Mind Caviar
"Cooking may be as much a means of self-expression as any of the arts."

~ Fannie Farmer (1896)

Mind Caviar, Issue 13 2004-2005

A Moroccan Delicacy
by Aldonza the Diva

Aldonza, The Diva of Mind Caviar, wears many hats. Usually our resident comedienne who wows us with her strange finds and witty commentary on all things to find while Internet Shopping, she has decided to don her chef's toque and wow us instead with exotic cuisine. Here's what she has to say:

"I lived in Morocco for two incredible years. I was fed all sorts of juicy, oily tagines, usually sitting around a low, tiled table on big, brightly-patterned cushions. "Tagine" is the name for both the covered cooking dish and the meal itself. Pictured to the right is a traditional tagine. The meal is both cooked and served in these clay dishes, and many are quite ornate.

mind caviar
Moroccan foods are traditionally hand-eaten. My Moroccan hosts would let me try to manipulate my sticky grains of cous-cous with my fingers, then finally laugh and get me a spoon... I would suggest the same for you. You should wear only airy, filmy caftans for this meal, and be sure to twirl seductively and sensually to this very cool Moroccan music that has a slight Western bent. Makes me UNDULATE!"

Spiced Chicken Tagine with Dates
Served with Cous-cous

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large chicken, cut into eight pieces or quartered
Fine sea salt or regular salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon ground coriander 
1 teaspoon turmeric 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 large onion, thinly sliced 
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger, peeled or ginger powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon rind-- discard pulp
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
8 dates, quartered (other dried fruits may be used such as prunes, apricots, etc.)
1½ cups chicken, veal or vegetable stock
4 Tablespoons toasted almond slivers

tagine opened

Cooking Instructions:

Place a tagine (you probably don't have one, but this is what was used when I was in Morocco) or large heavy-bottomed casserole at least 10 inches in diameter over high heat, and add the oil. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, place the chicken pieces skin-side-down in the pot. When the oil starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon each of the coriander, cumin, turmeric over the chicken. Cook until the chicken is golden brown, about 15 minutes. (Check regularly to make sure that the chicken is not sticking to the pan.) 

Spread the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes on a cutting board, and season generously with the salt and pepper. Add them to the tagine, covering the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder. Add the lemon rind and chicken stock, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the plums and cook for a further 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. (It may take a little longer if you're using a tagine, or if the chicken is quartered.) 

To serve, place about ½ cup of cous-cous on each plate, top with chicken, and spoon some cooking liquid and vegetables over each plate. Garnish with toasted almond slivers. Serves two to four.

More Recipes!

How to cook cous-cous. Where to see more tagine pottery.

Aldonza's Fabulous Dessert to go with your exotic dinner.

Copyright © 2004 Aldonza. All rights reserved. Do not post. Recipe may be copied for personal use only.

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