Tag Archives: Halloween

The Kasbah Chronicles: October 2021 C’est l’Halloween!

The Kasbah Chronicles
Les Chroniques de la Kasbah
In English and en français
Now it its 13th year
C’est la 13ième année!
 A FIERY SUNRISE IN VISTA
VIVE l’HALLOWEEN

The French have adopted our custom. C’est vraiment too much!
Even in my mother’s hometown of Châlons-en-Champagne
http://www.lhebdoduvendredi.com/article/41646/programme-mortelpour-challoween

MUSINGS

My literary trip to New England
Notes on my upcoming cookbook
Recipe: a repeat for Thanksgiving
My Algerian great-grandmother’s cassolita
Links of interest
Idiotismes Gastronomiques: brush up on your French idioms
A new farm stand: From the exclusive Golden Door Spa
Moroccan items for sale

MUSINGS:
It has been a month since I returned from a literary tour to New England to view the leaves turning in Massachusets, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. As usual, my friend and colleague Susan McBeth, founder of Adventures by the Book (https://adventuresbythebook.com) had pulled out all the stops. Our 9-day tour flew by, with a private tour of  Beacon Hill homes in Boston, a magical evening inside the city’s legendary Athenaeum library,

visit with local authors, and visit to the homes of major American literary figures such as the home Little Women and Louisa May Alcott, chez Longfellow in Portland, ME, Thoreau’s farmhouse digs, and Robert Frost’s enchanted forest and tree-lined Poetry Trail.

 

A thrill for me was to “visit” my book, Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion, on display in the gift shop of at the quirky and awe-inspiring Isabella Stewart Museum in Boston. I love finding my books in such famous “homes.”

https://www.gardnermuseum.org

Boston has discovered fish tacos (so has Paris, by the way…but that is another story.)

One of my quests? To eat as many lobster rolls as possible. I am happy to report I overdosed.

We did see the leaves turn, we walked under a covered bridge, and we ate more  lobster rolls. Oh yes! We even went on a lobster fishing expedition near Kennebunkport, ME. Good news: the lobster catch this year is excellent. Lobsters have returned to the waters of New England.

One of the most unusual items I discovered along the way is this Moroccan Rose and Grapefruit flavored vodka—in the wilds of Vermont. Really? Tasted like pure vodka to me!
https://www.smugglersnotchdistillery.com/spirits/moroccan-rose-and-grapefruit-flavored-vodka/ In Jeffersonville VT
Smugglers’ Notch Distillery® is a father/son partnership in Jeffersonville, Vermont. The distillery was founded in 2006 at the foot of the famed Smugglers’ Notch, site of many a clandestine bootlegger’s run through this rugged Vermont mountain pass.

Recipe: Cassolita

(I will spare you a repeat of comedian Art Buchwald’s column on Le Jour de Merci Donnant (where he explains Thanksgiving to the French, but I still think it’s hilarious!) And cassolita is the perfect side dish for turkey

Kitty’s Cassolita
Moroccan Squash with Caramelized Onions
(serves 4)
 

1 lb Mediterranean pumpkin or butternut squash
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
1/4 C slivered almonds, toasted

Place unpeeled squash in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel and cut into serving pieces and place in baking dish.

Cook the onions in the oil, with the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the raisins and cook 5 minutes longer. Spread the mixture over the squash, sprinkle with the almonds, cover with foil, and return to the oven to heat for 20 minutes.
PS: This can be made a day ahead.

Closer to home:
https://spectatorworld.com/life/avocado-angst-safe-eat/

Where have the avocados gone? Quelle tristesse, où sont passés les avocats (fruits, pas les hommes?)
Not avocados as well! What’s left to eat in this diet crazy world! I live a few miles from the avocado capital of the world: Fallbrook, CA. Have they heard the news?? Their avocado festival draws 100,000 visitors each year. No guacamole in my life? Are you kidding? Where does that leave tacos, chiles rellenos and Superbowl dips??

Roi du chocolat:
The world’s future king of chocolate lives close by, in San Marcos, CA. Bonne chance!
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/north-county/san-marcos/story/2021-10-13/san-diegos-surfing-chef-christophe-rull-crowned-americas-chocolate-king

Teslas in my maman’s home town of Châlons-en-Champagne. It’s fun to follow the news of the town where my mother was born, and where my maternal great-parents lived until the mid-1920s. I have been steeped in THEIR lives for the past 18 months—from the Belle Epoque to the end of WW2, through their own handwritten legacy: a daily journal and 70 family recipes. A gut-wrenching project. What would be their reaction upon this latest mode of transportation?
http://www.lhebdoduvendredi.com/article/41543/les-vehicules-electriques-de-tesla-bientot-a-chalons

Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion has also found a home at the beautiful Sherman Library and Botanical Gardens in Corona del Mar, CA. An ideal time to visit is during the holidays.
https://thesherman.org

Discovery of the month: Idiotismes gastronomiques: 
I stumbled upon the most brilliant Wikipedia page called idiotismes gastronomiques. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_d%27idiotismes_gastronomiques_fran%C3%A7ais
Francophones and francophiles, you need to read this to enrich your knowledge of French idioms and  penetrate the French soul. So many terms of endearment and insults have to do with food:
Do you belong to le gratin, better yet, le gratin parisien? The Parisian upper class? Not I!
 
Tu n’es pas dans ton assiette ? You are not in your plate? Are you not feeling well??
 
Mon bout de chou: my little piece of cabbage, is what my mother used as a term of endearment
 
Prendre de la bouteille, to acquire the bottle, applies to all of us : it means to grow old! It goes with prendre de la brioche, to acquire some brioche…to gain weight.
 
My father was always guilty of this:
Appuyer sur le champignon, to push on the mushroom, or push on the gas pedal.
 
And Elle a bu le bouillon d’onze heures…she drank the broth of the eleventh hour…the potion which will send her to the next world.


Bismillah and Bon Appétit and
UN BON L”HALLOWEEN…

PS: I am still downsizing and getting rid of a number of vintage and antique Moroccan artifacts.  Please send me an email if you would like to view the items before the holidays.

The Kasbah Chronicles/Tagine of Quince

 

October 2011

 

Nothing surprised me more two or three years ago, than to learn from one of my “foodie” cousins in Paris, that “Alloween” (with silent "h", sic) had taken root in France. Dozens of sites initiated novices to la soirée d’Halloween, from cooking sites featuring cupcakes called “les caries de la sorcière” (the witch’s cavities) to other web pages giving step by step directions on how to carve your “citrouille” (pumpkin). Go to [1]http://www.2travelandeat.com/France) if curiosity gets the better of you!

 

Meanwhile: In the Moroccan kitchen!

IN SEASON: QUINCE!

 

Purchasing a quince is a great way to start up a conversation at the farmer’s market. Questions range from “What is this funny looking fruit?" to "What do you make with it?”

 

"Membrillo (quince paste), or quince jelly!" might be the input of Hispanic and Italian cooks. In Morocco, the seasonal appearance of “sfergel” (as quince is called in local darija dialect) is cause for rejoicing. Bouchaib, the cook/caretaker at our family riad, Dar Zitoun, couldn’t wait to head for the souk to purchase the first sfergel. Our dear friend passed away a few years ago, and in his memory, I offer you the dish he used to prepare. This tagine is an adaptation from the one featured in my first cookbook, Come with me to the Kasbah: A Cook’s Tour of Morocco.

 



Tagine of Rabbit with Quince

Tagine de Lapin aux Coings

Serves 4

 

Sweet “pineapple” quince is the variety most commonly available in the United States. You can substitute chicken legs and thighs for the rabbit.

 

2 quinces

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons turmeric

3 pounds rabbit, cut up

2 onions diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup broth or reserved quince cooking liquid

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Core (do not peel), remove seeds, and cut quinces into fairly thick wedges. Place in a bowl of acidulated water to prevent darkening. Drain.

 

Transfer quince to a saucepan over medium heat, and barely cover fruit with water. Add honey and cinnamon. Cook until quinces are tender. Drain, reserving liquid.

 

Meanwhile, in a tagine dish placed over a heat diffuser, or in a medium casserole, heat olive oil and turmeric over medium-high heat. Cook,

stirring, until spices begin to foam. Add rabbit pieces and stir to coat, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth (or quince cooking liquid) and salt. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook until rabbit is tender, 50 to 55 minutes.

 

With a slotted spoon transfer rabbit to a serving dish and keep warm. Transfer cooked quince to pan, and bring sauce to a simmer on top of the stove. It

should be quite sweet. Add honey, if desired. Season with pepper. Cook until sauce thickens, 6 to 8 minutes.

 

To serve, mound rabbit on a platter, and top with the sauce and wedges of quince (the photo above shows how carefully Bouchaib used to “carve” the

fruit!) Serve with crusty bread.


Reminder:

Join me for the webchats (see my previous post), if you can!

 

JOYEUSE FETE D'(H)alloween!