Saturday, March 15, 2014

South of the Border Breakfast

This morning I took a trip to Mexico.  Well, not really!  I never left my kitchen in New Jersey.  I sauteed two poblano peppers with an onion and two minced cloves of garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil.    I added a few turns of freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of seasoned salt.  When the peppers and onions were completely wilted, I folded it all into a warm flour tortilla.  To round out my breakfast, I had a fresh mango that I peeled and sliced into chunks.  HEALTHY AND SO DECADENT!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Diane's Casablanca Meatball Stew


The "scribble" above is not scribble.  It is Arabic for Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. 

I love to try ethnic foods and I love to experiment with spices.  My palate has grown each year as I experiment with flavors.  I love the flavors that originate with the ancient spice trades.  The cinnamon, ginger, coriander and cumin flavors that traveled the world with explorers in order to warm European bellies are among my favorites.

Today, I made up my own spice mixture for a fake out Moroccan meatball stew.  


1 cup pearl barley

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly ground ginger
1 cup chopped mushrooms (any kind words, I used reconstituted porcini mushrooms)

1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

3/4 to 1 pound meatballs (preferably lamb)
1 pound baby carrots
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilis
1 bouillon cube or  1 packet onion soup mix
 3 cups water or beef broth

Pour barley into a rice cooker.

In a skillet, heat olive oil using medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger.  Stir as the onion becomes translucent and the garlic and ginger give off their fragrance.  Do not brown and don't use higher than medium heat.  Poor into rice cooker. Stir to coat the barley with the oils and mix with the aromatics.

In the same skillet, turn heat to medium high and add mushrooms.  (If using dried porcini mushrooms, skip this step.)  Saute mushrooms until they begin to color and have given off much of their moisture.  Add them to the rice cooker.  Add cinnamon to the cooker and stir to coat everything in the warmth of the spice.

Put the bouillon cube or the packet of onion soup mix in the cooker.  Add the carrots and meatballs to the rice cooker.   Add 3 cups of water or beef broth.

Set rice cooker to white rice and cook until done.