Monday, January 30, 2012

Market Day- Guess What I'm Making! (Morocco)

Hurrah! Turns out I had most of what's needed for this week's culinary adventure already in my pantry, freezer, and fridge. That's sure nice. Trader Joe's supplied the dates as I couldn't find any at Kroger. To help make this meal easy and doable for a household with a toddler I decided to cut a few corners making this meal.

Couscous will come from the boxed mix "Near East". I've loved this brand for years. It also seems to go on sale fairly frequently.
        Canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), raisins, pre-chopped frozen bell peppers,
                   Trader Joe's flatbread, chopped frozen spinach

Our fresh ingredients! 
Orange, apple,
Zucchini, eggplant, sweet potato, cucumber, dates
Carrots, almonds

Spices and seasonings:
Onion and garlic powder (I have it on hand, cutting a corner here),
Sesame oil (substitute for Argan oil), turmeric, salt,
Orange juice, pepper, honey
(Not pictured: curry powder)

There you have it! From these three groups of ingredients I am planning on making our main dish, our salad, and a simple, sweet, dessert. Definitely looking forward to supper.

What sort of Moroccan dish(es) would you make with these ingredients?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Planning: Morocco!

Have you ever seen "Road to Morocco", the 1942 film with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope? It's hilarious. Probably my favorite in the quirky yet hilarious "Road To" series.

Hilarious old films aside I'm really looking forward to cooking Moroccan food at home. Probably the most famous dish is the tagine. Think of it like a healthy casserole or a hearty exotic stew. Tagines are traditionally baked in clay pots that have a cone-shaped lid.

I read that traditionally there's a hot or cold salad (or both), followed by a tagine with couscous for most meals. Bread is of course included. There are other options that involve more cooking for more formal meals. But my goal isn't formality here! I want a warm, cozy meal that's fairly easy to make a family friendly. And one with flavors that knock my socks off!

The spices used in Moroccan cooking certainly fill the kitchen with an even more complex, delicious aroma than our traditional, American, cream-of-soup casseroles. Imagine cooking dinner with cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, anise seed, coriander, mint, and saffron. Fruits like dates, oranges,  figs, olives, or preserved lemons are a common addition to an otherwise savory meal. I can just smell it now. Who needs scented candles when the kitchen is filled with exotic spices?!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Planning Day: Cooking Around...


I've decided. It's a done deal. Last week I got back to cooking a few soups and stews as we started settling in to our new home in our new (much larger) city. I can't wait to start our culinary adventures up again. Hopefully this week!

My favorite restaurant of all time is an Ethiopian place in St Louis, MO. Every time I have visited St Louis I've stopped there for dinner. In case you're curious, the restaurant is called Meskerem. I just love eating Ethiopian food and theirs is particularly delicious!

Yes, the continent of Africa sounds like an exciting place to explore in the coming weeks. I plan to start with cuisines in North Africa and gradually work my way south. Looking forward to exploring the cuisines of places like Morocco, Algeria, and other countries very soon! Now off to find some recipes while my toddler naps!

Do you have a favorite African cuisine, restaurant, or a favorite recipe? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Back to cooking's why

Wordless Wednesday provides the answer to the silence on my blog...