I got some carrots in my CSA and decided to make Moroccan Carrot Salad. In a traditional carrot salad you would slice the carrots but these were so thin and delicate I just peeled them and left them whole.
A gorgeous day in Erfoud today, I woke up this morning at the Hotel Belere, nice crisp air and beauty all around. The desert air is amazingly clean. Darren, my chef , and I had breakfast at the hotel and met our driver Khaleed, to go to the dunes. A half hour drive on a single lane road, through the little town of Rissani, then 45 minutes on a rutted dirt road to the Auberge Yasmina at the foot of the dunes. Absolutely amazing, a moving mountain of sand that is constantly shifting with wind. We checked out our base camp area for Tuesday, our opening day. On my way back to the cooking school where our home base is, I stopped by the production office to get some info and started talking to the production manager about the plans for Monday's lunch. Our original plan was to do a burger bar on set for rehearsals, but it turned out that Monday is going to be a running around for the cast and crew, driving the course for the first challenge, so I was asked to do the burger bar tommorow for the production meeting lunch. That set a whirlwind in motion since there is no such a thing as hamburger buns in Erfoud, I had to go and show a bakery how to make them which they are doing now, at 1030 at night. Chocolate chip cookies are next on his plate then oatmeal raisin. All the tastes of home that these poor guys who have been here for a month miss terribly. Rumors started that we are doing mexican food on Tuesday, never have I seen so much love shown to me for something I haven't done yet. The baker showed up with tortilla samples for me to taste, which were devoured before I could even smell them. Half of our crew is from California and mexican food is something they love. Tomorrow we will start at 0600 making the burgers and our sauces, Yuzu Aioli, Cilantro Lime Mayo, Teriyaki sauce and Guacamole and all of our condiments. It should be a fun day. We are now known throughout this project as Cookie Monster for Christopher and miracle man for me....More to come.
I am in awe at the unbelievable hospitality and generosity of the people of Morocco. Last night as we were checking into the Hotel Belere, I struck up a conversation with the night manager, and voiced my concern at the likelihood of having a hard time sourcing out products in town. Erfoud is a small town of 1500 residents and finding enough products in town, in my mind was going to be difficult. By the time I woke up this morning, Moussaoui, the manager had made phone calls to the produce market, the butcher and the spice merchant and made appointments for me to see all of them. Not only did he smooth things with everyone, but he insisted on taking me there himself. nevermond that he had worked all night and hadn't slept for 19 hours. So what could potentially have been a tremendous challenge, proved to be an hour of work. Moussaoui, then took me to a welder where we ordered a custom made 8 foot grill to use on the set for barbequing all of our meats. The day in fact kept on getting better, Lunch was at the home of Moulay Mustafa, one of the towns nobility, with couscous with vegetables and spring lamb and my all time favorite, Kefta with eggs. We were stuffed. A three hour meeting with production management ensued where we were told about all the challenges we will be facing in the next 3 weeks. The most difficult day we will have, will be the 9th of April, where 60% of our lunches will have to be delivered either by helicopter or by white water raft. The crew was soooo happy to see us, as there really is a lack of good food in town. They can't stand the sight of another sandwich au poulet, chicken sandwich. Dinner was as bad as they described with some dry chicken and stale fries at the hotel's restaurant.
In Switzerland we made a cheese fondue and it was a big hit. Such a hit that there was none left to take a picture of. We made the fondue with raclette cheese and dipped slices of apple, cauliflower florets, bread, sausage, grapes and tomatoes. My nine year old declared that he would eat anything dipped in stinky cheese.
After that we tackled Austria. It has been hard to find food that seems appropriate to serve in a summer tropical climate. In Austria we made an Apple, Potato and Bacon Salad and Bacon Bread Dumplings with Goulash.
This Apple, Potato and Bacon Salad was great, but of course it had bacon in it.
2 Granny smith apples, cored and sliced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed, cooked until fork
1 Small onion, sliced
4 Thick slices of bacon,chopped rendered*
1 Tablespoon grainy mustard
2 Tablespoon canola oil (hazelnut oil would be awesome in this)
1 Tablespoon, white wine vinegar (use German Essig if you can
1 Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Combine all ingredient while still warm and serve.
The next dish was Goulash and Bacon Dumplings. This was really good. I got the recipe from Wolfgang Puck"s Website His website is really great by the way.
We are cooking our way through Europe right here at home in Hawaii. Our second stop was to Italy. We spent a few days there and made some great dishes. The one thing about this stop is that it wasn't very different from my every day cooking since I cook Italian food a lot, its kid friendly and always good.
Our first meal was grilled sausage and peppers.
We also made a chicken grilled under a brick
We made some fresh ricotta. I used a new recipe from Lynn Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Tables. It was much easier from my previous recipe. It was so easy in fact I was able to tweet it in 140. I made a simple pasta of extra virgin olive oil, ricotta, beautiful tomatoes, garlic and basil.
With the left over ricotta I also made Ricotta Gnudi - a gnocchi made out of ricotta or a naked ravioli. This was a big hit!
Here is the ricotta recipe from Splendid Table by Lynn Rossetto Kasper. I highly recommend this book for recipes and history of Italian cuisine.
makes 1 pound
2 1/2 quarts whole milk
1/4 cup, less 1 tablespoon heavy cream
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir together ingredients except salt in non reactive pot. set pan over medium low heat cut for 40 minutes or until milk reaches 170F. Keep heat medium low. Stir just a few times. When reaches 170F bring temp to medium and bring up to 205 or 208F Turn of heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander with double layers of cheese cloth. Refrigerate.
It is summer vacation for my kids. For me that means a couple extra hours to cook at home since I am not dealing with the commute to take my son to school. Since we are not going away this summer we have deciding to take a culinary trip to Europe at home. Every few days we will be discovering the cuisine of the different countries in Europe. The kids will be helping out in the kitchen and also learning a little bit about the cuisines bite by bite.
The last four days we have been in Greece. I researched recipes on the great Greek culinary site Kalofagas (everything I have ever made from this site has been wonderful) and a couple Greek cookbooks. Everyone thought each meal was wonderful.
The first night we had Roasted Leg of Lamb with Rosemary potatoes. I also made a Tzatziki sauce and a great salad with tomatoes and capers.
The marinade for the lamb was easy. 2 cups red wine, 6 cloves garlic chopped, 2 tablespoons rosemary, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1/2 cup olive oil, juice on 1 lemon, salt and pepper.
The next night we made the classic greek comfort food Pastitsio.
It is like a lasagna made with Bucatini. This was a big hit and was requested to be made again.
The next night we made to savory pies, dill and chicken and spinach both were encased in filo. The were very good especially the chicken pie that had lots of green onion, dill and garlic. I did not get a picture of them.
For our last Greek meal we enjoyed some wodrful souvlaki made of pork and a greek eggplant and pepper recipe that I got from Kalofagas.
The pork was marinated in grated onion, garlic, dill, oregano and lemon juice. The great thing about the souvlaki is that it is cooked over slowly cooked over low heat and basted. The slow grilling makes it a very enjoyable grilling experience especially with a glass of Rose'.
The souvlaki was served with minted rice pilaf.
This dish was incredible. I got the recipe from at Kalofagas it is called Mantza. It is a spicy side dish of eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and feta.