March Foodie Pen Pals

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This month’s package caused quite the stir; initially because it went missing for a while.  I was vacationing in France (food photos and restaurant reviews to follow) when the package arrived but the mail carrier, true to form, didn’t leave me a delivery slip.  It turns out, the super of my building had accepted it and was trying to reach me but every time he stopped by, I wasn’t home.  Finally, yesterday, we connected and I was able to open my delightful package and put my partner Julie’s mind at ease about its whereabouts.

The second stir was created by the many wonderful things inside the package:   Black salt, homemade salsa, dried red and green chilis, red lentils, plantain chips, seasoned seaweed, a variety of nice teas, some popcorn and a packet of cocoa.  Best of all, there is a grow your own Thyme kit which I can add to the basil I received a few months ago.  

Thanks to Julie for putting together such a great package.  I can’t wait to use the lentils to make a tasty meal and the plantain chips will make a nice break snack at work.  All the other treats are equally exciting.

If you aren’t signed up for Foodie Pen Pals, you should be!  It’s such a nice thing to look forward to every month and shopping for your partner is just as much fun.  Check out the program with Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for more details.

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Lamb Tagine with Sweetened Onions and a Friend to Carry It to the River


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“Dish washing in the river would have been impossible without Krisha. Many of the items to be washed were heavy brass pots, iron pans, and clay tagines which weighed well over six kilos each. (To feed everyone in a big household like the farm’s, you needed large pots and pans.) Carrying them from the kitchens to the riverbank would have been impossible without the help of Krisha and his horse-drawn cart.” from Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi

More on washing your dishes at the river:  This seems like such a fun idea except when I remember all the times I had to lug a basin full of camping dishes around…

Lamb Tagine With Sweetened Onions

3 red onions, 1, finely chopped, the other 2 cut into rings

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tbsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lb lamb stew meat on the bone

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Ovemedium heat, saute the 1 chopped onion (reserve the rings) in olive oil.  Add the fresh herbs, garlic, turmeric, and spices.  Saute until tender.  Spread the onions so that they form a layer over the bottom of the tagine.  Place the lamb pieces snugly together to form the second layer.  Place the sliced rings of onion over the meat to form the third layer.  Lastly, sprinkle the onions with the cinnamon and sugar to form the final layer.  Carefully drizzle 1/2 cup of water down the side of the tagine so as not to rinse away your cinnamon and sugar.  Cover and cook over medium heat for five minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer until the lamb and onions are tender, about 1/5 – 2 hours.  You may want to shift the lamb meat around occasionally when cooking so it doesn’t stick, but don’t actually stir anything.  Just before you are ready to serve, check the consistency of the sauce:  because I skimped and used stew meat, my sauce was a little oily.  I siphoned off most of it and had to reduce the sauce a bit. If you use a less fatty meat, like a leg of lamb cut into pieces, you may have to add more water as you cook.  

I served mine with couscous and roasted squash and red peppers.  It was delicious.

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