Tagines and other terra cotta pots need to be seasoned before use as they are prone to cracks. Seasoning a tagine not only enhances its durability by making it more crack-resistant, it also eliminates the initial clay smell, which can be quite strong. Tagines come in all kinds of sizes and are typically either conical or dome-shaped. Whichever kind you choose, it will be a special piece of cookware to cherish for a long time.
Here is how to season your clay pot in a few simple steps:
First of all, if you’ve never had pomegranate molasses, I encourage you to buy some. It is a great ingredient to add to both sweet and savory dishes. I like having a bottle handy to mix into yogurt, drizzle over ice cream or simply toss into fruit salads. When I’m feeling more inspired, I even use it in marinades or to make ice cream. It adds so much flavor.
Pomegranate molasses can be found in specialty or Middle Eastern food stores for a few dollars. Be sure to buy a good brand, such as this one, made with 100% pomegranates and no added sugar.
See that beautiful color in the torte? That’s the visible sign of pomegranate molasses. The invisible magic is a delightfully tangy and fruity edge, and a very moist texture.
Parsnips are available from fall through spring yet they can be so easily overlooked. I know I have overlooked them more than once. I pretended I didn’t see them and went on my way to grab other more “popular” roots.
The truth is I never really knew what to do with them or how to deal with their sweetness.
I recently bought a pound of parsnips for a tagine but chickened out at the last minute and used potatoes instead. So there I was with a pound of parsnips and no plans for them at all other than a determination not to let them go to waste. I had to get creative, and this is what my creativity led me to.
This parsnip concoction could be eaten as a dip for apples, celery or crackers as well as for dessert. It is delightfully sweet and floral and works well for both, though I have to say I like it better as a dessert because I’m partial to eating treats by the spoonful.
You may think this is simply another tagine. You may think they’re all the same, after all. Tagines may seem like they use the same recipe with a different vegetable every time, but they most certainly don’t. There are subtle differences such as the choice and amount of spices, the aromatics, and the amount of liquid used that make each one unique.
This tagine is certainly different. It has a tomato sauce base and its vegetable is not cooked in the sauce but dipped in egg, fried and plated on top of the stew at the very end. This results in more textural contrast and very happy taste buds.
Even though nowadays a tagine refers to any kind of Moroccan stew whether cooked in a tagine or not and whether on a charcoal brazier or a stove, the authentic method, still religiously observed by villagers throughout Morocco, remains unsurpassed. Because of the time constraints of modern life, most people cook their tagine on the stovetop. The traditional method is nowadays a treat reserved for holidays and other special occasions.
I love the earthy flavors a tagine lends to anything cooked within its confines but you don’t need to have one to make this utterly satisfying dish. A heavy-bottomed pot will yield fantastic results as well and cook more quickly.
This is an easy vegetable tagine that takes less than ten minutes to prepare and leaves you time to relax as it slowly simmers over low heat. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution has been to eat more vegetables. If so, you’ll find it easier to stick to with this savory chermoula vegetable tagine.
In my last post on how to roast garlic, I hinted about soup. Well, I rather casually mentioned soup among other dishes, but my goal, really, was to get you to think of soup, think of roasted garlic, then think of the two together. It was sort of a trial balloon to see how well you would react to that match. You, excellent readers with excellent taste, quickly caught on what a great match that would be, and many of you even commented that you were planning to make soup with roasted garlic. Thank goodness for smart readers.
So, here it is, my friends. A great soup with cauliflower and roasted garlic, very creamy, very delicious. Do give it a try.
The transformation garlic undergoes upon roasting is simply amazing to me. Changing from strong and pungent to buttery and caramelized with a simple procedure makes it my “go-to” flavoring whenever I want a quick extra something to add to my savory dishes. I love it in soups and spreads or simply tossed into sauces.
This week has been marked by many celebrations: a new year, a birthday (my twentieth – thank you very much for asking!) and a special letter. It was heartwarming to hear from friends I haven’t seen in years. But the letter…
The letter, my friends, was the nicest I have received this year. It came from a student of mine whom I didn’t even think liked me. In fact, she rolled her eyes at me every time I looked at her, and in good proud Oujdi I rolled mine right back at her. Far was I from thinking that she would write me such kind words, wishing me such wonderful things.
The New Year seems to be already bringing new beginnings.
Mquila, a specialty of Rabat, and a meat delicacy not quite as hard core as khlii, but very very flavorful nonetheless. The secrets to good mquila are ground coriander—lots of it!—and many many hours of marinating.
The typical way to make mquila is cooking any kind of beef or lamb meat with a small amount of suet. I stepped away from that method by skipping the suet and using skirt steak which is beautifully marbled with fat, flavorful and quick to cook.
This couscous promises you so many great things, if only you believe!
Thousands of couscous grains for abundance.
Pomegranate for hope.
Apples for health.
Pineapple for friendship.
Ras el hanout for bedroom bliss.
Onion for wisdom.
Garlic to ward off evil (vampires too!).
Honey for much sweetness in the New Year.
Happy 2012! It will be a fabulous one!