One of the best things I have found to supplement the lack of bread since moving to a more gluten-free existence (we’re about 80% GF – 20% no) are corn tortillas. Amazingly these guys have so many different uses! While we love a good taco bar as much as the next family – tacos every week would be a stretch. I came across a recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking for Korean Tacos and thought I’d try it out with a few tweaks. I’ve found that I need to hide the beginning stages of preparing meals because I’m met with grumbles of “Seriously? Why are you doing that? It’s not going to taste good…” I won’t tell you who is grumbling… Suffice to say once bites are taken, 9 times out of 10 there is no more complaining. This would be one of those recipes.
- 2 pounds beef roast (I used an arm roast)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 4-5 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp ginger powder
- 2 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- Trim off any visible fat from the meat and throw everything into the slow cooker. Mix so that everything combines. Turn the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Once the meat is tender and falling apart, remove from the crock pot and shred it. Return to the pot so that the juices keep the meat juicy.
- To serve place into toasted corn tortillas (or regular tortillas if you're not gluten-free). Top with shredded cabbage and carrots. We used Greek Yogurt as well.
I have two very dear Moroccan friends who have been some of my closest friends as an adult. When we lived in Washington DC one of them prepared this dish one evening. I had never eaten it in Morocco and later learned my husband doesn’t like it so my mother in law never made it when we were there. For a long time I never even attempted to make rfisa because I thought it was very time intensive and I knew that MarocBaba wouldn’t eat it, and I certainly didn’t need to eat an entire platter myself.
The boys had been bothering me to make msemmen for them for weeks and finally I broke down and made a huge batch. As I was cooking them I thought it would be the perfect time to take on rfisa. I am so glad I did because it was enjoyed by everyone! I omitted the one ingredient that is the characteristic spice of this dish – fenugreek. I was sure that was the culprit of previous bad experiences. This dish is customarily served to women to help push labor along or to post-partum mothers to increase milk production. It is the fenugreek that helps with those things, but since no one in our house was looking for that effect I felt safe leaving it out!
You do need to make msemmen to go along with this but my recipe is easy to follow. I even have a video available to show you step by step.
- 4 chicken breasts or any other cuts of chicken
- 1 medium onion chopped finely
- 1 tsp saffron threads crumbled slightly and soaked in warm water
- palm size bunch of flat-leaf parsley or cilantro (or both)
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ras al hanout
- 1/4 cup uncooked lentils (soak overnight)
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6-10 cooked msemmen (depends on size)
- Add chicken, onions, oil, ginger, salt, pepper, and ras al hanout to a large pan or into a slow cooker and mix. Allow to marinate covered for 30+ minutes (can leave overnight)
- Once marinated either turn the slow cooker on low heat or pan on the stove on medium heat. You will want to watch and stir occasionally if you are cooking on the stove top. The chicken will start to cook and a sauce will be created within 20-30 minutes. If cooking in a slow cooker this process will take longer. Check after 2 hours and leave longer if needed.
- If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the contents to a large pot at this time. Drain the lentils and add to the pot along with the saffron, parsley, cilantro and water. Cook on medium until the lentils are tender and chicken is falling apart. You should still have sauce left. Test and adjust seasoning if needed.
- To serve rfisa, heat up the msemmen and shred them onto a large platter. Don't be stingy with the amount of msemmen used (it's the best part!) You shouldn't be able to see the plate underneath the msemmen. Scoop the chicken, lentils and sauce and pour on top of the msemmen. This dish is meant to be saucy - the msemmen will soak up the sauce and when it mixes with the buttery flaky msemmen the taste is amazing!
- Serve hot and eat by using msemmen as a utensil to scoop and sop up the chicken and sauce.
I am entering the m’semmen photograph in this post into the Feastie contest for a trip to Eat, Write, Retreat. I had a blast last year and hope this year will be even better!
Have you been following me on Pinterest? I’ve started a weekly meal plan board that I switch out the recipes for every week. There was a time when I was really picky when it came to meal planning and I loved the structure that it provided me. But, I never found something that let me put a week of meals into it’s place and then pick and choose the recipes as we went through the week. That’s why I love Pinterest!! So last week I had a plan to make this Pollo Loco chicken, but just as I was about to start cooking MarocBaba asked me to make a chicken dish like one served in a local Mediterranean restaurant. I thought for a few minutes and came up with this recipe.
The key ingredient in this recipe is the Honey Ridge Farms Lemongrass Coriander Honey Vinegar. I have used these spices on chicken before and 9 out of 10 times the meat is too dry. The addition of this vinegar helps to keep the meat moist and give it a nice flavor. I’ll admit I was worried that it would give off too much of a vinegar taste but was very happy that it didn’t. You can use more or less depending on your taste but don’t leave it off! The flavors of this infused vinegar compliment the spices and the flavors of the Mediterranean. If you haven’t tried a honey vinegar you’re missing out. (Better news yet – this one is 50% off right now and only $4.99!) You can also pick up Honey Ridge Farms honey cremes and vinegars at Whole Foods Mid-Atlantic states (DC, MD, KY, PA, OH, VA, NJ and the honey cremes in western CT, and NY)
Lemongrass Corriander Honey Vinegar
On the side I served an Arabic Rice Pilaf and a green salad – making this a well balanced and totally gluten-free meal. It was delicious! I know that this meal will be on the menu many more times. Another addition to kick up this dish a little bit is toum, a Middle Eastern garlic dip (toum translates to garlic but is used to describe this dip too). I am in love with it!
- 4 bone in chicken breasts (or other cuts of chicken)
- 1/4 c Honey Ridge Farms Lemongrass Coriander Honey Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sumac
- Clean chicken breasts. You can remove the skin or leave it on depending on what you like. Preheat the oven to 375F.
- In a bowl mix salt and pepper, onion powder and paprika together. Place chicken into an oven safe pan and pour the vinegar on top. Move chicken around to make pieces are coated.
- Sprinkle spice mixture on top. Sprinkle the sumac on top at the end.
- You can place this in the refrigerator to marinade, either for a short time (30 minutes) or overnight. When you are ready to bake slide it into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Check meat at this point and baste with any of the liquids in the pan. When the internal temperature of the chicken hits 165F it's done!
**I was not compensated for writing this post however I did receive free products to use. All opinions are my own
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The last month has been a very busy time for me. There were more family activities than normal, a nephew was born, a birthday party was planned and carried out (K turned 5), and a terrible toothache that led to having my wisdom teeth extracted. I’m kind of tired reading that. Thankfully I had many things to share with you because honestly, I didn’t cook much at all. The things I did cook were fast, easy recipes that I’ve made a hundred times. We ate out a lot more than I care to admit and frankly I was too tired to be creative. It happens. At least it always seems to happen to me a few times a year.
When I get in a cooking rut I do the only thing I can think to do – cook! That’s right I force myself into the kitchen and start with something small like a new kind of salad. This makes me rummage in the fridge where I find and pull out whatever is in there that looks interesting (or is about to go bad). Normally things are getting pretty bare so I have to be creative. One thing leads to another and before I know it I’ve made many new things and I’m exhausted. Two days ago I ended up making 6 different things in a few hours. Guess what – it works. My mind is now filling up with all kinds of recipe ideas! I don’t know if this is normal but it’s very much me.
My favorite recipe that came out of this massive cooking session was what I’m dubbing milk and honey chicken. It’s awesome.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp juice of preserved lemon or fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup milk or heavy cream
- bread crumbs for coating
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- oven safe frying pan
- For this recipe you can use chicken breasts or any piece of chicken. I only used boneless breasts because they cook the fastest and it was what I had on hand.
- Clean and rinse chicken pieces, trimming off any excess fat. In a shallow bowl large enough to fit the chicken, add lemon juice, milk or cream, and 3 Tbsp of honey. This will work the best if you heat the honey until it is a liquid consistency. Whisk all of these ingredients together. You may need to whisk occasionally to keep the honey from clumping.
- In another shallow bowl or lipped plate, pour out the bread crumbs and mix with garlic salt, black pepper, turmeric, and onion powder.
- The chicken can be kept whole or cut into pieces at this point. Add some olive oil to the oven safe frying pan and turn on medium to begin heating up. Preheat the oven to 350F at this point as well.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the liquid mixture, then to the breadcrumbs, back to the liquid and into the breadcrumbs again. Place into the frying pan. Repeat for the remaining pieces of chicken.
- Sear the chicken on all sides for 1-2 minutes. When this is complete place the entire pan into the oven to finish baking the chicken. You could cook the chicken completely on the stove top by using more oil and pan frying. I chose to bake it to cut down on oil.
- The chicken should be ready within 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and check.
- To serve any of the traditional dipping sauces could be used or a browned butter or alfredo sauce.
We have been having unseasonably warm weather, that is until this week when temperatures have dipped to single digits. Whenever I start to feel a slight winter chill it’s time to dig out my heavy blankets and soup recipes. It has only been in the last year that I have been able to get MarocBaba and the boys to enjoy soup. You must understand how difficult that was for me, a soup lover. For years I went without, choosing to sacrifice my soup-love. Mostly that was because I would never eat a full pot myself but also I didn’t want the work of cooking two different things.
This year has however been a successful year on the soup front. First there was the Avgolemono and Veal Meatball Soup (a HUGE hit), then the Chicken Couscous Soup and most recently Vegetable and Ricotta Gnocchi Soup.
When Paula Wolferts’ Food of Morocco came out I poured over all of the recipes. Moroccans don’t eat a lot of soup save for the traditional harira. But what I did find in this book was a Spiced Butternut Squash Soup. Creamed soups aren’t usually my thing, I like broth, but we had gotten butternut squash in some of our last CSA boxes. This recipe is from the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco (most likely why I hadn’t had it before) where the winters are cold as they are here in the Midwest. You can find Paula’s original recipe in her book or on the Food and Wine website. I made mine slightly differently.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium butternut squash halved and seeded
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 8 oz goat cheese
- Harissa on the side if desired
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Begin by halving and seeding the squash. Rub lightly with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 375F until soft (about 45 minutes - 1 hour). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a large pot add the olive oil and onions and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, as well as the water. Scrape the insides of the squash into the pot and mix well. Be careful not to get the squash skin into the soup.
- Add the milk and 1/2 of the goat cheese. Because the squash is already soft you do not have to blend this, however for a creamier texture I did blend it. If the contents of the pot don't fit in your blender mix in small batches.
- Serve hot with harissa and extra goat cheese on the side.
I’m linking this recipe up to the January FaveDiets Blog Hop – Soups
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- 75It's a cold and rainy start to Labor Day weekend here. Not only is the weather grey so am I. Somehow I've come down with a bug, not sure if' it's the flu or just a nasty cold but either way I'm pretty miserable. This soup really is perfect for this kind of day. I…
I have a confession. I haven’t been cooking much lately. It’s true. When I do cook I haven’t been all that inventive, relying on tried and true recipes. I’ve had a lot going on and my younger sister has moved home to have her second baby. So, I’ve been busy being the baby whisperer..(he hasn’t listened yet and is stubbornly staying put!) MarocBaba is starting to get antsy so don’t worry I’ll be back to normal soon.
In the meantime I’ve got some things up my sleeves. Next week I’m starting a really fun new series of posts with my favorite female food bloggers! These ladies have totally inspired me and I love reading their blogs and seeing what new things they are coming up with. I really think you’re going to love learning more about them too.
My recipe today is for Mechoui. I’ve posted portions of this recipe before but not with good pictures. I want to share this again because lamb is often overlooked on the American table. I can say before visiting Morocco I had never eaten lamb and had no desire to try. The first few times I tried dishes with it I found the meat very fatty and I couldn’t handle the taste of fat in my mouth. This recipe however melts off all of the fat. I love it. Even friends and family who swore they didn’t like lamb like this recipe! If you’re looking for a different kind of holiday main dish this is it. The best part is you can put it in the oven and pretty much forget about it!
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 5 tbsp butter cut into pieces and kept cold until needed.
- 2-3 racks of lamb ribs
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Trim of excess fat from lamb cut and discard. Sprinkly kosher salt over meat. Place in roasting pan. Combine remaining ingredients to make a rub. Massage the ribs with the spice mix. Cut half of the butter into chunks and rub on after the spices.
- Cover with aluminum foil, like a tent. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, basting ever 30-45 minutes.Increase temperature to 375 degrees, remove foil, baste and allow leg of lamb to cook for 3 hours, or until skin is golden brown. Continue to baste and add more butter each hour as needed. Remove from oven and serve!
Looking for more? Today ALL of the recipes from The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap will be live today (cookie overload!) Here’s the links for Part One and Part Two of 620 recipes from the swap! Also make sure to check out this post on All Women Stalk…perhaps you will notice yours truly. I am humbled to be included on this list with such greats as Dinners and Dreams and Moroccan Food @About.com!!
I have been meaning to get this recipe up for sometime but kept having other things to put up instead! This is generally made during Eid al Adha in Morocco. While I have never eaten it (I don’t do organs) MarocBaba and even M do like it. The first meal of Eid al Adha in Morocco always includes all of the items that don’t freeze well such as the liver, heart, and kidneys. The rest of the sheep is hung up so that the meat partially dries. The dish that everyone waits and looks forward to is boulfaf. L’faf in Moroccan means “to roll with something inside,” which is exactly what boulfaf is. The recipe is very simple but Eid just wouldn’t be the same without it.
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Last week I came across red snapper at our grocery store. This must have been some weird fluke because generally it doesn’t show up here – ever. Of course I bought some. I knew that I wanted to do a review of Mourad Lahlou’s new cookbook this week and found the recipe for Black Cod in Saffron Broth. I felt that it wasn’t really fair to review something without making at least one of the recipes first. I decided to give the black cod recipe a go with the red snapper and a few variations. I followed the recipe closely but made a few changes, obviously the fish is different. His recipe also calls for pea shoots, which are long out of season so frozen peas had to do the trick. Here is my take on Chef Lahlou’s recipe.
- 10 red potatoes cleaned
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb of red snapper filleted
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 2 cups vegetable broth or seafood stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp liquid of preserved lemons
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Clean and place potatoes in a pan of salted water. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and mash slightly or chop and add to the water. Boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes until just tender. Don't over cook them because they will be cooked further in the oven.
- While potatoes are cooking prepare the broth. In another saucepan add the broth or stock, bayleaf, and crushed saffron threads. Boil for 5 minutes until the saffron releases. You should be able to smell the saffron. It has a creamy, smooth flavor that reminds me slightly of butter.
- Prepare your tajine. Preheat the oven to 300F. In the bottom of the tajine add the olive oil. When the potatoes are ready, drain the water and pull out the potatoes. You can choose to remove the garlic or add it to the tajine. Lay the potatoes in a flat layer in the tajine, cutting the larger potatoes in half.
- Cut the fillets of snapper into small portions (see picture) and arrange on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle the preserved lemon liquid on top of the fish. Finally, pour the saffron broth in with the potatoes. The liquid should NOT reach the fish. Cover the tajine and place in the oven.
- Allow to cook 45 minutes. It is very important to keep the lid of the tajine closed as much as possible. Check at 45 minutes. You want the fish to start flaking. When this happens it is done. At the very end of the cooking process add the frozen peas and cover the tajine again. The peas should be ready within 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with bread to scoop up the fish and juice. This sauce is thinner than most Moroccan tajines. You can choose to remove some of the liquid or leave it.
Overall this recipe got a thumbs up. We really liked the saffron broth, it was soft but had enough flavor. MarocBaba was leery because there aren’t many spices used in this recipe. I think next time I would doctor it up a little more with some cumin and more garlic. However it is a very light dish and a good choice especially for someone looking for a filling but light dish.
You can get a copy of Mourad: New Moroccan on Amazon for $24 and change right now. A great gift for any foodie!