Category Archives: Travels

The Kasbah Chronicles: Summer 2022 Musings and More! NEW COOKBOOK COMING

THE KASBAH CHRONICLES
April to June 2022
and a
Happy Fourth of July
(already?)


Bestila filled with Sweet Shredded Chicken
Recipe in Mint Tea and Minarets (easier to make than it looks!)

Musings
 A pet peeve: book theft

A quote from Gertrude Stein

Street Legacy, presents a new  exhibit at California Center for the Arts
and an unusual opera created in Escondido

RECIPES
Tomatoes!

This morning’s crop
to make SALMOREJO (see below)

My tentacular passion fruit vine


is barely a year old and has taken over our gazebo!

Chef Ron’s Salmon Koulibiac (see more below)
Koulibiac de Saumon (miam!)

Au Revoir
to A Biblical Feast and
Cooking at the Kasbah (in print for 21 years)

I am headed for Le Grand Est (Alsace Lorraine, Strasbourg, and Châlons-en-Champagne
land of my French ancestors. Any recommendations?
J’espère me rendre en France début septembre pour visiter la terre de mes ancêtres en
Champagne. Avez-vous  des conseils à partager?
Links of interest en français and in English

Kitty is selling antique and vintage Moroccan items

I love feedback

Musings:
My latest pet peeve and cautionary tale:
I shipped a box of 20 books to the Isabella Gardner Museum https://www.gardnermuseum.org/in Boston, which carries Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion in its lovely gift store. Imagine my dismay last week when the book buyer wrote me saying she received only 9 books. The box had been opened and 11 books “lifted”, box resealed and shipped to the museum. No one could explain this in the museum’s mail room. I had insurance and attempted to navigate the USPS nightmarish website to find the right forms. I gave up and have filed the claim via email.

I already “lost” a box of 22 books in the mail last January. Light fingered artists at work in the USPS system??.

RECIPE

Kitty’s Salmorejo
Variation on a theme:
Purchase ceviche or make your own and drop
some into a cup of salmorejo

Serves 4

1 cup cubed day-old country-style bread, torn into pieces
1 cup broth or water
4 large, ripe tomatoes (1 ½ to 2 lbs), peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (optional)
3 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped (optional)

Soak bread in ½ cup broth or water.
Combine soaked bread, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and remaining broth in a blender. Blend for about 3  minutes until velvety smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until well chilled.
Just before serving, test the soup for salt. Thin it out with a little broth, water, or tomato water if desired. Ladle into small bowls, garnishwith chopped eggs, prosciutto, OR CEVICHE!

Blood Orange juice is a good alternative to lemon juice


Blood oranges can remain quite acid, even after months on the tree. I squeeze the juice, and boil it down with enough sugar to make syrup. Drop a little into a glass of champagne.

The same goes for Passion Fruit juice. In Guadeloupe and Martinique, passion fruit is called MARACUDJA, and the juice is used instead of lemon juice to marinate fish. Hawaii know passion as LILIKOI. I freeze it in ice cube trays and use it as required. 

Gertrude Stein has always fascinated me, as has her famed art collection in her apartment of the Rue de Fleurus in Paris.
A rose is a rose is a rose,” she wrote. The Curious Home of Food Writer and Dilettante, Gary Allen, a most original site at http://justserved.onthetable.us/ list another of Gertrude’s quotes:  “A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing but vegetables.” Soooo Gertrude!!!

A novel take on salmon:
Our friend and accomplished barbecue chef Ron Baker treated us to Coulibiac of Salmon, en français Koulibiac de Saumon or Saumon en Koulibiac. The salmon for Ron’s eye-popping rendition is imported and filleted on arrival by the experts of https://harborpelican.com  at Oceanside Harbor. The professional fishermen specialize in locally-sourced fish. Fresh-caught salmon is the exception they imported from Norway. Ron butterflied and stuffed the salmon with rice, mushrooms and other mouth-watering ingredients, rolled it up and wrapped it in bacon. What’s not to like?

Ron, can we have a repeat???
New shows and events:
The California Center for the Arts has reopened with a new show called STREET LEGACY https://artcenter.org/event/street-legacy-socal-style-masters. The exhibit gathers art by renowned street artists from Southern California. I attended the opening and can tell you the art work once known as graffiti has come a very, very long way. Many artists attended the opening, and provided a spectacular fashion show as well. What creativity! What fun! And what artistry. I had no idea!
Make an appointment to view the galleries. Docents will return later in the year.http://artcenter.org



Slick and Bruce’s cars greet you at the entrance.


Marc Esquer is a well-known San Diego street artist whose artwork graces many a San Diego venue (and even Japan!) Escondido-based Zane Kingcade produces custom artwork, and sells art supplies on Grand Avenue in Escondido. The show features four of his creations.

A NEW OPERA OPENS IN ESCONDIDO:
I attended a chat with the producers, directors, and some of the artists for WITNESSES. The artists come from L.A, New York, and right here in Escondido. What a gifted bunch. This is the reason the opera is called WITNESSES: https://artcenter.org/education/ccae-conservatory/witnesses/

5 TEENAGERS. 5 DIARIES.

5 SONGWRITING TEAMS THAT BRING THEIR VOICES TO LIFE.

From the diaries of Éva Heymann, Dawid Rubinowicz, Moshe Flinker, Renia Spiegel and Yitskhok Rudashevski – each diary revealing one voice – one teenager coping with the impossible reality of the Holocaust. But in the words they left us, they reveal one insurmountable truth: You may be able to kill us, but you can never destroy our spirit. These five stark accounts, set against a haunting, beautifully constructed song cycle, are a testament and an inspiration to the best of the human soul.

Practice your French:
Ready for more IDIOTISMES GASTRONOMIQUES?

More gastro news from France: Où sont passés les grands chefs de France?
https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20220614-the-exodus-of-paris-chefs-to-the-countryside

New Asian market in Vista. It opened a few months ago at 1215 S. Santa Fe avenue. Here, you will find most of the items you need for your Asian-inspired meals, from rice noodles, to sambals and Asian vegetables. Friendly owner Thavy is from Cambodia and owns the market with his wife Julie Thach.

Au-revoir to:
A Biblical Feast, now officially out of print
and to
Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from My Moroccan Kitchen.  I love this cookbook. I have to let it go after 22 years and ten printings. Wish I could find a publisher to have it reprinted!!

BONJOUR TO:
BITTER SWEET: A WARTIME JOURNAL AND HEIRLOOM RECIPES FROM OCCUPIED FRANCE
Not quite ready for prime time yet, but coming soon!  Stay tuned.

KITTY is selling:
Please drop me a note if you would like pictures of Moroccan items I am selling: cookware, wood, lamps, lithographs, vintage Berber jewelry, antique rugs and textiles. Better yet, if you live close by: make an appointment to come by and see. Drop me a line.

May COVID remain in your rear view mirror.
Bismillah
and
Bon Appétit
I LOVE FEEDBACK!

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!

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.

The Kasbah Chronicles: Valentine’s edition 2021

MUSINGS

The Kasbah Chronicles

Les Chroniques de la Kasbah

 

Happy Valentine’s DAY

Bonne Fête de Saint Valentin

In Praise of CENTENARIANS

Kitty in the media:

WineDineandTravel magazine: California’s historic HIGHWAY 395

Podcast with Kitty: Moroccan cuisine: an overview

Classes and presentations

 

Links of interest

News of Morocco and beyond

Moroccan items for sale

 

MUSINGS:

     I perch on the edge of another momentous birthday, I need to salute two centenarians in my life: Flor, my mother’s first cousin, who reached this milestone last August—and whose voice sounds as lively today as that of an 18-year-old’s; and Irene, who has reached 103 and was one of the very first passengers to join me on my gastronomic tour along the Kasbah Trail three decades ago. What role models!

Covid and confined — with a BIG difference: My husband and I got our first dose of the vaccine. Funny how a weight has been lifted from our shoulders—even though we need a second dose.

The confinement has not put halt to my work. I am knee-deep in family history spanning WWI and WWII—recipes from Alsace-Lorraine included, bien sûr.

My thoughts return to last year at this time: I was in heaven petting the whales in Baja California and making snowballs in Baja’s sierra. That trip has kept my wanderlust at bay for the past 12 months, but enough already!

Je voudrais saluer deux amies centenaires : cousine Flor, qui a passé le cap en août dernier, et Irene, qui va avoir 103 ans! Toutes deux dignes de ma profonde admiration.

GROSSE différence entre ce mois de confinement et mes dernières Chroniques : mon mari et moi avons finalement obtenu la première dose du vaccin. Si vous regardez les nouvelles, vous savez que les USA ont été lents à démarrer. J’espère que les choses se sont mieux passées chez vous. On respire mieux, mais à 6 pieds de distance! Heureusement que l’an dernier à cette date, j’ai pu aller au Mexique, en Californie du Sud caresser les baleines !

Virtual presentations:

Spices in Moroccan cooking

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021

2-3:30PM

FREE

Registration required

Coronado Public Library (and it is a beautiful one!)

The use of cumin in tagines and other Moroccan dishes. This is a great program sponsored by the library called Spice it Up, Coronado! FREE! But you need to register.

https://live-coronado.pantheonsite.io/events/february-spice-it-coronado

Facebook and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/CoronadoPublicLibrary/

Kitty in the media:

WineDineandTravelmagazine.com

Looking for a sort of STAYCATION (nouveau mot à la mode: en vacances près de chez soi.)

Un autre voyage très sympa en janvier 2020.

Here is my article on California’s Highway 395—a slice of historic California

https://winedineandtravelmagazine.com/wdt/calcoast/

Kitty and a Podcast:

Moroccan cuisine: influences and history

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX-WfB9r00U.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC7_bInxIfE.

Apricots in Silicon Valley even rate their own museum: Abricots de Silicon Valley.

https://heritageparkmuseum.org/sample-page/orchard-heritage-park

Il ne faut pas oublier qu’avant de devenir le paradis des techies, Silicon Valley était couverte d’arbres fruitiers notamment des meilleurs abricotiers du pays.

I was thrilled to read the article on apricots, and had to share my apricot adventures in Silicon Valley. I visited several farmers in late 1999—among them the famous Mariani orchards in Morgan Hill, CA. Andy Mariani, who is still in business, is one of this country most knowledgeable stone fruit experts (https://andysorchard.com.) (They ship!) He shared a recipe for The California Farm Cookbook (Kitty Morse, Pelican Publishing).

CALIFORNIA APRICOTS: A History (and a recipe)

Mariani Orchards’ Apricot-Amaretto Sandwiches

“On our family farm,” says Andy Mariani of Mariani Orchards, “autumn is a favorite time of the year.”  The tall, dark-haired, and soft-spoken Andy is proud to carry on the family tradition–one begun by his forefathers who originated in Vis, an island off the Dalmatian Coast.  The senior Mariani began farming in California in 1932, finally settling in the idyllic Morgan Hill area of the Santa Clara Valley–the perfect location to grow plump apricots and sweet cherries.   Andy’s brothers and sisters help in the running of the orchard as well as in the ever-expanding mail-order business.  “Fruit grown elsewhere in California doesn’t seem to have the sweetness ours do,” says Andy, who credits the high quality of the Mariani fruit to the proximity of the ocean, and to a cool growing season.  The delicious result of the Mariani’s labors is evident when biting into the oversized, dried Blenheim apricots which they use to make their superb Apricot Amaretto-Sandwiches.

Marzipan OR almond paste (available in supermarkets or specialty food stores)

Almond extract or Amaretto liqueur

Jumbo, dried Mariani apricots to suit

Guittard A’peels dipping chocolate (#9760)

If using marzipan, which is sweeter than almond paste, use a few drops of almond extract or Amaretto to cut sweetness.  Roll marzipan or almond paste into a log shape, until it reaches the same diameter as the apricot half.  Cut round patties about 1/4″ in width.  To assemble sandwich, trim apricot half to perfect circle on sheet of wax paper.  Place almond paste patty on top, and cover with second apricot half.  Squeeze slightly so filling adheres to apricot.  Trim to size.  If smaller sandwich is preferred, simply cut in half.  For extra special treat, dip sandwich in melted chocolate.  Let cool on wax paper.  Store in airtight container until ready to eat.

Note:  Almond paste is available in bulk from large bakeries.  Commercial marzipan found in supermarkets tends to be very sweet.  Guittard A’peels dipping chocolate #9760 is specially formulated to stick to dried fruit.  You can order the 2″ wide jumbo apricots directly from the Marianis.

Flashback to Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, and our historic medina of Azemmour.

Azemmour vu du ciel 2020 Nous vous proposons des vues d’Azemmour comme vous ne les avez jamais vu.

https://youtu.be/CTMLXL2rxg0

Speaking of COVID:

https://laquotidienne.ma/article/actualites-economiques/covid-19-le-premier-scanner-de-depistage-au-maroc-et-en-afrique-installe-a-casablanca United Imaging Healthcare (UIH), grand acteur international dans le domaine des équipements médicaux, a introduit le tout premier système de dépistage Covid-19 en Afrique.

Did you know ?
French in Africa: French is the official language of 21 countries in Africa. (They don’t mention North Africa, but they should!

Nouveau mot de vocabulaire:

New FRENCH WORD: OVER THE TOP !!! I leave it up to you to translate.

Un afterwork au bureau, des amis à la maison, une envie d’Alsace, un match de football, basket ou rugby…

Received from Morocco: I love the spellings…« le nouveau président (djo baidn donc bay bay korona »

Bon appétit! A la prochaine!

Kitty

The Kasbah Chronicles: October November 2020

These seals at Oceanside Harbor have the right idea: Wake me up when COVID is over…

MUSINGS

The Kasbah Chronicles

Les Chroniques de la Kasbah

In English and en français

Musings

Notes on my next cookbook

A new twist on a Moroccan classic

Links of interest

News of Morocco and beyond

Improve your spoken French!

Moroccan items for sale

Musings:

In this, the ninth month of the COVID pandemic, I am at a loss for words. I cannot complain, since our Vista Kasbah is the best place for me to be sequestered—but boy, am I getting itchy feet. Yet, the idea of getting on an airplane still does not appeal to me.

Actually, the pandemic has served an exciting purpose: I have been hard at work on my next book, Bitter Sweet: legacy from my Alsatian ancestors (working title). Beautiful food photography included too!

I received an email blast from the High Atlas Foundation, a most worthy NGO in Morocco :

https://mailchi.mp/highatlasfoundation/article-reviving-a-monastery-for-community-development?e=4GUbJ49kBE. Unpublished article on Tioumliline by Lamia Radi, Rabat, Morocco.

Toumliline remains a magical name in my mind. Toum as we all called it, was a refuge for Catholic nuns in the Middle Atlas Mountains. It was a popular destination and Catholic retreat for many of my Catholic friends, especially at Easter:

“On part a Toum….” they would announce… each year.

Those among you who accompanied me to Morocco will remember the longest day of the trip as we crossed the Atlas Mountains from Fez to the oasis of Tinehrir. Half way up, Tioum hides among the forest of cedar trees not far from the snow slopes of the Mishliffen. Macaques on the way to Toum…

The very first avocado from our very own tree..

 

Let’s head to the kitchen

 new twist on egg tagine with lox

Morocco meets Brooklyn

(variations in Cooking at the Kasbah, The Vegetarian Table: North Africa and Mint Tea and Minarets.)

do you get the idea I love this egg dish?!!

Egg Tagine with Olives and lox

Serves 4

Make the tomato chermoula sauce ahead of time:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, very finely diced

1 (14¼-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

10 green or purple olives, rinsed, pitted, and coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

¼ cup minced cilantro

In a tagine or medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, olives, garlic, and bay leaf. Mash lightly with a fork. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes thicken somewhat, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Add cilantro.

Adapted from Mint Tea and  Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories.

For ONE person:

One egg, beaten

1 or 2 slices of lox, diced

Pour the egg in a small oiled skillet. Swirl around as for an omelet. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with 2 tablespoons of the chermoula, and diced salmon.

Copyright Kitty Morse 2020

More: The French are crazy about “crumbles” savory or sweet. Who knew that “crumbles” (and biscuits d’Halloween) would make such an impact?

Crumble de courgettes  au Parmesan

Serves 4

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 T bread crumbs (or almond meal)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • 4 slices of ham or prosciutto (optional), cut into ribbons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring the oil to medium heat in a pan or skillet. Saute the zucchini slices until soft. Drain and set aside.

For the crumble, combine the flour, bread crumbs, parmesan, and salt. Add the softened butter and mix with your fingertips. Alternate layers of zucchini, and ham (if using) in a medium baking dish. Top with the crumble mixture and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

My friend Stephenie Coug

hlin, owner of Seabreeze Farm in Del Mar (CA) a mere 2 or 3 miles from the ocean, grows and delivers her own GORGEOUS produce. Heck her out!

https://csa.farmigo.com/store/seabreezed

News of Morocco, France, and beyond:

Casablanca is undergoing a renewal, and hopefully a getting a good coat of paint. We lived on Avenue Hassan II, across from the park, one the city’s main arteries. This is what our building looked like in the earl 1920s…a beautiful Moorish art deco structure. it needs a new coat of paint in this century. Local casablancais have finally realized what an architectural treasure they have in downtown Casablanca..

https://aujourdhui.ma/culture/un-programme-de-mise-a-niveau-du-centre-ville-historique-de-casablanca-voit-le-jourIl+s’articule+autour+de+quatre+projets+Dans+le+cadre+du+plan+de+sauvegarde+et+de+valorisation+du+patrimoine+de+Casablanca,+la+Société+de+développement+local+Cas :

MOROCCAN ITEMS FOR SALE:
PLEASE VIEW DEDICATED PAGE ON THIS WEBSITE

Bellows, camel leather, copper and wood. ABout 48 years old.. Works fine.

 

All these will appear on my dedicated page.

These lithographs were produced by he same printer who printed my first book, Come with me to the Kasbah. Printer and publishing house are long gone

I am asking USD70 a piece. Shipped in a tube. About 23.5 by 15. 5 inches.

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