Monthly Archives: January 2010

A Biblical Feast (continued)


FINALLY!  The book is now listed on for all the world to see! Just in time for Easter and Passover!

Distribution continues apace. The book is finding a home in gift shops attached to historic California Missions up and down the coast, as well as at selected universities (Palomar College, University of San Diego) , and my alma mater, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (my other "hometown"!)

This marketing challenge has deepened my respect for the blogging world, and for the food bloggers who diligently impart information, recipes, and photographs on an almost daily basis. How DO they do it? But then, they must not be writing a memoir with recipes, the all-encompassing task that is occupying most of the time I spend at the computer.   


Send this e-letter along to friends. The person who invites the most referrals to my site will receive a signed copy of my book (Tell them to mention your name when they contact me!) 

Happy 2010

          As I write, I can hear thunder rumbling in the background. High winds and pelting rain are so unusual in our neck of the woods that we had to take in a roommate, and allow Olive, our scott terrier, to sleep on our bed (normally an absolute no-no!). She had never heard such thunder! The end result was worth it, however. From the ocean, a ring of snow-capped mountains is visible in the distance, between Palomar Mountain to the south, and the San Jacinto peak above Palm Springs to the northeast. A rare sight indeed!

            Thank you to  those who purchased copies of A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table. The list of stores (California missions and a few university bookstores among them) keeps growing. How about sending a signed copy to a special friend as a Valentine’s Day gift? The book is available at

            Thank you, as well, to those who availed themselves of my consultation services, whether before traveling to Morocco or to organize a Moroccan banquet. (See the pages on this site).

            As I hear about the lack of water in the Central Valley, I remain deeply concerned about California’s family farms. This year, I intend to obtain updates on some of the farmers and home cooks who contributed so generously to The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing 1994). Perhaps you’d like to come along for the ride? I will share updates along with a recipe or two. 

            Meanwhile, the chill in the air of the past week generated almost a pavlovian response. I automatically headed to the kitchen to make soup. The following, adapted from my book, Couscous, fulfilled my craving!

Spicy Tunisian Couscous Soup

Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon harissa hot sauce, plus extra for serving

6 chicken legs or thighs (optional)

3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed

6 ounces pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 cups chicken broth

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices

One  (14 1/4-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained

1/3 cup couscous

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

             In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, coriander, cumin, garlic, and harissa, if using. Stir to blend. Add chicken, if using. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes, carrot, potato, pumpkin, and broth. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones. Return boned chicken to the pot.

            Add zucchini, garbanzo beans, and couscous. Continue cooking until couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra harissa on the side. Enjoy!


It’s raining limes! (Again)


 I feel so sorry for my citrus trees. The weather has been so mercurial that they can’t tell if it’s summer, Fall, or spring. We have had several heat waves at the oddest times, which has spurred fruit to ripen prematurely perhaps, and in doing so, splitting before falling to the ground. A Google search yielded nothing much in the way of combatting the situation. I just hope this isn’t permanent.

I would suggest, if you have YELLOW limes (such as Bearss or Key limes) or lemons, to preserve them for future use, or to give away. I have made preserved lemon addicts in my own circle of friends, many of whom requested a jar! That certainly made Christmas shopping easier!

Marketing my reprint of A Biblical feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table occupies most of my time (no citrus existed in Biblical Times, save for the Etrog citron, perhaps), instead of lemon juice, I use a touch of vinegar or a spoonful of pomegranate molasses to impart a fruity, citric flavor to some of the biblically-inspired dishes. 

A  new decade, and a new project:  I have tested many of the recipes for my preserved lemon book. Time to harvest today’s pickings.


A bientot,