MarocMama

eat well, travel often, dream big!

Tandoori Spiced Popcorn for a #SundaySupper Snack

You may have heard there’s a little event going on today.  Well, if you live in the US you couldn’t have missed it.  It’s Superbowl time!  For those of my readers who don’t know it’s a football game and an excuse for many Americans to overindulge in food, alcohol and noise.  I grew up watching football but the only time I’ve ever (and will ever) cheer for is Green Bay.  Sadly, they’re not playing this weekend. While there are plenty of Superbowl parties being held, we have always stayed home and watched the game.  This year, I thought that MarocBaba and the kids weren’t really paying attention.  To my surprise I was given a list of items that they wanted to have on Superbowl Sunday.  I hadn’t realized that it had become such a tradition for them!  So I’ll be making guacamole, sloppy joe’s, chicken wings and probably a few other appetizer-style items.

Tandoori Spiced Popcorn

If you’ve gotten up this morning and realized there’s a party to throw and no menu in place, the #SundaySupper team is here to help!  All of the contributors are sharing great Superbowl inspired recipes for your parties.

I chose to share this Tandoori popcorn for a few reasons.  First, it’s delicious.  Second, it’s so easy!  Third, chances are you have everything on hand right now to make this.  Even if you’re getting a late start cooking, put this out with a few other munchies to keep your family (and/or visitors) satisfied while you finish up the rest of the food.

What you need (for appx 5 cups of popped popcorn):

  • popcorn! You can pop it yourself or do like me and pop a bag of the microwave variety!
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp butter (enough to get all the popcorn a little wet
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika or cayenne flakes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric

How to Make It:

Place your popped popcorn in a large bowl. It’s important to leave enough space so that you can easily mix the spices. Melt the butter on your stove top or in the microwave.  Pour half the butter over the popcorn and mix.  Then add the rest of the butter mixing again to incorporate well. Finally sprinkle the spice mix over everything mixing regularly so that all of the popcorn is covered.

That’s it – super easy and really tasty!  You could mix in other things to make a party mix. Pretzels, crunchy chickpeas, raisins, or even MnM’s. But it’s pretty good all by itself!

Tandoori Spiced Popcorn

If you need some more inspiration be sure to visit all of the #SundaySupper bloggers for their Superbowl recipes.

#SundaySupper Super Bowl Appetizers & Snacks:

#SundaySupper Super Bowl Main Dishes:

#SundaySupper Super Bowl Desserts:

#SundaySupper Super Bowl Tablescape:  10 Tips For A Winning Superbowl Buffet Table from An Appealing Plan

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, February 3rd to talk all about our Super Bowl Recipes!  We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world.  Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.  Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos!

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Crispy Samosas with Homemade Ranch Dipping Sauce

Vegetable Samosas with Homemade Ranch

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re condiment crazy. Every few weeks, as I make my shopping list I have to re-check the door of the fridge to see what’s missing this week. MarocBaba, who for the longest time wouldn’t touch salad dressing or dipping sauce has become a ranch-a-holic. It goes on everything. Well it did until I showed him how much fat, sugar and calories were in regular ranch. Recently I was working on some recipe ideas for a fall party and decided to make my own ranch dressing to go with some of the dishes.

Saffron Roads’ new hors d’ouevres are a really great addition to any fall spread. I decided to pair the crispy samosas with vegetables and crispy samosas with saag paneer to my homemade ranch. There are several other dishes that make up my fall appetizer party spread but these two are a must have. They couldn’t be easier to make, simply heat them up in your oven! They truly taste homemade, your guests will think you spent hours making them! Presented with this homemade ranch dressing is the perfect combination.

Here’s my super simple ranch dressing recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (can use fat free)
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • palmful of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 c buttermilk

Directions

In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients except buttermilk with a wire wisk until smooth. Slowly stream the buttermilk whisking as you pour. Do not add all of the buttermilk if you prefer a thicker dressing. To store place in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.

Pair with Saffron Roads’ Crispy Samosas with Vegetables and Crispy Samosas with Saag Paneer.

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Ma’akouda – The Moroccan “French Fry”

 

It was after a long morning on the beach of Essaouira that we stumbled into the medina to find something for lunch.  Well equipped with a list of requests from the rest of the family we found a “snak” stand to place a very large order.  It was during this last visit to Morocco that I danced with the idea of vegetarianism having had my fill and then some of meat and chicken.  When we went out to eat I was constantly opting for an option without meat.  So as we stood placing order after order I glanced into the display case to see what I thought were falafel.  My eyes lit up.  But when I asked I found out they were not falafel..they were ma’akouda or potato pancakes.
 

I had never had ma’akouda, nor had I seen them before this visit.  I am sure that they can be found in snack shops around the country but for me they will always be synonymous with Essaouira.  They were everywhere!  Now I have no way of know if this is true but they reminded me a lot of potato latkes, the famous Jewish potato pancake.  During the 19th century Essaouira’s Jewish population was about 40% of the total population.  There has been a Jewish population in Morocco for the past 2,000 years, reaching 250,000+ people at one point.  Israel has a population that is about 15% claiming Moroccan Jewish ancestry.  It could certainly be that this was a dish influenced by the Jews of Essaouira.
 

These potato fritters can be eaten alone or as they are most often, made into a sandwich.  They are incredibly easy to make and are sure to please your family.  I chose to make this a gluten-free recipe but you can easily make it with regular all-purpose flour.
 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Yukon Gold or another soft potato
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder or 1/4 of a chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup gluten free flour for dusting
  • frying pan

 

maakouda spices

 

Directions

I like to use a soft skin potato so that I can keep the skin on (that’s where all the nutrients are!).  Scrub them well and then place in a pan.  Boil the potatoes until soft, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Mash.
 

 

Add the spices and egg, mixing well.  Begin to add the flour slowly, mixing while you go.  The dough should be slightly sticky but should not stick to your hands.  You may need to add more than the 1/2 cup of flour.  Heat the oil to medium.  Begin making small balls with the potato mixture.  The size is really up to you.  Flatten each ball and dust with flour.  Add the patties to the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan.  Brown on both sides, remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.

 

Eat warm with your favorite condiment (harissa is tasty!) or make into a sandwich.  Traditionally the ma’akouda sandwich is made on a baguette stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, spicy Moroccan mustard and mayo.

 

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When we moved back to the Midwest I left behind a lot of really great friends.  For many months I really felt like I would never find even a single friend let alone several.  But I have been very blessed to meet several ladies that I am honored to call friends.  We’ve started a little tradition of having “girls night”, and because all of us are tight on cash (who isn’t?) and have kids (hence why there’s no cash) we have our get-togethers at home.  I invited them over to my house most recently for a honey and cheese party.  I’ve seen tons of these parties, usually involving wine, but since we don’t drink no wine was in sight.

honey cremes from honey ridge farms

On the coffee table I lined up all 6 flavors of Honey Ridge Farms honey creme with their own spoon.  I picked up several different kinds of crackers and sliced a fresh baguette thinly.  Then on a large serving platter I arranged several kinds of cheese.

cheese tray

I almost had more fun picking out the different kinds of cheeses that I thought would go well with each of the honey creme flavors, than I did eating them!  I choose a camabert, chevre, iberico, manchego, and fontina.  We could call it a taste of Europe!  The Honey Ridge Farms flavors of honey creme include;

  • Apricot
  • Lemon
  • Blackberry
  • Raspberry
  • Cranberry
  • Spiced
  • Clover honey (I didn’t include this one – see my previous post for a review)
We could have just eaten honey, cheese and carbs but I realized that we need a little more finger food to call it a meal.
honey ridge farms party food
I kept things really simple as I had to work late this day too.  I made some lasagna cups, Italian tortellini salad on a stick and a fruit salad with some seasonal and not so seasonal fruits (blackberries, pomegranate seeds, green grapes and cantalope).  After nibbling it was on to the tasting.
Overall everyone really liked the spiced flavor.  It was the perfect time of year to try this.  We all agreed there were some warm flavors that reminded us of holiday baking.  Cranberry was another great flavor.  Of the remaining flavors we were split.  Two of us liked the lemon while the other two favored raspberry.  The one flavor that didn’t really stand out for any of us was the apricot.
I loved using these different kinds of honey to have a fun and entertaining night with my girls!  Pairing honey with cheese was a new experience for some of them and sitting around the table sharing got some great conversations going.  Here are some of my tips for throwing your own honey and cheese party (who isn’t looking for ideas this time of year?)
  • Pick up several fun flavors of honey – Honey Ridge Farms would be my choice!  Remember that over 75% of grocery store honey contains no honey at all.  (Source)
  • Visit your local cheese shop or grocery store and talk to the deli personnel if you’re unsure about which cheeses might pair nicely.  Most employees will be delighted to assist you and most likely you’ll go home with something you would have never thought of.  Don’t forget to let them know if you’ve got a budget
  • Next hit the cracker aisle and pick some of your favorites.  I went with Wheat Thins, Ritz and Triscuits – nothing fancy there!  Optionally you could pick out several types of breads in addition to or in place of the crackers.
  • To pull it all together choose a space in your home that will allow everyone to access all of the items.  A large dining table or even a large coffee table that everyone can gather around works well.  I love to use my china plates not because the occasion calls for them but because it makes everyone feel a little fancier!
  • Have FUN!!!  This is especially great for new friends as it serves as a great icebreaker and a way to start conversation about a topic that is light!
Honey Ridge Farms offers a gift set of 4 honey cremes for $18.49 or a trio for $18.99.  They also sell each of these flavors individually on their website.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more about their products and any specials they may be offering!
What are some of your favorite entertaining ideas?  If you don’t like to entertain, what is it that is not enjoyable?
Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post however I did receive complimentary products from Honey Ridge Farms to complete this post.  

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eiffel tower

 
See that? It’s probably one of the most recognizable symbols around the world. I’ve always dreamed of the day I made it to France to see L’tour Eiffel up close and personal. On our way to Morocco we had a 13 hour layover in Paris and there was no chance we were spending it in the airport. (I’m going to do another post at some point talking about long layovers and how to spend them out of the airport.)  There were three things that I needed to do in Paris.
 
1. Eat a great lunch
 
2. See Notre Dame
 
3. Take a boat ride on the Seine.
 
 Check, Check AND Check.
 
The hardest part of my plan was finding the right place to have lunch because it had to be perfect. How many times does one get to have lunch in Paris? We walked A LOT and I couldn’t decide where to stop. Maybe it was because we were so hungry or maybe it was just indecision. Finally when I couldn’t stand walking anymore we just sat down at a small bistro a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower.
 
It was there I ordered one of the best things I’ve ever had. MarocBaba ordered a dish with organic chicken that was juicy and full of flavor. I ordered a salad with microgreens and goat cheese tartine. A tartine is a French open-faced sandwich that is generally a step up from the American idea of a sandwich. This one was on a thick slab of brioche bread with goat cheese melted on top. Drizzled over the cheese was honey and hidden underneath thyme. I’ve been dreaming of this meal for weeks now! But, it’s hard to find the same great honey that exists in France. American honey is thinner and sometimes has a sugary after taste. But I’ve found a great honey here in the US.
 
At Eat, Write, Retreat last spring I received Honey Ridge Farms Lemon Creme honey. Love in a glass jar. Now I’ve got all of the flavors to test out and play with. When the box came MarocBaba immediately seized the jar of Honey Creme Clover and swears it’s the best honey he’s had in the US. This coming from a Moroccan whose grown up eating honey just about every day of his life really tells me what a great product this is. There are 7 flavors of honey creme but for this recipe I stuck with the clover honey. (I’m going to introduce you to all of the flavors in a future post). Here’s my version of my Parisian dream lunch.
 

 
The salad component can be whatever you like best.  But, for the tartine here’s what you will need.

  • Good bread a brioche or french baguette will work well
  • Chevre (goat) cheese
  • Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme
  • Za’atar mix (you can get that here, but essentially a mix of thyme, sesame seeds and salt)

 
To assemble, spread slices of bread with the honey creme and sprinkle za’atar on top.  Next add a layer of goat cheese.  Place them under a broiler in your oven or toaster oven until the cheese starts to melt slightly and the bread starts to toast on the edges.  In another small bowl melt a few teaspoons of honey creme.  Place the bread around the salad and drizzle with the melted honey before serving.

Chevre Tartine

 

Disclaimer: This post is part of Honey Ridge Farms “Spread the Love” campaign. I was not compensated for writing this post however did receive complimentary products. All opinions are my own.

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My kids LOVE pumpkin seeds.  Actually they love any kind of seeds or nuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, almonds, peanuts, squash seeds, you name it and roast it -they eat it.  We had two organic pumpkins to carve for fall/Halloween and while I had dreams of roasting and eating the pumpkins the kids had other plans.  I had gotten everything ready for gutting and carving including a garbage bag.  This was met with cries of disgust.  “Why are you throwing those away?  You need to cook them for us!!”  Out came the large mixing bowl to save all the seeds.
 
pumpkiin seeds
 
The kids did most of the gutting and then the seeds were passed on to me to clean and cook.
 
But what could be better than regular ‘ole roasted pumpkin seeds?
 
Harissa Coated Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
 
I had a jar of Mina Harissa just waiting to be tested out in a recipe.  This was perfect.  We bring home a new jar of harissa from Morocco every trip.  However the harissa we get is usually close to a paste in consistency.  From first glance, the Mina harissa has a bright, vibrant red color.  The smell on opening is inviting not frighteningly spicy.  With a much thinner consistency than what I was used to I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  I’m happy to say they worked and tasted really wonderful.  Not too spicy but with enough of a kick to know you’ve eaten something with a little bit of a bite.  The recipe couldn’t be easier.
 
mina harissa
 

Spicy Organic Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp Mina harissa
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

  • This recipe is to make pumpkin seeds using seeds extracted from a pumpkin. After removing the seeds place into a mixing bowl and clean any excess pieces of pumpkin "guts" from the seeds. Add plenty of water to the bowl to cover the seeds (they will float).
  • I allow my seeds to soak for 2-3 hours in the water and add 2 tbsp salt to the water as well. This is optional
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • In a small bowl mix together the harissa and olive oil. Drain the water from the bowl with the pumpkin seeds and pour the harissa mixture on top of the seeds. Use a spoon to mix, ensuring all of the seeds are covered.
  • Pour the seeds out onto a baking sheet in a single layer.and bake for 20 minutes or until the seeds are crunchy.
3.1
http://marocmama.com/2011/10/spicy-organic-pumpkin-seeds.html

I really enjoyed Mina Harissa and now you’ve got an opportunity to try it too!! I’ve got one extra jar to giveaway to one lucky reader.  Here’s how to win;

Mandatory entry: Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite use for harissa, OR if you’ve never tried harissa tell me why you’d like to!

Additional Entries: 

  1. Like Mina Harissa on Facebook
  2. Follow Mina Harissa on Twitter
  3. Tweet about this giveaway (sample tweet): “Roasted Organic Pumpkin Seeds with @harissa – a great fall treat and a chance to win Mina Harissa with @marocmama http://goo.gl/b18rP”

Giveaway ends November 7th and I will notify the winner within 48 hours.

 Don’t forget to make yourself some tasty pumpkin seeds with Mina Harissa!
This giveaway has ended.

organic pumpkin seeds

Disclosure: I was not compensated for writing this review however I did receive a complimentary bottle of Mina Harissa.  All opinions are my own.

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Dips and scoop-able salads are really big at our house.  It seems to me that in Middle Eastern/North African cuisine dips are just an excuse to eat more fantastic bread.  I’m ok with that.  I came up with this dip during Ramadan as a side dish for iftar.  It came together out of a bunch of leftovers and a can of great northern beans.  When I shop I always try to get a few pantry items that I have no immediate plans for.  Then when I’m feeling an itch to make something new I have a bunch of different options.  It probably adds $5 to my weekly grocery bills but when I’m in a pinch or just needing to feel creative it’s right there.

I’m curious to know – do you only cook from recipes or do you like to be adventurous too?  What’s the best thing you ever made up?

White Bean Garlic Dip with Green Olives and Tomatoes

10 minutes

10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Great Northern Beans
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 roma tomato chopped coarsely
  • 1 handful of pitted green olives chopped

Instructions

  • In a food processor add the beans, sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth. Place the dip into a bowl and top with the olives and tomatoes. Serve with pita bread, or another chip or bread.
3.1
http://marocmama.com/2011/10/white-bean-garlic-dip-with-green-olives-and-tomatoes.html

 

 

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Lasagna Cups

American Food September 11, 2011 1

 

Maybe you’ve been noticing that I haven’t been posting as much lately.  I have to confess I haven’t been here as much as normal.  Over the last few months I’ve been struggling with some pretty nasty wrist pain (in both wrists).  While I first wrote it off as just overuse when it didn’t go away and got to the point that I could no longer lift a pan of water with one hand, I knew I had to go to the doctor.  While I am still waiting for some x-ray results the diagnosis currently is severe tendonitis in both wrists.  I spend 95% of my work day on the computer, a good chunk of free time on it as well as plenty of time doing daily tasks almost all of which require use of my wrists.  I guess I’m not overly surprised!  So for the next month I have to wear braces on both wrists (I look like a boxer) and ease up if I can on my usage.  Hopefully that will be the end of it but there is a chance I’ll need steroid injections and even surgery down the road.  This is a really long way to say, I won’t be posting as much as before.  I won’t be disappearing but odds are I might only make 3 -4 posts a week.  I will be actively participating on the MarocMama Facebook page, tweeting on Twitter and pinning like a fool!  I hope you won’t mind my reduced posting!

Onto this great recipe.  We love lasagna is this house.  It’s my favorite comfort food and the kids gobble it right up. But I don’t always want to make a big pan of lasagna only to have lots of leftovers (nothing wrong with that but fridge space is a premium here!)  These also are a great and unique appetizer.  Did I mention how easy they are?

Lasagna Cups

Ingredients

  • Wonton Wrappers
  • 8 oz mozzerella cheese
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 4 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 20 oz of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 lb ground beef cooked with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, chopped basil
  • extra mozzerella cheese for the tops
  • Greased muffin tin

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix together the mozzerella cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, egg, 1 tsp crushed garlic and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  • Grease the wells of the muffin tins with cooking spray or your favorite "greasing agent" and place a wonton wrapper in each. Press down slightly but don't worry once they are filled they will naturally fill out in the tin.
  • For the stuffing you can put the ingredients in any way that you want. I put 1 heaping teaspoon of the cheese mixture first, followed by a 1/2 teaspoon of the meat mixture, then 1 teaspoon or a little more of the spaghetti sauce. I also like to sprinkle a little mozzerella on the very top before baking.
  • Once the cups are filled you may want to play with the wonton wrappers a little around the edges. I like to fold mine in where they are sticking out too much just for appearances. This is totally up to you.
  • Slide the baking tin into a preheated 350F oven and bake about 10-12 minutes until the edges of the wrappers are changing colors and the cheese on top is melted. Serve hot. These can easily be re-heated to serve the following day.
3.1
http://marocmama.com/2011/09/lasagna-cups.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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