Morocco’s sweet and savory fragrances of olives, tender meat, dried fruit and rich spices is swirling around American cuisine. As a North African country bordering the Mediterranean, it has for thousands of years imported Asian, European and Arabic flavors into its own rich culinary history. As an elegant and colorful cuisine, it’s a welcome addition to the forever expanding American palate. Caroline Hofberg’s cookbook, Morocco on a Plate, showcases various bread, vegetarian, meat and dessert recipes for curious minds who wish to explore Moroccan cuisine.
With autumn comes dishes with spicy cinnamon and warm nutmeg flavors, sturdy winter squashes sweetly cooked down, and hearty soups. I’m blissfully thinking of summer blueberries. It’s an unusual craving at this time of year, but blueberries’ tart and sweet flavor are available year-round in different forms other than fresh.
The day was scheduled for a visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, walk around Central Park, stop by a grocery store and cook a quick meal. It was a good plan for a mild, sunny day. As one would figure out, weekend plans are rarely carried out when different variables come into play.
The trip to the museum turned out to be a headache, because the trains were problematic. Upon our arrival at the museum, our nerves were quickly soothed upon entering the ancient Egyptian exhibit. People in that time period, spanning thousands of years ago, had a beautiful style seen in their clothes, architecture and art. The bolts of linen, miniature sculptures, jewelry and thong sandals are still styles in our culture today. Even their cooking utensils were elegantly carved. We were so intrigued with the exhibit; Central Park was seen from a window.
As the sun was setting, the temperatures were declining to remind us that it was still early spring. We were too tired to stop at a grocery store en route home. Saving the grocery list for another day, we ate out instead. The day’s schedule didn’t work out well, but it was nice to share a bottle Pinot Noir while talking about the ancient Egyptian exhibit.
The next day, another plan was set into action after leaving work. A quick stop to the grocery store and making a simple meal by the early evening was a goal. Again, more subway problems occurred, for the train was stalled in a station for 15 to 20 minutes. The grocery store lines snaked around the aisles. Dinner started when day turned into night. Luckily, this meal was fast to prepare. Including the prepping time, it was served in 30 to 45 minutes. It was the planning that took forever.
Often couscous is served as a savory dish. Rarely, is it eaten for breakfast. This sweet dish was created a few years ago. It’s a lighter alternative to the heavy-weight oatmeal cereal. Store it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, and savor it one bowl per morning. Fight the usual 3 p.m. weekday sweet snack attack with this treat, too. Change the amount of nuts and dried fruit to accommodate a preference for flavors. Serve with Greek yogurt and drizzle honey to your sweet taste.
Sidenote: A friend on my facebook page suggested serving it with coconut milk. Sounds delicious to me! Thanks, Lauren!