Gingerly Approaching a Moroccan Cooking Binge

Last night, our meal’s main course was Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon, Olives, and Harissa. I made the harissa, which delivers one of my favorite flavors,the day before. I served the chicken over brown rice, alongside a few cucumber spears, some sliced tomatoes, and sweet peppers. I was generally satisfied with the meal, but not as thrilled as I had hoped and expected. I think it was the brown rice; its consistency wasn’t quite right. Perhaps my lower-than-expected satisfaction derived from the fact that the fresh ginger I used wasn’t really fresh. I bought it a week or more ago and wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. When I unwrapped it yesterday to grate it, I discovered that it had deteriorated considerably. Though I was able to salvage enough for the recipe, I question whether the stuff was adequate for the task. My experience with the unsatisfactory ginger led me to explore the “best” ways to preserve fresh ginger. My research suggests these as the best ways:

  1. Plant fresh, unpeeled ginger in potting soil. That, from what I’ve read, will keep it quite fresh and will probably result in the growth of some foliage.
  2. Place fresh, unpeeled ginger in a zip-lock bag, squeezed to remove as much air as possible, and put the bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable crisper.
  3. Immerse peeled ginger in a glass jar of vodka.

All three methods, according to the sources I found, will keep the ginger fresh for at least eight weeks.

I discarded the ginger left over after I made last night’s meal. So, I need to add ginger to the shopping list, along with ground coriander seed. I’m sure there’s more. But that will do for now.

My current fixation on Moroccan food shows no signs of diminution. For breakfast this morning, I used last night’s leftovers, which actually tasted better today than last night. I plan to make several other Moroccan dishes in the weeks to come, provided my wife does not tired of my experimentation. On the menus will be: Lamb with Couscous, Moroccan-Style Spiced Shrimp, Chickpea and Tomato Stew, and Méchoui of Lamb with Charmoula. I made enough harissa to last through all of them, provided I do not use it first in any number of other dishes I think would benefit from its rich, spicy flavor. The odds are good I’ll have to make another batch (or two) long before I get through the menus.

This morning, we’re attending the annual “water ceremony” at the Unitarian Universalist church. It will be our first “water ceremony.” My gut tells me it will be far too woo-woo for my taste, but we shall see. I’ll wager no one in the church this morning, aside from my favorite wife and me, had home-made Moroccan food last night. I’ll even up the ante and wager than no one else had the same breakfast we had this morning, either.

I’m getting slightly better at writing by speaking, but I still can’t seem to do fiction that way. I long for my wrist, arm, and shoulder to get over whatever it is that’s bothering them. Tomorrow, I may seek out a chiropractor.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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