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
The French have adopted our custom. C’est vraiment too much!
My literary trip to New England
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.”
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!
(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
Moroccan Squash with Caramelized Onions
1 lb Mediterranean pumpkin or butternut squash
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.
Closer to home:
Where have the avocados gone? Quelle tristesse, où sont passés les avocats (fruits, pas les hommes?)
Roi du chocolat:
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?
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.
Discovery of the month: Idiotismes gastronomiques:
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.
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 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
Sweet “pineapple” quince is the variety most commonly available in the United States. You can substitute chicken legs and thighs for the rabbit.
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.
Join me for the webchats (see my previous post), if you can!
JOYEUSE FETE D'(H)alloween!