Every year at this time, the weather in South Carolina is nice and nippy, if not mildly frigid. I was hoping to catch a last dose of winter but this year, it was as warm as we had left it in Florida. I was disappointed, but only slightly, since staying home for the party is mostly what we do when we go there. Not that I’m discounting that. It’s something we rarely get to make time for. I mean, really, it’s a luxury these days to just sit around for a whole weekend, spend time with family, eat and chat all day long.
Our only outside adventure was a neighborhood treasure hunt, with frequent pauses to admire the new spring blossoms.
The party was smaller this year, consisting of about thirty people. Cheerful Irish music was playing as we ate, drank and had a sheer good time in our green paraphernalia. We’re so thankful to our hosts for always hospitably opening their home for the party.
These sweet, spiced whole wheat buns are a perfect Easter treat—or breakfast indulgence, if you don’t celebrate. They are not iced like traditional ones but simply stamped with a cross and sprinkled with turbinado sugar.
Oh so good.
It’s time to celebrate my favorite saint of all. We are spending the weekend in South Carolina with family like we do every year. I’m expecting some seriously good times and will take lots of photos to share with you—perhaps even a recipe if John’s mom lets me have her secret soda bread recipe. I hope your weekend is fabulous.
When making this aspic, I couldn’t help but think eighties French buffet in Morocco. The last time I’ve seen or had aspic at a restaurant was probably in the early nineties in Marrakesh where vegetable, salad and meat aspics were a hotel buffet staple. Nobody seems to make aspic anymore and I’m feeling a bit retro preparing this but the memories of how much I liked it are coming back strong and I’m feeling like creating at least a few aspics this spring. I think they’re great for warm, sunny weather.
I have never liked doughnuts though I tried. When my family visited from Morocco a few years back, I bought them doughnuts to offer them a little taste of Americana, they didn’t like them. My French friends don’t like them either. I have come to the conclusion that doughnuts –along with football and baseball—may be one of those things that you have to be born here to be able to appreciate.
I thought I’d give baked doughnuts a shot. First, I’m still recovering from a few oil burns (nothing serious, don’t worry.) so there was no question of me getting anywhere near hot oil. Second, I figured that the fact that they’re fried may be the reason why I never liked them.
Now I can say that I like doughnuts. These doughnuts. No others!
If they’re not all that authentic to your taste, forgive the Moroccan. She tried! Her promise to you, though, is that they’re really really good.
It is no secret on this blog that I love red lentils. I love how fast they cook. I love how soft they get when cooked, almost like a mash but not quite. I could think of a dozen ways to make them yet I always tend to cook them up into a soup or stew. Here, they are seasoned with cumin, a hearty dose of lime juice and some red onion. A simply delicious, satisfying dinner.
One of my coworkers drinks chia seeds in her iced tea every day. Curious, I tried them a while ago in different drinks, adding a tablespoon to my water, tea or juice. They were surprisingly effortless to swallow, even pleasant, playing a few cool tricks on the tongue, like ice cream does, but in a different way.
I thought their gelatinous nature would make them excellent for pudding. Once the seeds are soaked, they start forming a gel-like coating that makes a wonderful base for a gooey pudding.
When I opened my pantry, cocoa was the first ingredient to suggest itself for this spontaneous concoction. The pudding turned out delicious, in a filling kind of way. Perfect for breakfast, if you ask me. Top it with fresh berries or whip cream and you have yourself a five-star pudding that’s good for you.
This is a special dish of feasting and celebration related to a very special time of the year — the much awaited olive harvest. Zeitoun (olive) season in Morocco is sometime in autumn but thanks to the availability of beautiful olives in markets all year round, this dish can be made anytime and not only as a part of the harvest ritual.
This is my version of meslalla, a Moroccan preparation of well seasoned olives, cracked or chopped and cooked with a meat of choice. It is heaven on a plate for olive lovers, and I am an olive lover.
Certain things are worth waiting for.
Blood oranges are one of them. I love all varieties of orange so to me, blood oranges are like an already pretty woman wearing red lipstick for a special occasion. It’s nature’s way of giving oranges moxie and making them spunkier than they already are for just a little while, just long enough to tease people. How mean is that. Usually by the time I’ve decided to buy them their season is already over, and I’m left daydreaming about them for a whole year.
But not this year…
I’ve bought them as soon as I saw them. I’ve become smart enough not to procrastinate on important things like this. I bought a kilo, ate what I could and made a salad with the rest.
So, this is my message to you-ou-ou. Outsmart nature, buy blood oranges while they last, and do make this salad.
This is one of our favorite ways to eat zucchini as well as one of our favorite side dishes. It is really simple to make and highlights what a wonderful vegetable zucchini is. As you know, zucchini is quite bland and needs to be seasoned well but it is one of the quickest, most versatile vegetables to cook. The garlic, zesty salsa and cheese in this recipe give zucchini much flavor.
I always make extra because I absolutely love zucchini sandwiches for lunch. I can eat them many days in a row with extra cheese.
I’ve never eaten with a shepherd, but I know if I ever did, he would serve me a lively salad with cucumbers and olives from his orchard, and plenty of sheep’s milk cheese that he made himself. I just know it. He would be humble and hospitable, and we would candidly eat, talk and laugh as if we had known each other for ages. Our conversation would be as honest as the ingredients in his salad and we would remember both for a very long time.
My dream of eating with a shepherd will come true one day. I’m not sure if it’ll happen in Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Morocco, Syria or Egypt but I know it will happen.
Meanwhile I have this salad to keep me happy.