The Kasbah Chronicles March 2014/Kitty Morse

 

                                                                  Musings  

Meanwhile, a ocean and a continent away, I came across a marmalade recipe my mother typed out for me years ago. She, in turn, told me she had obtained it from my English grandmother. And so, I have been perpetuating family tradition with the fruit from my blood orange tree, and the four other citrus varieties that make up our “family fruit trees.” When I was growing up in Morocco, my parents planned an annual jaunt to Marrakech so we could gather the Seville oranges that fell from the trees lining the streets. I don’t grow the Seville oranges used for Dundee’s “traditional ” English marmalade, but common American fruit does just fine.

A word to the wise: Two fruit trees of the same variety in one garden is TOO MUCH! I may have to open up a fruit stand at the bottom of our driveway!

It’s official (1)

Chefs Press (www.chefspress.com) of San Diego will produce a brand new edition (with many new recipes) of Edible Flowers, originally published in 1995 by Ten Speed Press. Look for the new, illustrated paperback in early 2015.

It’s official (2)

To celebrate the TENTH PRINTING of Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen (Chronicle Books 1999), here is one of my favorite SPRING dips excerpted from the book. I purchased fresh favas at my local Mexican market, though they are often sold at Italian and Middle Eastern markets. When I find young pods, I simply slit them open, and dip the raw beans in a little salt.

Bissara

Fresh Fava Bean Dip

Makes about 2 cups

 Every man believes that his fava beans are the best.

                                        –Moroccan Saying

 A fresh fava bean dip is a delightful alternative to hummus. Once shelled, young fava beans don’t need to be peeled. Peeling is recommended for tougher-skinned, mature beans.

2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons minced parsley, for garnish
Pita bread wedges, for serving

Fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring it to a boil. Blanch the beans for 2 or 3 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Peel if the beans are large

In a blender or food processor, place half the beans, reserved liquid, and lemon juice. (Add more liquid for a thinner dip). Process, scraping down the sides with a spatula, until mixture is fairly smooth. Add remaining beans and the oil, and process until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in salt and cumin. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with pita bread.

Kitty in the media: Imagine my delight when I woke up to a friend’s e-mail forwarding  a link to the March issue of Sunset magazine along with a recipe featuring one of my spice blends and fava beans (p.78)!

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/fava-egg-salad-sandwiches-50400000133931/

and another:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/18/3632944/lamb-kabobs-moroccan-fast-food.html

and

http://www.goerie.com/article/20140219/LIFESTYLES04/302199995/Lamb-kebabs-a-fast-food-favorite

As well as a blog post from an American blogger living in Marrakesh.

http://marocmama.com/2014/02/guest-post-dar-zitoun-azemmour.html

Who carries Mint Tea and Minarets?

Thanks to many of you I am still adding stores to my list: A BIG SHOKRAN you to all of those who have stores.

Maine:

http://www.RabelaisBooks.com

Massachusets

http://www.nantucketbookworks.com

Bismillah and Bon Appetit

More Great Recipes from Oceania Cruise Lines Executive Chef Alban Gjoka and Executive Sous Chef Mario Santoro

Gazpacho Shooters
Half a baguette
2 ½ lbs. ripe plum tomatoes
½ peeled and seeded cucumber
1 bell pepper, seeded and cored
2 – 3 cloves garlic
2 Tbls. sherry vinegar
6 Tbls. Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Dry the bread under a broiler and break into small pieces.  Quarter the tomato and remove the stem end and hard bits.  Blend the pepper in a food processor, then add the remaining ingredients up to the olive oil.  Add the olive oil slowly to achieve a creamy texture.  If required, add cold water to get the correct consistency.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  Allow to chill and rest for an hour and up to a day.  Pour into shooter glasses, garnish and drizzle with olive oil.
You can also turn this dish into a lunch by adding more bread cubes (or even a few shrimp).

 

Beef Medallion with Three Pepper Sauce
(Serves 4)
4 Beef fillets (6 oz. each)
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups veal demi glace
2 Tbls. each black, green and pink pepper corns
1 shot glass brandy
2 Shallots
Cilantro or parsley for garnish.
Season the beef with olive oil and salt.  In a very hot pan, sear the beef for a few minutes and reserve.  In the same pan, toast the black, pink and green peppercorns; and add the chopped shallots.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Deglaze with the brandy and flambé.  Add the veal demi glaze, and reduce for 5 minutes.  Add the chopped cilantro 5 minutes before serving.

Another fabulous lunch on Oceania’s Nautica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oceania Cruises Bon Appetit Culinary Center

Oceania Cruises and Bon Appetit Magazine created the Bon Appetit Culinary Center on the Oceania Cruise ships Riviera and Marina.  It’s the world’s only hands-on culinary studio at sea, a distinction that elevates the onboard gourmand experience to a level of participation far beyond even the grandest expectations. 

Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly is the Master Chef in charge of the Bon Appetit Culinary Centers which are the only cooking schools at sea to offer hands-on cooking instructions.

 As someone who experienced this program on the Riviera last fall I can tell you first hand that it is an amateur cook’s dream to shop and cook with these outstanding Chefs.

 Here is a sample of one of the delicious recipes from Chef Kelly.

Chef Kelly’s Pasta Primavera

Ingredients
1 carrot, julienned
½   zucchini, julienned
10 snow peas
¼ cup clam juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼   cup minced shallots
¼ cup dry white wine
6 shrimp, shelled and deveined
¼ cup heavy cream
½   teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
4 ounces fresh pasta
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 basil leaves

Directions

Heat medium pot of generously salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil.
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, cook the carrot, zucchini, and snow peas in the clam sauce.  When al dente, remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.In the same pan, melt the butter.  Add the shallot and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent.  Add the wine and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the wine almost evaporates and the mixture is nearly dry, or “sec”.

Add the shrimp.  Cook the shrimp on one side for about 3 minutes, until pink.  Turn over the shrimp.  Add the cream, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes.  Allow the mixture to come to gentle boil.  When the liquid begins to reduce, add the cooked vegetables.

Add the pasta to the boiling, salted water and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, until it floats.  Drain the pasta and add it to the shrimp and vegetable mixture.  Toss in the cheese.  Stack the basil leaves, roll them into a cigar, and slice into a chiffonade.  Serve the pasta with a garnish of basil chiffonade.

Bon Appetit!!!!

Chicken Espanola

Bistro on the Go ( http://www.bistroonthego.com/) is a personal chef service that opened on Cape Cod in the spring of 2011.  Behind the cute logo is a personal chef named Peggy Eagan, who owns the business. “Basically, I’m a lawyer who likes to eat and loves to cook,” she says with a smile.  “I’ve always loved being in the kitchen, cooking, and feeding people.  When I was growing up with my family in Mexico, cooking and eating were a big part of the culture. My grandmother taught me to appreciate fresh ingredients, as well as the art of cooking those ingredients in a way that nourished the body and soul.” 

Indeed, there is a lot of talent underlying her humble roots.  Although Peggy would someday like to own a restaurant, becoming a personal chef/caterer has given her a way to combine her passion for cooking, with a way to work with people on a more personal basis through food.  “It’s exciting to work with individual clients to create food that is designed to satisfy their personal needs,” Peggy said,  “Every client is different, which has really helped me grow as a chef.  I conduct a personal interview with each client to determine what they like to eat and how often they will need my service.  Then, I customize recipes and design  a custom menu that satisfy their needs and desires.  On the designated day, I shop for fresh ingredients and prepare healthy dinners for my clients in their own home.  All my clients enjoy a break from not having to spend their time shopping, cooking or cleaning up the kitchen.  Some clients schedule my service for special occasions and other rely on me for weeknight meal preparation during busy days.    Flexibility is very important to me and my clients.”

What kind of people become her clients?  Peggy is adamant that  personal chefs are not just for the rich and famous.  “My clients range from busy professionals to families-on-the-go, who want to eat home-cooked dinners.  I always love working with vacationers, who really want to sit back and enjoy the bounty that the Cape has to offer.” 

Over the past year, Bistro On The Go has expanded to include other services in addition to weeknight meal preparation.  “I’ve been catering dinner parties and cocktail parties,” the chef states. “ I love parties because I get to cook more complicated menus—sometimes with a special theme.  Because I’m doing all the work, my clients can enjoy mingling with their guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen,” Peggy added. “I also offer private cooking classes for individuals or groups.  I admit – I’m a foodie.  I’m an adventurous eater and I do a good deal of research on food.  I love to share what I learn with others.  Bistro On The Go has really allowed me to pursue my passion for cooking and food.”   Indeed, her business has grown over the past year and she is expanding into more catered events.

                                                  Chicken Espanola

 

Serves 4 

2 ½ – 3 lbs chicken pieces with skin and bone intact, washed and patted dry
2 tbs olive oil
3-4 cloves of oil, minced

1 large white or Spanish onion, sliced
1 shallot, minced

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 canned crushed tomatoes
½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced and set aside 1/8 cup of olive brine

½ cup raisins or currents
1 bay leaf

½ cup sherry
1 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper

 Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Large chicken breast halves should be quartered for even cooking.  Set aside.

In an ovenproof deep sauté pan or heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid), heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Working 3 to 4 chicken pieces at a time, sear chicken for 2 minutes on each side, or until chicken develops a golden brown crust. Set aside seared chicken pieces. 

Lower heat to medium and add onions and shallots.  Cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook until the smell of the garlic fills the pot.  Add tomatoes, olives, raisins, bay leaf, sherry and chicken stock.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow it to come back up to a simmer.  Add chicken pieces into sauce.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the chicken pieces.  Bake for an addition 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. 

Serve over white rice or polenta for a hearty meal.

Buen provecho!

Braised Short Ribs and Jumbo Scallops

Another fabulous recipe from Chef Yves Bainier (scroll down for bio).  Beautiful Nantucket scallops on a succulent short rib – how’s that for Chef Bainier’s take on surf and turf!  This one will make you drool.

BRAISED SHORT RIBS AND JUMBO SCALLOPS

 

Ingredients:
2 lb of beef short ribs on the bone
1 cup of veal stock (can be found in specialty food supermarkets )
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup of Pinot Noir wine
1 yellow onion
2 stalks of celery
1 large carrot
2 vine ripened tomatoes
2 tbsp of all purpose flour
8 large scallops  (salt and pepper)

Equipment:
1 large pot with lid
1 sauté pan
1 pair of tongs
1 wooden spoon

Recipe:

Pat the short ribs with a paper towel and coat them with flour.  Remove the excess flour and sautée the ribs in the large pot beginning with hot oil,caramelizing all sides of the short ribs nice and deep dark brown.

Remove the ribs.  Place them on the side on a plate then add to the pot the onion, carrot and celery peeled and roughly chopped in ¼ inch cubes for 2 minutes. Lower the heat under the pot and add 3 Tbsp of tomato paste then the flour and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook for 2 more minutes then add the veal stock and 1 quart of cold water. Stir and bring to a boil.  Add a Tbsp of salt and black pepper to taste and the 2 chopped tomatoes. Place the short ribs  back into the pot and simmer for 2 hours with a lid on checking every so often so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate too quickly. I like to place the pot in an oven instead of a stove top (both work).

After 2 hours check to see if the meat is cooked and tender (falling of the bone) .

Remove the meat to another container, taste the sauce which should be dark brown and flavorful, you may need to adjust the seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the ribs and let it cool overnight (it always tastes better when reheated) .

Scallops:  Place the scallops on a paper towel so that they can dry.  Season them with salt and pepper.  Warm the canola oil to a high heat and place the scallops carefully in the pan one by one.  Each scallop should be seared to a nice brown on both sides and kept medium rare depending on your liking.

For more information http://www.chefybainier.com/.

Bon appetit!

The Kasbah Chronicles / Kitty Morse / December 20, 2013

The Kasbah Chronicles / Kitty Morse

Posted on December 20, 2013

We end the year with a recipe from our good friend Kitty Morse.  Kitty is a food writer, cooking teacher and lecturer.

Kitty Morse was born in Casablanca, of a French mother and British father, and emigrated to the United States in 1964. She returns frequently to Morocco to spend time at her family’s riad, Dar Zitoun, the subject of her latest book, Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories.

She is the author of nine cookbooks, five of them on the cuisine of Morocco and North Africa. They include Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen now in its ninth printing from Chronicle Books, The Scent of Orange Blossoms (Ten Speed Press), and The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing).  Her latest book, Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories published in 2012, was a finalist in the San Diego Book Awards in June 2012.

In recent years, she became author/publisher for the second edition of A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table. She published Mint Tea and Minarets in December 2012.

Here is a portion of Kitty’s newsletter for your enjoyment.

A menu for a “réveillon” celebration (whether Christmas or New Year’s Eve) almost always includes Belgian endives on French tables. This is how we used to greet the nouvel an, new year, in Casablanca:

excerpted from

Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories

    . . . “As a family, we spent many a New Year’s Day at (Madame Simone’s) seamlessly orchestrated dinner parties. She was far and away the most impeccable hostess within my parents’ circle of friends. Madame Simone left no detail to chance when she entertained. That made more humiliating an incident when my slightly tipsy father shattered a few crystals in a chandelier with an errant cork he launched from a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

    The food was always trois étoiles, three star, at Madame Simone’s, even to my then unsophisticated palate. But what I marveled at most was the artistry with which she blindly applied her carmine lipstick. I had plenty of opportunity to study her meticulous technique as she recoated her lips with rouge à lèvres almost as often as we changed plates during the multi-course banquet. While the adults sipped champagne and debated political issues around the starched-linen tablecloth laid with monogrammed cutlery, antique candelabras, and sparkling crystal de Bohème, my brother and I diverted ourselves with the fun-house reflections our faces made in our hostess’s polished silver goblets.

     Cheeks flushed from a fingerbreadth ration of chilled Vouvray wine, we savored plump Belon oysters abducted from their beds in the Oualidia lagoon four hours south of town. Like seasoned gastronomes, we devoured dinde aux marrons, roast turkey with chestnuts, and made piglets of ourselves with the perfectly ripened fromages, cheeses, and salade d’endivesaux noix, Belgian endives with walnuts . . .”

                               Photo Owen Morse. All rights reserved. Coryright 2012.

Salade d’Endives aux Noix

(Belgian Endive Salad with Walnuts)

Serves 4

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons walnut oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced tarragon leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed
4 Belgian endives
¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
¼ cup crumbled Blue cheese or Roquefort
½ cup bacon bits

            Whisk mustard with vinegar until smooth. Continue to whisk while adding oil in a stream, until sauce emulsifies. Stir in salt, pepper, and tarragon. Set aside. 

            Wipe endives with a damp paper towel. Trim and discard ¼ inch from stumps. Cut 1½ inches from tips and set aside.

             Cut what remains of endives into ½-inch-wide slices. Arrange in the center of a serving platter and surround with separated leaves from the tips. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts, Roquefort, and bacon bits.

 

from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories. Copyright Kitty Morse 2012. All rights reserved.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Chef Bainier’s Avocado tower and beluga lentille with roasted pepper coulis

Meet Cape Cod Private Chef and Entrepreneur Yves Bainier.  Chef Bainier was born in Suresnes, France, a town very close to Paris.  He grew up in France in the seaside town of La Rochelle which is on the west coast of France so Cape Cod feels very natural to him.
With degrees from both the La Rochelle School of Culinary Arts and their pastry school and a French Internship at a 2 Michelin Star restaurant, Chef Bainier’s culinary career began at Le Bernardin in Paris, another 2 Michelin Star restaurant.  In 1988, he relocated to Los Angeles where he began his American culinary career at several prestigious French restaurants including a number of Ritz Carlton properties.  Along with his wife and son Alexander, Chef Bainier relocated to Cape Cod in 2008 where he assumed the position of Executive Chef for The Wianno Club in Osterville.  He became a Personal Chef in 2008 and his clients include a number of celebrities including Maury Povitch, Connie Chung and the Bill Koch estate.  When he is not cooking, the Chef is busy swimming, golfing and skiing.
Three years ago, Chef Bainier developed a line of ready to bake sweet and savory soufflés that are sold through various specialty markets throughout the Cape.  He will soon release a line of gluten free scoop and bake coconut and chocolate coconut macaroons.  For more information http://www.chefybainier.com/.
Chef Bainier shares with you his recipe for Avocado Tower and Beluga Lentille with roasted  Pepper Coulis.

Bon appetit!

 

Avocado tower and beluga lentille with roasted pepper coulis

Avocado puree :
2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion
1 lemon
1 bunch of cilantro
salt and pepper

 Lentille :
1      
lb of small black lentille called beluga (which is a reference to the highest grade of caviar no longer available unfortunately )
Kosher salt

 Red Pepper Sauce :
2      
red bell peppers
olive oil

Utensils :
Small salad bowl
Small wire whisk or fork
1 medium size  pot
1 blender
1 pairing knife
1 pair of  kitchen tongs
1 small  cutter 4 inches wide and 1 ½ inch high  or foil aluminum shaped with the same dimension.

Development : run the pairing knives around  the avocado, split in half and remove the pit with a soup spoon, spoon out the avocado flesh and transfer to the salad bowl . Wash thoroughly the cilantro, dry It up  and chopped the leaves coarsely . Chopped  the red onion very finely,  you’ll need only a  Tablespoon .

Mash the avocado first with the whisk and then add all the  remaining ingredients including half  lemon juice  . Season to taste and leave in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap  to avoid any oxidation .
Place the lentille in a pot  add a tbsp of kosher salt , Cover with 3 times the amount of water and cook slowly until the lentille are  cooked a little al dente .
Let cool down .

Place the bell pepper directly on the flame of the gas stove . Rotate the bell pepper using a pair of metal tongs until  the flesh is completely black ( Burn ) and somewhat softer . Let them cool down and then rinse and remove all burned skin and seeds .Place then in a blender adding 2 table spoon of olive oil and  a pinch of salt .

 Assemble :
First  set the round cutter on the center of the plate  , place 4 tablespoosn of the avocado puree on the bottom and finish it by  making it as flat as  possible then one and a half spoons of the black lentilles . This operation can be done one hour in advance and left on the plate before serving .

Place the bell pepper coulis around the avocado , remove the cutter  and serve.
This dish can be served with tortilla chips shapped in triangle and baked for 10 minutes at 325 degrees .

For more information http://www.chefybainier.com/

The Kasbah Chronicles / Kitty Morse / Nov. 29, 2013

The Kasbah Chronicles / Kitty Morse

November 29, 2013

 An amused muse.

Happy Holidays

                                  Photo Owen Morse


 Couscous Stuffing with Almonds

(pomegranate seeds optional!)

 (enough for one 12 lb turkey)

1 cup slivered almonds

1⅓ cups water

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup couscous

1 cup (about 2.5 ounces) raisins, plumped in warm water and drained

8 pitted dates, coarsely chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, toast almonds, stirring occasionally, until they turn a light gold, 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil. Add couscous in a stream. Stir once. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer couscous to a bowl. Allow it to cool slightly. Combine couscous with the almonds, raisins, dates, parsley, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stuff the bird or serve on the side.

From Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories by Kitty Morse. La Caravane Publishing 2012.

                                                                                                                  Photo Dr. Jerry Olivas

 Indulge your sweet tooth!

 

Carole Bloom, pâtissière par excellence,  (http://www.carolebloom.com), is known among her friends as The Queen of Chocolate. She has just published a new book called Caramel (Gibbs Smith, 2013). Here is one of her recipes:

Caramelized Roasted Pears with Caramel-Honey Whipped Cream

 It’s fine to warm the caramelized pears in the oven for about 10 minutes before serving.
Makes:  8 servings
Special equipment: large roasting pan

Caramel-honey whipped cream:
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup (2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons honey
Roasted pears:
3 ounces (6 tablespoons, 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups (9 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
4 medium pears (about 2 pounds)

 For the caramel-honey whipped cream, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a 2-quart heavy-duty saucepan over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.

 Brush around the inside of the pan with a damp pastry brush at the point where the sugar syrup meets the sides of the pan. Do this twice during the cooking process to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Cook the mixture over high heat, without stirring, until it turns amber colored, 6-8 minutes.

 Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the hot cream to the sugar mixture while stirring constantly. The cream will bubble and foam. Continue to stir to make sure there are not lumps. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

 Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight.

 For the pears, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the melted butter in the roasting pan and stir in the sugar.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove the core using a melon baller. Leave the stems intact, if possible.

 Place the pears, cut side down, on top of the butter mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the pears over, so the cut side faces up, and baste with the caramel mixture. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the pears are golden.

 Remove the pan from the oven and cool slightly.

Place the cooled caramel cream in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a mixing bowl. Add the honey. Use a wire whip attachment of a hand-held mixer to whip the cream on medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks.

 Serve the pears on dessert plates or in bowls and garnish each with a dollop of caramel-honey whipped cream.

 Keeping: The pears are best served the day they are made. Hold them at room temperature covered with aluminum foil. They can be re-warmed in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

 Adapted from Caramel by Carole Bloom (Gibbs-Smith). Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

KITTY’S BOOKS:

A Biblical Feast

Kindle edition is now on Amazon.com

Mint Tea and MInarets

finalist in the San Diego Book Awards 2012

Bismillah!

Bon Appetit!

Happy Jour de Merci Donnant

and

Happy Hannukah!

A Taste of Italy on Cape Cod

A Taste of Italy on Cape Cod

Recently, the Centerville Museum (Cape Cod, MA) hosted “A Taste of Italy”, an Italian wine and food pairing event, using recipes from Giada de Laurentis, and Rachel Ray of the Food Network and from the late Chef Ciro Cozzi of Ciro and Sals in Provincetown, MA.  Wines served were mid-priced (under $20) and sourced locally.  Attendees discovered that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to experience a fabulous evening in Italy.  Photos by Gus Frederick.  

Buon appetito!

Insalata a Pezzi Italiani

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 head of Romaine lettuce cut into small pieces
1/4 pound sliced pepperoni, chopped
1/3 cup drained sliced pimientos (one 4-ounce jar)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups drained, rinsed, and chopped artichoke hearts (one 15 ounce can)
1/2 to 1 cup pitted and chopped black or green olives
3 Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the Romaine, Pepperoni, pimientos, onion, the artichoke hearts and the olives.  Toss to combine.  Add the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan to the bowl.  Toss thoroughly to combine the Ingredients.
Wine selection
: Cantina Zaccagnini Cerasuola d’Abruzzo 2012

 

Saltimbocca Pollo
Serves 6
Ingredients

1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. (3/4 & 1/4) freshly ground black pepper
6 Chicken cutlets (3 ounces each pounded to flatten evenly)
6 slices of paper thin prosciutto
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Directions

Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water.  In a small bowl toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of the oil to coat.  Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Place the chicken cutlets flat on a work surface.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Lay 1 slice of prosciutto atop each chicken cutlet.  Arrange an even layer of spinach atop the prosciutto and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over each.  Beginning at the short tapered end roll up each cutlet as for a jelly roll and secure with a toothpick.  In a large, heavy skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over a high flame.  Add chicken rolls and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Add broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer the chicken to 6 plates and set aside.  Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the sauce over the chicken, and serve.
Wine selection:
Pighen Friuli Pinot Grigio 2011

 

Lemon Sorbetto

 

La Ribollita
Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 leeks, chopped white parts only
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving toasted bread crouton/or ciabatta rolls/or day old bread
Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until it is golden brown.  Add the carrot, garlic, celery, leeks, and salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and stir until dissolved.  Add the tomatoes and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits.  Add the drained beans, chicken stock, and rosemary.  Bring  the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Place toasted croutons or bread in each serving bowl and ladle the soup over the toasts.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
Wine Selection:
Ruffino Chianti Superiore 2011

 

Polpette di Agnello
Makes 16 meatballs
Ingredients

1Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup roughly chopped golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb
Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Coat the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, golden raisins, parsely, mint, bread crumbs, walnuts, salt and pepper.  Crumble in the lamb.  Using your fingers, mix just until the meat and the egg mixture are thoroughly incorporated.  Roll the lamb mixture into 16 meatballs.  Place in the prepared baking dish in grid formation, making sure the meatballs are touching.  Bake until the meatballs are firm about 25 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.
Wine Selection:
Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012

 

Pasta Ponzo
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients

Unsalted butter for greasing
2 cups (12 ounces) red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups (12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound ziti or other short tube shaped pasta
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter an 8×8 glass baking dish.  Set aside.  Combine the tomatoes, capers, olive oil, salt and pepper in the prepared baking dish.  Toss to coat.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the tomato mixture.  Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.  Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl.  Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta.  Add the cheese and toss well.  If needed, thin out the sauce with a little pasta water.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Wine Selection:
Michele Chiarlo Barbera D’asti Superiore 2011

 

Tostato Torta con Amartetto
Serves 6
Ingredients

1/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup apricot preserves
3 Tbsp. Amaretto Liqueur
1 Pound cake cut in 12 slices
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the almonds on a large, heavy baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and light golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Let cool completely.  In a small bowl, stir the apricot preserves and Amaretto to blend.  Working in batches, toast the Pound cake slices in a toaster, (in the oven or on the grill) until golden.  Place 1 cake slice atop each of six plates, and spoon the mascarpone cheese atop the cake slices.  Arrange the remaining cake slices offset atop the bottom cake slices.  Soon the apricot mixture over.  Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.
Wine Selection:
Cupcake Vineyards Moscato D’Asti 2012

The Kasbah Chronicles/September 2013

The Kasbah Chronicles/September 2013

The Kasbah Chronicles

Musings

Ruminations on ratatouille

Eggplant tagine. Photo by Kitty Morse

Having purchased an eggplant the size of a football at my local supermarket, I pondered ways to prepare it: in a tagine? in zahouk (the Moroccan version of baba ghaanouj)? I yearned for ratatouille.

Just the sound of “ratatouille” is enough to enliven my tastebuds. According to Wikipedia, “The word ratatouille comes from Occitanratatolha and the recipe comes from Occitan cuisine. The French touiller means to toss food. Ratatouille originated in the area around present day Occitan Provença (French: Provence) and Niça (French: Nice);” . . .

Though easy to prepare, ratatouille calls for  a certain amount of attention. Forget shortcuts, such as combining all the vegetables in a pan. NON! NON! For ratatouille to attain its characteristic sweetness tinged with rosemary, the eggplant, zucchini, tomato, bell pepper (in my view, only red will do) prefer to perform solo before being tossed  (“touiller” in French)  into a communal dish.

Kitty’s Ratatouille

Ratatouille keeps well, in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days. (Cook’s confession: I eat ratatouille anytime, including breakfast.)

1 medium unblemished eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 or 2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 small onions, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced or 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 yellow crookneck or zucchini squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

More salt, to taste

     Place eggplant cubes on a clean towel, and let sweat 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse under running water. Pat dry. (You can omit this step if the eggplant is very fresh.)

     In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Cook garlic, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.  Using a slotted soon, discard garlic. To the same pan, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden.

     Add eggplant, and cook, stirring until lightly browned, 10 to 12  minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

      To the same pan, add red bell pepper, and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add to bowl and set aside.

     To the same pan, add squash, and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add to bowl and set aside.

     To the same pan, add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and rosemary. Cook, partially covered, until mixture thickens somewhat, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add reserved vegetables and cook, uncovered until ratatouille thickens. Discard bay leaf and rosemary. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

If by chance you have leftovers, give them a Moroccan twist by adding a couple of pinches of ground CUMIN to the mixture:

Eggs in a Nest of Ratatouille

Serves 4

Simmer the ratatouille in an ovenproof pan until most of the liquid evaporates.

3 cups prepared ratatouille

Cumin, to taste

4 large eggs

Paprika, for garnish

     Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spread a thick layer of ratatouille on bottom of a shallow 1 1/2-quart ovenproof dish.  Using the back of a large spoon, make 4 “nests” in the vegetables. Break 1 egg in each nest. Cover with foil, and bake until egg whites set, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle eggs with paprika. Serve with warm, crusty bread.  

Adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian by Kitty Morse (HarperCollins)

FOR SALE:

Books on Morocco (in French and in English) from my private collection.

I need to lighten my shelves of books about Morocco (geography, history, handicrafts, cooking.).

-Children’s books in French (classic Collection Rouge et Or) and assorted texts.

Please e-mail me for a complete list.

Support your local indie bookstore!

Mint Tea and Minarets has found a home in:

Maine:

http://www.rabelaisbooks.com (Portland)

Massachassets:

http://www.nantucketbooksworks.com (Nantucket

New York:

http://kitchenartsandletters.com (NYC)

http://www.idlewildbooks.com/ (NYC)

http://www.mcnallyjackson.com/(NYC)

Toronto:

http://www.cook-book.com

Montreal:

http://www.librairieolivieri.com

WANT TO EAT LIKE AN EMPRESS?

If Prince Charles can sell the products of his farms, why not Marie Antoinette?

Let them eat cake: Versailles breaks into fancy foods

http://www.france24.com/en/20130911-versailles-launches-gourmet-food-brand-epicerie-fine-luxury

The Palace of Versailles has unveiled a new line of gourmet produce, sweets and other French food meant to rival luxury food brands Fauchon and Hédiard. 

TO END ON a musical note:

A classic French song:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctU8sVUwF4Q

Bismillah

and Bon Appétit!