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taste of Morocco

with my love for herbs and spices, of course I would be enamored with the cuisine of Morocco…known for its food culture, it is one of the most visited countries in Africa, a land abounding with fruit and spices…turmeric, cayenne, and cumin are the basis for most dishes, but you will find a plethora of additional spice from anise to zaatar

in preparation for my cooking class: a taste of Morocco, I began to pack all the spices I would need, which meant I practically cleared my shelves…with a bag full of spices slung over my shoulder, mortar & pestle underarm, and fresh cut blades of lemongrass and cayenne peppers stuffed in my apron pockets, I was on my way to Plum’s Cooking Co

my husband, Doug, and I went to work prepping and setting up the mise en place…the trays, full of color and texture were lined up on the counter, ready for the

arrival of our guests…

the menu and recipes greeted them as they took their seats, all anxious to partake in the big flavors that awaited them

woman in apron cooking olives in saute pan

we started our adventure with harissa olives…if you haven’t tried warm olives yet, they are a delight, just a quick sauté in olive oil makes them more tender and heightens the flavor…you can prepare them simply or add your favorite herb and spices…my recipe has you using all the ingredients of harissa, a pepper paste originating from North Africa, used much as you would sriracha…

warm harissa olives

1 ½ cups mixed olives

1/2 cup olive oil

½ red bell pepper, roasted, diced

1 fresh cayenne pepper, chopped

½ preserved lemon, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon caraway

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon clove

heat olive oil in sauté pan, add peppers, cook until softened

add lemon, garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice, and spices…mix well

add olives, toss to coat well…cook until warmed through

I enjoy pieces of pita bread with it to dab up the remaining sauce

serves 6

sprig of rosemary

now that our palates had been awakened, a swig of a nice dry, red wine had us ready for the goat curry…did you know that 65% of all meat consumed in the world is goat, yet we rarely see it in the groceries stores, check with your local small butcher shop, that’s where I get mine…the meat is lean, with no gamey taste…many of our guests said that if they didn’t know it was goat they would have sworn it was beef…not only is it tasty, it’s very healthy…lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol, higher in proteins and iron than any other meat, including chicken!

white plate of goat curry and glass of red wine

goat curry with hummato

2.2lb. goat cubes

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 cup yogurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

6 oz can tomato paste

8 oz roasted red peppers, minced

2 tablespoons ground turmeric

2 tablespoons ground ginger

3 teaspoons cumin

3 tablespoons coriander seed, crushed

1 teaspoon caraway seed

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon ancho powder

2 tablespoons curry powder

½ cup coconut milk

1 shrimp bouillon cube

3 cups water

2 stems lemongrass

1 preserved lemon, minced

3 dried figs, sliced

6 dates, sliced

6 dried apricots, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

dust goat cubes with garlic powder, then rub with yogurt and lemon juice

allow to marinate at least 4 hours, best overnight

take meat out of marinade, pat dry with towel

mix together the tomato paste, roasted red peppers, spices, pepper powders, coconut milk

dissolve the bouillon cube in 3 cups water

heat olive oil in large braising pan, add garlic and goat, brown to seal the meat

add shrimp water and lemongrass, put on lid and simmer on low heat for 1 hour

add spice mixture, transfer pan to 325 degree oven, continue cooking for another hour

when meat is tender, add the fruits, cook for another half hour

pull out any small bones

serve over couscous, rice, or hummato, garnish with minced fresh parsley or cilantro

serves 6

woman in apron pouring oil into food processor

hummato, you ask, a fun little side dish that came into existence one day when I had leftover hummus that needed to be used, so I folded it into my mashed potatoes we were having that evening…the rich, nutty flavor was so good, I never even made the gravy and just topped it with a drizzle of olive oil and zaatar spice, a Mideastern blend of thyme, cumin, coriander, sesame seed, and sumac


2 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup tahini

2 cloves roasted garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

16oz can chickpeas, save the water! called aquafaba

2 tablespoons zaatar

dice potatoes, cover with water, add salt, cook until tender

drain off water, add butter and milk, mash just until creamy

in food processor, blend the tahini, lemon juice

then add olive oil, garlic, cumin, and salt

add ½ can chickpeas, blend well, then add remaining chickpeas

add chickpea water as needed to get smooth consistency

blend this mixture into the mashed potatoes

bring back to warm serving temperature adding any extra aquafaba to get desired creaminess

garnish with sprinkling of zaatar when plated

sprig of rosemary

after a deluge of warm spices, it was time to finish up with a bright, refreshing dessert…Morocco is home to groves of navel and mandarin oranges and the blossoms are good for easing any indigestion, making this dish was a perfect choice to end our experience…

grey plate with orange slices topped with pomegranite seeds, pistachios and mint

spiced oranges in blossom water

4 tangerines

4 tablespoons orange blossom water

2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cardamon

1 pomegranate, seeds removed

4 tablespoon chopped pistachios

fresh mint leaves, minced

peel the oranges, slicing into ¼ - ½ inch thick rounds

place on platter, drizzle with orange blossom water

dust with cinnamon and cardamon

refrigerate for at least one hour

when ready to serve, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and mint

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