Archive for the ‘morocco’ Category

DIY TACO SEASONING

Posted: June 20, 2018 in beets, Food, morocco, Recipes, taco
Tags: , , , ,

It’s so easy to make taco seasoning at home. So why would you buy the spice factory floor sweepings they use for packaged taco seasoning sold in supermarkets? I’m not a huge fan of Mexican cuisine, but every once in a while, I crave a good taco. My tacos don’t resemble most, but that’s OK. It’s all about making it your own.

 

1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
olive oil
2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef

Combine all the spice ingredients in a bowl.

Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add the beef and saute until cooked, mixing in the spice mixture a little at a time until you’ve used it all.

You can also mix the spices with 1 cup of flour and use it to season chicken before frying…or mix the seasoning with strips of chicken breast or beef for fajitas.

My tacos are a bit unusual. Although I use a soft flour tortilla and my seasoned and cooked ground beef, I spread a little Thousand Island dressing and chop some roasted golden beets.

But this taco meat goes great with the standard beans, shredded lettuce, guac, and salsa as well.

 

Tacos with roasted golden beets, baby Romaine salad mix, and Awesomesauce

Tacos with roasted golden beets, baby Romaine salad mix, and Thousand Island dressing.

For the beets: I wash the beets and quarter them, cutting the top and bottom off but leaving the skin. I place them in a sheet of aluminum foil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. I combine the ingredients to coat the beets, wrap the foil tightly into a package, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 1 hour. After roasting and the beets have cooled a bit, I slice them into smaller pieces for the tacos.

Slices of avocado go really well with this, too!

DIY TACO SEASONING

Posted: March 30, 2015 in beets, Food, morocco, Recipes, taco
Tags: , , , ,

It’s so easy to make taco seasoning at home, so why would you buy the spice factory floor sweepings that they use for packaged taco seasoning sold in supermarkets? I’m not a huge fan of Mexican cuisine, but every once in a while, I crave a good taco. My tacos don’t resemble most, but that’s OK. It’s all about making it your own.

 

1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
olive oil
2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef

Combine all the spice ingredients in a bowl.

Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add the beef and saute until cooked, mixing in the spice mixture a little at a time until you’ve used it all.

You can also mix the spices with 1 cup of flour and use it to season chicken before frying…or mix the seasoning with strips of chicken breast or beef for fajitas.

My tacos are a bit unusual. Although I use a soft flour tortilla and my seasoned and cooked ground beef, I use my Awesomesauce  and roasted golden beets. Recipe here: http://wp.me/p1c1Nl-gT

Tacos with roasted golden beets, baby Romaine salad mix, and Awesomesauce

Tacos with roasted golden beets, baby Romaine salad mix, and Awesomesauce

For the beets: I wash the beets and quarter them, cutting the top and bottom off but leaving the skin. I place them in a sheet of aluminum foil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. I combine the ingredients to coat the beets, wrap the foil tightly into a package, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 1 hour. After roasting and the beets have cooled a bit, I slice them into smaller pieces for the tacos.

Slices of avocado go really well with this, too!

DIY TACO SEASONING

Posted: February 22, 2014 in beets, Food, morocco, Recipes, taco
Tags: , , , ,

It’s so easy to make taco seasoning at home, so why would you buy the spice factory floor sweepings that they use for packaged taco seasoning sold in supermarkets? I’m not a huge fan of Mexican cuisine, but every once in a while, I crave a good taco. As you’ll see, my tacos don’t resemble most, but that’s OK. It’s all about making it your own.

My taco seasoning recipe is for 2 lbs. of grass-fed ground beef…

Yes, I put my taco seasoning in a Moroccan tajine pot. But it looks cool, so cut me some slack!

Yes, I put my taco seasoning in a Moroccan tajine pot. But it looks cool, so cut me some slack!

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 Spanish onion, finely chopped

olive oil

2lbs. grass-fed ground beef

Combine all the spice ingredients in a bowl.

Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent. Add the beef and saute until cooked, mixing in the spice mixture a little at a time until you’ve used it all.

You can also mix the spices with 1 cup of flour and use it to season chicken before frying…or mix the seasoning with strips of chicken breast or beef for fajitas.

My tacos are a bit unusual. Although I use a soft flour tortilla and my seasoned and cooked ground beef, I use my Awesomesauce  and roasted golden beets. Recipe here: https://livethelive.com/2014/02/19/awesomesauce/

Tacos with roasted golden beets, baby Romaine salad mix, and Awesomesauce

Tacos with roasted golden beets, baby Romaine salad mix, and Awesomesauce

For the beets: I wash the beets and quarter them, cutting the top and bottom off but leaving the skin. I place them in a sheet of aluminum foil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. I combine the ingredients to coat the beets, wrap the foil tightly into a package, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 1 hour. After roasting and the beets have cooled a bit, I slice them into smaller pieces for the tacos.

Slices of avocado go really well with this, too!

After years of unfailing service, my trusty backpack has decided that its days of journeying are over.

It was all so sudden…

Edges fraying, zippers jammed, stitching coming loose, rubberized grommets dry and brittle, mesh water bottle compartments sagging–their elasticity nothing but a memory–I suppose I simply refused to acknowledge the signs of a life well-traveled coming to an end.

BACKPACK

Over the past five years, my backpack has carried bottles of wine and bags of fava across Santorini…ocean-carved granite stones from Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine…conch shells from the beaches of Anguilla….an unlikely combination of amber and smoked fish off the Baltic coast of Lithuania…jars of pate from gourmet stores in Quebec City…questionable electronics purchased on a street corner in Times Square…crocks of magnificent Maille mustard from Paris…gurgling 5-liter cans of olive oil from Puglia…cryo-vacced sausages from San Sebastian…sacks of Fleur de Sel purchased roadside in Guerande, France…dried fruit and nuts from the Souk in Marrakech…and full-sized, stinky wheels of young Pecorino from an outdoor market in Faro.

My backpack cradled all the things that ensured my safety and comfort on my journeys: passports, wallet, pocket knife, flashlight, a few feet of rope, note pad, business cards for livethelive.com, water, energy bars, Valium and Ambien for those long plane trips, Pepto for those bad food choices, and Immodium for those really bad food choices.
It accompanied me while snorkeling in St John…loading up on pasties and smoked whitefish at the foot of the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula…swimming with dolphins in Moorea…riding camels along the Morrocan coast in Essouria…slurping oysters by the dozen in Pensacola Beach…flying in a hot air balloon over the vineyards outside of Barcelona…diving off the rocks in Capri…circling the dog track at the New Orleans Jazz Festival…boogie-boarding at Nauset Beach on Cape Cod…touring via helicopter over mountains and glaciers to Milford Sound in New Zealand…and relaxing poolside at the Four Seasons Resort in West Palm Beach.

Always behind me and never a complaint. A fond farewell. Thanks for watching my back, pack.

Although Moroccan women have been painstakingly making Argan oil by hand for centuries, it is known by relatively few people outside of Morocco. Argan oil comes from nuts that grow on the Argan tree, and the only place in the world you’ll find Argan trees is in the southwestern part of Morocco, in an area that is only about 1.5 million acres in size.
That may seem like a lot of space, but it really isn’t, and despite the hardiness of the Argan trees and their ability to not only survive but thrive in the harsh climate of Morocco, their numbers disappeared by a third in the last century alone.
I remember my first glimpse of an Argan tree about five years ago when my wife and I visited Morocco. We were driving north from Marrakech to the coastal town of Essaouira and we had to do a double-take when we saw a tree by the side of the road that had about a dozen goats in it, literally standing on the branches of the tree and munching on the fruit. We later learned that although the goats eat the green Argan fruit (they look like olives, only larger and rounder), they leave the interior shell behind, and inside this shell are small kernels from which the Argan oil is extracted.

Nothing is wasted in the process of making Argan oil. Traditionally, the hard shells have to be cracked by hand, the kernels within removed. Then kernels are then crushed and mildy roasted and cooled before being ground by hand using a quern, or grinding stone. Later, the kernels are hand-mixed with water to form a dough, and it is from that dough that the oil is extracted (again, by hand.) Any by-product from this process is used to feed cattle…and the shells are crushed and burned as fuel.
Recently mechanical presses have been introduced to extract Argan oil. This process reduces considerably the time needed to do the job. Once the kernels are roasted, the mechanical press takes care of the grinding and extraction. More oil is extracted by machine than by hand, and since no water is added to press the dough, the oil can be stored longer without spoiling.
The most time consuming part of the process, cracking the nuts, is often still done by hand.
Argan oil is sensitive to heat and can spoil quickly, so once it is made, it is bottled, and once the bottle is opened, the oil is kept under refrigeration. You sprinkle it over salads, pasta, raw tuna, and other dishes at the last minute, just before serving.
It was only a matter of time before American chefs that visited Morocco would discover the wonderful nutty flavor of Argan oil and would bring it back home to use in their restaurants…and now, it’s all the rage.
In our visit to Morocco five years ago, we made a special trip to the Targanine Cooperative, where they gather local women to work together to produce the highest quality organic Argan oil.
The project has two objectives: to preserve what they can of the Argan forest by using sustainable harvesting methods…and to improve the social and economic status of the rural Moroccan women that make the oil.
As you can see in these photos, the women spend their days taking turns with different parts of the extraction process, sitting in a circle, and socializing while performing this tedious job. It’s no wonder that Argan oil is expensive…about $30 for 5 ounces here in the United States at gourmet websites. But, much like a fine olive oil or balsamic vinegar, a little goes a long way to flavor your food. And now Argan oil is becoming a popular ingredient in the world of cosmetics as well.
When you see the women of Morocco making Argan oil from beginning to end, and you realize just how much work it was to do it, the price is very reasonable. And it’s just another example of how often we take for granted what we can so easily buy on a store shelf or with a click of a mouse.