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Ginormous Ginger Stir-Fry

Ginger. I don’t quite know what to say about ginger. It is one of those elusive ingredients that is easy to find when you don’t need it for anything, and difficult to locate when you do. At least in Morocco. So when I bought a half-kilo of the stuff on a whim, I found myself struggling to find enough recipes to justify the sheer amount of ginger I’d purchased. And then it hit me. Stir-fry.

Killing two birds with one heavy lump of ginger, I justified the impulse buy and satisfied my ever-present Asian food craving at the same time. … Read More

Minestrone-y Minestrone

The weather is beginning to turn cold here (in Moroccan terms, that means it rained a little this week) so of course my thoughts turned to soup. (Actually, my thoughts turned to stir-fry first, but broccoli was not to be found for love of money. Since I’d already bought the other ingredients at our delightful Berber Sunday market, I had to rethink my meal plan.) Erm. I mean, I began craving soup.

I have always loved minestrone, but it never made me giggle until I watched Green Wing for the first time.… Read More

Tangier Tabbouleh

Upon moving to Morocco, I thought, “Aha! Tabbouleh here will be the best I’ve ever had! Beautiful farmer’s market parsley, fresh cucumbers, glowing tomatoes… I’m all set!” Well, almost. I soon discovered that bulgur wheat, one of the main ingredients, is nearly impossible to find here. I looked through shop after shop, consulted friends, and even sent my Lebanese student home to question his mother. After months of searching, the bottom line seemed to be that bulgur wheat, like Thai curry and bagels, could not be found in Morocco for love or money.… Read More

Marrakesh, a Visual Tour with Haiku Anecdotes and Explanatory Footnotes

Since my last post was so long-winded, I figured I’d go in the opposite direction with this one…

At the end of March
I met my dear grandparents
down in Marrakesh

We had orange juice
for breakfast every morning
It was delicious… Read More

Weekend in Italy

Two months ago, I ended up in Italy for a conference. (You know, my glamorous librarian lifestyle.) In a misguided effort to save money, I flew a discount airline to Bergamo, rather than straight to Milan where the conference was. And you know what? That ended up being one of my best travel decisions ever.

The trip was off to an excellent start with the continuation of my favorite Madrid airport tradition. (Favorite tradition, not favorite airport. Madrid-Barajas is a soulless warehouse of an airport, with vast, fluorescent-lit hallways and overpriced amenities, cunningly designed to rob travelers of all hope and vigor.)… Read More

Morocco, Week Fourteen

Week fourteen began with Austrians and ended with Germans. I had two delightful Austrian house guests, Sabine and Hans-Peter, who kept me entertained on Monday and Tuesday. Both of them had quit their jobs, bought motorcycles, and embarked on an around-the-world journey. (They took crash courses in motorcycle repair before leaving.)

Next up: traveling down the western coast of Africa. Their trip ends, I suppose, when they get tired of traveling and move on to the next thing in their lives. We ate delectable Moroccan food, played with Loki, and had a long, fascinating conversation about the attitude toward the film The Sound of Music in Austria and why most Austrians have never seen it.… Read More

Morocco, Week Thirteen

I began this post on Sunday morning, sitting in my underwear typing it up. Because, really, being able to lounge around the house in your underwear is one of the nicest perks of living alone. I had woken up an hour earlier, with early-morning sunlight glinting in through my window.

Partially because I was rejuvenated from a relaxing weekend in Chefchaouen, and partially because my work week was only four days long, my week started out great. Got lots done in the library, and even managed to begin the planning stages of a new, exciting project in the community.… Read More

How to Cook a Tagine in the Woods

I suppose this post should, logically, be preceded with another titled “How to Cook a Tagine”. But you know me- I don’t do anything half-assed. I’d never cooked a tagine before, so naturally I made my first one in the woods over twigs and stones. Mustapha and I surprised his sisters by whisking them away last Sunday for a picnic in a forested glen by the ocean. After arriving, we spread out a big carpet to sit on, piled up the containers of ingredients, turned on some music, and got to work. … Read More

Morocco, Week Three

My workdays during week three were filled with reorganizing the library. Moving shelves, sorting out picture books and junior fiction, peeling tape, selecting featured books, and making to-do lists. I also spent a great deal of my week walking and cooking, though not at the same time.

I cooked two vegetable curries, pizza for six, meringues, countless fresh fruit smoothies, and tabbouleh with parsley from the Sunday market, picked fresh that morning. I scavenged some beautiful succulents from the edge of a beach and finally found a basil plant, both of which are sitting happily on my balcony. I even found time to argue about Shakespeare.… Read More

Poor Woman’s Pesto

I have a confession to make. I’m a pesto snob. I spent years sampling store-bought varieties, disappointed with everything in a jar, and nearly all of the fresher, refrigerated ones. While studying abroad in Paris, I lived on yogurt, baguettes, and–yes–pesto. Watching a friend make pesto out of a packet nearly killed me.

You know that saying? About what to do if you want something done well? And don’t have a celebrated Italian chef locked away in your kitchen cupboard? Clearly, the answer was to find a good pesto recipe and obsessively refine it over the course of several months.… Read More

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