Monthly Archives: February 2022

The Kasbah Chronicles: February 2022, New beginnings

February 2022



Sent from my iPhone

Let’s try to emulate Theo Van Gogh.
We all need to find  beauty in this new and off-kilter world of ours.
May 2022 be the year we all find it!

A Whirl of a Visit with Van Gogh
Are you as exhausted as I am from dancing to Omicron’s tune?
More Human Contact Please!
What did you do during the pandemic?
Tagine for a Rainy Day
Do you have any travel plans for 2022?
Links of interest en français and in English
Kitty in the media: Snow in Baja?
A Shout out to Friends and Fellow Authors
I LOVE FEEDBACK! Do write to me!
Kitty is selling
I am culling my collection of cookbooks, some I authored, others not.
I can offer no apology for being, once again,  late in publishing the Kasbah Chronicles as it enters its13th year–thanks in great part to you, the reader. How can that be? What makes it worthwhile for me is the feedback I receive in exchange. A wave of the hand. A short sentence. A simple “hiI!!” fills my heart with joy. Someone is reading this! Merci and thank you from the bottom of my heart. I LOVE FEEDBACK!  That is why I continue writing these chronicles. Mercy, thank you so much for staying in touch.
“Happy Loving New Year!!! With gratitude for your wonderful loving joyful chronicles.”
Mercy (Mercedes)

January flew by, as has each month during the pandemic. January was no exception, as I tested the final recipes for my upcoming memoir/ cookbook. So, daily routine for several months: Select a recipe from one of my great-grandmother’s handwritten notebooks (dated 1920 and 1925).

sample Blanche photo here

. . .make a shopping list, go to the store, return home, organize a mise-en place with the necessary ingredients, adapt metric weights and measures for the American kitchen, test the dish (3 or 4 times if necessary), plate the food, and let my photographer husband go at it. My husband and resident food photographer then sets sup a makeshift studio, wherever he finds the best light, indoor sor out. Who said writing a cookbook is a breeze? Two years on,  I am finally seeing the end of my journey, and I believe my French great-grandparents would be proud of
Bitter Sweet: A Wartime Journal and Heirloom Recipes from Occupied France
(More about the extraordinary cache of family documents my mother left me after her death in a next edition of the Chronicles.)

A Whirl of a Visit with Van Gogh

In the meantime, in need of a break (YES!) we visited the total immersion Van Gogh exhibit in Del Mar (CA). I purchased tickets back in October, thinking it would be a mob scene. It turns out, it will become a permanent exhibit, with various artists, . So no need to rush to our world-famous Del Mar racetrack.  I loved the surround sound and light feel of Van Gogh’s paintings. Everyone around me had their eyes glued to their iPhones to take pictures of pictures! How funny.


Are you as exhausted as I am from dancing to Omicron’s tune? How did you keep creative during the pandemic?
The constant change in mandates makes my head spin. Not only in the US, but overseas.
I craved Human Contact! I missed my peeps, my friends, my shopping expeditions to resale shops (a favorite pastime of mine), and taking deeeeep breaths without a mask on. I never knew how tiring it can be to constantly inhale one’s recycled breath.

A Meatless Tagine to warm your tummy on a Rainy Day



Kitty’s Baked Kefta with Eggs in Cumin Tomato Sauce

minutes  Serves:  4 to 6


This traditional Moroccan recipe has been adapted to use “no-meat” balls made of ground walnuts.  You can serve this dish with lots of crusty bread to mop up the sauce, or else, use it as a topping for cooked rice.


1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 medium onions, finely diced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

6 eggs, divided use

1 cup walnut pieces

1 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomato sauce, chopped cilantro, half the diced onion, tomato paste, cinnamon, sugar, half the salt, and half the pepper. Stir to blend.   Cook covered, for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer.


  1. Meanwhile, to make walnut balls, in blender or food processor, process the remaining onion, parsley, 2 of the eggs, and the walnut pieces.  Process until i turns to a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in bread crumbs, olive oil, cumin, and remaining salt and pepper.


  1. Bring tomato sauce to a strong simmer. Drop walnut mixture by tablespoons into the simmering sauce.  Cook until fairly firm, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and transfer sauce and the nut balls to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.  Carefully break the remaining eggs atop the nut balls. Bake until eggs are cooked, yet still runny, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately with lots of crusty bread!


Adapted from  365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian by Kitty Morse (HarperCollins)

Do you have any travel plans for 2022?

Kitty in the media: Snow in Baja in the January 2022 issue


Links of interest en français and in English:
Johnny Jet published one of the most useful travel newsletters on the web. I read him religiously for updates on travel:
This is a cautionary tale:

French language update. Le français est une langue qui evolue!

One of my many pet peeves! Stepping in dog poops when we go for a walk: My mother’s hometown of Châlons-en-Champagne seems to have solved the problem! A new way to check on “public” dog poops.


Expand your French gastronomic vocabulary!



Kitty is selling:

The Vegetarian Table: North Africa by Kitty Morse.
New, hard cover. $25.00 (signed to you, and plus $5 shipping in US only)

Rezepte aus der Kasbah:
New. Hard cover. German edition: $30.00
(signed to you, plus $5 shipping in US only)

Fuddalat al Khiwan, Les délices de la Table et le meilleur des mets. ecrit entre 1238 et 1266 par Ibn Razin el Tujibi (Arab scholar)Reprint of ancient cookbook. Purchased in Casablanca.
Brand new: USD40.00 plus $5 shipping in the US only.
Would a rare book collector or a library be interested in purchasing these rare books from my father’s estate?
In English. The items weigh close to 14  pounds. USD1200 for the pair plus shipping.

  • Traditional Islamic Craft in Moroccan Architecture. Two volumes Hardcover – 1980 by Andre Paccard
  • Publisher: Editions Atelier 74 1980 (1980)
  • ASIN: B00S9ZF81Y
  • TWO volume set. Tome 1 and 2. Excellent condition. Some jacket and shelf wear.
  • English edition with appendices.

The most complete documentation on Moroccan arts, calligraphy and decoration. Hundreds of color illustrations. These are extremely rare and unusual books by one of Morocco’s most famous architects. Each volume contains templates for traditional tiles and Moroccan handicrafts in stone, wood, metal, water and light. These are slightly used but in excellent condition. All tile templates are in pristine condition.
Weight: close to fourteen pounds for both volumes.
Shipped media mail in the US. International buyers pls contact me for shipping rate.
From GoodReads:
“Deux volumes fort in-4 pleine toile de l’éditeur sous jaquettes illustrées en couleurs, 516 + 508 pages, plus de 12000 illustrations en couleurs. Bibliographie, glossaire.
Ouvrage fondamental offrant la documentation la plus complète jamais réunie sur l’art décoratif marocain.
I. Introduction, habitations, lieux de prières, les tracés régulateurs, la calligraphie, la terre.
II. La pierre, le gebs, le bois, le métal, l’eau et la lumière, appendices.

Comme toujours, as always,

Bismillah and Bon Appétit,



December 2021: The Kasbah Chronicles, a belated post


and to

with several glasses of effervescent
Crémant d’Alsace

Derive inspiration from San Diego artists. What to they cook? Find out in this virtual, illustrated cookbook (yours truly contributed a recipe as well.)
Says Patrica Frischer, founder and coordinator of this project: “I have great pleasure in sending you this link to the first ever San Diego Visual Arts Network (SDVAN) cookbook.” Please take a look. It’s great fun and you will  be supporting the arts in San Diego. You can download the full cookbook below.

For dessert: My light-as-a-cloud Passion Fruit Mousse
My fig tree is bare, and so is the persimmon.The citrus trees are taking their restorative winter nap. Yet, much to my delight, at barely six months old, my passion fruit vine is not only taking over our pergola, but it is loaded with fruit. In December! Shiny green globes hang like Christmas ornaments from the vine’ s tentacular limbs. Ripeness turns them shades of deep purple, before the fruit falls to the ground.  Here is the recipe I included in my book,Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion.


Passion Fruit Mousse
Mousse au fruit de la Passion

Makes six ½ cup servings

Light and lovely!

Passionflower (Passiflora species and cultivars), a native of Brazil, was named when missionaries and early Spanish explorers to Central America saw the stunning blossoms as symbols of the Passion of Christ.  The passionflower came to represent the crown of thorns. Its ten petals symbolized the Apostles present at the Crucifixion, its three styles (threadlike female parts that are pollinated) the hammers used to drive the nails piercing Christ’s hands and feet, and its five anthers the wounds He suffered. In season, the vines are laden with magnificent flowers in an exquisite array of colors. Passiflora alata yields a gorgeous blossom, ideal for a beautiful garnish.

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)
3 eggs, separated
1 cup passion fruit juice
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
Passionflowers for garnish

In a medium saucepan set in a pan of simmering water, or in the top of a double boiler, mix gelatin with sugar.
In a small bowl, whip egg yolks with passion fruit juice.  Pour liquid into sugar mixture and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl.  Refrigerate 40 to 50 minutes or until gelatin attains consistency of thick custard.
Meanwhile, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. When gelatin has cooled, fold in beaten egg whites until thoroughly blended, then gently fold in whipped cream.  At this point transfer mousse to a large serving bowl or 8 individual parfait glasses.  Chill, and top with a fresh passionflower before serving.

NOTE: To make fresh juice, slice the ripe passion fruit in half and scoop the insides into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl.  With a wooden spoon, press as much juice as possible through the sieve. Discard seeds and pulp. For this recipe, you may need up to a dozen fruit, depending upon the variety.

Next issue:
Looking ahead to new beginnings, new books, and a NEW YEAR.

Thank you for being such faithful readers as The Kasbah Chronicles enters it s13th year.

Comme toujours, as always,

Bismillah and Bon Appétit,


Kitty in the media: See my story on Baja Whales Here:

A free cookbook!

I have great pleasure in sending you this link to the first ever SDVAN
cookbook. We are very grateful to you for supporting SDVAN in this way.
Please take a look at this link.

The Kasbah Chronicles: October 21 belated post!

The Kasbah Chronicles

Les Chroniques de la Kasbah

In English and en français

Now it its 13th year

C’est la 13ième année



The French have adopted our custom. C’est vraiment too much!

Celebrated in my mother’s hometown of Châlons-en-Champagne



My literary trip to New England

Notes on my next cookbook

Recipe: a repeat for Thanksgiving

My great-grandmother’s cassolita

Links of interest

Idiotismes Gastronomiques: or brush up on your French idioms

A new farm stand: The Golden Door Spa stand in San Marcos (CA)


It has been a month since I returned from a literary tour to New England to view the leaves turning in Massachussets, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. As usual, my friend and colleague Susan McBeth, founder of Adventures by the Book (website) had pulled out all the stops. Our 9-day tour flew by, with a private tour of  Beacon Hill homes in Boston, a magical evening inside the city’s legendary Athenaeum library, visit with local authors, and to the homes of major American literary figures such as Loujsa May Alcott, Longfellow in Portland, ME, Thoreau, and Robert Frost’s enchanted forest and its tree-lined Poetry Trail.

A thrill for me was to “visit” my book, Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, on display in the gift shop of at the quirky and awe-inspiring Isabella Stewart Museum in Boston. I love finding my books in such famous “homes.”




Boston has discovered fish tacos (so has Paris, by the way…but that is another story.)


One of my quests? To eat as many lobster rolls as possible. I am happy to report I overdosed. We did see the leaves turn, we walked under a covered bridge, and we ate more  lobster rolls. Oh yes! We even went on a lobster fishing expedition near Kennebunkport, ME. Good news: the lobster catch this year is excellent. Lobsters have returned to the waters of New England.


One of the most unusual items I discovered along the way is this Moroccan Rose and Grapefruit flavored vodka—in the wilds of Vermont. Really? Tasted like pure vodka to me! Jeffersonville VT

Smugglers’ Notch Distillery® is a father/son partnership in Jeffersonville, Vermont. The distillery was founded in 2006 at the foot of the famed Smugglers’ Notch, site of many a clandestine bootlegger’s run through this rugged Vermont mountain pass.

Recipe: Cassolita

(I will spare you a repeat of comedian Art Buchwald’s column on Le Jour de Merci Donnant (where he explains Thanksgiving to the French, but I still think it’s hilarious!) And cassolita is the perfect side dish for turkey

Kitty’s Cassolita

Moroccan Squash with Caramelized Onions

(serves 4)

1 lb Mediterranean pumpkin or butternut squash

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1/4 C vegetable oil

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 T sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 C raisins, plumped in warm water and drained

1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted


Place unpeeled squash in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel and cut into serving pieces and place in baking dish.

Cook the onions in the oil, with the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and cook 5 minutes longer. Spread the mixture over the squash, sprinkle with the almonds, cover with foil, and return to the oven to heat for 20 minutes.

PS: This can be made a day ahead. Copyright 2021.

Here’s the BEEF!

Do you buy meat wholesale? Own a restaurant or a catering service? SUKARNE may be the answer. Beef ribs, tomahawk steaks, riblets, Porterhouse steaks anyone. This Mexican company has opened a store in San Diego’s North County, in Vista. There are apparently over 1,000 stores in Mexico. The beef they sell is raised in Mexicali. No frills in the store, just giant refrigerators for storing all the beef.


News closer to home:

Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion has also found a home at the beautiful Sherman Library and Botanical gardens in Corona del Mar, CA. An ideal time to visit during the holidays. Where have the avocados gone? Quelle tristesse, ou sont passés les avocats (fruits, pas les hommes?)

Not avocados as well! What’s left to eat in this diet crazy world! I live a few miles from the avocado capital of the world: Fallbrook, CA. Have they heard the news?? Their avocado festival draws 100,000 visitors each year. No guacamole in my life? Are you kidding? Where does that leave tacos, chiles rellenos and Superbowl dips??

Teslas in my mamans home town of Châlons-en-Champagne. It’s fun to follow the news of the town where my mother was born, and where my maternal great-parents lived until the early 1920s. I have been steeped in THEIR lives for the past 18 months—covering the Belle Epoque to the end of WW2, through their own handwritten legacy: a private journal and 70 family recipes. A gut-wrenching project, I assure you. Teslas in Châlons? What would be their reaction upon seeing this latest mode of transportation?

The Golden Door is selling vegetables from their garden. Did you know that our exclusive, world-famous neighborhood spa now has a farmstand open to the public? Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For details, visit .

Makes you wistful: In memory of Lost French restaurants??


My favorite discovery of the month:

Idiotismes gastronomiques:


I just stumbled upon the most brilliant Wikipedia page called idiotismes gastronomiques.


Francophones and francophiles, you need to read this to enrich your knowledge of French and  penetrate the French soul. So many terms of endearment and insults have to do with food:


Do you belong to le gratin, better yet, le gratin parisien? The Parisian upper class? Not I!


Tu n’es pas dans ton assiette ? You are not in your plate? Are you not feeling well??


Mon bout de chou: my little piece of cabbage, is what my mother used as a term of endearment


Prendre de la bouteille, to acquire the bottle, applies to all of us : it means to grow old! It goes with prendre de la brioche, to acquire some brioche…to gain weight.


My father was always guilty of this, even when he grew older:

Appuyer sur le champignon, to push on the mushroom, or push on the gas pedal.


And this I learned from my mother: Elle a bu le bouillon d’onze heures…she drank the broth of the eleventh hour…the potion which will send you to the next world.