Pass Me My Burnoose

February 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG knew that good times with a Middle Eastern bent were beckoning when HG saw BSK fill a container with preserved lemons from the Whole Foods olive counter. This was confirmed when BSK began to browse through the two best books on Moroccan and Middle Eastern food: Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco by Paula Wolfert and Arabesque — A Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon by Claudia Roden. And, so it came to pass that Middle Eastern flavors provided great joy when two friends joined HG and BSK for dinner. The meal started with Baba Ganoush (the famous pureed eggplant dip) and Moroccan carrot salad. Then came the main: A tagine of chicken with preserved lemons and olives. Sides were Israeli couscous cooked with onions, garlic, stock and spices plus a melange of vegetables (turnips, chickpeas, onions, etc.) swimming in a savory broth. Harissa (fiery pepper paste). Warmed pita. Pinot Noir. And finally Zinfandel with dark chocolate almond bark for dessert. A much more triumphant meal than any HG and BSK encountered during their visits to the Moroccan cities of Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Tetuoan, Meknes and Marrakesh. To be fair to those wonderful cities, insiders confided to HG that the great meals of Morocco are to be found in private homes as restaurant dining is not really part of the culture.

Paree: Rainy Day Seven

February 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Yiddish word is “haimish.” It means homey, down home, warm, friendly, relax-you’re- with- family. “Haimish” is the apt description of La Boule Rouge, the Tunisian-Jewish couscous restaurant where HG and BSK dined last night. “Dined” is wrong. “Gorged” is more like it. Even Miss Moderation BSK overate. The meal started with the table covered with salads and an unsweetened cake of cheese and hard boiled eggs. Then came a platter of perfect couscous; a caldron of robust broth with carrots, zucchini, turnips, sweet potatoes; a super-big portion of lamb shoulder with chickpeas; black beans in an an unusual, addictive Middle Eastern sauce; pinto beans in another tasty sauce. Bowls of pungent, but not too blazing harissa. The wine was Tavel. The meal ended with mint tea and honeyed, pistachio pastries. BSK staggered and moaned. “I ate the whole thing. I’m going to die.” BSK survived and had some croissants, English marmalade and Greek yogurt for breakfast. The stomach (as Woody Allen commented about the heart), is a very resilient organ.

Friday (Day Seven) started with heavy rain which continued on and off. Not to worry. Hats and raincoats. Unfurled umbrellas. HG and BSK were off to the far reaches of the posh 16th to see the great Monet show at the Musee Marmottan. (A wonderful walk through elegant little parks and squares surrounded by the opulent apartment dwellings of the very rich). All of the museum’s 137 Monets were on display plus works of his pals and mentors—Renoir, Morisot, etc. A startling show. Yes, there were water lilies. But, there were wonderful portraits, caricatures and the full range of his paintings of the pond and garden at Giverny. Flowers. Weeping willows. The Japanese bridge.

Back to Montmartre to Cave des Abbesses for oysters and wine. On the carte tonight at Chez HG and BSK is Italian bufala mozzarellla. Piquillo peppers. Jambon Persille. Jambon blanc. Salad of poached eggs, lardons, lettuce and white anchovies. Palmiers. Creme brulee. Camembert. Pinot Noir. Oh, well. C’est la vie.

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