on-catalina-island

TIJUANA 40 years ago!

The San Diego Reader is really digging into its archives!

A piece I wrote about 40 years ago when I was on staff at the struggling (no longer so)  San Diego Reader!! How things have changed!!

https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2019/jan/20/archives-reader-baja-stories-1970s-80s/#

MY GRIPE WITH AMERICAN AIRLINES:

Our flight back from Space Camp took 5 ½ hours from Charlotte NC to San Diego. A little boy, seated behind my friend Pat, coughed and sneezed all the way home, while his mother paid no attention. The inconsiderate woman kept eating her potato chips, ignoring her kid.

I AM ASKING WHY AMERICAN and all other airlines, DO NOT HAND MASKS WHEN THEY IDENTIFY A SICK PASSENGER. That kid infected half the plane (indeed, 2 weeks later, Pat still had a good case of bronchitis.) SHAME ON THE MOTHER.