If you know my husband, Seb, and I, you know FOOD IS LIFE! We love to cook and we love to eat and drink well. Holidays are special times for us, even if it is just he and I celebrating with eachother!
Since we were doing just that this year for Thanksgiving, we decided to forgo the traditional turkey dinner and began planning a magnificent Moroccan FEAST! When we lived in Chile, we would cook foods like these almost every week! But somehow, we’ve been in Mexico 11 months and had not had a Moroccan night yet!! Whaaaaaa?? So this holiday was almost a year of cravings realized in one meal!
- Chicken and Olive Tagine
- Leg of Lamb Tagine
- Barbecued Leg of Lamb
- Baba ghanoush with Pomegranate Seeds
- Couscous with Saffron, Roasted Nuts, and Dates
- Stuffed Vine Leaves
- Tabbouleh Salad
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Flatbread — had to make emergency homemade bread cause our store bought ended up MOLDY!
- M’Hanncha or Snakey Cakey
- Copious Amounts of Wine
In true Sarah form, we waited until the week of to decide where we were going to get our meat from. There are a few ok choices for lamb and chicken in town, but we found a gourmet online store claiming to have “the best lamb you can find” and they said they had overnight delivery so we went with them. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake.
Living in other countries has taught us that things just don’t always work like they do in the States, and we should have known that overnight delivery doesn’t always mean overnight delivery. Turns out the gourmet store didn’t even send out our order until Thursday at 2pm! (Roughly the time I was hoping to be EATING!)
So we had to cancel Thanksgiving two nights in a row. When the meat finally arrived Saturday morning, we were both kind of deflated. This only lasted a few minutes and was gone by the time I had finished my first cup of coffee!
I was also super excited to test out our new cazuelas! These are traditional Mexican clay pots that would work beautifully as a tagine, which is a traditional North African clay pot. We found our two cazuelas at a store called Artesanía de la 38, located on Avenida 30 y Calle 38. This store borders a plant shop where we bought some rosemary and thyme plants. BONUS!
We paid 95 pesos ($5.12usd!!!) for each pot. That has to be the steal of the century! I had seen them online for around $35usd each!
So we cooked the tagine dishes in our cazuelas over coals in our bbq for a few hours and HOLY COW. They were both just amazing. There is just something about cooking in an ancient clay pot!
The lamb really was some of the best I had ever had!
We decided we wanted to set up in front of the tv this year so we could watch movies and eat all night long hahaha! So we really went all out! Brought the table in from the patio and broke out those Christmas twinkle lights a bit early! I love how it turned out! We started off watching Addams Family Values, which is the PERFECT Thanksgiving movie, by the way. It may be a new Karlsson tradition!
Now a quick word about dessert! I have to talk about it because I MADE PHYLLO (filo) DOUGH FROM SCRATCH! I didn’t think you could even do that! Sure enough I found a tutorial on YouTube to make Moroccan Warka, which is their version of filo dough and it is used in tons of dishes. Turns out it was really easy! You paint the batter onto a hot pan with a paint brush and that’s it!
I used my warka to make Jamie Oliver’s M’hanncha or Snakey Cakey, as he called it. It is named that because you coil up the pastry and filling (which is just equal parts butter, powdered sugar, and ground almonds mixed with pistachios and rose water but we didn’t find rose water so we used lavender essential oil mmmm) and it looks like a snake! My warka sheets were much smaller than the ones Jamie Oliver got in Morocco, so my coil turned out with a few less layers of the flakey goodness. Aaaaand I couldn’t find powdered sugar at the grocery store (huh?? I looked everywhere! GRR) so I made my own in the blender and well, it was not quite powdery enough. My cake turned out MEGA sweet but it is still really good. It just needs a cup of coffee, so now I am eating it for breakfast!
Of course, the most important part of our meal was being together. We have so much to be thankful for. We live in a beautiful place, we have a big, goofy, healthy dog, and we have each other. It didn’t matter that our Thanksgiving dinner was 2 days late or that we couldn’t be with our whole family or that a few dishes were unsuccessful (don’t get me started on my flatbread! Ugh!). We have a lot of love in our lives that’s for sure and we are so thankful for all the special people we are fortunate enough to call family and friends.
Sarah, Sebastian, y Bruno