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Jill needs more recipes! This woman is cooking up a storm! Today we’re doing baked eggplant and baked cauliflower dishes. These make great sides. Khadija is a miracle woman who has gotten my husband to not only eat eggplant without complaining, but to actually order it in a restaurant. He likes olives now too!

Baked Cauliflower:

Start by steaming your cauliflower.

Meanwhile, make a roue out of butter, grated fresh garlic, a crumbled boullion cube, salt and pepper.

Add 3 large tablespoonfuls of flour, then stir in milk to make a basic white sauce. Meanwhile, arrange the steamed cauliflower artistically in a glass Pyrex dish. Does it have to be glass Pyrex, you ask? Yes, it does, if you want to be just like me and my stellar Marjane purchases, it does.

Pour white sauce over top. Sprinkle grated cheese (we use Edam–cheapest, most widely available, and delish!) over the top.

I believe real food bloggers have more attractive tea towels in their pictures, but oh well.

Bake in oven till heated through. Turn on broiler for a bit so that the cheese is browned and bubbly. Forget to take picture of finished product. Enjoy the fact that husband and kids are still so traumatized by the thought of cauliflower (perhaps because the kids at Elliot’s school sometimes call him “chouflour” because of all his curls?) that they somehow end up leaving this whole entire pan for you! Yum! No wonder all that jogging isn’t showing tons of results!

Baked Eggplant:

Eggplant is super common and popular here in Morocco. There are two ways to make it. The other way is actually my favorite but I don’t have the recipe yet. This way is pretty darn good though!

Slice eggplant lengthwise. Steam in steamer (do you have one of those colander-like thingys?) with 3 cloves of garlic until all flaccid and nasty-looking.

Meanwhile, chop 2 -3 fresh tomatoes and a bunch of fresh parsley and cilantro.

Add 1 t of pepper, 1 t harissa, 1 t cumin, salt, and the 3 cloves of steamed garlic, sort of mushed with your fingers.

Add some oil. Do not be shy about the oil! None of this modern fat-conscious American namby-pamby worrying about the oil. Add some oil! Relax that wrist as you pour! It will feel good. Live dangerously for once. You can do crunches afterwards to appease your conscience if you must.

Let the tomato mixture cook down.

Meanwhile, arrange the eggplant, artistically of course, in, yes, a Pyrex glass baking dish. Work with me here!

Pour tomato mixture over top. Grate two slices of burned toast over the top. Bake until it is all crispy and spicy and yummy.

It goes well with lamb/prune tagine, as you can see.


In which I pretend to be a food blog, but am shown up by the inadequacy of my photos. My friend Jill needs a good recipe for lamb tagine. So you all get to enjoy it since this is the easiest way to send it to her.

First, buy your lamb. For 6 people, I used half a kilo:


Next, arrange 3 onions and some garlic on the countertop:


Group all the spices you’ll need:


Note: you do not have to store your pepper and ginger in old jam jars. That is up to you. It is not necessary to the making of a good lamb tagine.

Now, chop one onion, the garlic, and a bunch of cilantro (not pictured above. Deal with it). Top with bit of preserved lemon.


Take a pan and add a staggering amount of oil. We use half olive and half sunflower. (Did I make it clear that my role here is photography and buying the ingredients? Khadija is doing the cooking) Add the lamb…


And the onions mix on the cutting board and this much ginger:


This much ground pepper:


And this much of an obscure spice blend called Pilau Seasoning, which someone gave me and Khadija unearthed from the back of the cupboard. She says it adds a nice flavour. I would suspect any sort of spice blend would work.


Add some saffron:


Don’t forget your bouillon cube, without which no African can cook!


Don’t forget some salt:


Now, turn on the burner fairly high, and brown the meat on all sides.


Meanwhile, chop up the other two onions:


And add them to the mix,


along with some water.


Meanwhile, take some prunes and put them in some water


Along with this much cinnamon


And two of the enormous sugar cubes that they sell at the hanut and that your 12 year old will come home with when you send him to get GRANULATED sugar, for pete’s sake, (I would suspect it’s about 1/4 cup of sugar)


And simmer away on the stovetop, like this


Now, get out some of your blue and white dishes to photograph for Jill, whose husband is coming to visit us and who has been instructed to return with blue and white dishes for her. Jill is very nice and she has a small daughter who is cute as a button, funny and articulate, named Elizabeth. Coincidence? I don’t think so!

These bowls are very small, good for serving olives or nuts in, or for putting sour cream in on Taco Tuesdays:


This pic was actually taken at the Potteries:


Add a picture of a vase, just to show Jill some more of what’s available here (good luck with that luggage requirement!):


When you have finished, make some salads:


Dress the carrots with mayonnaise and the greens (and reds) (and purples) with a simple vinaigrette–pour some oil and vinegar on it, add a little salt and pepper, and mix.

Boil a couple of eggs:


How’s that tagine coming? Check it. Your prunes should be all cooked down now and carmelized:


The lamb should be falling-apart tender and ready to be put into your tagine server, which is also blue, may I point out. Then put just the prunes on top:


Chop the eggs into quarters and decorate with them:


Serve it up. Your table should look like this (faded tie-dyed Mauritanian cloth with embedded glitter from twins 5th birthday optional):



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