Wednesday, May 18, 2011

and the winner is......

And the winner of the beautiful cobalt blue tagine is DOROTHY ERICKSON!

Thanks to everyone for participating. And as a thank you gift to everyone who participated, here's one of my favorite recipe for a tagine. Yes, we will most definitely be making it during my class in Marrakech in October.

Enjoy and again congratulations Dorothy!


2 pounds lean lamb stew meat, cut from the leg or shoulder, trimmed
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 tablespoons vegetable, safflower, sunflower or corn salad oil
1 ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup lemon juice
12 small artichokes or 4 medium artichokes
2 preserved lemons
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
Fresh cilantro sprigs as a garnish

Place the lamb, parsley, garlic, onion, oil, paprika, cumin, saffron, salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover with 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender and the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or Add water, if necessary, during the cooking time if the sauce gets too thick. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

To prepare the artichokes, cut off the top half of the leaves. Tear off the outside dark and medium green leaves until you get to the light green tender leaves. Trim the torn edges. Trim the stem end. Cut each artichoke in half from top to bottom. If you are using small or baby artichokes they are ready. For medium or large artichokes, using a spoon, scoop out the furry light green choke from the center of the artichoke. Cut into quarters. Place in a large bowl of cold water with 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice.

When the lamb is tender, place the artichokes on top of the lamb. Rinse the preserve lemons and dice. Place on top of the artichokes. Cover and cook until the artichokes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the olives and sprinkle the stew with the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Simmer 2 minutes.

To serve, remove the cover and garnish with cilantro.

Serves 6

couscous recipe

When I think of Morocco I think of one single word,-- sensuous and I mean that with every sense of the word. This place seduced all 5 of my senses,- the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and even the touch. Yeah, that happened in India and Thailand, two other places that crept into my soul, but Morocco grabbed at my very core like no other.

An invitation for dinner in Marrakech, where hospitality is king, is a coveted one so dare I miss the chance. When I arrived, a tall, slender man with dark features wearing a djallabah, the traditional long cream-colored robe, meet my car. He guides me, with a gas lantern, down a long dark alley leading to Mohammed's home, tucked into the labyrinth of the old medina or historical center of town.

As the door opens, exotic music of flute and drum and the warm light of a thousand candles poured into the alley. The central courtyard opens to the clear night sky and gentle breeze stirred the date, palm and olive trees that grew towards the night stars and a million stars. And the fountain, the centerpiece of the courtyard, splash with the sound of water. Bouquets of roses, dwarf lemon trees dripping with fruit, and incense scent the air. Brightly painted iron work frame the windows, while the walls, floors and ceilings are ablaze with vibrant colored mosaic tiles. Arches open onto adjoining rooms filled with low, luxuriously colored bolsters, and ottomans covered with woven tapestries are scattered around, highly burnished brass trays balanced on carved wooden tripods.

It's here, that for the next several hours Mohammed and I share a traditional Moroccan feast including the most wonderful couscous I've ever eaten in my life.


1 cup dry chick-peas
4 cups couscous
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, about 3 to 3 1/2 lb.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large pinches saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
4 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
15 sprigs cilantro, tied together with kitchen string
4 cinnamon sticks
5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 to 2-inch lengths
1 pound turnip, scrubbed, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded removed and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 small zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, halved
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Harissa Sauce

Sort through the chick-peas and discard any stones or debris. Place in a bowl, cover with plenty of water and soak overnight. The next day, drain, place the chick-peas in a large saucepan, cover with water and cook over medium heat uncovered until tender, 1 hour. Drain.

COUSCOUS STEP # 1 Place the couscous in a strainer and wash thoroughly with cold water. Spread the couscous in a large shallow roasting pan and let dry 10 minutes. With your fingertips, break up any lumps.

In the bottom of a couscousiere, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 pinches of the saffron, turmeric, cumin, onions, garlic, cilantro, cinnamon sticks and tomatoes. Stir to mix. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Add the chick-peas and 6 cups water. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Add the carrots and turnip and continue to simmer 30 minutes.

COUSCOUS STEP # 2 Place 2 pieces of cheesecloth on top of the couscousiere so that it comes up over sides. Place the couscous in the steamer and steam 20 minutes partially covered.

COUSCOUS STEP # 3 After 20 minutes, dump the couscous into a large shallow roasting pan and spread it out. Mix 3/4 cup cold water and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt together until the salt melts. Sprinkle this mixture over the couscous. Break up the lumps and allow it to dry 10 minutes.

COUSCOUS STEP # 4 Twenty-five minutes before serving, bring the broth to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the butternut squash and jalapeno and simmer 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and stir gently. Add the couscous back into steamer and steam the couscous 20 minutes.

Mash 3 tablespoons of the remaining butter and the remaining 2 pinches saffron together. To serve, spread couscous on a large platter. Dot with butter and fluff with a fork to mix. Make a well in center and place vegetables and chicken in the center. Moisten the couscous with a few ladles of broth and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve immediately with the remaining broth and harissa sauce.

Serves 10


2 cups broth from the couscous pot
1 to 2 teaspoons prepared harissa
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan combine all of the above ingredients. Over high heat, heat until the mixture is hot.

Makes about 2 cups

Thursday, May 5, 2011

cinco de mayo cocktail recipe

For some of you, the Prado might conjure up images of Goya, El Greco and Bermejo, paintings that are part of the art collection housed at the largest art gallery in the world,- The Prado in Madrid. I remember one of my first trips to Spain, flying all night with not a wink of sleep and arriving dead tired. I insisted on going to the Prado that first morning and I walked nearly all day and still didn't see the entire collection. I was so tired by the end that I thought I was going to keel over.

Prado has another meaning. In Spanish, a prado is a grassy "meadow" or "field."

For me, the Prado is also a cocktail, and one of my favorites in my Tequila book. It seems to be my go-to cocktail of late. It's kind of a jazzy margarita, all jazzed up with maraschino and egg white. When you shake it up, you get this lightly tart, soft green, aromatic cocktail. Once you wade through the heavenly frothy foam cap, you're down for an airy, light treat.

Happy Cinco de Mayo


2 ounces blanco tequila
1 once freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce agave nectar
1 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 egg white
Lime peel as a garnish

Combine all of the ingredients except the garnish is a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. Using a whisk or a spring from the cocktail shaker, whisk the drink to create a lot of foam. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lime peel.

Serves one happy tequila lover