Tag Archives: edible flowers

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 Unpublished article on Tioumliline by Lamia Radi, Rabat, Morocco.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.

,

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 APRIL 2019

The Kasbah Chronicles

Until my return from Morocco. . .

I leave behind these gorgeous Vista clouds

Contents

MUSINGS

RECIPE

Talks and presentations

March slipped away from me. In am in full “packing” mode. We have a full tour! April 23rd to May 2nd, I will be in Morocco with Adventures by the Book. And this is the view of the Mother of Spring river from Dar Zitoun’s atrium window.

I am still basking in the thrill of my lunar adventure (before it appeared in the NY Times!)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/travel/anniversaries-in-wyoming-and-huntsville-alabama.

Space Camp was one of the most fun experiences of my life. Please bear with me: just one more picture!

 

Kitty’s Blood Orange Syrup and Jelly

Ripe fruit fall off our blood orange tree faster than I can pick them! To savor their flavor at other times of the year, I make this ambrosial syrup, keep it in the fridge, and serve it with champagne or with carbonated water for a refreshing summer beverage.

2 ¼ cups fresh blood orange juice, strained

½ cup water

1 1/3 cups sugar

For the syrup: Place juice, water, and sugar in heavy pan. Simmer for 20 to 30 mns to viscous liquid stage. Refrigerate. Add 2 tablespoons to a glass of white wine, champagne, or prosecco. Or simply combine with water and ice cubes, to taste.

For the jelly: Simmer 20 mns longer, or until mixture forms a very soft ball when dropped in cold water.  Let cool overnight on the kitchen counter. Store in sterilized containers and seal. Spread on toast, or use as a topping for yogurt, mascarpone, ricotta, etc . . .

 

Kitty in the media: http://online.anyflip.com/dmdy/nwaa/mobile/index.html

Wine Dine and Travel Spring is a gorgeous online travel magazine, and free for the download. This issue features Argentina in depth. I am very excited to be among its contributors. Read about my trip to Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most historic cities.

 

Classes and presentations:

LIFE, Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA

www.miracosta.edu/instruction/programsforseniors_life.html

Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE) Oceanside LIFE.

 

Why attend Adult Space Camp in Huntsville, AL?

Kitty Morse and co-space junkie Pat McArdle celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

July 19, 2019. 2PM

 

LIFE: Mira Costa College, Oceanside, CA

www.miracosta.edu/instruction/programsforseniors_life.html

Kitty Morse: Revisiting Morocco’s Sahara and the mythical Kasbah Trail.

FRI. AUG 2, 2019

 

Culinary Historians of San Diego:

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Savoring Morocco’s Kasbah Trail

The Kasbah Chronicles: Nov.2018(cont. . .)

My secret garden at Dar Zitoun, our riad in Azemmour, 90 km south of Casablanca

CONTENTS:
Join me in Morocco. . .

ADVENTURES BY THE BOOK MOROCCO TOUR IS FILLING UP!
DEADLINE FOR EARLY BIRD SIGN-UP is DECEMBER 2, 2018
http://adventuresbythebook.com/moroccoadventure/

@novelnetwork bookchat page on Facebook

Sunday, Nov, 18, 4PM Pacific

Happiness is being close to home (for now)
Día de los Muertos in Escondido (CA)
In Santa Barbara: Art opening at the Botanic Garden
Solar Cookers in Danang, Vietnam
Overheard
News from Morocco and beyond
Meanwhile, back at Versailles

Join Kitty for a LIVE FACEBOOK CHAT
on Sunday, November 18, 2018
(see below)

‘Tis almost the season!
EDIBLE FLOWERS: A Kitchen Companion
Free shipping in the US for signed copies until December 5, 2018

Musings:

Thank goodness the elections are over. I thought I would be traveling at this time, but stayed home instead. Every day, when my husband and I take a walk along the Pacific Ocean, I remind myself how lucky I am to live here.  This inspirational passage in Ralph Marston’s daily newsletter hit home:
 “. . . The richness of your life does not live in some distant time or faraway place. It is here, now, ready to be experienced and expressed. . .”
OR, as NANCY (as I call it) , the very annoying, GARMIN female voice likes to repeat while I am driving: RECALIBRATING..

So I recalibrated. . .For me, that means putting the finishing touches on Le Riad au Bord de L’Oued, the French version of Mint Tea and Minarets. As it turns out, I am traveling without leaving home, communicating via Facetime with a childhood friend and retired professor in Nice, who is helping me polish the text. It is SO MUCH fun to dip into the French-speaking side of my brain to rediscover the appropriate wording. The next challenge, of course, is getting it published.

Another good reason to stay close to home was to celebrate the 22nd annual Día de los Muertos at California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Nov. 1, from 6-9PM (artcenter.org). The festivities kicked off with a procession around Grape Day Park by Public Address artist Luis Ituarte. Celebrants in costume escorted the cart filled with flowers specially grown in Baja California for the occasion. The museum provided the yellow marigolds called cempasuchitl or flower of the dead, to anyone who decorated the square meter of ground that serves as a personal “altar.”

My two friends and I brought a few mementos of our own to celebrate our mothers. Some families offered a loaf of “pan de muerto” to their departed. Food trucks! Mariachis! Sugar skulls for kids to decorate! This is a family friendly event to suit all age groups. Jot this on your calendar for November 1, 2019. It’s free!


One of the “altars” at Día de los Muertos

Upcoming art show opening in Santa Barbara:
If you live in or near Santa Barbara (CA), my dear friend, Lenore Tolegian Hughes has a new exhibit opening at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens on December 6, 2-4pm. She illustrates the power of love in Ancient Greek mythology in an exhibition of visual art based on the love of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvest, for her daughter, Persephone. Her fascination with mythology inspires this dynamic exhibit of watercolors and collages. https://www.sbbg.org/classes-events

Overheard on the campus of Mira Costa College:
“. . . It should have never happened, but if it did. . .  I could handle it!”
(I wonder what that was about?!

And during our daily walk along the Pacific:
“. . . who wants to be eight months pregnant and go to Disneyland?

‘Tis almost the season:  Need a gift?

I will sign and ship copies of EDIBLE FLOWERS  anywhere in the United States. Send me an email (info@mintteaandminarets.com)
You can pay by Paypal (checks OK too!)
Free shipping until December 5, 2018.
$17 includes book and tax.

. . . speaking of gifts:
Have you visited http://sallybernstein.com ? Sally carries all sorts of delicious edibles, and much more. Check out her website.

French speakers rejoice!
https://france-amerique.com/fr/louisiana-joins-la-francophonie/
C’est officiel ! L’Etat américain rejoint l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) en tant que membre observateur. Sa candidature a été acceptée ce jeudi par les Etats membres de l’organisation réunis en sommet à Erevan en Arménie. Lire la suite.

It’s official! The American state has joined the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) as an observer member. Its application was accepted this Thursday by the organization’s member states at a summit in Erevan, Armenia. Read more.

Versailles restored: Thank you, America!
https://france-amerique.com/fr/versailles-american-splendor

News of Morocco and beyond:

Acrobats, story tellers, and musicians are nightly attractions on the famed Place Djemaa el Fna, Square of the Dead, in Marrakech (which we visit on the Adventures by the Book tour in April 2019), but this acrobat has gone far beyond walking between two tall buildings in Santiago, Chile. telquel.ma/videos/un-funambule-marocain:
High wire artist from Morocco performs in Santiago (CHILE):

Mustafa « Danger », funambule de profession, a réalisé son premier exploit en Amérique latine.
Solar Cooking in Vietnam

Solar Serve News No.56
 https://www.facebook.com/Solar-Serve-Vietnam-
I visited this forward-thinking company in Danang, last April. They need all the encouragement they can get!
“ we have received a huge order to help thousands of poor families in North of Vietnam with our clean cookstoves. We have already employed five new workers and others will be added soon if necessary. For us as Solar Serve it is a big challenge, so again stand with us. Thank you so much!
Greetings,
Solar Serve team

Bismillah
and
Bon Appétit!

Thanks to you, the Kasbah Chronicles is now in its tenth year!

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