Monday, February 25, 2013

Moroccan Week

Last week we decided that Moroccan cooking would be our theme.  We made a number of meals based on the same sauces and dips. The first thing I did was make some cool cucumber salad. I know, I know it's February, but I figured, since we were eating spicy foods we would have something to cool us down. I combine 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 3/4 cup water, 1 tsp of sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt and then I put in the cucumbers and white onion to marinate. You can easily add more cucumbers and onions if you finish the first batch too soon. Let this sit for at least 45 minutes.

First up we made pizza.

I had made Ottolenghi's Harissa for a cookbook club a few years back and I thought it would make a fantastic base for a Moroccan pizza. Paired with one of my sweetie's frozen pizza dough, I knew it would be fantastic. I roll out my pizza dough very thin on a silpat mat, pricking it all over, and slide it in for about 4 minutes without any toppings into a 450 degree oven. Then I take it out of the oven and off the silpat and dress it with my toppings.

Back it goes into the oven, this time straight onto the pizza stone with the harissa on the bottom, lamb and feta and some mozzarella (or in this case manchego as that's what I had in the house), some olives and roasted red peppers.

Bake it until it is crispy on the bottom and make sure you let it cool before you pop your beer and sit in front of the television with this beautiful pizza. YUM.

Next up was my sweetie's birthday dinner. We played with lamb belly ribs, coating them with ras al hanout and smoking them in the camerons smoker. We also made a lovely squid salad and finally used our argan oil to make a toasted almond dip, both from Paula Wolfert's Cuisine of Morocco.

Check out the beautifully smoked ribs.

Here my sweetie pounds toasted blanched almonds in the mortar before adding the argan oil. This sauce is soooo tasty.
Below you can see the masaman pancake breads we made, the three sauces and squid and lamb. Our beautiful valentine/birthday dinner, followed by CAKE of course.


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