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Monthly Archives: June 2014

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Couscous tfaya – Moroccan onion and raisin couscous

Moroccan onion and raisin couscous

Moroccan onion and raisin couscous with roasted carrots and cabbage

I’m pretty sure that when Americans think of Moroccan couscous, they think of vegetables. Please, correct me if I’m wrong! This is actually my favorite kind, though: Onion and raisin couscous with chicken. It may sound odd, but it’s got a hint of sweetness and a lot of flavor that makes me swoon. When I saw that our box this week had 3 onions, and I had just bought some from the grocery store, I knew this would be the perfect use for them. The fact that it also had carrots and cabbage, two typical couscous vegetables, made it that much better. Please ignore my shadow on the plate, I was hungry!

In Morocco, the chicken would be slowly poached in spiced water with chickpeas, with the couscous in a special steamer basket that is made to go on top, like this:

Traditional couscous pot. Meat and vegetables go in the bottom with broth, and the grain on top to get some lovely flavors from the steam.

I don’t have a couscous pot, so I use the lazy American way of doing couscous: For 2 servings, bring one cup of water (or broth) to a boil. Turn off heat, add couscous and cover 2-5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Couscous is a very important food in Morocco. Traditionally, every Friday the family gets together and eats couscous. It’s most often with vegetables – zucchini, pumpkin, cabbage, carrots… kind of whatever is in season. No tomatoes, though you might find them in a salad with cucumbers as a side dish. Even today it’s expected that you eat couscous on Fridays. If you can’t get home to eat with your family, most restaurants serve it for Friday lunch. Lots of shops are closed Friday afternoon, as it’s the holy day, so you can take your time and enjoy the delicious piping hot meal.

 

All of the recipes I found in English ask you to use traditional methods, which I find pretty odd since it’s not like we have all of those utensils here… The ones written by those who make it regularly say ‘a good amount of this’ or ‘a bit of that’ which doesn’t really help someone who doesn’t know how it should taste! This is how I made it work in a typical American kitchen.

Moroccan Onion and Raisin Couscous with Chicken
Serves 6

For the Chicken (or lamb or beef):

  • 3 pound chicken
  • chicken broth (water is completely authentic, too)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt (skip if your broth has salt)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 can chickpeas (I forgot to buy these, so they are not pictured)

For the onions:

  • 5 medium onions (yes, that many! It cooks down a ton)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Cook the chicken and chickpeas with all of the spices and broth in a crock pot on high for 3-4 hours, or low 6-8. You want it to simply fall apart with medium pressure (Moroccans eat it with one hand!)

When it’s finally close to meal time, thinly slice all of the onions. Place raisins in a bowl and cover with boiling water so that they inflate a bit. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and spices and start the onions cooking. When the smell gets nice and strong, take a few ladles of the meat cooking liquid (about a cup and a half), and add it to the onions with the raisins AND the onion that cooked with the meat. Keep cooking. When the liquid all boils off, keep stirring the onions. You want them to not have any crunch left to them, and have sweated out all of their water. They should get to be a nice yellow-brown (yellow from the turmeric – watch out for your clothes.)

Onions with cooking broth

Onions with cooking broth

Cooked onion and raisins

They reduce so much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t already, now is the time to make the couscous, as stated above – a cup of boiling water/broth with a cup of uncooked couscous.

I served mine with couscous on the bottom, then the chicken, covered with the onion and raisin mixture on top. If it is too dry (this is likely) add some extra cooking broth over the top.

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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Recipe, Using ingredients

 

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Box 1 report card – C-

Box 1 Report

Well, Box 2 came on Tuesday, but there were several things still hanging around from Box 1, unfortunately. So, here are the original box contents and where they stand now:

Cabbage – Used a bunch in Cabbage carrot peanut salad and just finished it today! Roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper (with some squash from Box 2)

Summer squash medley – All eaten, mostly sautéed with some basic seasonings.

Cucumber – Used some in Bibimbap, still have some left to eat…

Green beans – Gone! Boiled and eaten with an amazing cottage pie that I need to post.Image

Rainbow chard – Gone! Used in no-noodle lasagna

Leeks – Gone! Used in lasagna and fritatta!

Banana peppers – Some eaten, mostly sadly forgotten in drawer… not quite bad. Yet. I did better with Week 2’s!

Carrots – Mostly eaten, partly in Bibimbap, as well as peanut cabbage salad

Flat-leaf parsley – Used a bit in turkey meatballs, but mostly still hanging around in the fridge… oops.

Potatoes – Gone! Eaten in latkes.

Summary:
5 out of 9 completely eaten
4 out of 9 partially eaten.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Box report card

 

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Panzanella salad and turkey meatballs

Panzanella salad and turkey meatballs

We had planned to make spaghetti with a turkey bolognese sauce for dinner, but when I saw the tomatoes in the CSA box today I changed my mind. With the fresh basil and onions, I got to add some fun stuff to it! We also had parsley from the last box that I incorporated into the meatballs.

I was also happy with this because we had some people over for dinner on Sunday night. We had said what we were making and that they didn’t need to bring anything, but everyone brought bread. Three kinds of bread: jalapeno cornbread, sourdough loaf, and sliced white and wheat bread. I used the sourdough for the panzanella and then part of the sliced bread to make bread crumbs for the meatballs. We even had some parmesan to throw into both.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Using ingredients

 

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Box 2 – Week of June 15

Despite not quite finishing the last one, a new box arrived today! At least nothing from last time has gone bad. Yet.

More fun squash! And tomatoes!

More fun squash! And tomatoes!

Today we have leeks, carrots, basil,
banana peppers, squash, red cabbage, yellow onions,
tomatoes, cucumber, and a small watermelon!

And we have already used part of it, hooray! More on that shortly.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Box contents

 
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Bibimbap! (Korean rice bowl)

Bibimbap! (Korean rice bowl)

I had eaten bibimbap only a few times at Korean restaurants when I decided that I should make it at home. I looked on the internet and found a LOT of different ways to do it! So I asked a Korean friend, and she said that people put pretty much whatever they have around in it, that it’s the kind of dish a girl stereotypically eats if she’s been dumped or something. Although she did add that there is a fancier kind, too.

Since then I’ve had it in more restaurants and made it at home plenty of times. You make some rice, cook up ground beef with salt and pepper, and then cook up vegetables to balance it out. I used a little olive oil and sesame oil. Then once it’s all in the bowl you stir it all up. (if you’re not taking a picture, who cares how it looks!)

This time I took some small liberties by adding the carrot and cabbage, but they were tasty. The real key, in my book, is the egg over easy and the gochujang sauce (or Korean pepper paste) since they give it a very distinctive texture and flavor.

Large bowl of mixed bibimbap

Designated Dishwasher’s big bowl, all mixed up and ready to eat.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Using ingredients

 

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Potato Leek Frittata

I have been exploring other CSA blogs and there is so much variety! Originally I was trying to see ideas of what people do, but it reminded me what a difference there is in regions as well. I mean, I grew up with blackberries growing wild, picking plums and apples from neighborhood trees, and waiting impatiently for rhubarb to ripen. But here the blackberries are sad and flavorless (even off the bush!) and I’m more likely to see pomegranates than plums. Pecans are a good benefit, though.

When I saw the leeks in our box, my first thought was a quiche. Then I was thinking about the time to make the crust (I haven’t found a store bought one I like) and Designated Dishwasher suggested a frittata instead. He learns so well! I based mine on the recipes here and here, using the same size pan and the stove top-to-oven idea, but put in what we had on hand: leeks, shredded potatoes and sweet potatoes (waaay to many from latkes the other day), radishes, and garlic. It worked well!

Raw, in my lovely enameled cast iron pan

Raw, in my lovely enameled cast iron pan

 

Finished, but the bottom stuck!

Finished, but the bottom stuck!

 

The crispy, tasty bits that liked the pan better than the rest of the frittata

The crispy, tasty bits that liked the pan better than the rest of the frittata

 

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Using ingredients

 

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Cabbage Carrot salad with Peanut Sauce

In looking through unusual ways to use our cabbage, I found this great looking salad! Tasty and a bit like a peanut version of a vinegar-based slaw.

Cabbage Carrot Salad

This used 3/4 of the head of cabbage we got and about 6 of our smallish carrots.

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Using ingredients

 

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