Monday, August 1

Ramadan Bliss

Ramadan Kareem,

Today is the first day of Ramadan when every Muslim around the world is obligated to fast from sun up to sun down. Vices such as smoking , gum chewing , and nail biting must also be refrained from. There is also no love making during the fast from sun up to sun down however many babies are born after nine months because it is human nature to jump each other bones once to sun is down ! There should be no gossip and Muslims should try to read the entire Quran during this month. Layat Al Qadir is a special day during the last ten days of Ramadan when Muslims go pray extra prayers all through the night in order to for special prayers to be answered. The month is extremely holy and people generally go to the Masjid and pray night prayers that last a couple of hours usually from 8 p.m. -10 p.m. , there is a great deal of
comradery during the month and special charity called zakat must be paid to the poor by those who can afford it ! In attention to this Ramadan is all about giving up food at the same exact time , so that all Muslims are humbled by hunger and thirst during this holy month. It is the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood that is most significant in Ramadan. Children do not fast until they reach puberty , nor do the ill or elderly ! Pregnant and nursing women should not fast !

I am exhausted I woke up before sunset and cooked the morning meal which was a simple dish of fava beans , bread , and kefir :) We also had a glass of cold iced Chai

Oregon Chai yum yum !

Then I went to Whole Foods to shop for the Moroccan Lentil Soup Harira, which I like to use fresh organic vegetables and spice whenever possible. You can also make the vegan version by not adding meat which is just as delicious and flavorful as the meat version.

The fast is broken with a cup of Cafe O' lait , also pictured below , I use of handheld bodium frother to make the top nice and foamy. I am from the South so I prefer to add a bit of my own tradition to the holiday by using Cafe Du Monde French Roast Coffee and I can very often be caught making beignets during Ramadan as well ! Ramadan can make one real fat if they are not real careful and indulging while allowed is not the true spirit of the month.
Cafe Du Monde ( photo )

The Soup Yum Yum

The Cafe O' Lait

Moroccan Harira

The recipe below will serve 6 to 8 people, and follows the pressure cooker method. To adapt cooking times for traditional simmering in a stockpot, read the Tips at the bottom of the page.

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes


½ lb. uncooked meat (lamb, beef or chicken), chopped into 1/2” pieces
several soup bones (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch cilantro (coriander), finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped to yield about 1/4 cup
1 or 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
1 large onion, grated
1 handful of dry chick peas, soaked and then peeled
1 tablespoon smen (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric or ¼ teaspoon yellow colorant
6 large tomatoes (about 2 lb. or 1 kg), peeled, seeded and pureed
2 to 3 tbsp dry lentils, picked over and washed
3 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed evenly into 1 or 2 cups of water
2 to 3 tablespoons uncooked rice OR uncooked broken vermicelli
1 cup flour

Step 1 - Ahead of Time

Make sure you have all the ingredients. Do the following before you begin cooking the soup.

Soak and skin the chickpeas. (You might want to soak them the night before you cook.)
Pick through the lentils and wash them.
Peel, seed and puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Or, stew the tomatoes and pass them through a food mill to remove the seeds and skin.
Pick the parsley and cilantro leaves from their stems. Small pieces of stem are OK, but discard long, thick pieces with no leaves. Wash the herbs, drain well, and finely chop them by hand or with a food processor.
semble the remaining ingredients and follow the steps below.

Step 2 - Brown the Meat

Put the meat, soup bones and oil into a 6-qt. or larger pressure cooker. Over medium heat, cook the meat for a few minutes, stirring to brown all sides.

Step 3 - Make the Stock

Add the cilantro, parsley, celery, onion, chick peas, tomatoes, smen and spices. Stir in 3 cups of water.

Cover tightly, and heat over high heat until pressure is achieved. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and release the pressure.

Step 4 – Make the Soup

Add the lentils, tomato paste mixture, and 2 quarts (or about 2 liters) of water to the stock.

Set aside (but don’t add yet), either the rice

Last Step

While the soup is cooking, mix together the 1 cup of flour with 2 cups of water. Set the mixture aside, and stir or whisk it occasionally. The flour will eventually blend with the water. If the mixture is not smooth when you're ready to use it, pass it through a sieve to remove balls.

Once the rice (or vermicelli) has cooked, taste the soup for seasoning. Add salt or pepper if desired.

Bring the soup to a full simmer. Slowly — and in a thin stream — pour in the flour mixture. Stir constantly and keep the soup simmering so the flour doesn’t stick to the bottom.

You will notice the soup beginning to thicken when you've used approximately half the flour mixture. How thick to make harira is your own preference. I like to thicken the broth so that it achieves a cream-like consistency.

Simmer the thickened soup, stirring occasionally, for five to ten minutes to cook off the taste of the flour. Remove the soup from the heat.

Serves 6 to 8.

I found a very simple recipe and this the one I often use when I am not winging it with a Moroccan mama's special recipe for her baby boy ! The recipes vary from Moroccan family to Moroccan family and virtually every region of Morocco has a different take on this Ramadan classic. I also serve it with fresh baked Moroccan bread :) which I will be brave and post another day. Now for the evening meal after ifthar (breakfast) , I made a lasanga and a green salad as if more food was really needed ! See y'all tomorrow when I post another great feast from the 30 days of Ramadan :) Bliss Bliss xoxoxo Jen

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