Last night I hosted my first official "dine with me" event. The idea is simple: I invite strangers to come eat with me in my home/riad in the medina. The experience is a unique one and it is gaining popularity through many platforms such as www.eatwith.com and www.mealsharing.com.
Being a vegetarian all my life, I keep trying to jump on the vegan bandwagon every once in a while. The lack of availability, variety, and choices of places that serve good healthy vegetarian food is what led me to create this dining arrangement. I invite you to my house for a meal, you come hungry and enjoy a meal that I have prepared all by myself - no riad staff here to do the work for me! Most of the meals I create are vegetarian or vegan and in the case of last night’s, it was all gluten free except for that basket of bread I had on the table that no one ever touched. As many of you know, bread is such an important part of the Moroccan meal. So since last night’s meal was a fusion of Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine the bread made an appearance... or you could just say that the bread was part of the table arrangement.
Part of last night's successful communal dining was my famous quinoa salad. Locally grown quinoa mixed with quince, ginger and pomegranate, and a drizzle of argan oil. When cooking I do not follow measurement or a certain method, only when baking. I eyeball everything, so writing down this recipe for you was a challenge.
My favorite food, homemade falafel, hummus, baba ghanough and pickled turnip.
Tagine with red and yellow peppers stuffed with cauliflower rice, infused with pomegranate molasses.
Hhhhh got caught on camera taking pictures of my food! Notice, the theme was inspired by my favorite blue city Chefchaoune.
½ cup quinoa ½ cup lentils 2 medium carrots shredded 1 cup of cherry tomatoes 1 medium onion, chopped small 2 gloves of crushed garlic 2 Tsp. diced fresh ginger (I prefer to dice them small rather than using a grater to keep the flavor) 1 medium size quince (or if not in season, green apples) peeled and diced into medium sized pieces 1 cup pomegranate kernels Juice of a medium sized lemon 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley Drizzle to taste argan oil or olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
It is best to do this salad ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight for the flavor to marinate.
Cook the lentils in enough water until they are tender but not mushy, drain and put aside. In another pot, cook the ½ cup quinoa with 1½ cups of water on low heat unlit water is absorbed or according to package direction. After you have cooked the lentils and the quinoa, mix all ingredients together in a salad bowl, adding the oil at the end. You can enjoy it right away or refrigerate overnight to enjoy the next day as I do.
The bits of fresh ginger add so much flavor and along with the quince it gives a unique taste. If you are not a big fan of argan oil like I am, or it is not available where you are, a good quality EVOO will do.
Making people happy is something that I am known for. And what better way to make people happy but to invite them to share a healthy meal with me and have them share their stories with me.
I hope I inspire you to eat and cook healthily. If you are in my neck of the wood, come on over! If not, I hope to continue to write down my recipes and share them with you, so you can enjoy them in your own home.
I would like to thank all who came to the dinner last night and big thanks to Zani for taking most of these photos before the event. I got so caught up with my guests that I totally forgot to take photos during the event.