Tag Archives: butternut squash

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.

Recipes from San Diego Living, SD Channel 6, Nov. 9th, 2015 TV appearance

November 9, 2015

 

From Mint Tea and Minarets: a Banquet of Moroccan Memories

(La Caravane, 2013)

Egg Tagine with Olives

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, very finely diced

1 (14¼-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

½ teaspoon sugar

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

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

8 eggs

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon mashed preserved lemon pulp (optional)

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

BAGUETTE slices, for serving

 

In a tagine or medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until light brown, 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. Set aside half of this mixture for garnish.

In a bowl, beat eggs, cilantro, cumin, preserved lemon pulp, and pepper. Add to tomato mixture. Cook, stirring gently, until eggs are not quite set. Garnish with the reserved tomato mixture and cilantro. Serve immediately with crusty bread.


 From Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen (Chronicle Books, 1999)

now in its  tenth printing

Cassolita

Moroccan Squash with Caramelized Onions

(serves 4)

 

1 lb Mediterranean pumpkin or butternut squash

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1/4 C olive 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, cover with foil, and return to the oven to heat for 20 minutes.

Garbanzo Bean and Squash Soup

Serves 4

This nutritious soup is full of healthful ingredients.  Cooks in Morocco can purchase soaked  beans at the market or from street vendors, then must cook the beans before using them. You can do the same if you purchase dry beans. I opt for the convenience of organic, canned garbanzos. Any winter squash, or yellow fleshed squash will do.

1 pound Mediterranean, butternut, or acorn squash, or sugar pumpkin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 cups vegetable broth
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans,  drained and  liquid reserved
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Cilantro leaves (also called Chinese parsley or fresh coriander), for serving

Heat oven to 375 F. Place squash in oven-proof dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then peel and seed squash, and scoop pulp from the shell in small chunks. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool.

In a blender or food processor, puree in batches, the squash, onion, broth, reserved liquid from garbanzo beans, and half of garbanzo beans. Return puree to pan. Stir in tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Add cayenne, if using. Heat through and add remaining garbanzo beans. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

From The Vegetarian Table: North Africa. Updated and copyrighted Kitty Morse 2008