Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to Make Preserved Lemons and Use Them

How to Make Preserved Lemons and Use Them
by Victoria Challancin

Each year when I lead groups to Morocco, I visit the souks seeking my annual dose of sensual stimulations, always highlighted by a visit to the olives, spices, and preserved lemons.  Every single time, I am dazzled anew.  Every time I seem to literally leave my skin and allow my being to enter a world unknown, a world of colors, sounds, and sights so exotic, yet oddly so familiar--so utterly beautiful that they almost take my breath away.  Truly, I do not exaggerate.  And words seem to fail me.

One of the ingredients I love most in Morocco is the preserved lemon.  Common throughout North Africa, where they are used in a variety of tagines, or stews (see my recipe for a Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon, a Moroccan classic), just a little bit of these salt-cured beauties adds an intense citrus kick and subtle lemon nuance to a variety of dishes.  And for those who do not have access to year-round citrus, they satisfy that yen for a bright citrus note, even when lemons are out of season.  For my readers in San Miguel this is an especially nice bonus as, although we have limes available all year, Eureka lemons are a relatively new item here and the availability is sporadic at best.

A Bit of History
Throughout history, pickling has been both a practical and economic way of preserving food. Although in our modern world preserved lemons often considered to have a North African provenance, citrus is commonly preserved in many other diverse cultures as well.  In Cambodia whole preserved lemons are often added to a soup called ngam nguv.  Chanh muoi, the Vietnamese version using limes (lemons are used in other countries), is often used to make a sort of salty-sweet lemonade with sugar and water or carbonated water.  The lime pickles of the Indian subcontinent are legendary and varied in their preparation, which often includes a spicy oil with lots of chile.  The internet also tells me that lemon pickle is used in Africa as a folk remedy for excessive growth of the spleen!

Hank Shaw, cookbook author and writer of the immensely entertaining and interesting blog hunter.angler.gardener.cook, delves into the history of the preserved lemon a bit more.  He says that the earliest reference in English that he found came from an English cookbook called A New System of Domestic Cooking by Eliza Rundell, written in 1808.  And in Little Women, a childhood classic and favorite of mine, the barrels of pickled limes mentioned there referred to Florida key limes shipped north even during the Civil War era.  Mrs. Bradley's Housekeeper's Guide (1860) suggests salting quartered lemons and allowing them to dry in the sun for days, until leathery, then packing them into jars with ginger and vinegar, and waiting for at least 6 months to use them.

Shaw [thank you, Hank, for this wonderful research that I am paraphrasing here] also tells us that lemons are boiled in Sri Lanka until they split, then are stuffed with salt and submerged in vinegar. Later, six months later to be exact, they are minced with shallot and chiles to be served with rice or curry as a sort of exotic gremolata.  Russians also submerge lemons in brine, to be used after some months sliced thinly to be served with wild game.  

Going back in time even further and using a method similar to the standard Moroccan version, Shaw tells us that the Greeks began by preserving citrons and by the 1st century had also begin to preserve the lemons they brought from Persia.  Both the Chinese and East Africans preserve lemons as well. Ibn Battuta, my favorite traveler of all time, reported in 1325 that he ate preserved lemons in Somalia, leaving Shaw to wonder if he had brought the recipe back to his native Morocco at that early date!

                How to Make Moroccan Preserved Lemons
There are countless recipes and variations for making preserved lemons online.  In one earlier post titled "Olives, Preserved Lemons, and a Moroccan Tagine" In this post I even give a recipe for Quick Preserved Lemons by Kitty Morse, a cookbook author who was born and raised in Morocco.  Note that the quick-fix version, while giving you something to use in a pinch, lacks the depth of flavor and nuance that makes preserved lemons so special.

Recipe:  My Version of Moroccan-Style Preserved Lemons

To make my version of Moroccan-style preserved lemons, I use Eureka lemons because I like the flavor and because they are available.  Some people like the sweetness of Meyer lemon.  Scrub the lemons first, cut off the tips, partially quarter the lemons lengthwise, leaving them intact at the stem base.  Pack with Kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt, which alters both the texture and the flavor). Place them in a sterilized jar, using a sterilized tool such as tongs.  Smush the lemons down into the jar, squeezing out the juice as you push.  Fill the jar and add additional salt and more lemon juice if your lemons aren't juicy enough to produce enough juice to cover the lemons.  After a day or two, you can add more lemons, using sterilized tools, of course.  It is just that simple.  Now you just have to wait 4 or 5 weeks to allow them to cure.  

Variations:  I have made them with the addition of spices such as bay leaves, cardamom, black pepper, but I actually prefer the simple method which I outlined above.  I also noted that Yotam Ottolenghi, by favorite chef of all time, uses rosemary and chile in his version--I've not seen that elsewhere, but can imagine that they would yield an interesting flavor.  Other ingredients I have seen include, turmeric, sugar (why?) turmeric, coriander seeds, cloves, fresh ginger, garlic, white wine vinegar
Tips for Using Preserved Lemons
  • Rinse the salted lemons before using
  • Remove pith and pulp using a spoon and cut the rind into small pieces, small cubes or narrow strips.  Sometimes in cooking classes I have taken in Marrakech, the pith and pulp are also used.  To me the best of the flavor is in the rind as it contains the flavorful lemon oil.  Also, because these are such a salty ingredient, it will take a little practice to understand just how much to use, hence it is easier to eliminate the pulp and pith--up to you.
  • Don't worry if the lemony liquid in the jar thickens with time.  This is both normal and desirable.
  • Apparently, if the lemons darken somewhat, it is a good thing.  My instinct is to go for the most lemony-yellow color when making or buying, but Gemma of Souk Cuisine assures me the lightly browner ones are the most delicious.  I wish I had known that before I tossed my last batch when they looked less than a perfect, bright yellow!
  • Sometimes a white film will appear on the lemons.  This can simply be washed away.
  • Use a clean utensil to remove lemons from the prepared batch as your hands would contaminate the remaining lemons.
  • Make sure your lemons stay submerged in the liquid in the jar.
  • Some recipes suggest lightly blanching the preserved lemon before using to bring out the natural sweetness, however, I have never done this.
  • If the color or flavors change noticeably (in an unpleasant way, of course) over time, discard them and start again
  • Be sure to reduce the salt in a recipe using preserved lemons, or at least check before adding salt
  • Be adventurous and use a bit of preserved lemon in any recipe that might call for regular lemons, just use discretion as they are intensely flavored and intensely salty!

Preserved lemons are to fresh ones what cured salami is to fresh meat.  No they are not fresh, but they are just as good, if not better.  It is a different taste and sensation.  Funkier, more mellow.

Need Inspiration?

Traditional and Non-Traditional Uses for Preserved Lemons:

Some of the ways I have used preserved lemons in my kitchen:
  • In a traditional Moroccan tagine, where I first learned to love them.  See my recipe here.
  • With purchased mayonnaise and lots of garlic to make an aioli
  • In a vinaigrette
  • In a beurre blanc to serve with seafood
  • In tuna salad
  • In tapenade
  • In gremolata
  • In hummus
  • In guacamole
  • In a Caesar Salad
  • In pesto
  • In lentil soup
  • With capers and artichokes over chicken paillards with a touch of white wine
  • In a Mediterranean-style quinoa salad.  Actually, I have used them minced into many grain salads, including tabouleh
  • In a non-traditional Mexican tomato-tomatillo salsa
Some of the ways I have seen them used online:
Note:  I apologize for the lack of links here.  When I made my first batch of preserved lemons some years ago, I looked online for inspiration, without copying down the recipes.  I just noted the names of the recipes to be used either as a suggestion for me to create my own version, or to be looked up later.  If any appeal, I am certain a Google Search will yield immediate results.  If I know the source, I will give it.

  • Roasted Tomato and Preserved Lemon Sauce
  • Zesty Salsa with Preserved Lemons
  • Roast Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Braised Vegetables
  • Moroccan-Flavored Pork Ragu (sounds good even if Moroccans do't eat pork!)
  • Preserved Lemon Cocktail (Eat Boutique)
  • Use them on pizza
  • Make a condiment by blending them with olive oil
  • Pizza with Za'atar, Preserved Lemons and Ricotta
  • Toasted Orzo with Preserved Lemon, Pine Nuts and Currants (A New Way to Cook)
  • Bake fish in foil or parchment with preserved lemon and fresh herbs
  • Add to cooked vegetables
  • Add to chili
  • Add to a sweet potato salad
  • Add to seafood risotto (or vegetable risotto--or any other)
  • Add to marinades
  • Make a compound butter and add tiny minced pieces of preserved lemon and herbs--and garlic
  • Add to a Greek Salad (the flavors are perfect with feta and black olives)
  • Preserved Lemon Semifreddo with Basil Syrup
  • Pureed Preserved Lemons (Food in Jars)
  • Strozzapreti with Spinach and Preserved Lemon (Bon Appétit)
  • Baked Chicken with Artichokes, Cinnamon, and Preserved Lemons (The Kitchn)
  • Leeks with Preserved Lemons and Tarragon (MJ's Kitchen)
  • Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto and Preserved Lemon Cream (Food52)
  • Rice Salad with Merguez and Preserved Lemon Dressing (Food & Wine)
  • Marinated Mozzarella with Preserved Lemon and Basil (Donna Hay)
  • Pasta with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic  (ryanbros)
  • Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic
  • Cauliflower Couscous with Preserved Lemons
  • In a Bloody Mary
  • Preserve Lemon Relish (with dill and shallots--from Simply Recipes)
  • Toasted Kale and Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad
  • Preserved Lemon Quinoa with Shaved Brussels and Toasted Walnuts
  • Artichokes with Parsley and Preserved Lemon Pesto
  • Nectarine and Sweet Onion Salad with Preserved Lemon Dressing
  • Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon (Gourmet)
  • Pernod Shrimp
  • Preserved Lemon Hummus
  • Preserved Lemon Rice
  • Chicken Braised with Preserved Lemons and Cinnamon
  • Preserved Lemon Rice
  • Salmon Quiche with Preserved Lemons
  • Preserved Lemon Caesar Salad
  • Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Salted Lemon Relish (Kitty Morse, Moroccan Cusine)
  • Parmesan, Preserved Lemon, and Thyme Wafers
  • Lemon Tossed Salad
  • Chicken, Nice Style (Babs in Toyland)
  • Tabbouleh Wrapped in Romaine Leaves
  • Pine Nut and Preserved Lemon Couscous (Emeril Lagasse)

Moroccan-Style Recipes Using Preserved Lemon:
Note:  Check out  Moroccan Food for great and authentic Moroccan recipes (many of these are from that site).

  • In a tagine with chicken and lavender tagine olives (I mentioned this one earlier, but it THE classic recipe for using preserved lemons)
  • With a leg of lamb
  • With snapper and fennel
  • Marinated Quail, Chicken, and/or Duck with Preserved Lemons and Harissa
  • Shrimp with Preserved Lemon
  • In a Carrot Salad (cooked or uncooked, Moroccan-Style)
  • Spicy Potato Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives (Paula Wolfert via epicurious)
  • Moroccan Meatballs with Preserved Lemon (Kirsten's Kitchen to Yours)
  • Moroccan Butternut Squash Chickpea Stew (Use Real Butter)
  • Chickpea and Tomato Tagine (Kirsten's Kitchen to Yours
  • Moroccan Grilled Chicken with Preserved Lemon
  • Couscous with Mint and Preserved Lemons
  • Root Vegetable Couscous with Preserved Lemon
  • Moroccan Fish Tagine
  • Moroccan Style Cauliflower
  • Spinach Salad with Preserved Lemon and Olives (Christine Benlafquih)
  • Djaj (Chicken) Souiri (Christine Benlaquih)
  • Tagine of Chicken with Fennel
  • Lamb with Cabbage
  • Beef or Lamb Tagine with Carrots
  • Tagine with Fava Beans and Artichokes
  • Brain with Preserved Lemons
  • Tangia
  • Salade Mechouia
  • Chicken with Nigella Seeds
  • Chicken with Potato and Olives
  • Moroccan Fava Bean Salad with Olive Oil and Spices
  • Tagine of Lamb, Peas, Potatoes and Zucchini
  • Lamb with Eggplant
  • Lamb with Cauliflower or Green Beans
  • Chicken Mezgueldi
  • Moroccan Artichoke Salad
Note:  These darker lemons are preferred by Gemma, owner of the cooking school Souk Cuisine in Marrakech  (see my post here on a fun and informative class I took there last April).

Like what you see?  Join me in April 2015 on one of my tours to Morocco.

Parting Shot:  My Own Latest Batch 
 A recent batch of Eureka lemons I put up about six weeks ago, now ready to use!

Want to join me next April in Morocco?  Contact me by email for more information.

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.
Please ask permission before using photos or text.

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School and Trips
San Miguel de Allende,

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Giverny, Water Lilies, and the Easiest Pie Recipe in the World

In the last decades of his life, Claude Monet, often called the Father of Impressionism, extensively painted the lily ponds, the focal point of his extensive gardens at his home in Giverny, just north-west of Paris.  Water Lilies.  He painted them at all times of the day, at all times of the year, and in all sorts of weather.  He painted them endlessly, amassing over 250 interpretations of this beloved private world he created, a world of swirling colors, hidden forms, contrasts of light and dark, abstract, concrete--a world of his own.  Unique then.  Unique now.

At first, Monet painted the lily ponds as a whole, constrained as they were by the surrounding trees and the Japanese footbridge, yet bound by a fixed horizon that grounded the scene in the accepted, traditional way.  As he explored his private space over time, he became less and less concerned with this conventional pictorial space and began to paint spatially ambiguous canvases that had no boundaries but existed merely to depict the floating plants midst the reflection of trees and sky.  As his focus became tighter and tighter, Monet produced immense, but unified compositions, that revealed a complex water world, where concrete solid objects became fragmented forms shifting in the transitory light, blurring reality as we know it to produce that singular moment of perfection that seems unbroken in its sweeping scope, containing all of nature and life in a single glimpse.  Floating lily pads, mirrored reflections, sky, water, all become one, united by the broken brushwork of the Master.

"One instant, one aspect of nature contains it all," Monet once said, referring to these masterpieces produced toward the end of his long life.  As one who seeks everywhere that interconnected unity of all life, I was touched far beyond words as I drifted, almost dreamlike, through the gardens at Giverny last April, and feasted my eyes and all my senses on the magical lily ponds, which surely are as perfect today as they were when Monet had them constructed.

Some of you readers may remember my post called "I am Monet," where I enthused over the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, letting its mystery and beauty wash over me in all sorts of light, in all sorts of weather.  That same Monet-inspired magic was obviously even more evocative at Giverny, Monet's home, where he was the architect of extensive gardens that were the inspiration for all of the Water Lily series...those ephemeral Nymphéas, Monet's timeless gift to the world.

In April of this year, just before leading my tour to Morocco, I was lucky enough to share Giverny with the wonderful women who joined me on a separate trip to Paris.  Here are a few photos of that magic world.

The Lily Ponds at Giverny
April 2014

And now... for the pie... perhaps unlovely, but oh so delicious, and oh so easy to make.  In fact, this keeper recipe is the easiest dessert I have ever baked!

Cook's Notes:  I made this pie in class a couple of weeks ago, then I made it again and yet again. Delicious and easy to prepare, this recipe is a keeper.  I just used regular flour, but the original recipe called for gluten-free.  Simply plop the ingredients into a blender, give it a whirl, and then pour it into a buttered pie pan.  Bake for an hour...and magic!

Recipe:  Crustless Coconut Custard Pie
(Recipe from

4 eggs
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose (or other) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 10-inch pie pan or baking dish.

Combine eggs, butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, vanilla, salt, and coconut in a blender. Blend until smooth.  Pour into pan.  Bake 1 hour.  Let cool before serving.

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Flavors of the Sun Cooking School and Trips
San Miguel de Allende,

Friday, July 18, 2014

Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Patties with Date Confit--and More Photos from Morocco

Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Patties with Date Confit

Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Patties with Date Confit--and More Photos from Morocco
by Victoria Challancin

No one has said it better than food maven Paula Wolfert, who wrote so thoroughly and so lovingly about Morocco and its heady cuisine.  To paraphrase her, Moroccan food is spicy, but not really piquant.  If you want chile heat, you simply provide the rich condiment called harissa (see my recipe and article here) at the table, to be passed separately so that diners can add the piquancy they want.  But the actual use of spices in Moroccan cuisine is always judicious, as if each cook knows just the perfect amount of each spice required to enhance her dish, without ever overwhelming the whole, without ever allowing one note to dominate the harmonious union of the seductive blend of ingredients.

Although you might never find this particular dish in Morocco, the flavors are true to the cuisine, resulting in a rich, thoroughly modern interpretation of Moroccan flavors.  Using a spice blend called ras el hanout to enliven the chicken patty and a pomegrante molasses-rich confit of dates to round out the flavors, this recipe is a wonderful way to experience the flavors of Morocco.

Cook's Notes:  This is such a lovely recipe as written that I don't think I even tampered with it, a rare thing for me.  And if you are lucky enough to have leftovers of this dish, the taste just improves the next day.  My sister-in-law made these for a party appetizer and served them with my Chermoula Sauce (see my recipe here and lots of ideas for how to use it here), which also worked beautifully.  Lovely flavors.  Did I skip the cucumber and onion relish?  I can't imagine that I did, but then, I don't see it anywhere.  Just cilantro leaves.  Yikes!

Recipe:  Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Patties with Date Confit
Serves 4 as a light meal and up to 12 as an hors d'oeuvres

For the chicken patties:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I purchase pre-ground)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout (see my recipe here)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar

For serving:
16 small hearts of lettuce leaves
4-inch piece English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro leaves

For the date confit:
20 ready-to-eat pitted dates, halved (use Medjool, if possible)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Thai (or serrano) chile, finely chopped
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the date confit:
Put the dates in a bowl, cover with just-boiled water and leave for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet and fry the shallots, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until very soft.

Drain the dates and add them to the pan, squashing them with the back of a fork to break them down.  Stir in 4 tablespoons water, the cinnamon, chile and sugar and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until it forms a thick jam consistency.  Add more water if it is too thick.  Stir in the pomegranate molasses and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can blend the mixture if you prefer a smoother consistency.  Spoon the confit into a serving bowl and allow to cool.

To make the chicken patties:
Heat the oven to 100 degrees.  Grind the chicken in a food processor (or use pre-ground, as I did), then stir in the garlic, ginger, and ras el hanout.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Form the chicken mixture into 16 equal balls, about the size of golf balls.  Flatten each one to make a little patty.

Heat two-thirds of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Fry the patties, in two or three batches, if necessary, for 3 minutes on each side.  Just before they finish cooking on each side, sprinkle with a little sugar and cook until slightly caramelized.  Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the low oven while you cook the remaining patties, adding more oil as necessary.

For serving:
Put a chicken patty on top of each lettuce leaf, scatter a little cucumber, red onion and cilantro over and top with a spoonful of the date confit.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

                                    Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Patties with Date Confit

           More Images from my Moroccan Trip in April 2014:

Like what you see?  Why not join me in either October of 2014 or April of 2015 on my next tours of Morocco--beautiful, seductive Morocco.

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School and Trips
San Miguel de Allende,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Souk Cuisine--A Very Special Cooking Class in Marrakech--and a Recipe!

Shopping for local herbs and skins in Marrakech

Souk Cuisine--a Very Special Cooking Class in Marrakech
by Victoria Challancin

Souk Cuisine.  The very name conjures up magic for me.  Long-enchanted with souks, bazars, and markets all over the world, I find that they are usually my first destination when traveling.  Imagine the thrill for me of taking an actual cooking class smack dab in the middle of Marrakech's ancient medina, preparing a cuisine I love, filled with fun students and led by a delightful and knowledgeable teacher!  A perfect combination of ingredients, literally and figuratively.

I have been trying for several years to schedule a cooking class with Gemma, a savvy Dutch entrepreneur who has made Marrakech her home as well as the base for her very successful cooking school appropriately called "Souk Cuisine."  In April, after the group I led (my ninth!) departed Marrakech, I finally was able to take this class.  Gemma puts the skills she learned in hotel school in Holland to good use with her lively business.  Not content just to provide a cooking experience, Gemma starts the class by handing your group shopping lists and wallets holding enough dirhams to buy what you need for the day's menu!  Of course, she doesn't entirely throw you to the wolves, rather she leads you through the souk, greeting well-known and respected vendors along the way, teaching us about the ingredients we will prepare.

We stop to buy spices...
and to receive a lesson about the qualities of saffron and how not to be duped by one of lesser quality

We turn our tongues yellow with the real stuff

We buy some smen, the slightly fermented butter loved all over North Africa

We even taste the lovely smen flavored with dried meat

We purchase olives and preserved lemon (and I learn that the brightest, most yellow ones aren't the preferred type to use!)

We also buy a bit of olive oil sold to us in a recycled Coca-cola bottle, with a wad of cardboard to seal it
We stop at the local "grocery store" for flour, baking powder, and ground almonds, bargaining as we go

The cooking class is given in a small riad (a larger one is used for larger groups than our six) and has two Morrocan cooks on hand to help

The mise en place is ready for us, complete with the fresh saffron protected by paper

We thought we'd never get the herbs chopped fine enough for the Moroccan cooks who watched over us and scolded us with sign language when we fell short!

The chicken was left to marinate in chermoula, a Moroccan sauce/marinade rich with garlic and herbs
(My version of chermoula can be found here--plus numerous ways to use it!  And my own recipe for a chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemon can be found here--and with it, of course, a lesson on tagines!)

We make briouts filled with vegetables and using the local purchased warka, which resembles phyllo dough

The briouts, fried and ready to eat!
The finished chicken tagine, bursting with flavor

A selection of salads we prepared (mine is the eggplant next to the carrots)

Once you've tried Moroccan'll be hooked forever!

(Learn what all the fuss is about in my two-part series on Moroccan salads here and here, plus my recipe for Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad here)

And now, with Gemma's permission, I give you the absolute BEST Moroccan carrot salad I have ever tasted--and I've made and tasted quite a few!

Cook's Notes:  Although I didn't make the salad in class, Stefan did and he clearly peeled the almonds (blanching in boiling water makes it simple).  They could also be fried in a touch of olive oil, if desired.  When I made this at home, I didn't take the core out of the carrot, though Stefan did, under the strict tutelage of his Moroccan overseer!  Apparently, she also indicated that they should not be cubed, but rather left in long pieces.  This, of course, is up to you.  Use argan oil if you are lucky enough to have it; extra-virgin olive oil, if not. And please, don't shy away from the orange flower water, which gives the dish such a special, yet ver subtle, touch.

Recipe:  Moroccan Carrot Salad from Souk Cuisine

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Almonds and Raisins

1 kg carrots
100g raisins
100g almonds, unpeeled
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
6 teaspoons sugar (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon orange flower water
2 tablespoons argan oil (or top quality olive oil)

Peel the carrots and slice them lengthways.  Remove the inner core of the carrots and cut into cubes. Boil carrots in salted water. Drain after 15 minutes and leave a small quantity of water in the pan. Place again on the stove over low heat.  Add ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, ground ginger, raisins, almonds, sugar, orange flower water and oil.  Simmer until carrots are well-cooked.  Serve the salad lukewarm or cold.
My version, made at home once I returned

I have been lucky enough to take classes from some of the best cooks in the world:  Jacques Pépin, Julia Child, Martin Yan, Madhur Jaffrey, Rick Bayless... and others.  All worthy.  All fascinating.
But I can honestly say that this class, with Souk Cuisine and Gemma, was my favorite ever.  I will definitely schedule one on my next trip.

Want to join me?  Let's take a class with Gemma together on my next trip in April of 2015 and possibly in October of this year as well!

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Flavors of the Sun Cooking School (and Trips!)
San Miguel de Allende,