Rock the Casbah

the table is set

Another extremely wonderful supper club event! This time our theme was “Rock the Casbah!” which guaranteed that all of us had The Clash stuck in heads the entire previous week. And we got to eat a lot of amazing Moroccan food.

cocktail hour

We started out with cocktail hour and a little dressing up.

cocktail

Jon found a cocktail recipe called The Gershwin, with gin, lemon, ginger liqueur, and rosewater, then did it one better by adding a dose of honey syrup infused with coriander seed. He’s calling it “Al Maghreb.” It was tasty.

b'stilla

Linda started us off with her impressive b’stilla, full of chicken, custard and almonds, and dusted with sugar. It was gorgeous.

mini-b'stilla

She even made me my own mini-b’stilla without the almond layer.

toasts

We passed around a plate of little toasts topped with fresh goat cheese and a jam made from tomatoes, roses and orange flower water.

Moroccan meatballs

Also a plate of lamb meatballs with a fragrant sauce.

radish and orange salad

When we made it to the dinner table, we started with Georgiann’s salad of orange segments and thinly sliced radishes, dressed with orange juice and orange flower water, with a little fresh mint sprinkled in. Bright and refreshing.

mechouia

I made a dish called mechouia, a mixture of grilled vegetables dressed with harissa and lemon juice. It was the first time I’d made harissa myself, and it turned out quite fantastic if I do say so (and really, really hot).

flatbreads

To go with the salads we started in on Jenise’s basket of flatbreads sprinkled with olives, fennel or fennel pollen – these were addictive.

lamb eggplant tagine

Finally we moved on to tagine. Mike made a wonderful dish of lamb shoulder topped with eggplant.

shrimp and merguez

And Jenise made merguez sausage meatballs, mixed with shrimp.

couscous with apricots

And couscous, of course, with bits of dried apricot.

waiting at the door

Dessert, which I unaccountably failed to photograph, was a fig-almond pastry from Roger and Mary, accompanied by our sorbet of blood orange juice and rosewater. It was lovely, but instead you’ll have to look at this picture of Cole, the adorable three-legged cat, asking to come in and join us.

It was a great evening.

harissa ingredients

I was really happy with how the harissa came out. I know there are a million different versions of this sauce, some as simple as just hot peppers and garlic pureed together, but I thought this was pretty great. The recipe is from the Moro books, and I loved the heat as well as the strong caraway flavor.

Harissa

Adapted from by Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark

  • 8 ounces red Fresno peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 3 tsp caraway seed
  • 2 roasted and peeled bell peppers (or jarred piquillo peppers)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

Cut the stems off the chile peppers, cut them in half and seed them. Put the seeded chiles into a blender with the garlic, cumin, and caraway and blend as smooth as possible. Add the roasted peppers, tomato and vinegar and blend completely smooth. Scrape into a bowl and pour over the olive oil, then sprinkle over the paprika and stir it all together.

Store in a jar in the fridge, covered with olive oil, or freeze in small portions.

mixed grill

Mechouia

This recipe was also adapted from Moro East. All I did was to toss vegetables with oil and salt (I used Japanese eggplant, zucchini, red onion, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes) and grill them until soft. Then I roughly chopped them and tossed them with a dressing of harissa, lemon juice and olive oil.

grilling cherry tomatoes

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I'm a photographer who loves food, gardening, fiber arts, and music, and I do a little website developing on the side. Find more of my work at www.jessamyntuttle.com.

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