Monthly Archives: November 2009

Spice Za’atar

Try sprinkling the spice Za’atar on meats or vegetables. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made with sumac, sesame seeds and dried herbs. I tried it on toasted pita bread, cut pita into wedges brush with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar and toast in oven. It was great along side a greek salad we made last night.
After so much turkey we needed a change of pace.

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crisp shallots

Over the thanksgiving holiday I made the butternut squash soup from my book. I added a big handfull of crisp fried shallots, along with the diced roasted squash and a few toasted pecans.
To crisp the shallots I sliced them very thin using the v-slicer then place them in a large bowl of cold water and left them overnight. The next morning I drained them and wrapped them in a flour sack towel for a couple of hours. When I was ready to fry I place about 3 inces of oil in a fry pan and heated the oil. Frying in small batches I fryed the shallots until each batch was crisp and lifted them out onto a paper bag to drain.
You can make the crisp shallots a day ahead and keep in an air tight container. They are great on a salad or soup or anything that needs a little lift.

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A week in Morocco

I just returned from an amazing trip to Marrakech, Morocco. On October 26th, 14 friends joined me for a week at a beautiful private compound called Jnane Tamsna, http://www.Jnanetamsna.com. Jnane Tamsna is owned by Meryanne Loum-Martin and her husband Gary Martin.
Jnane Tamsna is a place with many faces. Gary has created a garden of date palm trees towering over citrus, pomagranite, olive trees and the full range of vegetables in perfect seperated beds below. These gardens are circled by many wonderful types of flowers most of them white.
Meryanne has built several houses with 4 swimming pools in front of each.These houses that may be rented as well as a perfect small hotel with individual rooms that can be rented.
Each morning breakfast was served in the garden with a white table cloth draping the table and always perfect white flowers down the middle. The fresh fruit, fresh baked pastry and mint tea was served along with the freshest eggs ever.
Our afternoons were spent shopping the medina looking for treasures. Buying rugs, linens, spices and walking sticks.
Our tour of the souk was always an adventure at every turn as our guides helped us bargin for shoes and white shirts.
One day we had a lunch at the Hotel Mamounia which after being closed for 3 years is open again and ready for those that can afford lunch for $75.00 each or $800.00 a night for a basic room.
We hiked in the High Atlas Mountains, stopped at a new Kasbah called Bar Ourika, http://www.babourika.com, great lunch served on the deck.
Back in the city we went to the industrial area and bought amazing linens from Chez Zoe. This is a real find. You can choose your embroidery style and colors, type of fabric, linen, cotton or satin finished cotton. The price is about half of what you see in the store in town.
One night we had a dinner out at a restaurant called “Le Foudouk.” The restaurant served great tagines and local fare that should not be missed. The price was moderate and after you finish dinner it is great to take you mint tea on the roof garden.
Meryanne made sure that all of our wishes were met. Lunch was served in the garden under beautiful trees intwined with white bougainvillaea. One day several of us took a cooking class in the beautiful kitchen with their personal chef Baija. After we mastered the idea of making a tagine which we later served to those that were busy catching up on their computers or having a massage.
Our last night was Halloween and we celebrated by eating in a very upscale restaurant called “Azar”. Back to the house to share a few last poems, crazy jokes and a last cup of mint tea before we went to bed and waited to say farewell the next morning.
If any of you ever want a true adventure I promise that Meryanne Loum-Martin and her husband along with their devoted staff will create a wonderful memory and meet your every whim.
Pictures and recipes to follow.

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