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March 08, 2005

Dinner for Joelle, Marshall, and Sarah

Years ago Joelle was here and we cooked up a storm for a reception in her honor. She is a wonderful cook, drawing on her family's North African (Algerian) kitchen. I suggested we cook this time too.


"A member of the thistle family. When these thick, silvery stalks are cooked, their flavor is a cross between artichoke, celery and salsify. A popular Italian vegetable. Resembles a bunch of wide, flat celery." It has a big beautiful thistle flower and is related to the artichoke.

Here is her email response to that suggestion:

"Just a little memorabilium (I'm not sure this is the correct English term): Marshall and I kept a vivid memory of that winter day of 1991 which we spent at your apartment, cooking for a dinner party. We made cumin carrots, and other dishes I now forget. Do you remember that lovely time? [Of course I do! We made cardoons and also fresh fava beans in the shell, sliced finely, and if memory serves me also fennel and possibly celery root.]

BitterMelon_small.jpgAs for your culinary plans: Marshall is an expert in both pickled lemons and bitter melon. He keeps Madame Mergui's recipe for pickled lemons very jealously, and will love to share it with you. Madame Mergui is the mother of a long-term friend of mine, Fanny, who lives in Casablanca, and whom we visited a few times in the past ten years. On one of our visits, Marshall begged Madame Mergui to give him the recipe for pickled lemons. We had a controversy about whether or not adding olive oil over the lemons in the jar. I think it is a delicious culinary trick, because you can then use the oil to cook some dishes such as baked fish or celery root/fennel ragout. But Marshall thinks that putting oil over the lemons is not "authentic". So goes conjugal peace.... he will not let me interfere in your fixing pickled lemons....

Sarah is also interested in cooking, although she does little of it, but she and I have been watching some of the Food Channel programs, which I find quite relaxing and interesting, given the depressing stuff one can see on the "news" channels. Our favorite (and most outstanding) chef on FC is a young man by the name of Tyler Florence. Next would be Alton Brown, quite a character of his own."

Posted by BKG at March 8, 2005 02:42 PM


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