October 8, 2012

Moroccan Feast

I want my next big trip to be to Morocco.  So I was beyond thrilled when Jenni Kayne called me to help her plan a Moroccan-themed 30th Birthday.  Researching for the party got me even more intrigued with the sensual culture which is full of hospitable rituals and exotic flavors.  Jenni was an amazing collaborator.  Her taste is impeccable and her insanely gorgeous home is the perfect space for any gathering.  Setting a Moroccan vibe was a massive group effort.  We sourced lanterns, poufs, brass tables and Moroccan tea glasses from Zeen Designs.  Then Chloe and Blake used all of these great finds to create a sprawling picnic-esque layout of low seating & pillows atop dozens of beautiful rugs.  Maurice of Bloom and Plume contributed a layer of pretty with arrangements of roses & mint, plus buckets of white rose petals.  And finally, Amy, who was sadly away but consulted from afar, added her signature special touch with gold embossed henna-motif food cards and cutlery tags.  Mint mojitos and lavender champagne cocktails got the night started alongside passed hors d'oeuvres on silver trays.  As for the food, Jenni and I wanted to create a vegetarian Moroccan feast.  Spicy tagines, lemony couscous and a plethora of vegetable dishes lined the buffet (for a squash tagine recipe and the full menu, see below).  My most excited moment might have been seeing Blake's runner of silver tea pots & tea glass votives down the long table.  After dinner we served hot mint tea in the Moroccan tradition, meant to cool.  Mashti Malone ice cream--creamy rosewater, ginger & saffron--was the birthday dessert.  So until I take my vacation, I'm grateful to Jenni for letting me get my Moroccan fix.  For even more photos check out Jenni's stylish lifestyle blog Rip + Tan.  



The Menu


moroccan mojito
vodka, mint, lime, soda

lavender sparkler
sparkling, lavender simple syrup, lemon twist


ricotta & gingered marcona almond stuffed figs

kabocha squash & mozzarella skewers with chili & mint

spiced flatbread with chickpea spread

savory, buffet

chickpea, butternut squash & sage tagine

lentil, carrot, tomato & cinnamon tagine

couscous with currants & scallions

beets, fennels, olives, ricotta salata & orange blossom water

eggplant bread salad

sauteed kale with preserved lemon & slivered almonds

brussel sprouts & roasted grapes

tangerines, pomegranate seeds, candied pistachios, dates & arugula

cucumbers & yogurt

spicy harissa


mashti malone ice cream trio:
lavender, creamy rosewater & saffron rosewater

ginger cookies

moroccan mint tea

Gingered Squash, Chickpea & Sage Tagine
serves 8

2 kabocha squashes (butternut and acorn squashes are great alternatives)
1 pound of dried chickpeas
1 sweet onion, sliced or diced
1 red onion, sliced or diced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and diced
1 T. tumeric
1 t. fennel seeds
1 t. cumin
1 bunch of sage, chopped, reserving a few leaves to garnish.
1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock (water also works--add a little extra of the spices)
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

side dish:  couscous with currants & scallions

condiments: plain yogurt & spicy harissa 

Roasting the squash and using dried chickpeas add extra steps, but they are well worth the effort.  Both the squash and the chickpeas can be prepared the day before making the tagine.  And in a pinch, canned chickpeas and diced raw squash can certainly be used, just make sure the squash gets cooked through on the stove.  The same recipe can used with different vegetables and legumes:  a carrot & lentil version would be great with a dash of cinnamon.  It's really just a method.

to prep chickpeas:

cover chickpeas by an inch of water and let soak overnight.  in the morning strain the chickpeas and add to a stock pot.  add twice as much water as the chickpeas and bring to a boil.  cover and simmer until tender, about an hour.  once cooked, drain and reserve the chickpeas.

to prep the squash:

cut the squash in half horizontally and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  line a cookie sheet in tin foil and place squash skin side down on the sheet and into a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.  once the squash cools slightly, peel and cut into 1'' chunks.

to make the tagine:

heat a few tablespoons of oil in a stock pot over medium heat.  add the onions, ginger and a few pinches of salt & pepper and saute until soft, 8-10 minutes.  add the turmeric, fennel seeds, cumin, sage, drained chickpeas and squash.  add stock and bring to a boil.  cover and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, letting the flavors meld.  

to serve:

spoon the tagine over couscous and garnish with sage leaves.  cool yogurt and spicy harissa are the ideal condiments.

Photos by Christopher Beyer


Erin B. said...


Unknown said...

What a nice Moroccan setting, and so well you did on the menue!
If you come to Morocco, we should sip some Minttea :)
Greatings from Essaouira!

Herry Johnson said...

Moroccan Medina Lighting is a maker and retailer of indoor and outside beautiful lighting apparatuses for all business and private applications. Moroccan lighting, moroccan lanterns and Mosque Chandeliers.

Post a Comment