eat well, travel often, dream big!

I’ve always wanted to give this style of rice a shot.  I’ve found that my family is more receptive lately to the idea of rice and other starches in place of bread.  That’s a good thing because I get really tired of so much bread!  This is my first attempt at an Arabic style rice and it turned out good!  As for the vegetables you can use anything you have on hand, or no vegetables at all.  

In a large saute pan, add 2 tbsp butter, 1 tsp garlic and 1/4 finely chopped onion.  Brown vermicelli noodles in butter.  I used about 3/4c of noodles.  Cook them until the noodles soften and start to turn brown.  



I had some white asparagus that I wanted to use.  I simply cleaned and cut off the tops to use.  I also used some frozen peas.  Next, I added in about 1 cup of white long-grain rice and 1 c of chicken broth.  Watch the water levels.  The consistency should be a little drier than a risotto.  Continue stirring.  Cooking time should take between 15-20 minutes.  




This is a great side dish or toss in some chicken or more vegetables for a healthy and tasty main dish!

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I recently was having a conversation with a friend of mine about Moroccan salads.  In the American sense a lot of dishes labeled salads in Morocco are more similar to our concept of side dishes.  However in Morocco the salad course is one unto itself, served before the main dish.  In a multi-course meal they would be first followed by a “side-dish” and then 1 or 2 main dishes.  During his last trip to Morocco, Youssef brought me home a beautiful large serving platter (and one for my mom he knows the way to our hearts!).  It’s big and I can’t use it too often because we wouldn’t eat that much without having guests over.  You might have caught a glimpse in a past post.  Now I present you the true purpose of the platter…..

Looks like a lot of work…guess what I took a few shortcuts!  I was inspired by Christine however took my own shortcuts to speed up preparation.  

  • Moroccan Carrot Salad 
  • Baby carrots steamed in Ziploc Steam fresh bag, chilled and topped with a vinegarette
  • Moroccan Green Beans in Vinegarette
  • Green beans steamed and chilled with a vinegarette
  • Moroccan Rice and Tuna Salad
  • 1 bag of frozen rice (in the steam’s itself bag) cooked and chilled, with 1 pouch of Tuna mixed in.  1/4c vinegarette + 2 tsp mayonaise combined and mixed in.  (may not use all of the dressing).  Place into a bowl and inverted onto platter.  Sprinkle top with cumin.
  • Mixed Vegetable Salad (I added in green peppers and mangos –not authentic!)

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Last week in my grocery shopping I came across the bin of fall vegetables.  This might not be a phenomenon where you are but it is definetely common here in the Midwest.  (I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture).  Imagine a pallet with solid sides, about 4 feet high –  LOADED with squash and gourds of every shape, color, and size.  Yes, this means fall is here.  Imagine my surprise when on the center aisles of the produce aisle was a cute display of smaller size squash.  Everything is better when it’s miniature!  This is particularly good for me because I’m the only one that really likes squash…wait loves squash.  I don’t understand why no one else in my family does but I could eat it everyday!  I picked up a small acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin and another squash (I don’t know what it is but it tasted good).  Then I thought..what am I going to do with all these squash?!?  Couscous!  Perfect.  I picked up the other veggies and headed home.  This is basic, and you can swap in and out any squash or vegetable that you like.  You won’t be disapointed!
My Ingredients:
1/2 butternut squash
1/2 acorn squash
1/2 small pumpkin
1/2 mystery squash
1 large sweet potato
3 carrots peeled, cut in half lengthwise and widthwise
1 zucchini
For spices and other vegetable ideas see master couscous recipe.
Same as with the master recipe – just make sure that you add the zucchini and any other soft vegetables later on in cooking. 
Then what with the other half squashes??  You could make some soup or you could roast them! 
Cube up the remaining squash, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper – throw in a 350F oven and roast about 45 minutes until tender.  So tasty you’ll eat them like candy! 
Do you have a favorite squash recipe?  What other vegetables or foods make you think fall?

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    I'm eating less and less meat these days. I'm not sure if it's just a loss of appetite for it or that I'm simply enjoying other things. It feels like summer hasn't left Morocco, temperatures are still high and we're enjoying lots of fresh produce better take advantage of it while it lasts!  Ma'akouda Patties…
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I usually prepare a big iftar meal for my husband during Ramadan.  We would eat plenty of haraira, briouats and other tasty traditional Moroccan dishes.  This year I’m alone and going through all that trouble just doesn’t make a lot of sense. 

Instead I’m opting for light and healthy meals.  This was one of those meals.  Basic.  Kefta meatballs in tomato sauce, diced mangos, avocados, a cucumber and yellow tomatoes.  No dressing, just healthy, yummy summer goodness.  The meatballs were especially good.  They weren’t as heavy as most meatballs and I add some cayenne pepper for an extra zing.

Kefta Meatballs in Tomato Sauce


1/2 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 c bread crumbs
1 large tomato halved and the inside grated
3 tsp olive oil                                                                                                    


Using a large mixing bowl, add the meat, egg, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, and bread crumbs.  Combine well and shape the mixture into ball shapes.

In a large saute pan heat the olive oil and garlic.  Add the grated tomato and 1/2c of water.

Place the meatballs in and cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked through.  Serve hot and eat with bread or over rice. 

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Ramadan and Food

Ramadan August 11, 2010 0

Today is the first day of Ramadan in North America.  Not sure what that means?  Here is a good explanation.  The short of it however is that Ramadan is the 9th lunar month on the Islamic calendar and entails fasting from worldly pleasures (food, drink, intimacy…) from sun up until sun down for the entire month.  It is a time to focus on faith, God and in a way purification of the soul.  So while no food or drink is allowed during the day; once the sun goes down all prohibitions are listed.  The morning meal is known as suhoor, the breaking of the fast an iftar and often a third meal occurs later in the night (11pm-12am) that’s just dinner. 
I really struggle to eat in the morning, I don’t generally eat breakfast but to skip suhoor makes for a long and hungry day.  Last night I made a really easy quiche that helped out this morning.  I think it’s a great idea for a make ahead meal that can be heated up as desired. 
Broccoli Cheddar Quiche
6 eggs
¼ cup whipping cream
¼ cup skim milk
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or any kind really)
½  cup chopped frozen broccoli (quantity is by preference)
Salt, pepper and garlic powder for seasoning
1 pie crust

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a bowl crack all of the eggs and beat well.  Add the whipping cream and milk and mix again.  Sprinkle in cheese, broccoli and seasoning.  In a pie pan lay out the dough and crimp the edges for a nice look.  Pour the egg mixture into the crust and place into oven.  Bake for 45minutes or until the eggs are set.  Enjoy!  This can easily be reheated at anytime. 

P.S. Did you notice my sidebar Ramadan cookbook?  I’ve compiled my favorite links and ideas for recipes on Delicious.  I’ll update throughout the month.  

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Tajine of Tuna and Shrimp

After my successful attempt at using my charcoal grill to cook a tajine I’ve played around with a few more recipes.  I’m not a huge fish lover but we had purchased a very nice cut of tuna at the market and had some shrimp in the freezer when I put this tajine together.  This might not be for everyone, as tuna is generally served partially raw.  This recipe completely cooks the fish in the tajine and the flavor might not be one that is typical for tuna.  It’s worth a shot though!  I would have loved it if it would have been all shrimp!



  • 1/4 lb piece of raw tuna
  • 10-12 peeled and veined shrimp
  • 1 small eggplant partially peeled
  • 1-2 potatoes sliced thinly
  • 1 handful of italian parsley chopped finely
  • 3 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3-4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c of water

Wash and prepare vegetables, slicing thinly.  In the bottom of the tajine pour half of the olive oil and grease the bottom.  Arrange the potatoes on the bottom of the tajine, with the eggplant on top of the potatoes.  Place the tuna in the middle and arrange the shrimp around the edges.  In a separate bowl mix the spices, herbs and remaining olive oil.  Pour this mixture around the vegetables and fish.

Cover the tajine and place on the grill for about one hour.  Check and continue cooking if vegetables are still firm.  Check again in 20 minutes.

Note: Try not to open the tajine often as the seal that is created by the heat and the closed tajine is what circulates the heat inside and cooks the meat and vegetables inside.

Once complete serve with crusty bread.

fish tajine

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One of my favorite Moroccan salads is Taktouka, a very simple but flavorful salad.  The key to making it is charring the outside of bell peppers so that the skins can be removed.  In the summer placing them on a charcoal grill that is just smoldering is the perfect way to char them extremely well. 
Once the skins are fully blistered and black they can be placed into a plastic bag and left alone for 5-10 minutes.  The steam that is created will begin removing the skin from the flesh of the pepper, making them very easy to remove. 
The skins should easily peel off but running them under a little cold water will help to pull any smaller pieces off.  You can find my taktouka recipe here.   Another variation of this recipe is a simple roast pepper in vinegarette.
Slice the peppers into small strips and mix a vinegarette that is 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add garlic for additional flavor.  Toss peppers enough to coat them with the vinegarette.  Serve at room temperature.

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Moroccan Fried Rice

This meal was devised out of pure desperation.  I was starving, there wasn’t much in the fridge and I didn’t want to order out.  Luckily I had some random things in the fridge and was able to throw this together.  I don’t think that it would have tasted as good if I would have planned it.

Moroccan fried rice


  • 1-2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 egg
  • leftover chicken tajine (anything will work but that’s what I had!)
  • steamed fresh vegetables or frozen vegetables
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp each of cumin, salt, pepper and ginger


In a skillet heat up the vegetable oil and add the rice.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the meat, vegetables and spices.  Cook until heated through.  Remove from skillet and add a little more oil.  Add in the egg and scramble.  When egg is cooked add the rice mixture back in and combine.  Enjoy!

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