Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert

09/28/2009

Paula has been good to us. She is an avid lover of clay pot cooking and a collector of clay pots. She never hesitates to recommend our tagines. We are happy, in our small way, to help promote her new book: Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share.

Paula, self-described as “the clay pot junkie” has collected clay pots throughout all of her life. In this book, she reveals the ins and outs of clay pot cooking and shares 150 recipes from around the Mediterranean.

Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share

Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share

Check out the latest San Francisco Magazine feature on Paula Wolfert!

Job well done Paula!
 

Moroccan Mint Tea (Atay)

09/09/2009

Moroccan mint tea is served before and after meals. It is both sweet and refreshing. In traditional Moroccan culture, it is usually prepared by the elder men of the family. There is no one way to make mint tea as it is very subjective. The best tea maker of the family is guaranteed to always be invited and honored.  The following recipe is based on my late grandfather’s way of preparing tea.

INGREDIENTS
– 4 to 5 cups of water
– 1 x large bunch of fresh Spearmint (peppermint will not do)
– 1 tbsp of green tea (Gun Powder Tea is preferred and you can find it in oriental/chinese stores)
– 4 to 5 table spoons of sugar

PREP
Set the water to a full boil. Place the green tea in the teapot. Add 1/4 cup of boiling water, let it sit for 1/2 minute and then pour it out. This allows the tea leaves to open completely.

Add all of the rinsed mint inside the teapot, then add 4-5 tbsp of sugar (to taste). Top with  boiling hot water and let it boil for 2 minutes. Take off stove top and let it sit for another minute.

Pour 1 full glass of hot mint tea and pour it back into the teapot. Repeat this twice. This allows for the sugar to mix without breaking any mint leaves (breaking of mint leaves while mixing with a spoon makes tea a bit bitter).

Photo Courtesy of HostesswiththeMostess.com

Photo Courtesy of HostesswiththeMostess.com

You are now ready to serve Moroccan hot mint tea, preferably with cookies. Hold the teapot a little high from the glass so that the tea foams as it is poured into the tea glasses. This is called the “Tea Turbin”. It is only tradition and it is believed that the larger the turbin the better the tea.

It is optional to add two drops of orange blossom water as it is added only during ceremonial gatherings.

Enjoy!
 
Although it is not necessary, if seeking the full authentic experience, you can find find Moroccan tea pots and beautiful colorful Moroccan tea glasses at Berber Trading Company.

Our Tagines Just Landed at Caliza Pool!

09/03/2009

Coastal Living magazine Goes Moroccan!

Moroccan Cooking

Moroccan Cooking

Join Peggy Markel on September 6, 09 at Caliza Pool as she demonstrates the art of Moroccan cooking. Peggy Markel has become known as a “food guide extraordinaire” (Food and Wine, 2008). Her Adventures “bring visitors directly into places it would take the lone traveler quite some time to discover, if ever.” (More, 2008).

Food editor Julia Rutland will also be heading to Studio B. for a photo shoot with Peggy Markel.

Classes run September 5–6, 2009, so to meet Julia on the sunny Florida Gulf coast and cook with Peggy, register now at Studio B!

Taste of Morocco with Peggy Markel at Caliza Pool!

Potatoes & Green Olives Tagine at The Beach!

08/14/2009

We have decided to go vegetarian for dinner tonight. Actually, it was not a choice, we had no meat and nobody would volunteer to go get some, so we opted for Potatoes and green olives tagine. Another simple, yet filling vegetarian tagine.

 Moroccan Potatoes & Olives Tagine INGREDIENTS:
– 2 lbs of red potatoes
– 3 small (or 2 medium) red onions
–  1 tomato
– 1/4 bunch of parsley
– 5 sprigs of cilantro
– 1/4 tsp of turmeric
– 1/4 tsp of ginger
– 1/4 tsp of black pepper
– 1/2 tsp of paprika
– 1 tsp of salt
– 15-20 green olives with some olive juice.
– 1/2 cup of water 

PREP:
Cut the potatoes in wedges, thinly slice onions, dice tomatoe, and chop the Gently mix all the ingredients, except for the water and the olives, in a mixing bowl then separate the onions from the rest of the ingredients. Place the onions first in the bottom of the tagine, pour the 1/2 cup of water from the edges, then build on top of it with the rest if the ingredients as shown in the photo.

Moroccan Potaotes & Olives Tagine Set the stove top on low heat between Lo and Med and let cook for 45 minutes and check if sauce is too low. If so, add 4 tbsp of water. Add the olive and let slip the olive juice from the edges and cook for 20 more minutes. 

Check the thickest potato wedge with a knife, for tenderness. If it runs through it effortlessly, your  tagine is done.

B’saha!

Okra Tagine at The Beach!

08/13/2009

OKRA TAGINE RECIPE

What’s for lunch today? The short answer is vegetarian aka Okra with onions and tomatoes, a vegetarian tagine. A simple, light, yet fulfilling recipe that we cook frequently.

Moroccan Okra Tagine Preparation

Moroccan Okra Tagine Preparation

INGREDIENTS:

– 1.5 lbs of okra (we used freshly frozen okra as it is already cleaned and cut. Also, the beach condo has a small kitchen and we try to keep things simple)
– 3 medium tomatoes (we used organic as it was on sale and less expensive than regular vine ripe ones)
– 2 small onions
– 1/4 bunch of parsley
– 1/4 tsp of turmeric
– 1/4 tsp of ginger
– 1/4 tsp of black pepper
– 1 tsp of salt
– 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

That’s it. Really!

PREP:

Clean and cut off the head of okra (see photo), dice tomatoes, thinly slice onions, and chop parsley. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and add all ingredients including the olive oil (see above). Mix it all together and place it in a tagine, a Rifi Tagine in this case.

Mixing it all together

Mixing it all together

Take some of the larger okras and neatly arrange them in a circular fanned fashion to add a pleasant visual component to the tagine and add a 1/4 cup of water.

Set it and Forget it (for only 45 minutes)

Set it and Forget it (for only 45 minutes)

Set the temperature at LO-MED, a setting between low and medium on most stove tops (or a quarter of the way between off and high). Time cooking for 45 minutes and check on the tagine. If sauce is reduced dry, add 2 tbsp of water and let cook for 2 minutes, otherwise, check tenderness of okra and onions. If cooked turn the stove off and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Watch it sizzle…

B’saha!

Tadah!

Tadah!

Heading to Sanibel Island

08/11/2009

 

Tagine Cooking & Snorkeling

Tagine Cooking & Snorkeling

As we packed to head to Sanibel Island for a week, one item that could not be left behind was one of the family’s favorite tagines, the Rifi Tagine. It comes from Wad Lao, a village in the Northern Rif mountains of Morocco, hence the name Rifi tagine. Of course the snorkeling gear was just as important!

Spices: Turmeric

10/15/2008

Known in Morocco as “kharqum” derived from its scientific name (Curcuma Longa). According to Wiki, it belongs to the Ginger family and is believed to have originated in India. Its active ingredient is curcumin, it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. In Ayuverdic medicine, it is used as an antiseptic as well as antibacterial, and is used on wounds, cuts, and burns. 

In some eastern countries, it is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent, and a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders, as well as used as a natural food and fabrics colorant.

Naima’s Chicken Tagine by Tessa

04/17/2008

INGREDIENTS
3 medium carrots, peeled and cored (if core is bitter) and sliced in half lengthwise
½ Chicken, in pieces
1 large peeled potato, cut in 1 cm thick rounds
1 large green bell pepper, cut in chunks
1 medium red onion, cut in 1 cm thick rounds
2 medium tomatoes, cut in 1 cm thick rounds
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsps ground ginger
½ tsp ground pepper
2 tsps paprika
Dash of yellow food colorant powder, or a few strands crushed saffron
½ cube or 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
Handful of pitted green olives
6 -8 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of water

PREP
Splash 4 tbsp of oil on the bottom of the tagine. Layer your ingredients evenly in the tagine, starting with carrots, then going in order they are written. The carrots must be on the bottom, and the chicken pieces should be on top of the carrots, not touching the bottom of the tagine (When the carrots start to burn, they add delicious flavor and protect the rest of the ingredients – but if anything else burns, that’s not going to taste very good.)  When you get to the spices and salt, sprinkle them evenly overtop the vegetables.  Spread your olives on top, then drizzle the olive oil allover. If water is needed, add it now. Close your tagine and cook until your vegetables are tender, on a very low heat. This may take up to an hour – make sure you have liquid in the tagine or it will burn – and watch out for too much liquid, or it will bubble over.
Once it’s cooked, turn off the heat and drizzle the rest of your olive oil on top. Let the tagine rest for about 10 minutes to cool off, and enjoy!

How To Cure a Tagine

02/15/2008

We receive quite a few questions about tagine curing and cooking. Not only the “how” questions but the “why” as well. Below, I am including a step by step directions on how to cure a tagine at home without any special equipment and just little space.

HOW TO CURE A TAGINE?
It is necessary that it is seasoned before initial use. Please follow these simple instructions below for maximum results:

1. WATER: The new tagine needs to be first submerged in water for at least 1 hour. If you can’t submerge it, place it in a clean sink bowl and slowly fill the base of the tagine with water until it stops absorbing it. Place the tagine lid on top (as shown) and fill it as well. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow full absorption of water into the clay. Empty excess water and set to dry for 5 minutes.

Step 1. Soaking in Water

Step 1. Soaking in Water

2. OLIVE OIL: All you need is 3 table spoons of olive oil, 2 for the base and one for the lid. Spread the olive oil throughout the base and lid with your hand as shown. 

How to cure a Moroccan tagine

Step 2. Rubbing with Olive Oil

3: HEAT: While the tagine is still wet with the oil applied to it, place it in the oven as shown in the first or second photos, and set temperature at 350 F and leave for 45 minutes. The evaporation of moisture creates a vaccum effect to pull the olive oil into the clay which glazes and seals it. Then leave the tagine cool down in the turned off oven.
The last photo shows a cured tagine ready for use.
 

Step 3. Heat Curing in the Oven

Step 3. Heat Curing in the Oven

WHY CURE A TAGINE?
Curing clay pots is as cultural as the cooking itself. If you look up curing clay pots, you will find a variety of processes using a multitude of ingredients ranging from spinach to buttermilk to mustard oil. In order to strengthen (less susceptible to thermal shock) your cooking tagine and get optimum taste that tagine lovers seek at every use, it is necessary to use the process explained above. The use of olive oil has a dual effect. It is as important for sealing clay as it is for flavoring Moroccan cooking. 

TAGINE CLEANING
It is recommended that you hand wash your tagine, as it has not been tested for dishwashers. Do not leave submerged in soapy water. 

Moroccan Preserved Lemon

07/01/2007

Every household in Morocco has a continuous supply of preserved lemon. Some make their own and others buy it from the market as it is readily available. Here, we show you how to make your own.

Moroccan Preserved Lemon 5-6 Lemons 
1 Lbs. Salt, more if desired 
1 Cinnamon stick  
1/4 Cup Bay leaves 
1/4 Cup of vegetable oil
Spring water 

Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom. Gently spread them without breaking the bottom and pack them with salt , preferably sea salt, and then reshape the fruit.

Place 1 tablespoon salt on the bottom of a sterilized one pint mason jar.

Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt and the optional other spices, between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. Cover the lemons with spring water and leave enough space for the oil.

Pour the vegetable oil and seal the jar. The vegetable oil has no effect on the actual flavoring except that it works as a seal and protects the lemons from air contact during the preservation time.

Let the lemons ripen in a cool dry and dark area for at least 30 days before reopening.

Depending on your recipe, you may or may not rinse the lemons before use. 

Preserved lemons, sold loose in the markets (Souks) of Morocco, are one of the most indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking, used in fragrant lamb and vegetables Tagines, recipes for chicken with lemons and olives, and salads. Their unique pickled taste and special silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice.

Sometimes you will see a sort of lacy, white substance clinging to preserved lemons in their jar; it is perfectly harmless, but should be rinsed off for aesthetic reasons just before the lemons are used.

Cook with both pulps and rinds, if desired

There is no need to refrigerate after opening. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.