Sunday, February 13, 2011

Moroccan Dinner

Our dinner group met last night. Two of our guests and Michael went to Morocco a few years ago, and I got very interested in the food even though they didn't find the food all that compelling while they were there. Nevertheless, we decided to serve a Moroccan dinner. We began with appetizers including a sundried tomato hummus, olive tapenade with fig and garlic, almond stuffed olives, and Michael's labor of love, Moroccan pita. He practiced this recipe at least five times in search of the perfectly puffed pita, which he achieved beautifully last night. Served with a fino sherry, this little spread seemed to go over well with our guests.

The main course was a chicken tagine with apricots, sundried tomatoes, raisins, and almonds. I followed nearly the same recipe I provided here, but there was no ginger or garbanzo beans. We served it with an Israeli couscous cooked with butter and saffron. Choices of wine for dinner included a Spanish rioja, a French Côtes du Rhône, and a Californian pinot noir.

We ended the meal with a Morrocan baklava with pistachio and cinnamon. I got the recipe from The Spice House. Using good European butter and high-quality cinnamon (I honestly can't remember now if I used the Ceylon or the Cassia) seemed to make a difference. Oh, and somewhere in there we squeezed in some champagne to celebrate our friends' recent accomplishments.

After the baklava, we drank sweet, sweet green tea with mint--very much in the Morrocan style--poured from a great height with Moroccan flair.