Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Moroccan Night

Hey, fellow bloggers! First, first let me apologize for my delinquency in posting new content. I realize I am waaaay behind, and will try to get back on track asap; life has just been a bit more than hectic lately.

Anyway, I'm planning an upcoming Moroccan Night and thought that would make a fun and interesting post. This all started when my uncle gave me a cookbook called "Casablanca Cuisine." He also gave me a card game called "Royalty," which I don't know how to play. So, I thought it might be nice to invite him to come to a Moroccan-themed dinner party, at which he teaches the guests to play Royalty! Sounds like a plan, right?

So, I'm currently looking around the house for Casablanca-style table setting stuff. I think I might be able to use a large old curtain I saved that had blocks of color - purple, fuschia, yellow - along with little tiny mirrors, for the table cover. I also have clear glass hurricanes, which I can fill with purple and gold candles, along with pistachios, to create a "look" for the center of the table.

As our background music, I think I'll purchase the soundtrack to "Casablanca."

And, here's our menu (from the cookbook):

  • Apertifs: according to the cookbook, we should serve Anisette before dinner - an anise flavored liqueur served over ice, with just a bit of water added
  • Appetizers: La Kemia, which consists of many little plates, containing things like pistachios, spicy sausages, a variety of olives, pickled green peppers, and garbanzos in cumin sauce
  • Salad: Cucumbers and Mint (fresh from our garden)
  • Main Course: Chicken with Olives, Cous Cous, and sauteed vegetables
  • Dessert: Turkish Delight, Figs, and Mint Tea

In addition to us, our Guest List will include:

  • My uncle (quite a character; over 6 feet tall, and with a white goatee; he was a hippie when I first knew him, and he now plays "Uncle Sam" in local parades, and holds Peace Vigils on Pittsfield's Park Square)
  • Doris (My uncle's housemate; a former librarian for the New York City library, and quite a personality; she asks the most interesting and random questions)
  • Ann (our neighbor from across the street; her dad was Norman Rockwell's studio assistant for so many years, and she is fun and full of so many great stories)
  • Ruby (our neighbor from next door; her husband died suddenly last summer, and I think she'd enjoy the evening out.
  • Syma (my good friend from Albany, who is always open to new ideas and new people)

So, that's the plan. Any suggestions from readers, to help make the night more memorable?


Alaska-womom said...

I found this website-I think you will like it---it maigh be easier to cut and paste:


either that or simply Google Moroccan customs

I found it interesting. Sounds like a fun party. I recently met a woman who formed a dinner club that hosts a meal from a different country every other month. They research the country and work as a team to put the meal together. Anyway, I am passing that along because as you say, NewIdeasWelcome.
Here's to the hostess,"Cheers!"

LoveANewIdea said...

What can I say...you are simply TOO fabulous for words!! Thank you so much for this link...I will definitely check it out.

I have always wanted to start a theme supper club, and just haven't taken the time to make it happen. If you lived around here, I'd love to have you as a guest...I think you would have soooo many great stories to tell.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

I got a good Moroccan spice rub that I use on lamb roasts and chicken, if you are interested.

LoveANewIdea said...

Oh, most definitely interested! I'm thinking of adding mini lamb kabobs to the La Kemia / appetizer portion of the meal. Sounds like your spice mix might just be the ticket I need to make them wonderful!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Ah, lamb kabobs, no worries mate! First I'll give you my mix, then let you know what you can substitute if you can't find the right stuff in time.

Equal amounts (by volume) of the following:
coriander powder
dried red bell pepper powder
cumin powder
ginger powder
garlic powder
ground, dried sumac
chilli powder (only a bit though)
cassia powder
ground up cloves
sea salt

For your number of guests, I'd suggest 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of each. If you make too little, it's easy to make more since you have all the ingredients, and if you make too much then you jar it up for future use.

What you can sub:
I dry my own red bell peppers, and then grind whatever I need. If you don't have time for that then mild paprika will work

cassia powder... you can sub cinnamon powder if you can't find cassia

sumac... sorry no subs here. Sumac is THE quintessential ingredient. If you can't find it though, a tiny bit of tamarind powder or lemon powder should do the trick.

What you do:
Mix the rub all together (the bowl you mix it in should have a nice, sharp, earthy smell). Rub it onto your lamb pieces, skewer them puppies, and then grill or broil till the lamb is done to your liking. Serve with a small dish of plain greek yoghurt for dipping.

LoveANewIdea said...

You are fantastic! Thank you for this recipe. I've never heard of cassia or sumac. I suspect I'll substitute cinnamon for the one, but try to find the sumac .... hmmmm ... could be a good excuse for a trip to the World Market. I KNOW you would be great to have as a guest - and you could regale us with stories of your trip to the caves. Thanks so much for this recipe - I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Liz: Cassia and cinnamon are often confused. The two trees are related, but the powdered bark does taste different. But cinnamon is an acceptable sub for cassia. Also, cassia leaves have the cassia flavour so they are great for soups and curries --way OT, sorry.

Regarding sumac... You've heard of it: Poison Oak, Poison Sumac, Poison Ivy etc. There are six varieties of sumac that are poisonous, and all the rest (lots) are great. The powdered sumac you buy in shops is the dried berries. Basically, if you buy it in the shops, it's fine. If you are harvesting your own, then don't use any in which the berries are white --thems be the poisonous ones.

If you absolutely can't find the sumac powder, then use 1/4 tsp of lemon pepper seasoning. Won't be authentic, but it's still very tasty.

You can put some olive oil on the lamb pieces before rubbing the rub on as that helps the powders stick. If you do, just keep a close eye on 'em if you cook them over an open flame. Charred kebabs kinda, well, don't taste too good.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Oh, if I was in the area I'd LOVE to show up! It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun and you're doing great prep work for the dinner, good on ya mate.

Miranda said...

ooh yum - sounds like fun. enjoy!

Pam said...

I wish I lived near you! It sounds like such fun!

LoveANewIdea said...

Thanks for stopping by. Loved the photos on your blog of your childhood - just incredible, from my persepective.

I wish you lived nearby to. Imagine the great dinner parties we could have with bloggers! You could be our designated food photographer, as your photos are always so incredible.

JoeinVegas said...

A themed dinner party like that does sound nice - perhaps you can carry it forward and start others doing a country a month as suggested.

LoveANewIdea said...

Yay - a new visitor! Thanks for stopping by, all the way from Vegas. I'll do a future post to let everyone know how the dinner went.


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