It surprised me when Glenn picked Morocco for our first "dinnertime country" because I remember him telling me that of all the countries he has visited in his world travels, Morocco was his least favorite. Maybe he was just in an exotic mood the other day when he suggested it.
To complete my nervousness about preparing a lot of new foods and recipes, we are having dinner guests tonight. Thankfully, they are great friends and will still love us even if the food is horrible. (I have a feeling that it will be pretty good though . . . just a hunch.)
The main dish on the menu is a pork kebab. Now, WAIT! Before you get in a huff about pork in a Moroccan dinner, let me tell you about how expensive lamb is. It is VERY expensive. And I am tired of chicken. And I didn't know what kind of beef to get. So we are having pork. If our friends coming over tonight were Muslim, I certainly would have not considered serving pork to them. I would have sucked it up and shelled out the bucks for some nice lamb.
For those of you who took geography at public school like me, I wasn't exactly sure of the whereabouts of Morocco. Thank goodness for the internets. The main religion in Morocco is Islam (something I should have realized before I went grocery shopping ;) and the country is situated in the northern part of AFRICA, very close to SPAIN, which is in EUROPE. It almost looks like the two countries are about to kiss. It's just adorable. Tonight we will make a super big deal to our kids about the location of Morocco on our globe so they will never be embarrassed when a random late night talk show host approaches them for a quick "man-on-the-street" geography pop quiz.
The kebab meat is marinating in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, lots of pepper, salt, coriander, cumin, garlic and fresh mint. On the side we will have a chickpea-tomato salad with parsley, onion and more lemon juice and fresh-baked authentic Moroccan bread. Erma is bringing her green beans and I have to tell you, her green beans go with anything. They are magical. And then for dessert we have Ghirardelli brownies . . . obviously not Moroccan, but I was at Costco yesterday and our friend Dave always swears he won't come back if I don't give him chocolate. I understand that fresh fruit is a common sweet ending to Moroccan meals, so we will throw some grapes, strawberries and clementines on the platter for good measure.
(I do feel just a little bit bad that I'm making homemade bread since Glenn is on a low-carb kick these days, but this will be a good willpower test for him. It's rising now and looks soooo gooood.)
Wow. That meal made the Top 5 Best Meals of My Life List. The flavor combinations were incredible. Our guests raved; one of my kids loved it. The other one took a lick of the pork and then refused to eat it after he got a big wad of mint on the tip of his tongue. (Mint is green. He doesn't eat anything green.) My husband told me it was "excellent" and you can quote him on that.