Sunday, September 20, 2009

Moroccan Feast!!!

Tonight we had friends over for dinner and I decided on a Moroccan menu.  In southern WV there are very few dining choices aside from chain restaurants, Chinese buffets, and a few Mexican places.  If you want something more exotic you have to make it yourself!  On tonight's menu were sesame flatbreads, a chicken, chickpea, and apricot tagine, spiced couscous, mint tea, and for dessert a date and walnut cake and a almond filo dessert.  Most of the recipes came from my Essential Mediterranean cookbook. 

The sesame flatbread was an exciting achievement for me because I make it a rule to avoid any recipe that calls for yeast.  I had a mishap with a pizza dough years back and I've been wary of the stuff every since.  I decided to make an exception and give these a try because they looked easy and didn't have to rise for 3 years.  Everyone seemed to like them.  I served them with some Trader Joe's sundried tomato and olive brushetta.  It was delicious.  Not Moroccan, but damn tasty!

The tagine was fruity and pretty tasty.  I don't have an actual tagine and I don't think they sell them at my Wal-Mart so I took the recipe's advice and used my crock pot.  Worked great!  This had chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, various spices, honey, and dried apricots.  It was good and smelled wonderful!  I served it with a spiced couscous with currents and toasted pecans.  I had a picture of it but it seems to have gotten deleted from my camera card!  :(

The main dessert was refered to in the cookbook as a filo almond snake.  I can't help but think they should have thought of a better name for it.  It doesn't sound very elegant.  :P  This thing was a beast to make!  It consists of ground almonds, flaked almonds, egg white, powdered sugar, and almond extract mixed to form a paste.  The only problem is that the paste is WAY too sticky to work with.  I ended up using three times as many almonds and what seemed like eight times more sugar than called for.  No matter, I made it work.  You form this paste into "logs" which you then roll up in filo and then coil it around in a springform pan.  Brush with egg yolk and cinammon, bake!              
Here is an "in process" picture. Not too pretty is it!  In fact the almond stuff looks a bit like something you might find in a litter box.  Gross, I know!  Thank goodness it doesn't taste that way!  So basically if you have the patience and you want to really impress someone bring one of these to a pot luck!  You'll look all kinds of fancy.  The picture of my other cake mysteriously disappeared as well.  Hmmm....
For a late night snack while we watched some of The Office season five we had a candy apple.  Last Saturday I went to a candy apple making party and still had a couple left in the fridge.  These are so good!  They will keep a little over a week in the fridge too.  This apple was dipped in caramel, chocolate, pretzels, toffee bits, and white chocolate chunks! Decadent! 

The majority of the day was spent prepping and cooking for the get together.  I slept in (love Saturdays!) and had a simple breakfast of multigrain hot cereal made with unsweetened vanilla soymilk, banana, almond butter, and chocolate chips.  Tasty and filling.  Then I hit the gym for a bit of the treadmill.  It was a low energy day so I just did incline intervals.  On high energy days I do HIIT and see how fast I can run.  (Which is not too fast being 4'11 and a little chubby!)  Even with my lower intensity today I burned 280 calories according to my heart rate monitor.  I'm satisfied with that.  Tomorrow I'll either hit some weights or maybe try getting some fresh air.  The weather has been really nice here but I know the cold is coming soon!

 I forgot to post last night so I'll do a quick blurb about it now.  We went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Macado's.  It's a sandwich place.  They seriously have hundreds of different varieties.  The one I choose last night is called a cowpoke.  It is chicken, cheddar, and bbq sauce, served on a bagel.  I subbed a croissant for the bagel.  YUM!  Served with brocolli cheese soup and pretzel and honey mustard.  So good.  I try to eat as healthy as possible during the week but I like to spluge a bit on the weekends...sometimes more than a bit.  I'm working on that though!   Just for fun I've posted a picture of the menu at right.  Look closely and tell me you don't see something weird on that sandwich...                                                              

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