Sunday, April 3, 2011
Red Tassels & Sweet Carrots
“Paradise runs under the feet of mothers” – An Arabic saying from the Koran
Morocco hosting the latest space for transformation, cultivation of new awareness, and a feast of the senses. Assisting this Culinary tour again, for the second time in the past 6 months. The Marrakech air blanketed me like a warm duvet as I departed my flight and walked along the familiar tar mat. Going from a beach hut with bucket showers in South India, to a 5 star Moroccan Riad in an oasis outside of Marrakech in just a matter of days. Jnane Tamsna has been a home to PM Culinary Adventures for the past 10 years. Saffron yellow walls dotted with traditional sacred-style of keyhole doorways, hand woven Berber rugs sached through hallways lined with tea lights, and sugar-like spring carrots laced with preserved lemons in my chicken tagine. A truly special place that authentically speaks the language of Morocco.
The traditional architecture of Morocco has lured such an intense curiosity in me, more than any other country. Dars and Riads are scattered throughout the tiny streets within the walls of the old city-The Medina. From the outside, Marrakesh life captivates you in it's controlled chaos in an instant. Parting the clouds of motorbike exhaust and aromatic street food smoke, as you wind through narrow streets framed by dusty blush colored walls. A Riad (translated as; Paradise Gardens) is a traditional Moorish house in Morocco. A home that is sectioned off into 4 interior gardens within the Riad walls, with rooms opening up to the center. Plants such as Hydrangea's and Plumerias are capable of growing within the security of Riad walls, and a fountain or water feature pierces the middle like a strategically placed sun dial. It's that Magical contrast of being in a whirlwind of chaos and then instantly in a serene Paradise Garden, that to me, is the enticing beauty of Morocco.
5-6 small organic or meyer lemons
Sea Salt (about 3-4 T per lemon)
Cut the lemons from top to bottom in quarters, but not all the way through. Basically a cross, all the way down, but still attached. Stuff each quadrant with approximately 1 Tablespoon of Salt.
Put 5-6 lemons (however many will fit) into a glass jar and seal the jar tightly.
Leave lemons on the kitchen counter for 3 weeks. Turn them upside down, then right side up every day.
Can keep for up to 1 year in the pantry or refrigerator.
Avoid using metal to scoop the lemons out of the jar.
I must say though, that regardless of how easy it is to get lost with yourself in a place like Morocco, I am still being haunted by the "what's next??" part of my life. Closing the chapters of India, and soon on Morocco, I feel a weight in my chest of anticipation and unknown.... I fell upon this quote that I had tucked away from my India journey. Reading it's words over a cup of mint tea, I chose to let go yet again, an to succumb deeper and deeper into the spell cast upon me by the city of Marrakech...
"Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer." -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet