Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

Cecilia and I are visiting Morocco for the first time. I came here as a child with my parents but stayed only in a tourist hotel on the Mediterranean. I have traveled in many places, but here I have to open my eyes to new experiences and be willing to open new doors. Fortunately, on our second day we joined Samira on her daily journey to the market in Fes, and chose to do it again on our third day.

For me, being a part of everyday routines is a way to feel comfortable in a new place. I learn quickly that, unlike most places in the West, here the local countryside and farmers provide a daily wealth of fruit, meat, vegetables, spices, and herbs – all fresh and reasonably priced. Samira meets up with a porter who carries her purchases every day. Then she spreads her budget over a wide range of producers, buying best quality at best prices: bread from the communal ovens, squawking chickens for tonight's dinner, beetroot and carrots and cucumbers for three kinds of cold soups, luscious tomatoes for salad, and much more.

Back at Riad Laaroussa we hang out in the kitchen with Samira and her fellow cook Fatima, and with co-worker Badia. Soon, all the other women from the riad come by to eat or to talk around a large table. And after a while, guests drift in to the kitchen, emptying the courtyard, crossing the line between them and us. There is talk in Arabic, French, and English, much laughter and also serious discussion about the progress made and not made by women. The candlelit dinner tastes so much sweeter for having witnessed its origins and preparation.

No doubt, the Riad Laaroussa is a lovely place to stay: gorgeously restored architecture, delightful colors, comfortable rooms, excellent service. But for me, the highlight is the sense of power and democracy among the staff, the honest talk, the humanity of the people who work here and reach out to visitors with a human voice.

Tony Platt
Berkeley, California

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zaalouk d'aubergines

Préparation pour 10 personnes:
1/2 d'aubergines.
1kg de tomates.
10 gousses d'ail.
1càc de paprika doux.
1/2càc de piment fort.
1/2càc de cumin.
1 bouquet de persil plat et de coriondre.
L'huile d'olive .
Epluchez les aubergines et rincez-les.Portez à ébullition une marmite d'eau salée.Jetez-y les aubergines et faites-les cuire à gros bouillons pendant 10min.
Epluchez l'ail et écrasez-le avec le persil et le coriandre gardez-les de côté.
Egouttez bien les aubergines avant de les écraser à la fourchette.Lavez les tomates,ôtez leur peau et écrasez-les dans la main pour enlever les pépins et le jus.Coupez-les en dés.
Dans une grande poêle,versez l'huile et faites revenir les tomates à feu assez fort.
Ajoutez l'ail persil et le coriandre,le paprika doux et le fort le cumin,salez l'huile d'olive. remuez de temps en temps ,pendant environ 15 min , jusqu'à ce que l'eau soit bien évaporée.
Servez cette entrée chaud ou froide.