Pomelo Banh Trang Rolls

                                                                                                                                                  Another cooking class today with Chef Instructor Noelle Barille at the Culinary Center onboard Oceania’s Riviera.


                                                Pomelo  Banh Trang Rolls

These rolls are a lot of fun to make – plus they’re healthy and taste delicious.  You can use  grapefruit or blood oranges instead of pomelo which may not be readily available. The method is similar to rolling sushi, you should roll them on a damp cloth napkin.

Pomelo  Banh Trang Rolls

Ingredients (Serves 6)

Miang Sauce

1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon thinly sliced Thai bird chiles
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted coconut flakes
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts
1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried galangal (or you can substitute ginger root )
1/3 to 1/2 cup tamarind concentrate

Pomelo Rolls
1 cup thin cellophane noodles
1 cup pomelo or grapefruit segments
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted coconut flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh Thai basil or sweet basil
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
6 rice paper wrappers, 8½ inches in diameter
6 Boston lettuce leaves, thick ribs remove
12 chive stems for garnish

For the Miang Sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the palm sugar and water, place over medium heat, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the chiles, coconut, peanuts, and ½ teaspoon of the galangal, and let cool to room temperature. Stir in 1/3 cup of the tamarind. Taste and adjust with additional tamarind and galangal, if needed.

For the Rolls: Soak the cellophane noodles in room temperature water or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Drain well.  Pour half of the Miang sauce into a medium bowl and add the noodles.  Toss gently to season the noodles. Combine the pomelo (grapefruit), coconut, peanuts, basil, mint, sliced chives, and shallot. Stir  gently to mix.

Dampen a kitchen towel with lukewarm water, and lay it flat on a work surface. Lay 1 rice paper wrapper on the towel. Dampen a second towel with lukewarm water, and lay it over the wrappers.

Working with one wrapper at a time, keeping the others covered, place a lettuce leaf horizontally across the wrapper, positioning it about 2 inches from the bottom of the wrapper. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the pomelo (grapefruit) mixture along the length of the leaf, add an equal amount of the noodle mixture, and shape to form a compact log. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the log, then roll away from you, gently but tightly, stopping about halfway. Fold in the sides of the wrapper and continue to roll to the top edge of the wrapper. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, keeping the finished rolls under a lightly dampened kitchen towel until all of the rolls are assembled.

TO SERVE: Cut the rolls in half on a slight diagonal. Arrange a roll on each individual serving plate, standing one half up and laying the other half on its side. Slip 2 chive stems into the top of the standing half of each roll. Divide the sauce evenly among small dishes and place a dish alongside each serving.

Bon Appetit!!

Belize Chicken with Rice and Beans

The National cuisine of Belize is a combination of Caribbean, Creole and Spanish influences.  Here are two of Belize’s most traditional recipes.

                                          Belize Chicken with Rice and Beans

Belize Chicken

Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bites
2 tablespoons allspice
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
Dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon)1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Using tongs mix chicken, allspice, Creole seasoning, and cayenne in a large bowl.  Carefully add the chicken to the oil.  Cook chicken 6 to 8 minutes.  Then serve chicken with coconut rice and black beans.

Rice and Beans

2 cups of rice
1 cup of red kidney beans
1 cup of coconut milk
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of dried thyme
Salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in water for about 6 hours.  Chop the onion and garlic, and  cook.  Add the beans and cover with water, and bring to boil until tender.  Add thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper, and coconut milk.   Add the rice and cook until tender, stirring occasionally with a fork.




Lunch in Honduras

Well, we missed the green market and the fish market but found some interesting staples…vanilla, beans, rice and lots of hot sauce.                                                  






Baleadas is a staple in the country of Honduras served to Honduran families for breakfast   or as supper.  By folding a flour tortilla you can fill it with a myriad of delicious fillings.  Here is a recipe for Baleadas.

                                                     Honduras Baleadas

Serves 4 – 6
8 Flour Tortillas
2 cups Refried beans
1/2 cup Crumbled queso duro, cotija or feta cheese
1/4 cup Mexican style sour cream

Heat over medium flame and do not grease griddle or skillet.  Meanwhile, heat up the refried beans in a saucepan, stirring in a little water.
Place a tortilla into the skillet and heat it on both sides to soften it up. Place the tortilla on a serving plate. Smear some refried beans on one half of the tortilla, sprinkle it with some crumbled cheese and drizzle it with a little sour cream. Fold the tortilla in half over the filling.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas and serve hot.

Buen provecho!



A Cooking Class in Cozumel

When a recipe is easy and tastes divine, we have a winner!  How about some Caramelized Plantains with a Chocolate Tequila Sauce….

Ingredients:  (serves 4)
Plantains – 2 large pieces
1 oz. cinnamon
1.8 oz. butter
3.5 oz. granulated sugar
5.3 oz.dark chocolate pieces
1/4 cup milk
4 Tablespoons Tequila (Optional)

Halve the plantains across  and then lengthwise; sprinkle flat side with sugar and cinnamon to taste.
Heat butter and sugar in a pan; add plantains flat side down and cook for 30 seconds, flip and cook for 1 minute.
Remove plantains from the pan and place them on a plate.
In the same pan, add 1/4 cup milk and dark chocolate.
Cook, stirring constantly until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth.
Add Tequila if desired.
Pour sauce over the plantains and serve.

Buen provecho!

A Coco Loco Drink

A Coco Loco is a famous drink, but the recipe depends on where you are drinking it.  Each country has its own version.  Here’s the Mexican version from Cozumel.

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 cups ice
2 1/2 ounces coconut rum
2 1/2 ounces white Creme de Cacao
2 ounces unsweetened coconut milk

Add all the ingredients to the container of an electric blender.
Cover and process on high for about 20 seconds or until the drink is smooth (May have to pulse on and off at first to get things going).
Pour into hollowed out coconut or 2 chilled glasses and enjoy.




Chef Barille’s Cooking Class

Meet Chef Instructor Noelle Barille, who has been chosen to lead the cooking classes at    sea for Oceania Cruises.  Chef Barille, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) who has worked in restaurants and catering in New York, California, Chicago and Europe.  She is a passionate instructor who loves food and travel and especially loves        sharing her skills with students who want to learn.  In 2009 Chef Barille joined the Rome Sustainable Food Project, a joint venture with Alice Waters and the American Academy in Rome, Italy.  She lived and worked on a biodynamic farm, studied pasta-making, foraged for truffles in the Piedmonte and cooked her way around Northern Italy.  We missed her pasta class but were lucky to find a space in her Paris Bistro cooking class.  If you make her Classic Potato Gratin, you will think you’ve gone to heaven.  And you can work off the calories in your next gym visit.

Here is Chef Barille’s recipe for Classic Potato Gratin (serves 8 lucky diners).                    





1 cup heavy cream                      2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled     1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, preferably glass or ceramic.
Pour the cream into a large bowl.  Using a mandoline, thinly slice the potatoes and add them to the cream. (Do not rinse the slices in water)
In a large stockpot over med-high heat, combine the cream, potatoes, garlic and butter.  Heat for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are partially cooked.  Add the salt and pepper.  Taste the potatoes and, if needed, add more salt.
Remove the potatoes from the cream and layer them in the baking dish, overlapping them in each layer.  Remove the garlic pieces from the cream and discard.  Pour enough cream over the potatoes to reach two-thirds the height of the potatoes.  Bake until the potatoes are soft and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

A Caribbean Food Adventure

A Caribbean Food Adventure

Unbelievable as it may seem, this winter beautiful Cape Cod has been deluged by snow.  Normally we get a dusting and it’s gone in a day or two.  Not this year!  We’ve had 2 feet, 18 inches, one foot and it just doesn’t stop.  Restaurants that have never closed down for the winter before have shut their doors for 4 to 6 weeks and many lodgings shut down even longer.  We are so looking forward to spring.

Meanwhile everyone is taking off for as long as they can get away – to the sun and warm climes.  We’re off to Central America where it’s hot and sunny and where we’ll see what’s fresh in the markets and on the menus.  We’re taking our laptop with us so that we can share the foodie wonders of a few exotic places – and some not so exotic.  Come follow us!

The trip will be easy as it is onboard Oceania’s Riviera, home of the Culinary Center and of Master Chef Jacques Pepin overseeing the menu.  There will be culinary classes in French Bistro cooking and Asian Fusion and wine pairings with them.  And interesting food from the places we visit, much which is not familiar to American menus.  Let’s see what we find!

Sea Scallop and Lobster Ravioli with Vermouth, Sorrel and Parmesan

Another fabulous Entree presented by Chef Bob Calderone from the Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern at the restaurant’s annual December Sparkling Wine Dinner.  After a short hiatus, the Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern is open and ready for spring.  Watch our Events page for their monthly wine dinners – what a treat after a winter of hunkering down.

Sea Scallop and Lobster Ravioli with Vermouth, Sorrel and Parmesan

Pasta Dough

4 cups high gluten flour
6 whole large eggs and a pinch of salt

In food processor combine flour, eggs and salt until smooth dough appears. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and reserve for assembly.

Ravioli Filling

2 Lbs. sea scallops
2 egg whites
2 cups extra heavy cream
2 Tbls chopped parsley
chives and basil
Salt,pepper and lemon juice to taste
1/2 lb. diced lobster meat
2 whole eggs, beaten

In a food processor puree sea scallops, egg whites, and heavy cream until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add diced cooked lobster meat, chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
To make the raviolis, roll out the pasta dough to a thin long sheet using a pasta machine.  Lay the rolled dough over a ravioli mold and make a well for the filling.  Brush with beaten whole eggs.  Add the filling 1 spoonful at a time.  Add next layer of rolled pasta sheet and push the filling deep into the well.  With a rolling pin or some other rolling object, firmly seal the raviolis.  Separate raviolis and cook or reserve for a later date.  These raviolis can also be frozen.


6 oz. olive oil
8 diced garlic cloves
2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1 cup dry Vermouth
2 cups clam broth
8 oz. butter
6 oz. Parmesan
2 Tbls. Sliced Sorrel

Heat a heavy sauté pan, add olive oil and toast garlic until lightly brown. Add diced plum tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes over high heat. Add dry vermouth, clam broth and bring to a boil. Finish with butter, Parmesan cheese and sliced Sorrel. Add cooked raviolis to sauce and serve.

Bon Appetit!!!!

The Kasbah Chronicles February 2015 / Kitty Morse

Excerpts from Kitty Morse’s Kasbah Chronicles for February 2015.

                                       The monarchs are back!

Who would ever think of endowing apostrophes and commas with human attributes? If you have time to spare, take a look at Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a brilliant little book that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Am I the only one? I am embarrassed to admit that I purchased a Kindle Fire, then decided to return it. My brain rebelled at mastering yet ANOTHER electronic gadget. Enticed by free eBooks and the promise of free movies on Amazon, I used my Kindle to watch two strangely absorbing series, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent.  eBooks from unknown authors proved more of a quandary. Thus, the Kindle Fire and I parted ways: the Kindle returned to to Amazon, and I, to my local library’s second-hand store where I perused through shelves of REAL books, Eat, Shoots and Leaves among them.

Freed from the irresistible pull of the Kindle’s screen, I made orange blossom preserves. A carpet of delicate white petals covered the ground of our “family orchard” (about 6 citrus trees.) In between rain showers, I was able to gather the two cups of blossoms to test my recipe (see Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion)

My new favorite side-dish, thanks to Ron Baker, grill master par excellence.                                                                                         Grilled Hearts of Romaine

Romaine lettuce is also called “cos” lettuce.


1 head Romaine, rinsed, dried, and cut lengthwise into quarters, leaving the base intact.
A little olive oil mixed with minced garlic and a pinch of salt
Grated Parmesan, if desired.


Bring a grill to temperature (outside grill or stovetop grill.) Baste the Romaine with olive oil mixture. Grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning with tongs. Sprinkle with cheese, and SAVOR!

A Biblical Feast (Kindle edition as well) and Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories, are available directly from me     http://www.mintteaandminarets.com  or through Amazon.com.

Bismillah and Bon Appétit!







Salubrious Salutations

A “Salubrious Salutation” that  brings to the attention of fellow wine drinkers the importance of the initial Toast when you open a bottle of wine.

“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one’s present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.”
– Latin Translation