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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 July 2018: More Vietnam and more Morocco!

 

June and July 2018
LA VACHE QUI RIT IS EVERYWHERE!

A Vietnamese snack…

MUSINGS
. . . more Vietnam adventures
When in Hue, head for Han’s
You missed a good one: Book Club Bingo and Novel Network
California Center for the Arts: Watercolor Show
Got art? Need frames?
Very, very cool: radio stations around the world
Cookbook collectors: get organized
Talks and presentations
Lots of interesting links en français
and in English
Tipping remains a mystery? Here’s help.

Matisha thrives!


Spanish Potato Tortilla..with tomatoes

Musings:

As I write, the 12 young soccer players and their coach have been extricated from that ghastly Thai cave. Thank Goodness the divers succeeded. The far away drama took our minds of dramatic political events closer to home. And then the peripatetic Anthony Bourdain decided to take his own life. I don’t know about you, but my brain is exhausted. What else is there to do but carry on!

Last month,  I left you in Hanoi.. Today, let me take you to Hue:

This former Imperial City and now a World Heritage Site, lies midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon.) Its imposing Chinese Citadel suffered major damage during the “American War” and is undergoing extensive Unesco-funded restoration. Less known to the outside world, is that Hue is renowned for its cuisine. When in Hue, head for Han’s and sit down among the locals for a memorable lunch:

Then take part in Being like a farmer at Eco Garden. We began with a leisurely bicycle ride among orchards of pumelos and rice paddies of Thyu Bieu village a few miles outside of town.

After our bike escapade, we donned the outfits of a Vietnamese farmer, complete with brown baggy pants, loose shirt, and coolie hat, before trying our hands at milling rice. I tried in vain to manipulate the grindstone and sift the rice meal. . . not possible. Before long, we were hard at work digging for sweet potatoes along the banks of the Perfume River. Later, we savored the fruits of our labor at dinner served under a thatched-roof hut and a cacophony of cicadas.

The next morning a mini cruise on the Perfume River was capped with a cooking class at the Hue EcoLodge.

Clad in EcoLodge aprons, and inspired by the scent of grilling pork kabobs marinated in lemongrass and stir-fried green beans fresh from the lodge’s garden plots, we followed the instructions of our young instructor. As I bit into a warm bite of the sweet potato we had just dug up, it occurred to me that the Hue Ecolodge may be riding the crest of a new food trend: Farm-to-Chopsticks

 Suite au prochain numéro (next time): low-key, historic Hoi An..

I came across this site par hasard earlier a few weeks ago. In case you missed their review of Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, a couple of years ago, here it is. FYI: Alimentum is one of the best sites for food literature on the web. Thank you Alimentum

http://www.alimentumjournal.com/review-of-mint-tea-minarets-b/#.Wxfu04plCfA

Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories

“… But if you don’t cook Moroccan at home, are not near a Moroccan restaurant, and are nowhere near Morocco, you can still smell the aromas, feel the air and atmosphere, hear the languages of both Arabic and French, by opening a book: Kitty Morse’s Mint Tea and Minarets.

Ms. Morse was born in Casablanca and spent her growing-up years there. Her father was English, her mother French. So her perspective straddles both Western and North African customs. Her newest book (she’s written many) is an exotic yet personal memoir festooned with spectacular recipes.

Ms. Morse journeys back to her family’s home just outside Casablanca. She has a mission: to sprinkle her father’s ashes in the river near Dar Zitoun (the name of her family home) and to transfer the title of the property from her father to herself. Both activities come with a full set of red tape that puts Ms. Morse through an obstacle course filled with cultural antiquity and modern day greed. The true colors and characters of Morocco emerge. This is at once familiar, frustrating, and endearing to Ms. Morse. Her endeavors bring her back in contact with a large part of her identity—a part she treasures and needs. The longer she stays, the more she is drawn back into this unique lifestyle. And its food. ..”

New this month: My editor and I are hard at work turning Mint Tea and Minarets into an eBook downloadable on Kindle and all other platforms. I am very excited since I only have 120 hard copies left.. with no thought of reprint. .

Stay tuned! Use your KINDLE!
Kitty in the media:

Seasonal Pantry: How to make a Middle Eastern feast

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

This one is inspired by a recipe in “Cooking At the Kasbah: Recipes From My Moroccan Kitchen” by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books, 1998, $22.95). NOW IN ITSTENTH PRINTING!

Kitty’s next presentation:

I love our local libraries. They serve as community centers for all age groups rather than as just a depository for books. And librarians are models of patience. Last week, I was invited by the Poway Public library. Thank you for the lovely welcome!

On July 25th, at 1PM, catch me at the San Marcos Public library for a talk (and food samplings) on Mint Tea and Minarets. It’s fun, educational, and air conditioned! And need I add, FREE of charge!

For information:

2 Civic Center Drive

San Marcos, CA 92069

(760) 891-3000

New art exhibit in Escondido:

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido (I am a docent there, book a private tour!)is holding its upcoming exhibition beginning July 14 to August 26th.

The American Watercolor Society 151st Traveling exhibition and local color.http://artcenter.org/museum/

Amis français, le saviez-vous:

French school named for North County D-Day veteran

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/columnists/logan-jenkins/sd-me-jenkins-france-20180601-story.html

“…. une école a mon nom. . . ..from our own North San Diego County….who knew??

Book clubs: Have you checked out Novel Network? In the last Chronicles, I announced that I participated, along with 22 other writers, in Book Club Bingo, an event organized by the newly formed Novel Network and Adventures by the Book. You missed a good one! Close to 100 participants gathered on the top floor of San Diego’s architectural wonder, our Central Library, for a day of seminars, meet and greets with authors, a luscious box lunch, and networking galore. This is the brilliant concept: Book clubs register for free on the Novel Network website, look for an author (now at 45 and increasing) and book their favorite. Voila… I can also conduct SKYPE interviews no matter where your club meets!    Ever thought of writing a family cookbook? I can help you with that too!


Got Art? Need frames?

Just to let you know we have a wonderful frame shop right here, in Vista. The gifted Gina of Art and Frame Studio, 610 E. Vista Way (760)806-7777 (same parking lot as Chin’s restaurant) carries a wide assortment of frames. She just reframed a half-dozen pictures for me, and I am thrilled.

Links of interest about Morocco and elsewhere:

An addictive site: Live music streaming from stations around the world

http://radio.garden/live/vancouver and elsewhere

For a laugh and an education! Accents around the world

https://localingual.com/?ISO=FR

Cookbook collectors may find this of interest: Organize your collection. . .  I have always wondered how to do that…

https://www.aspentimes.com/news/weekly/modern-familycookbook-collections-get-user-friendly-thanks-to-tech
 
CELL PHONES IN CLASSROOMS? What do you think?? Teachers, especially?
 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/07/french-school-students-to-be-banned-from-using-mobile-phones?CMP=share_btn_link

The Beat Generation in Tangier:

Vous les connaissez ces messieurs-dames?

Sooooo condescending from my point of view. Didn’t they have anything better to do, surrounded by maids, cooks, drivers, and who knows what other kind of help, but smoke, drink, get high, and criticize the “natives”? Is that what makes a literary icon?

https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/le-saviez-vous-quand-tanger-accueillait-la-beat-generation-231531

Les courses automobiles à Casa dans les années 50,

When I was growing up in Casablanca, my father helped organize car races. Remember Sterling Moss? I recall the cars roaring along the Corniche and meeting the famed racer: who does these days?

https://lepetitjournal.com/casablanca/le-saviez-vous-quand-le-maroc-organisait-son-grand-prix-de-formule-1-231372

 Zagora, in the Moroccan Sahara. We hunted far and low for medfouna (meaning: hidden) which I managed to track down (this was in 1970), and adapt for my first cookbook, Come with me to the Kasbah: A Cook’s tour of Morocco. Sort of a cross between stuffed pizza and calzone. . .

http://www.bbc.com/travel/gallery/20180122-madfouna-moroccos-surprising-take-on-pizza

IS the US a visa free country?

https://www.passportindex.org/?country=us

Incroyable mais vrai? Et honteux….And I thought being bilingual was an advantage:

https://www.theguardian.com/us/news/2018/may/22/speaking-spanish-dangerous-america-aaron-schlossberg-ice?

France: Dommage, les bons petits bistros disparaissent. . .

Les petits bistros de quartier disparaissent : https://france-amerique.com/fr/parisian-bistros-appeal-for-unesco-world-heritage-status/?

Meanwhile in Tunisia, where I spent many weeks researching recipes for my book,The Vegetarian Table: North Africa (Chronicle Books)

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/may/02/return-to-tunis-why-now-is-the-time-to-visit-this-historic-city? (Actually, Tunis looks much like Casablanca, a treasure trove of Moorish Art deco architecture. Sidi Bou Said, on the sea, is charming! It is VERY VERY hot in Tunis in the summer)

And in 2016, Tunisia ranked 62nd on the Global Entrepreneurship Index. Today it ranks 40th worldwide and is No. 1 in Africa for entrepreneurs.

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/the-unlikely-hotbed-for-african-entrepreneurs/86977

Bravo to Khaled Bouchoucha who started his career working on planes – now he’s running a startup that optimizes the health of hives. https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-data-engineer-on-a-mission-to-save-tunisias-bees/87037

 Confused about tipping? I am. Here is a possible guide.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-confusing-tipping-situations_us

Has anyone cooked with this? I haven’t tried it yet. I have to laugh though: you have to purchase most ingredients to take advantage of the barley inside the packet?





To keep you cool, a Vietnamese drink!

Bismillah
and Bon appétit.

Kitty