Morocco and Spain Recommendations and Recipes:

I have been back from Spain and Morocco just under a month and I am still dreaming of the light as it seeps mysteriously through lanterns; I am still listening to this song that somehow captured so many of my feelings in this wonderful world; and tasting the spices on my tongue.

My bag and I were reunited half a week after my return. There were so many gifts I had packed into its bulging sides and forgotten about. I was happy to replay much of my trip in my mind and on phone calls with friends and family. Then I got right to work in my kitchen bringing some of the flavors home with me forever.

Below are three recipes from Marvelous Marrakesh. I also wanted to capture some the places I went on this trip so they didn’t just sit on slips of paper or as notes in the margins of my dog eared travel books.

SPAIN:

Cadaques – what a special place that really makes one think what a wonderful and stunning world we live in. This is the kind of place that I want to go back to a million times over and I hope will never change – relaxed, beautiful, warm, and shimmering by the water and mountains.

Hotel Blaumar – I stayed here and couldn’t have asked for more. A few minutes walk from the center of town but with stunning views of the entire scene from my room. There was a pool. Close to heaven.

Hotel Playa Sol Cadaques – This was one of the other hotels I looked into. Situated in the heart of town and right a beach of the bay.

Casa Nun – I had a great and simple lunch here. Lingering with views of blue seas dotted with white boats, a bottle of wine (a small one), fish, crema catalana after a kayak trip and I was ready for a siesta in pure delight!

L’Hostal Tapas Bar – Wonderful Tapas and drinks and an art history to match. Dali designed the logo in 1975.

Collioure France – Artists lives and stunning scenery, why not indulge in life a little more? I am happy for the days I spent here and would happily return for more.

Le Mas Des Citronniers – I had a lovely stay here, in a wonderful room with my own private patio in the shade. Situated in the center of town, and I loved the patisserie right next door.

Hotel Casa Pairal – This was the other hotel I considered with a pool. As it turned out the two are joined by a courtyard, and the weather was too cool in mid September to use the pool.

Barcelona, some yummy eats – A few of my favorite bites in Barcelona—but who could ever choose in such a delicious city?

Xiringuito d’Escriba – Viva la paella on the beach! I can’t say enough about this. We licked the plates, our fingers, and the giant pan the delicious dish was served in. Gracias!

Sagardi – Pintxos Bar where we had wonderful Basque style pintxos (tapas), it was so good I went back by myself for a second round and a few cups of cerveza.

Tapa 24 – My last night I indulged in some higher end tapas here. Well worth the journey.

MOROCCO:

Peacock Pavilions – A stunning way to spend some time in life. This is where the yoga retreat was and I am so happy I had a chance to experience this singular and fantastic place. A green boutique hotel that feels more like staying as houseguests to a very generous family with the most amazing hand picked art everywhere you look.

Riad Magellan – This was the Riad I stayed in my first night in Marrakesh and it was a fantastic welcome. In the heart of the medina, remember I had to be walked in with a man and a cart; the vibrating center of the city is steps from this serene sanctuary.

Riad L’Orangerie – This was one of the other Riads I looked into staying at; two notes here: most Riads are only 5 – 6 rooms large so they fill fast and in advance, also many require 2 or 3 night stays. This one was right down the lane from where I stayed in the center of town. It is a green Riad and looked lovely.

Café des Epices – Wonderful place in the medina to luxuriate on the rooftop while eating delicious couscous dishes and salads.

Le Tanjia – Stunning dinner with a belly dance show, this is the place.

Les Bains de Marrakech – For luxurious hamam and spa treatments that make you feel like royalty, and ease every care in the world away; and I am not even a spa person so that is saying something.

Goat Cheese with Fresh Herbs:

This was one of the amazing things they served up for us at Peacock Pavilions. They served this simply in a spoon as an amuse-bouche but I have served this on thin slices of baguette as a crostini of sorts.

6 oz goat cheese

4 oz ricotta

2 cloves garlic minced or grated

1 tablespoon fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

Dried Apricots cut in half

Bread for Serving

Combine all ingredients but apricots and bread and whip into smooth consistency. Spread cheese over slices of bread and top with slice of dried apricot.

Zaalouk (Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Salad): recipe from Flavors of Morocco

I had this in a variety of ways and this was included in most salad plates as one of the trio or up to 11 salads one night that were served. This was in most cases my favorite, sometimes served spicy and sometimes more of the sweet note.

2 large eggplants

4 large tomatoes

6 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic minced or crushed

1 teaspoon Harissa (North African Chili sauce. You can use more to kick up the heat or eliminate according to your taste)

Small bunch flat leaf parsley finely chopped

Small bunch of cilantro finely chopped

Freshly squeezed lemon juice of 1 lemon

Salt and black pepper to taste

1-teaspoon cumin

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F. Put the eggplants on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until soft when you press them with a finger. Put the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish and pour half of olive oil over the top. Place them in oven with eggplants, cook for 10 – 15 minutes until skins are soft and starting to burst.

Remove eggplants and tomatoes from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the warm flesh and chop it to a pulp and set aside. Skin the tomatoes, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds and chop the flesh into a pulp.

Heat the rest of the oil in a heavy-based skillet; add the garlic and sauté until it begins to color, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and harissa and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until thick and pulpy. Add the eggplants, parsley, and cilantro. Stir in the lemon juice and season with cumin, salt, and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with chunks of bread.

Marinated Carrot Salad:

1 pound of carrots cut into 1 inch pieces

Juice of 1 Lemon

Juice of 1 Orange

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch paprika

Pinch Cayenne

Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel carrots and steam just until tender. Mix remaining ingredients to make dressing. Combine carrots and dressing. Serve cold.

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10 2012

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