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nakji

Cooking with "Arabesque" by Claudia Roden

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I picked up this book recently and had my first chance to cook with it this evening. I was drawn to it because many of the recipes within can be made with simple, fresh ingredients that I can easily locate. And couscous, which I can get at the Carrefour.

The first thing I did was set some preserved lemons going:

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This is the simple, four-day method that calls for lemons boiled in brine for about a half hour; then covered in oil.

Then, the chicken roasted with honey, cinnamon, and ginger - Roast Chicken with Couscous, Raisin, and Almond Stuffing, p. 92.

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The top got too close to my element, but it tasted exceptional. The honey sauce that drips off the chicken is just the thing for drenching the couscous with to serve. The only ingredient I couldn't get was the orange-flower water, which I simply left out.

On the side, I made the Mashed Eggplant and Tomato Salad, p. 42 because I'll eat eggplant served up pretty much any way I can.

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Really good. I plan on making this throughout the summer - with bread and cheese it would be enough for dinner on a hot night. I only wish I had better quality olives.

There was plenty for leftovers for lunch, too.

Once the lemons are done, I've got the chicken, olive, and preserved lemon tagine bookmarked to try.

If anyone else has got this book, I'd be interested in seeing what you've tried or hearing what's good.

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I love this book and I refer to it every time I want inspiration, not actually followed a whole recipe - Mea Culpa - but I use her base tagine recipe weekly for a vegetable tagine I make at work. I do have Middle Easter Cookery also and find the 2 books quite different.

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Erin, I don't have the book, but your pictures and descriptions will have me ordering it when I get back to the USA. We'll cook along.

I think you'll be happy with it. I've tagged about forty recipes with "want to make" flags.

We have way too many of the same authors on our shelves...so what are the main differences between Arabesque and Middle Eastern Food (since my copy of MEF has literally fallen apart...)?

I think it's because we're dealing with the same restrictions!

I actually went looking to buy MEF, but Kinokuniya didn't have it in stock. I hope to spot it in a used book store one of these days, like my other favourite cookbooks. What's god in it?

I love this book and I refer to it every time I want inspiration, not actually followed a whole recipe - Mea Culpa - but I use her base tagine recipe weekly for a vegetable tagine I make at work. I do have Middle Easter Cookery also and find the 2 books quite different.

It seems like the sort of book you could begin to not use almost right away. The mashed eggplant salad was so easy and delicious I think I could do it in my sleep even after just once.

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Two dishes last night: Chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, p. 93. I've never had a tagine before, so I wasn't quite sure what the end dish would turn out like. Fortunately, Ms. Roden's descriptions at the beginning of the chapter help crystalize what to aim for with this dish. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be soupy or not, but her explanation of the dish from the beginning of the Moroccan section helped considerably-

...Cooking in a clay tagine, very gently over a brazier(kanoun)of constantly replenished embers, diffuses the heat all around the pot and produces, at the end, a reduced sauce sizzling in its fats.

-made sure I cooked it down until the onions were left to sizzle in the chicken fat. We ended up eating it with our fingers, it was so luscious.

A slightly more elegant remake of last week's eggplant and tomato - thanks to a CSA bag that included both tomato and eggplant.

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For the tagine, I used the 4-day preserved lemons that I put on last Sunday. I haven't tried the salt ones, but I'm thinking I might put on some brine ones soon.

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Claudia Roden is wonderful, but these pictures have me drooling all over my keyboard. And I haven't had coffee yet this morning!

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It's an excellent book - just like all other books by Clauda Roden!!

I've made the lentil and rice soup with fried onions (makhlouta) from the Lebanese chapter:

makhloutaNAMI.jpg

It was over a year ago, but I remember how surprised I was that something with so few and humble ingredients would taste as delicious!

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