Something Happening

This is not easy to announce. It actually feels a little awkward and I have been thinking of a good way to ease it into the conversation but figured that the best way to say it is just to say it. I’m not one to dance around the topic for too long. I think I can do it.

Ahem…

Deep breath…

There has been something exciting going on, dear readers. Something other than cooking, taking pictures and eating (though it has a little bit to do with the latter). That thing has been making me hungry for large burgers with fries, chocolate chip cookies, pickles for breakfast, hot sauce with every meal, and more chocolate chip cookies. Let’s just say that the tiny little thing is making my relationship with food stronger than ever.

I am eating for two and loving it!!

I am five months along. I’m not very big yet and can still fool most people with the right shirt (not that I’m trying to – I think bumps are drop-dead gorgeous and besides, who wants to wear the right shirt all the time anyway!…) but I’m definitely getting pleasantly plump and will probably start showing soon (and shopping for cute maternity dresses!).

 

 

My family is very happy and I wanted to share our joy with you as well.

 

Love,

Nisrine

 

Healthier Ice Cream

This ice cream collection is lighter, lower calorie and sugar than commercial ice cream (many of the recipes are dairy- and refined sugar-free). I can never finish a scoop of store-bought ice cream but can easily eat an entire batch of any of the recipes below in no time.

Lighter, fresher ice cream is addictive. Enjoy!

 

 

Continue Reading…

Summer Salads

I’d been waking up to a lovely breeze every morning here in Marrakesh. Sure the breeze didn’t last all day but it did faithfully come back to accompany me through the night.

Much to my delight!

I hoped it would last. Alas, it didn’t.

After a brief family reunion in Rabat, I came back to sandstorms and debilitating heat. I checked my calendar; it was officially summer here in Marrakesh, Morocco, Africa.

Surely, that was to be expected.

Surely, surely, all I want to eat is salad.

Kale Tabbouleh

Micro-Chopped Cobb Salad with Lemon-Harissa Dressing

Shepherd’s Salad

Grilled Cardamom Maple-Glazed Watermelon Salad with Feta and Oregano

Shrimp and Mango Salad with Tahini Dressing

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Moroccan Citrus Salad

Moroccan Lentil Salad

Other refreshing summer salads.

Iced Mint Tea with Summer Berries

Orlando has been getting a lot of rain lately, not the heavy kind but the sporadic showers that come unannounced every couple of hours and only last long enough to mess up your hairdo and ruin whatever outdoor activity you happen to be doing. But a few weekends ago was an exception: it was dry, sunny and perfectly perfect for spending time by the pool. We also happened to have company for a couple of days so spending almost every moment of our waking hours either in the water or on lounge chairs was great fun. There was tanning, bantering, munching on hummus and chips, and of course, there were many glasses of fruity iced mint tea to keep us refreshed.

P.S. I’m in Marrakesh right now living completely different weather and taking lots of pictures for you. Posts coming soon.

Love,

Nisrine

 

Continue Reading…

Green and Black Olive Hummus

Dips are a very social food which makes them just the thing for summer. As things start slowing down and gatherings with family and friends start happening again, a nice homemade dip is wonderful to have conversations over.

 

Continue Reading…

Moroccan Brioches

These brioche-like buns called gors or krashel – are usually sold in traditional ferrans (community ovens) in the old part of town. It’s not uncommon to see them sold on street stalls as well often by preteen boys who buy them from the ferran and peddle them at a slightly higher price (usually 20 cents more) to make some pocket money. Gors are sweet, soft and delightfully scented with anise seeds and orange blossom water. My version is partially made with whole wheat flour which makes it a little heartier than the original and perfect for breakfast with a glass of warm tea or milk.

Continue Reading…

How to Make Soft, Moist Meatballs

Soft meatballs have eluded me for a long time. I have tried breadcrumbs, eggs, fat, yet still couldn’t get perfectly soft ones. I have figured out with practice that breadcrumbs were far from solving the problem (though some people swear by them) and that egg yolks do help but not so much the whites. I have experimented with quantities and finally been able to get those wonderfully moist and tender meatballs I had long wanted. It took a while but I got there. Now I can enjoy meatballs more often without so much breaking my jaw (exaggerating to make my point but, really, hard ones are quite an arduous workout for the jaws). Maya keeps asking for more. She’s starting to really like her spaghetti with meatballs (changing her mind about pasta and coming to her senses at last!).

 

Continue Reading…

Perfect Tomato Sauce

Nothing beats a good homemade tomato sauce. No, sir. No, ma’am. I know there are many recipes out there but this one is my favorite. My mom’s is really my first favorite and this one somewhat stems from it and is therefore a favorite as well. A good tomato sauce can take any dish from average to fabulous. It can make a world of difference in pasta, soups, casseroles, pizza, beans, marinades, fish, rice, dips, and much, much more. Well, you get the idea… it can be used in everything! — except, debatably, desserts. I hope you like this one; it is perfect.

 

Continue Reading…

Egyptian Rice and Lentil Pilaf (Koshari)

I have come to know and love koshari thanks to a blessed albeit shortly lived marriage of a cousin of mine to an Egyptian lady. I have vague memories of it in a version which, unlike this one, contained plenty of macaroni. I found this recipe in the Ottolenghi cookbook and thought it would fit the bill; and it did, in a big way. It was very tasty.

 

Continue Reading…

Kale Smoothie Recipe

This one is another way I’m learning to love kale. I had some leftover from last week’s tabbouleh and blended it into a smoothie with blueberries and banana. It was delicious and best of all, blended well into the mix and was barely recognizable. I thought I’d share this smoothie with you in case you too are developing a liking for kale. We could all add more greens to our life, couldn’t we?

This smoothie may not look green but it has a whopping full cup of kale. The anthocyanins in blueberries give them a strong pigmentation that covers the color of  other ingredients. Not that we mind; a purple smoothie is a gorgeous smoothie to sip on.

Continue Reading…