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Easy Garlic Infused Olive Oil for #NationalGarlicDay

 I hate onions. Not of course caramelized, delicious onions but the raw kind or when the pieces are so big you can’t help but chomp into them and hear the fibers breaking in your mouth. It’s a texture thing for me and no matter how hard I try to overcome it, I just can’t. But, garlic? That’s another story. Garlic and onions are the old married couple. They just go together and make food just taste better. And, I LOVE garlic. After we had been in Morocco about a month we went to the olive souk (market) and I spied a jar on a shelf and asked what was in it. Why, it was crushed garlic packed in olive oil. Genius! I happily paid the 15 dirhams (about $2) and walked home with my prize in hand. That first sniff after I opened the jar? Pure heaven. I’ve been caught multiple times with my nose in the jar. I’m not …

Amanda MouttakiEasy Garlic Infused Olive Oil for #NationalGarlicDay
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Organic Goat Cheese Tasting in Morocco

When we went to Fez last month there was one activity I was most looking forward to. Not that everything wasn’t amazing but we had arranged to visit an organic farm that produced goat cheeses and I could hardly stand the wait! The boys were equally excited. This might not seem like something kids would look forward to but my kids were raised on a healthy diet of cheeses, and lots of them before we moved to Morocco. Here, cheese is tough to come by – especially when you don’t live in the mountains. It’s just not very popular. It makes sense. In order for a cheese making culture to be established there needs to be the right environmental conditions. Really hot temperatures with little shade and few refrigeration options are not ideal for making cheese. But in the mountain areas the story is much different. With the help of Plan-It Fez we visited Domaine de la Pommeraie outside of …

Amanda MouttakiOrganic Goat Cheese Tasting in Morocco
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Recipes Ideas for a Moroccan Passover and Mimouna

Passover started last Sunday and while this isn’t a holiday that’s on the Islamic calendar, it is on the Jewish calendar of which there are many Moroccan Jews. The communities in Morocco today are very small and I can’t say I’ve even met someone who is Jewish and living here (yet! I’m trying to find some!) Moroccan Jews have a special holiday celebration at the end of Passover called Mimouna. From everything I’ve read and heard it is localized to only Morocco. I would really love to find out more about the history of the holiday, how it came to be, and how it was celebrated in the past and continues today. If anyone knows of any Moroccan Jews in Marrakech that will be celebrating this year, I would love to make a connection!     I’ve gathered some of my Moroccan recipes that are Passover – Sephardic friendly as well as some links to previous posts on Mimouna. At …

Amanda MouttakiRecipes Ideas for a Moroccan Passover and Mimouna
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Introductions and Useful Expressions in Moroccan Arabic (Darija)

I’ve had a lot of people ask over the years for resources to learn Arabic, and specifically Moroccan Arabic. There’s not a lot out there and honestly the best way I’ve learned has been to live here. I know that’s not a reality for everyone. You can check out my Language Resources page for some ideas. I also plan to do a weekly “Dose of Darija”.  At first I thought I’d do this everyday for a week then decided it’s probably better to spread them out. I’m going to start in the beginning and work my way through different lessons. This is going to be survival Darija.  The first things I’m going to work through are the basics you’ll need to deal with day to day life. This is also where most learning resources end. I’ve found very little that goes beyond basic vocabulary and phrases. Bear with me as I’m learning too, but with the help of MarocBaba we …

Amanda MouttakiIntroductions and Useful Expressions in Moroccan Arabic (Darija)
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Afghani Chicken Pulao

Earlier this week I made an Afghani inspired chicken pulao dish that was a delicious hit. I’ve been a contributing author on Shrinking Kitchen for several months now and you can find all the details of this recipe (as well as others I’ve contributed) there. Some tips to lighten it up even more – opt for a brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice. But whatever you do, don’t omit the butter. This recipe will easily serve at least 6 people and is mostly good for you. You could swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes or leave them off. Any combination of vegetables work so use what you have on hand!   Afghani Style Chicken Pulao   Want to try some of my other recipes on Shrinking Kitchen?   Honey Nut Date Granola Bars Lemon Peasto and Roasted Mushroom Tartine Mandarin Orange Chicken Turkish Turkey Pide Garlic Ginger Prawn Kebabs Related PostsGrilled Yogurt Chicken89Last week when I was playing …

Amanda MouttakiAfghani Chicken Pulao
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Staying in a Riad with Kids; Riad Anata, Fez

Having visited Marrakech for the better part of 10 years I’m very familiar with the different room options for visitors. One of the most popular here and in Fez is to stay in a riad. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting and staying in several and overall think they are the most wonderful way to experience Morocco. What is a riad? In Morocco, the term refers to a traditional home or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. The first signs of riads in Morocco can be dated as far back as the Roman empire (2nd century AD) and has been discovered in the ruins at Volubilis outside of Fez. On the exterior riads are indistinguishable. In fact most of the time there is nothing but a solid colored wall. Once you step in however, there is much to be discovered. Interior balconies, gardens, and beautiful ornamentation completely change the feel. Our current home is designed in the style …

Amanda MouttakiStaying in a Riad with Kids; Riad Anata, Fez