Category Archives: Edible Flowers

Ever eaten a nasturtium?!

The Kasbah Chronicles: SPRING 2022 has SPRUNG (finally)

The Kasbah  Chronicles

APRIL 2022

On the trail to aptly-named Inspiration Wash

Borrego Springs, Southern California’s desert

Musings

Links of interest en français and in English

COME AND SAY HI!
Couscous de la Mimouna demonstration
Sunday, APRIL 24, 2-4PM
La Jolla  (CA) JCC

Museums are open too!
California Center for the Arts
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art
The Getty (LA)
Academy of Motion Pictures (LA)

A Shout out to Fellow Authors

Kitty is always culling from my private collection of cookbooks

BITTER SWEET: a wartime journal and heirloom recipes from occupied France is at the designer’s.
I will soon flash around the cover for all to view! Stay tuned!

Musings:

Easter and Passover have come and gone, and Ramadan is in full swing. April is indeed a busy month.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, albeit an intermittent one. Travelers are flocking to airports in droves, planes are full, and concert venues back to pre-pandemic pandemonium. I am suffering from whiplash with on-again, off-again COVID restrictions. Good news? Maybe! But wait! The pandemic is not over yet. Don’t throw your stash of masks away. You may need them again. After learning that three of my relatives in Europe recently caught COVID even though they were vaccinated and boosted, I am waiting for the Fall to cross the Atlantic.

I drew the curtains this morning onto another lovely day in San Diego County. Sunshine and blue skies are such a jarring disconnect with the news of the world. My young persimmon tree greeted me like a friend offering me a bouquet—in this case, a burst of shiny green leaves. And each morning, I pick passion fruit. My Easter egg hunt consisted of finding a purple, egg-shaped fruit, amidst the accumulated dead leaves.

RECIPE:
How to dry one of my favorite herbs:
TARRAGON (Estragon)
NON! NON! https://tastecooking.com/a-requiem-for-tarragon IMPOSSIBLE!!
“It’s the storied herb championed by Thomas Jefferson, Julia Child, and The Silver Palate.”
It also happens to be one of my favorite herbs (along with cilantro) and a French herb par excellence. Have you tried a pinch of dried and crushed tarragon leaves in  scrambled eggs? Since our dry micro climate is not  well-suited to this fragrant herb, I have to purchase jars of dried tarragon that has long lost its fragrance and flavor. Until I learned of a way to dry my herbs in the microwave. Much to my surprise, the dried herb retains all its flavor.

How to dry your own tarragon (or other herbs):
1.Strip the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems
2.Lay the leaves flat in between two paper towels.
3.Microwave for 50 seconds on high. Pat the leaves dry (they will give off moisture).
4.Place the leaves in between two new dry paper towels and repeat the process. Two drying sessions should be enough. If not, repeat the process for 40 or 50 seconds. At this point, the leaves should be as dry as paper, yet still fragrant. I simply crush them in between my fingers and store them in a spice jar. Voila!

Now add some to your French-style scrambled eggs. You will not regret it!

La Mimouna cooking demonstration:
Mimouna: a Post-Passover Moroccan Celebration
Kitty will team up with Debbie Kornberg of You Tube channel’s Spice It up with DEB! and owner of Spice and Leaf spice company, for La Mimouna celebration at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in La Jolla CA.
https://www.lfjcc.org/cjc/mimouna.aspx
Celebrating Jewish Moroccan Food, Culture and Traditions
Sunday, April 24 2022
from 1-4PM
$18
JCC Members: $15
Children 12 and under: Free

” A trademark of Mimouna, the evening begins with people traveling from home to home visiting with family and friends in what is affectionately named in Morocco “The Tour”. During these visits, groups of people -some of whom are familiar to one another and some of whom strangers- eat, drink, and celebrate into the wee hours of the night. The next day is filled with incredible hospitality. . .”
Stop by and Sample this special couscous dish flavored with orange blossom water and topped with toasted almonds from my book The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco (co-authored with Danielle Mamane). 

Overheard: Chuckle:
I love to eavesdrop on fellow walkers:
“What! You have  a restraining order against him? You want me to hire him for my restaurant?” overheard in Oceanside Harbor, March 5, 2022

A staycation of sorts:
San Diego’s back country never ceases to amaze:
8:30AM: Swim in the pacific;
9:30AM: Drive through farm country and vineyards
10:15AM:  Drive through the mountains
11:15 AM: Slide down onto the hot, dry expanse of Borrego Springs, San Diego’s pre-Sahara Plain?
What other county in the US can boast such diversity? (But we do have a water shortage.)
This is why I love the Moroccan desert: for its caravans of dromedaries.This one took me around the dunes of Merzouga, Morocco.

Museums are open too!
Have you seen the NEW MINGEI in Balboa Park? Do it soon!

California Center for the Arts
https://artcenter.org/museum
Campus Creatives featuring San Diego’s Fine Arts faculty. Until May 26, 2022. At The California Center for the Arts (where I will resume being a docent, post COVID). The museum NEEDS DOCENTS and USHERS for the THEATRE.

I found this to be a most moving piece:

 

La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art
https://mcasd.orghttps://artcenter.org/museum/
Niki Niki everywhere Niki de St Phalle, and I find it ASTOUNDING that so many art lovers along the coast who are fans of Niki’s work, do not head to ESCONDIDO to view one of her MASTERWORKS: Queen Califia’s Magic Circle.
Call the Escondido Center for the Arts to make an appointment to visit this amazing piece of public art. NOW!
https://www.escondido.org/queen-califias-magical-circle

Academy of Motion Pictures (LA)
https://www.academymuseum.org/en/
A newly opened destination in LA, next door to the LACMA. From The Wizard of Oz’s red slippers to E.T.  on the cusp of calling home.
This will become a must, like LACMA–
Lots of digging going on smack in the heart of LA to uncover ancient beasts.

https://www.getty.edu
And look who greeted me! My FAVORITE SCULPTOR: Alberto Giacometti

Local discoveries to satisfy your hunger pangs:

A new way to shop for prepared food: https://www.everytable.com

Every Table is located next to the FEDEX/KINKO store on Hacienda Drive in Vista, a stone’s throw from the law courts.This new addition to the grab and go food business in Vista is an unusual one, the first to open in our neck of the woods. Every Table is a result of a Shark’s investment (I am a SUPER FAN of Shark Tank!)

Prepared food (and tasty one at that) packed and set out on shelves for you to grab and go. Or, to eat in. The meals are prepared daily in a central kitchen, and what remains after business hours is distributed among local charities “That way, we always have fresh food on that day,” explained the young and enthusiastic hostess. I sampled a very good coconut curry, a veggie wrap, and a salad that was fresh and crisp.

From their website: ” At Everytable, we believe nutritious food is a human right. Every aspect of our business was designed to make fresh, delicious food available to everyone, every table. Our central Los Angeles kitchen allows us to chef-prepare meals efficiently and price them according to what each community can afford. Then we’ll bring the ready-to-eat meals to you — at home, work, school, or on the go.”

A vegan restaurant in Vista, CA:
https://www.saboravidacafeanddeli.com
What a find! An intimate as yet almost “undiscovered” VEGAN deli tucked away in a strip mall across from the Kaiser Permanente medical Building on 735 Sycamore Avenue in Vista. Owner/chef Veronica Cabrera’s dream Sabor a Vida (Taste of Life) deli is the new “in” vegan space to sample her signature vegan avocado toast: two generous slices of multigrain bread thickly slathered in mashed avocado, fresh corn, and beans, and tierra, a spinach, chickpea tuna, tomato, and toasted almond creation, that had my husband yearning for more.
Veronica and her husband Mario turned vegan about 8 years ago. Since then, Veronica has created an extensive vegan menu of sandwiches, wraps, vida and sabor bowls, burritos of hash browns and just eggs, and vegan pastries, among other mouth-watering items. Teas, lattes, fruit smoothies and other delights await. Their daughter Natalie, is a charming hostess adept at explaining anything vegan on the menu.

New opening hours for Sand and Straw family farm in Vista CA:
http://www.sandnstraw.com
New Farm Stand Hours:
Tuesdays & Fridays 1pm-5pm. Community Farm Stand days will be Tuesday and Friday afternoons, in order to provide more space for Saturday events on The Farm. Right now, we’ve got oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, tangerines, lemons and limes, in addition to produce. We’ve started planting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and the Spring and Summer crops.

The Golden Door Country Store, 314 Deer Springs Road in San Marcos (CA) carries fruits and vegetables from the Golden Door’s fabled vegetable gardens and orchards, as well as Golden Door beauty and wellness product. Watch this space for a cooking class with yours truly this summer!
https://goldendoor.com/a-way-of-life/country-store/

News of interest:
Status of the French language: Quel dommage!
https://france-amerique.com/en/is-the-french-language-disappearing-in-canada/

https://france-amerique.com/avenir-du-francais-passe-par-sa-creolisation/?
View the English translation on the same site.

What is La Francophonie? Who are “francophone” authors? Those who are preserving the French language in the US and elsewhere in French-speaking countries around the world. There may be more French-speakers and writers around the world than in la Métropole!  They are the ones saving the French language.
“A lire vos programmes, on constate une montée en puissance des auteurs dits francophones, non issus de France métropolitaine. La vitalité de la littérature française passerait elle désormais par l’Afrique, les Antilles et le Canada ? Ce terme de francophonie vous paraît-il adéquat ?
Par un renversement de l’histoire, ce sont les auteurs dits francophones et les langues créoles qui vont peut-être sauver le français aux Etats-Unis ! Le mot « francophonie » reste ambigu car il distingue les locuteurs du français de métropole de tous les autres, qu’ils soient d’Haïti, du Québec, du Viêt Nam, de Roumanie ou du Sénégal.
..”

Need a hard copy of A Biblical Feast (now out of print!)
Contact: Not of This World Icons
www.notofthisworldiconsandbooks.com and
https://notofthisworldiconsandbooks.com/search?q=A+Biblical+feast
A handful of copies of A Biblical Feast available from this surprising bookstore store in Santa Rosa, CA which specializes in icons and books.
Our Orthodox Christian website offers over 2000 different books, icons, crosses, icon eggs, lacquer boxes and other items from various parts of the Orthodox world. Open hours are: (Monday – Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm). We are located at 553 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. We do not ship outside of the United States.

New books from my colleagues and friends:
http://kathidiamant.com/ author of the critically acclaimed Kafka’s Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant
and now  her new book: The Heart of the Zoo
https://shopzoo.com/products/heart-of-the-zoo-how-san-diego-zoo-director-chuck-bieler-earned-his-stripes
“This book tells the extraordinary story of how Chuck Bieler “earned his stripes” at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. With inside stories and humorous details, it captures his tireless efforts to help create an international conservation organization where all wildlife thrives.”

Dressing Modern Like Our Mothers: Dress, Identity, and Cultural Praxis in Oromia  (Ethiopia)
https://www.amazon.com/Dressing-Modern-Like-Our-Mothers/dp/1569027803
Author Peri M. Klem (Ph.D. Art History, Emory University) is professor of Art History at California State University, Northridge, UCLA Consortium Editor of African Arts Journal and Past President, Arts Council of the African Studies Association.

Culinary expert and travel host George Geary, a longtime colleague, has come out with a new book:A fun way to learn about California’s fabled food joints
https://www.georgegeary.com/blog

Kitty is parting with:

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) French Reprint of an ancient Arabic cookbook. Purchased in Casablanca.
Brand new: USD40.00 plus $5 shipping in the US only.

For designers, book collectors, ceramicist, artists, or architects: rare books in English from my father’s estate,
They two books weigh close to 14  pounds. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS:

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.

Onwards!
Bon Appetit and Bismillah!

December 2021: The Kasbah Chronicles, a belated post

THE KASBAH CHRONICLES
GOOD BYE 2021

FOR A BON REVEILLON
NEW YEAR’S EVE
and to
RING IN LA NOUVELLE ANNEE AT THE KASBAH

MINT TEA WILL GIVE WAY TO
A CHAMPAGNE TOAST
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.
https://www.sdvisualarts.net/sdvan_new/

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.
Incroyable!

Comme toujours, as always,

Bismillah and Bon Appétit,

kitty
e-mail: darzitoun02@yahoo.com
info@mintteaandminarets.com
https://www.kittymorse.com

Kitty in the media: See my story on Baja Whales Here: www.winedineandtravel.com

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.

https://www.sdvisualarts.net/sdvan_new/pdf/NewNormal.pdf

The Kasbah Chronicles: October 2021 C’est l’Halloween!

The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
In English and en français
Now it its 13th year
C’est la 13ième année!
 A FIERY SUNRISE IN VISTA
VIVE l’HALLOWEEN

The French have adopted our custom. C’est vraiment too much!
Even in my mother’s hometown of Châlons-en-Champagne
http://www.lhebdoduvendredi.com/article/41646/programme-mortelpour-challoween

MUSINGS

My literary trip to New England
Notes on my upcoming cookbook
Recipe: a repeat for Thanksgiving
My Algerian great-grandmother’s cassolita
Links of interest
Idiotismes Gastronomiques: brush up on your French idioms
A new farm stand: From the exclusive Golden Door Spa
Moroccan items for sale

MUSINGS:
It has been a month since I returned from a literary tour to New England to view the leaves turning in Massachusets, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. As usual, my friend and colleague Susan McBeth, founder of Adventures by the Book (https://adventuresbythebook.com) 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 visit to the homes of major American literary figures such as the home Little Women and Louisa May Alcott, chez Longfellow in Portland, ME, Thoreau’s farmhouse digs, and Robert Frost’s enchanted forest and 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.”

https://www.gardnermuseum.org

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!
https://www.smugglersnotchdistillery.com/spirits/moroccan-rose-and-grapefruit-flavored-vodka/ In 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.

Closer to home:
https://spectatorworld.com/life/avocado-angst-safe-eat/

Where have the avocados gone? Quelle tristesse, où 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??

Roi du chocolat:
The world’s future king of chocolate lives close by, in San Marcos, CA. Bonne chance!
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/north-county/san-marcos/story/2021-10-13/san-diegos-surfing-chef-christophe-rull-crowned-americas-chocolate-king

Teslas in my maman’s 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 mid-1920s. I have been steeped in THEIR lives for the past 18 months—from the Belle Epoque to the end of WW2, through their own handwritten legacy: a daily journal and 70 family recipes. A gut-wrenching project. What would be their reaction upon this latest mode of transportation?
http://www.lhebdoduvendredi.com/article/41543/les-vehicules-electriques-de-tesla-bientot-a-chalons

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 is during the holidays.
https://thesherman.org

Discovery of the month: Idiotismes gastronomiques: 
I stumbled upon the most brilliant Wikipedia page called idiotismes gastronomiques. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_d%27idiotismes_gastronomiques_fran%C3%A7ais
Francophones and francophiles, you need to read this to enrich your knowledge of French idioms 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:
Appuyer sur le champignon, to push on the mushroom, or push on the gas pedal.
 
And Elle a bu le bouillon d’onze heures…she drank the broth of the eleventh hour…the potion which will send her to the next world.


Bismillah and Bon Appétit and
UN BON L”HALLOWEEN…

PS: I am still downsizing and getting rid of a number of vintage and antique Moroccan artifacts.  Please send me an email if you would like to view the items before the holidays.

From the Kasbah: Let’s celebrate: Fete du Muguet, Mother’s Day and Ramadan 2020

à la française: MAY 1, 2020

 

WE NEED SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE

IN THIS TIME OF COVID-19

at a social distance!

 

BONNE FETE DU MUGUET!

American-style MOTHER’s DAY:

From May 1 to May, 10th, 2020 Kitty will ship signed copies of her book, Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion for more than 50% OFF list price(details below).

RAMADAN started on April 25. Time to make Ramadan pastries. Ramadan Mubarak!

WHAT IS LA FETE DU MUGUET ?

In France, it is customary to give a sprig of lily of the valley on May 1st. The day doubles as a celebration of springtime as well as Fête du Travail to honor workers of the world

Origins of Fete du Muguet in France

« . . l’origine de la fête du muguet remonte à l’époque romaine, en latin, le 1ier mai : maius mensis, mois de la déesse Maïa, on célébrait sa fête le 1ier mai, en plantant des arbres de Mai, symbole du réveil printanier de la nature (cf Grand Larousse Encyclopédique de 1962 tome 6 page 997) »

“…the origins of the Fete du Muguet harks back to Roman times, in Latin the month of May translates as: maius mensis, month of the Goddess Maia, whose feast was celebrated on May 1, in planting Trees of May, to symbolize nature’s rebirth. . . “

IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY!

Do edible flowers grow in your garden (without the use of pesticides). It might be rosemary, thyme, parsley, or cilantro (my favorite!), or even roses. You will find a recipe for these blossoms in the book.

SPRINKLE FOWERS ON YOUR PLATE (OR YOUR FRIEND’S PLATE) Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, is a lovely seasonal gift for a mother, grandmother, sister, or a gardening friend.

From May 1 to May 10th, 2020, purchase a copy of Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion for over 50% OFF the list price

Book: $7.50

Shipping in the US only: $3.00 ( I will bundle books if you purchase more than one)

TOTAL for ONE copy: $10.50 includes shipping in the US.

I will personally sign each book per your instructions. Send me a message with a shipping address.

Note: The book is also available through amazon.com (LINK) as a hard copy and for download.

 

The Kasbah Chronicles November 2017: New York, Catalina, and much more

The Kasbah Chronicles: November 2017

Kitty travels Afar and Afield

Lady Liberty upon my first visit to New York in 1961:

Merci, Statue of Liberty


New York today

The new World Trade Center slices through the clouds like a silver blade

CONTENTS:
Musings on New York and elsewhere9/11 Memorial
Discovering Harlem
Grazing New York: Harlem Shambles, Eataly, Murray’s Cheese, FishsEddy, Grand Central Market and more
Rodin and Gertrude Stein
Walking through Brooklyn Heights
Overheard in Flushing, NY
Dia de los Muertos in Escondido, CA
A hop to Avalon on Catalina Island
Recipe: Pumpkin Garbanzo Bean Soup
Mail order gifts
Moroccan pastries made in the USA!
How to help Sonoma winemakers recovering from the fires (après les incendies de la Californie du Nord)
Classes and presentations
News of Morocco and beyond

Art Buchwald’s famous column on Kilometre Deboutish (aka Miles Standish) explique pourquoi nous celebrons Thanksgiving, le Jour de Merci Donnant (voir ci-dessoous.)

Musings:
Afar and Afield in New York City and
Avalon, CA.
Return to New York

As always, it seems I just wrote my last edition of the Kasbah Chronicles, but two months have already gone by. So Happy Thanksgiving! It is Thanksgiving eve and 85 degreesI love a little chill in the air, and even snow on the ground at Thanksgiving. But not in these parts.

This afternoon I remain bemused and befuddled at the administration’s decision to remove restrictions on the importation of African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, and allow more big game hunting there. Can anyone explain to me how a country in ruins like Zimbabwe can honestly manage its conservation program? Fortunately, I just heard the edict was rescinded (maybe??)

I am not here to dwell on politics but rather on my bucket list. The first destination is New York. One of my goals was to say “thank you” to the Statue of Liberty. This I did, from the deck of the Circle Line. Without her welcome and acceptance, I wouldn’t be writing to you today. My mother, brother and I were immigrants, and this is the original trunk we arrived with, on board a Yugoslav freighter loaded with cork, and in the WORST storm I have ever encountered.

By the time we entered the bay, Lady Liberty  was bathed in sunshine, just like this!

The statue viewed from the Circle Line in 2017

 

My other mission was to visit the 9/11 Memorial.


What a stunning building

The enormity of the destruction of the site, the number of lives lost, the evil cunning and planning of the perpetrators along with the heroism of first responders took on a larger-than life dimension as I stood in the footprint of the building. Hundreds of visitors from around the globe milled about in a hushed atmosphere that added to the poignancy. A wall of remembrance displayed images of the victims, and these, coupled with individual bios. So many personal tragedies on display.

The new building

New York for me also holds bucketsful of happier memories. I lived in The Big Apple for a few months in 1965, to work at the NY World’s Fair. At that time, there was nothing more exciting for a wide-eyed 18 year old than to occupy the cashier’s cage and collect entrance fees to the fake Tower of London that sheltered fake Royal Jewels. .  . in Queens, NY!! That’s when I fell in love with NY.

The city has evolved, and the BIGGEST SURPRISE was its cleanliness. My last visit, which probably took place 20 years ago, showed a New York in decline with dirty streets, crumbling buildings, and graffiti everywhere, including the subway. No more graffiti in the subway. Incroyable!

I had the good fortune of staying with my friend Vivian, a seventh-generation New Yorker, who lives in Harlem, an up and coming section of town. We walked across Barnard College (and cooled our heels a Max Caffe, a college hangout), ambled through CCNY, saw Hamilton’s home (yes, that Hamilton), which occupies a prominent hill in Hamilton Heights.

Trendy restaurants like Maison Harlem and Ponty Bistro with its French-speaking Senegalese waiters, and superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s Streetbird Rôtisserie (www.streetbirdnyc.com) have all turned into gastronomic destinations. Vivian, a superb cook, shops at the famed Harlem Shambles butcher on Frederick Douglas Boulevard where we purchased merguez and a rosy breasted organic chickens as plump as a poulet de Bresse. What a thrill for me to stand under the marquee of the fabled Apollo Theatre! wwwapollotheatre.com. Harlem is a cool place!

 

Now onto more serious things:
I did manage to dash into several museums: The Rodin exhibit at the MET was as crowded as Grand Central. I wanted to see the Moroccan courtyard built by Moroccan artisans. It was a bit of a letdown for our own centuries old riad courtyard at Dar Zitoun is three times the size. The Museum of the City of NY was an eye-opener, with a tour led by a passionate docent who delighted in divulging some of the city’s darkest secrets. One day, we stumbled upon an Ai Wei Wei installation, a mesh “Arch” with two cutout figures, occupying the center of the marble arch at Washington Square Park. My favorite remains a discreet bronze statue of Gertrude Stein, holding forth in Bryant Park, behind the NY Central Library. Gertrude and I became well acquainted (on paper) during my graduate studies.

Food was never far from my thoughts, bien sûr. From Mario Batali’s lively EATALY (www.eataly.com) to the Chelsea Market, that soft scallion bun at the Chinese bakery next to the subway station on Flushing’s Main Street, and a gargantuan croque-monsieur at the Chinese-run Tous les Jours bakery, also in Flushing, NY delivered.

I am not a fan of Mario Batali’s but his idea is a great one: Across the street from the Flat Iron Building, he has assembled all foods Italian under one roof. Each stall features a specialty, from prosciutto and artisanal hams, to wheels of parmesan, fresh seafood, hand made pasta, and pastries.  Ordering at EATALY, where the posted mantra is “LIFE is too short not to EAT WELL” is in itself a New York experience. Take a seat in the eating area, until a waiter appears.
Waiter: “Talk to me.”
Me: “Excuse me?”

Waiter (brusk but pleasant, sort of): “Talk to me.”
Me: “OK” (as I finally grasped his New York speak.)
His final words when we paid the bill:
“Just another day in paradise!”

We nibbled at a generous platter of sliced prosciutto, pâté, freshly baked bread and fig preserves, and the price was very fair. Contrast that with the nearby Chelsea Market, which I found on the tacky side with its dozens of touristy boutiques lining tunnels that were once a Pillsbury Cookie Factory. My native New Yorker friend led me along Ladies’ Mile (search the origins) to Fishs Eddy (www.fishseddy.com) a very early precursor of Sur la Table, with kitchen gadgets galore (pricey!!), Murray’s Cheese (www.murrays.cheese.com), the heavenly, decades-old cheese emporium on Bleeker Street in the Village. The counter at 8PM was as crowded as on a Saturday morning. Onto nearby Joe’s Pizzeria, another New York institution and, which, according to Vivian, makes the best pizza in New York, and for good measure, the Grand Central Market and its cascades of luxurious edibles inside the station. Phew.

Vivian works in Flushing, so off to Flushing I went, on a graffiti-free subway! Eavesdropping there was a challenge since hardly Chinese and Korean prevail. As I was waiting in the doorway of Modell’s Sporting Goods (Gotta Go to Mo’s), a Flushing institution, an elderly Caucasian couple walked past me:

OVERHEARD in Flushing:
Old man: “Why should we pray for him? NO need to pray for him! He doesn’t care about anybody anyway!” Sporting a pensive look, the old lady continued shuffling her way through a tide of Asian faces…

 

We capped my visit with a hop to Brooklyn, where I had never been. We explored Brooklyn Heights, a yuppie haven of tree-lined streets and nannies pushing strollers past historic Pilgrim Church. Jacques Torres, the chocolate king, maintains a storefront here, near the very first Hagen Daaz ice cream store. A highlight was a walk along riverfront The Promenade and wilderness preserve towards the famed Carrousel. All this and the location for Moonlight, the classic movie featuring Cher, where I gazed upon the very same view of Manhattan she did.

 

 

RECIPE:
This will warm the cockles of your heart
Kitty’s Pumpkin and Tomato Soup with Garbanzo Beans
Serves 4

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 pounds butternut OR Mediterranean squash, peeled and cut into chunks
4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
5 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons tomato paste
15 sprigs cilantro, tied with string
1 cup drained garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon cumin
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
Milk to thin soup, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A touch of cayenne, for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan or soup pot, combine the broth, squash, celery, tomatoes, and cilantro. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are tender, 20 to to  25 minutes. Let cool. Discard the cilantro. In a blender or food processor, blend the vegetables and the garbanzos

In increments, adding the reserved broth a little at a time to obtain a smooth, thick puree. Return the soup to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Add more broth or milk for a thinner soup, and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

 Meanwhile back in San Diego County:

 Calissons (Broadway brand!) for my maman

I flew home in time for the Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead celebrations, which is turning into an ubiquitous multi-cultural ritual in our border city. I joined in at the Escondido Center for the Arts where, alongside dozens of other families, I created an “altar” to honor my mother, which, according to custom, contained one of her favorite foods: calisson cookies from Aix-en-Provence. Keep an eye out for tbeir upcoming Nikki de Saint Phalle exhibit (San Diego’s collection of her sculptures is much more impressive than what I saw at the Pompidou in Paris years ago.) I am now a docent at the California Center for the Arts and am thrilled that the center is holding an exhibit of Niki de Saint Phalle’s artwork from January 13 to March 4, 2018. Don’t miss this! Did you know she was a “local?” You are in for a treat! http://artcenter.org/museum/

A quick trip to Avalon on Catalina, allowed me to catch the Chihuly exhibit at the newly opened Catalina Island Museum. The show is over in early December, but the museum is worth the detour. As we did last time we were in Catalina 2 years ago, we lunched two days in a row at Blue Water Grill. The waterfront restaurant still offers the best value for the money on the island, and the location couldn’t be more idyllic on a sunny day: watching the waves lap at the shore through the slats in the deck as you savor an assertive Caesar salad or a bowl of addictive poke. I had no idea this was a California chain until I complimented the chef on using chermoula, the classic Moroccan marinade. I haven’t tasted their paella yet, but judging from the other dishes, it is sure to be a winner. A new Blue Water Grill is now open in Carlsbad (where Fish House Vera Cruz used to be.)

Kitty in the media: Edible Flowers
Modern Salt is one of the most literate food blogs:
http://www.modernsalt.co.uk/stories/eating-flowers-eating-beauty

Classes and presentations:
Great organization if you are a food buff.

January 20, 2018: Free and Open to the public
Tagines and Couscous: a history
10AM; San Diego Central Library
https://www.culinaryhistoriansofsandiego.com/public-meetings.html

March 2018:
LIFE, Mira Costa College
Edible Flowers
Presentation and book signing

July 2018:
Poway Library, Poway CA
A taste of Morocco
and

Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

MAIL ORDER GIFTS:

 

While in New York I met up with Mehdi Menouar, an enterprising young Moroccan businessman and founder of MESKA SWEETS, that produces REAL Moroccan pastries in New Jersey, and distributes them by mail order (www.meskasweets). I can vouch for the classy packaging and authenticity of flavors. Mehdi and his wife employ a team of bakers turn out mignardises from gazelle horns, chebakia (honey coils), feqqas (biscotti), and almond cookies according to traditional family recipes. Great gift, corporate or personal. The company contributes 5% of its proceeds to educate underprivileged Moroccans (in Morocco).

Help a Sonoma winery destroyed by fire
Ancient Oak Wine Cellars (ancientoakcellars.com)
was entirely destroyed in the Santa Rosa Fire. “On Redwood Road, there is nothing there, just flat blackened earth”, told me the mother of winemaker Melissa Moholt-Siebert. “Their website is the best place to order wine by the case or bottle,” she adds. Should you wish to contact her directly, go to: melissa@ancientoakcellars.com.
Similarly:
www.montemaggiore.com
http://www.montemaggiore.com/product/Holiday-Special-2017 makes and distributes fine wines in Northern California. Read their enlightening blog about the fires: http://www.montemaggiore.com/blog/Effects-of-the-fires-on-2017-wines

For aspiring authors:
Annie Lamott is a wonderful author who writes for and about writers. This is worth a look:
Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned from life and writing | TED Talk | TED.com. https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_lamott_12_truths_i_learned_from_life_and_writing

News of Morocco and beyond:
The new Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech:
http://telquel.ma/2017/10/30/nous-avons-visite-le-musee-yves-saint-laurent-avec-sofia-benbrahim_1565571
and m:
http://www.azuremagazine.com/article/ysl-museum-marrakech/

Casablanca, the movie, memorialized: https://www.wsj.com/articles/commemorating-a-battle-and-bogie-

The French are coming (encore une fois)! The French are coming! https://france-amerique.com/fr/once-again-the-french-are-colonizing-quebec/
And:
And on the subject of memorials:
https://france-amerique.com/remembering-the-americans-who-gave-their-lives-for-france/?ct=t(FA_Hebdo_du_5_octobre_2017)

Thanksgiving: Le Jour de Merci Donnant:
reprinted from the New York Times
The dinde is dandy, so let’s give thanks
By Art Buchwald
Published: Thursday, November 27, 2003

One of the most important holidays is Thanksgiving Day, le Jour de Merci Donnant. . . . “Le Jour de Merci Donnant was started by a group of pilgrims (Pèlerins) who fled from l’Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde) where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their hearts’ content. They landed at a place called Plymouth (subsequently a voiture Americaine) in a wooden sailing ship named the Mayflower, or Fleur de Mai, in 1620. But while the Pèlerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pèlerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. . . .”

All that is left is for me to wish you a
HAPPY THANKSGIVING
Bismillah
and
Bon appétit