Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Algeria - day 3

How awesome is Algerian food? Pure and total f*cking awesomeness. This land,  so steeped in rich and mysterious tradition produces food with some of my favorite ingredients: cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, hot peppers. lemons, mint, cilantro,onions, garlic, parsley, a whole variety of vegetables,  couscous and of course, olive oil  -- all influenced by French cuisine; could it get any better?

First of all, I knew before I even started cooking that I would be instantly transported to this ancient country. My kids came sniffing around and volunteered to taste test and photograph the process...hence the new "artsy" pix.

I decided to make a meal, rather than just a dish to fully experience a typical dinner. I made a traditional Algerian tomato & cilantro salad and a chicken and vegetable couscous (leave out the chicken and you have a great vegetarian dish) . A number of my friends have asked me to post the recipes (thanks for the suggestion Lulu and Gail!), so they're included here. And my old (not literally) friend Jimmy encouraged me to journal about this experience - thank you! I think food and eating is best when it's a total sensory experience: smell, taste, texture and color. These dishes hit all of those elements and then some.

And another interesting thing is happening. My pantry. My house was built in 1840 and like most houses of this colonial era, it has one bathroom. I had the option to turn my pantry into a bathroom several years ago, but NO, I chose to keep it as a pantry. Since I've started this project, it's filling up with cool stuff. Also, the guys in the produce department of my local Market Basket are into this project now (since I've been back & forth about 20x in the past 4 days), and my local butcher is game (get it, pun? heh). This was my hope; that through this project, a network of people as whacked out and hungry as I would develop. Plus, how great is is it to go around the world without leaving my kitchen?

Finally, what is a country without music? So from here on in, I'm going to find music (that I like) that represents the country I'm cooking in...attached is a band for your listening pleasure- I think the Clash would approve ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DbFYsi9iSg 


Banadura Salata B'Kizbara (Tomato and Coriander Salad)


  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 small hot chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Slice the peeled tomatoes and place in a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the chopped coriander over the tomatoes.
  3. Mix the chopped chili pepper with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  4. Beat the olive oil into the chili-lemon juice mixture.
  5. Pour over the tomatoes and coriander.
  6. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings.

Algerian Chicken Couscous
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion -- chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 Can Tomato -- diced
  • 2 Medium Carrots -- chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery -- chopped
  • 1 Cup Cauliflower -- chopped
  • 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper -- chopped
  • 1 Medium Turnip
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 Pound Chicken Breast -- strips
  • 1 Medium Zucchini -- dials
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Couscous
  • 3 Tablespoons Parsley
Directions Saute in oil, onion and garlic 5 mintues. stir in seasonings. Add tomatoes, carrots, clelry, cauliflower, pepper, turnip and broth. Boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken and zucchini, 10 more milnutes. Cook couscosu as directed, fluff with fork, stir into mixture. Serves 4


jd decker said...

we love that pantry!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! That Tomato and Coriander Salad looks amazing! I can't wait to try it.

I have a couple of suggestions -
Can you try embedding the Youtube video onto the posts. I love the idea of adding music, it's just more convient to click it right on the page ;)

Also, if you are looking for music in the European region, might I suggest sorting through the Eurovision finalists? (Though quite a few are in English ^^;)

witchywoman said...

I really like the look into your world! I'm really enjoying how your blog is evolving, as well :)

sadie said...

ha! I actually cringe a little when I look back over my older stuff. Initially, I had a lot of glitches with formatting, not to mention sh*tty photography :)