Tag Archives: France

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 April/May 2017 edition (Part 1)

Ah! Ces Parisiens! Love and French water keeps you going!

The Kasbah Chronicles

April/May 2017 Edition

Part 1 of 2, or perhaps 3!

A FRENCH ESCAPADE

Part 1: Paris and Normandy

CONTENTS:

Musings:

Rediscovering Paris and Normandy

La Gare Montparnasse: An urban playground!

Les Passages Couverts de Paris

Le Salon du Livre 2017

AU SECOURS! HELP! A cell phone quandary

Travel information

A Note from Kyrgystan

Presentations

News of Morocco and beyond

POKE in Paris?

Update: Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued

(Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories)

********************

Dateline: Paris and Normandy

The Kasbah Chronicles were on hiatus for a month, when, this being a banner year for me, I took myself to France for three weeks. It was time to reconnect with aging family members, and with grade school chums from Casablanca, and meet up with girlfriends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in at least 40 years. As “best” school pals would, we simply picked up where we had left off.

Since my cousin lives ATOP the Gare Montparnasse (the rooftop is a public park!) I had plenty of opportunities to step inside the gare. This is what I observed:

Quelle idée géniale! Two cyclists powering their cell phone while on an exercise bike. I burst out laughing and the two cyclists thought I was the nutty one. And then, there was a public piano:

I joined the line forming in front of Chez Paul sandwicherie inside the main hall. This I did, once, twice, three and four times over the course of a week. I had just stumbled onto one of Chez Paul’s internationally known sandwich shops. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul. I was instantly hooked with a CRUNCHY baguette sandwich filled with a generous helping of jambon de Paris. And his fresh Tarte à l’Abricot. Chez Paul operates franchises in Casablanca, Qatar, Koweit, and Portugal among others. Best of all, you will find Chez Paul inside the terminals at Charles de Gaulle airport, a most appealing alternative to the overly priced and tasteless pseudo Chinese, Italian, or Japanese fast-food.

The other craze from Paris to Vienna to Toulouse is sushi! Every hole in the wall restaurant features sushi on the menu (A sushi and a dim sum bar at the staid Galeries Lafayette? Oui madame.) And POKE. POKE?! Hawaii’s national dish! In that regard, I ask the same question I do about argan oil: Argan argan everywhere, but where does it come from (a tree traditionally is endemic to Morocco’s southern regions.) How can the world’s oceans produce ENDLESS amounts of FRESH RAW FISH??? Je ne sais pas. Make sure you know its source. http://www.ozy.com/good-sht/how-paris-put-its-spin-on-this-hawaiian-dish/

Non merci: When in France, feed me cassoulet, a butter-logged croque-monsieur, frites, fresh baguette, a squishy baba oozing with Martinique rum (such as the one at the Brasserie Montparnasse, where the waiter brought us a liter of rum, and told us to finish it off by pouring the contents on two babas.) Our waiter was a transplanted Camerounais! Who said Parisians were unfriendly?

Les Passages de Paris:

My first “retrouvaille” was with my dear friend Roselyne Rahoule, who happens to be our neighbor at Dar Zitoun (and in former times, in Casablanca.) Roselyne had planned a special day that included browsing through Les Passages Couverts de Paris. What a treat. Les Passages consist of a series of nineteenth century commercial “alleys” bisecting buildings, and topped with gorgeous glass domes. Most of them grace the right bank near the Grands Boulevards. Up to 150 passages existed in the late 19th. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passages_couverts_de_Paris and http://www.lexpress.fr/diaporama/diapo-photo/tendances/voyage/paris-top-10-des-plus-beaux-passages-couverts-parisiens_1239783.html

What a perfect stroll on a rainy Parisian day. The sumptuous Galerie Vivienne which took more than 2 hours to explore, with unique boutiques, and Pakistani, Moroccan, Thai, sushi bars, and yes, even an authentic Parisian bistro. A real bistro lunch of Noix de St Jacques in garlic butter and Magret de Canard at Le Café du Commerce (caféducommerce.com) provided the icing on le gâteau. Among the most enticing boutiques was Emilio Robba’s (emiliorobba.com) magical display of artificial plants and flowers. In nearby Passage des Panoramas, the charming Hemingbird (sic) lured us inside with its delightful paper goods. We got to chat with the owner, who, wouldn’t you know, hailed from Chile! Merci Roselyne for these memorable retrouvailles (her husband, Abderrahmane Rahoule, is one of Morocco’s best-known contemporary artists.)

Paris’ annual LIVRE PARIS, Salon du Livre de Paris, book expo, beckoned a day later. Emmanuel Macron, possibly France’s next president, made a brief appearance. More important, I met with a publisher regarding my French translation for Mint Tea and Minarets, Le Riad au Bord de L’oued. Hope springs eternal. I am determined to see that book published in French! Among many treasures I obtained a brochure listing the Federation du Village du Livre en France, villages and towns all over France that specialize in bookstores of all genres.

My next retrouvailles took me to Normandy to meet up with Pat, who was our neighbor in Casablanca in the late 1950s. With Pat and her husband Jean Dominique I discovered Caen and its environs, where my friends Pat and Jean-Dom took me on an aerial tour of the Normandy beavhes in their home-built ORION plane. An excursion to remember!

Behind the Tour Montparnasse, a stone’s throw from the Gare, lies the atelier/Musée Bourdelle, a new one for me. Antoine Bourdelle was a sculptor who created many a public monument. http://www.bourdelle.paris.fr/ The unusual juxtaposition of Bourdelle’s work and Balenciaga’s signature BLACK evening dresses proved arresting. http://www.bourdelle.paris.fr/fr/exposition/balenciaga-loeuvre-au-noir (until July 2017)

Buses: I used the Flexbus and the Ouibus to get from Paris to Normandy, and return from Caen to Charles de Gaulle airport. JUST NINE euros (about USD12) buys a two-hour, relaxing bus ride from Paris to Caen, or return. Depart from the somewhat off putting La Défense, or Porte Maillot. You can even purchase a ticket online. Check out the bus companies’ websites.

Metro: The Paris metro is overcrowded and lugubrious, yet the most convenient means of transportation. I got lost in the underworld maze of the Gare St Lazare, and I wasn’t the only one! So I latched on to a school of equally aimless lemmings, got on the wrong train, did an aller-retour only to return where I started from, only to locate my exit on the opposite side of the corridor. TAKE THE BUS! A Metro ticket buys you a seat on any bus. What a relief to remain above ground and catch glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées, the Opera, and the Louvre MOBBED, MOBBED, MOBBED, with tourists. Thank goodness I didn’t feel I had to visit it once again.

CELL PHONE quandary:I have an iPhone, but I am very slow on the uptake. I purchased a Verizon plan for 30 days’ overseas service. I managed to connect to my cousin’s wi-fi in Paris (I travelled with 3 phones one for Morocco, one for Chile, and the iPhone.) “Non, neither the Moroccan nor the Chilean cell phones will work en France,” said the friendly techs at Darty dept store. SO I purchased a fourth phone for local use. “Can you sell me a sim card for the phone?” “Ah! Non, so sorry, for that you have to go to the ORANGE (phone co.) store on the Rue de Rennes.” Half an hour’s walk and 2 miles later, I staggered into the Orange Store, exhausted, ready to cast all my phones in the Seine.

Classes and presentations:

I am home for the summer and Fall. I would be happy to schedule a presentation, either on Moroccan cuisine and culture, or on edible flowers. Short lead times are OK with me! As you know, I have given these to schools, museums, universities, cookbook, garden, and book clubs. Send me an email for information.

Next time: Vienna, Nice, more Paris, and Toulouse

Suite au prochain numero, stay tuned!

Kasbah Chronicles February March 2017

 

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THE KASBAH CHRONICLES

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017

Contents:

Musings

March is French language month

Overheard

Classes and presentations

News of Morocco and beyond:

Links of interest

 

DAR ZITOUN now listed with Christie’s

Our riad, DAR ZITOUN, renamed Dar Azema for advertising purposes, IS NOW LISTED WITH CHRISTIE’S.

You are most welcome to spread the word!

https://www.kensingtonmorocco.com/en/property-sales/azemmour/riads/dar-azema/

 

MUSINGS:

January came and went, as did February, and rain, rain, wonderful rain. Those who live in wet climates cannot imagine how exciting it is to experience one downpour after another. And I mean downpours! Thunder! Lightning! Frightened dogs! Traffic-stopping grey and white puffs barrel across the sky and over the hills to provide a thrill for sunbaked eyes.

Thus I deemed necessary a change of scenery: I am off to France at the end of March to reconnect with three childhood girlfriends from Casablanca . . . Lots of pâté, and lots of girl talk in store.

I have been here already: have you? Les catacombes de Paris

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/06/beyond-kingdom-death-journey-subterranean-paris?CMP=share_btn_link

 Francophiles may be interested to learn that March is “le mois de la francophonie.” Who knew there were still French dialects spoken in the US?? Fascinating! Check this out on France Amérique:

https://france-amerique.com/fr/la-resistance-des-dialectes-francais-aux-etats-unis/

“ March is “le Mois de la Francophonie” — Francophone Month! For the occasion, France-Amérique takes you on a U.S. tour of the French dialects in Maine, in Missouri, and in Louisiana. Read more.

 “. . . France-Amérique vous propose un tour d’Amérique des dialectes français qui vous emmènera dans le Maine, dans le Missouri et en Louisiane. Lire la suite.

RECIPE:

I picked a handful of green tomatoes clinging to a dying vine. They brought to mind the expanses of tomatoes that once blanketed San Diego County. Remember when the fields behind Mission San Luis Rey were covered in tomatoes? The fields have made way to homes but the farmer’s recipe lives on in my book, The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing, 1999)

(Ex) Valley Heights Ranch Fried Green Tomatoes

      For seven decades, the Yasukochis have farmed the fields behind Mission San Luis Rey, the oldest continuously-operating mission in California. This San Diego County family, like other local tomato farmers, has seen its acreage shrink dramatically over the years, due to increased water and labor costs, and to the encroachment of housing developments. Yet, like their ancestors did before them, the Yasukochis remain committed to the land. Their popular vegetable stand off busy Mission Boulevard lures dozens of drivers daily with their basketsful of freshly-picked tomatoes. Jane, an aficionada of Fried Green Tomatoes, adds a pinch of dry Ranch-style or buttermilk salad dressing mix to the egg white for extra flavor.

 

2 large or 3 medium green tomatoes, washed, and cut in 1/4 inch slices

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 cup flour for dredging

1 egg white, slightly beaten

1 tsp. dry buttermilk dressing mix

1/4 cup breadcrumbs or cornmeal for dredging

Vegetable oil for frying

Sliced cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place tomato slices on breadboard or other flat surface. Sprinkle with salt, and let stand a few minutes. Pat dry. Dredge each tomato slice in flour. Set aside. In small bowl, mix egg white with dressing mix. Dip each tomato slice in mixture, then dredge in breadcrumbs or cornmeal. In large frying pan, heat small amount of oil, and fry tomato slices on both sides. Top each one with cheese slice, and turn off heat. Cover pan and let stand until cheese melts. If using Parmesan, sprinkle on just before serving. Yield: 4 servings as side dish.

 Where are Kitty’s Books?

The Spanish Table, Berkeley

Books Inc, Palo Alto

Speaking of books: Opening May 16, 2017

Chicago boasts a new museum:

A National Museum Celebrating American Writers
Opening in Chicago on May 16, 2017

“Literature matters. The incredibly diverse history of this country can be accessed, interpreted, illuminated, shared, through the literatures created by its writer. . .”

Overheard:

TRUST EVERYONE BUT TIE UP YOUR CAMEL!!!

Classes and Presentations:

I recently had the opportunity to experience these traditional North African activities:

Zumba and Belly Dancing with instructor Marcella Alva: http://www.dance2fitness.com

Henna designs for you, just like in Morocco. Great party activity! Her designs are GORGEOUS!

www.cmoondesigns.com

And Oud music to soothe your soul:

Frank Lazarro and Alexi Rabay duo play traditional Andalusian music: alexicanhelpyou@gmail.com

FOOD NEWS:

Great food history site:

http://www.onthetable.us

MAY IN LA: lafoodbowl.com:

21 days of fun and food

If you haven’t already booked your next culinary trip to Chengdu or Paris, Jerusalem or Oaxaca, then you might consider staying in — or traveling to — Los Angeles for some, or all, of those 31 days. Because that’s when the Los Angeles Times will be presenting Food Bowl, a monthlong food festival.

French champagne in New Mexico:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tmullen/2017/01/23/gruet-french-quality-bubbles-from-the-american-desert/#482c16f4fe17

“Turn back time to 1952, when in the city of Bethon, France, a 21-year-old man named Gilbert Gruet and his wife Danielle followed their dream of establishing the Champagne producing label of Gruet et Fils. Thirty-one years later, together with their children, they visited the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico. “WINE IN MOROCCO: How about this?? “Best sommelier”: Who thinks Morocco doesn’t produce wine. Today, the country boasts award-winning sommeliers!

Zakaria Wahby, premier “Meilleur sommelier du Maroc”

 

News of Morocco and beyond:

 

. . . Nouvelle exposition dédiée aux artistes femmes au musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Rabat: Women artists showcased at Rabat museum.

http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2016/11/22/art-se-conjugue-au-femini_n_13150988.html?utm_hp_ref=maroc

Another exciting piece of news from Morocco:

http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2017/02/21/nasa-decouvertehttp://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2017/02/21/nasa-decouverte_n_14894390.html

“Une découverte majeure de la NASA réalisée avec l’Observatoire de l’Oukaïmeden

NASA Finds Solar System With Seven Earth-Sized Planets.

“The truth really is out there. NASA revealed yesterday that it’s discovered seven rocky, Earth-sized planets orbiting dwarf star Trappist-1, just 39 light years away. Three are in the habitable zone and could contain liquid water. The fact that Trappist-1 is a dwarf star. . . “

I learned to ski at the Oukaimeden, Morocco’s highest peak, where it snows until April (if one can call sliding down the slope on my backside)

LIKE the observatoire: https://www.facebook.com/Observatoire.Oukaimeden/posts/1245059385548737

I did go to France, and will fill you in next time on food and location details.

Bon appetit!