I am happy to report that after what seemed like a very long, hot summer, I am sleeping under a blanket once again, enjoying the feel of my cold nose peeking out above the covers. After all, it gets down to 72/73F in my bedroom at night—chilly! But apparently the real cold is yet to come; yesterday the neighbors were admonishing me that we need to hurry and buy a heater, because the temperature will start dropping fast and before I know it, there will be rain and even snow. Life in non-insulated buildings with drafty windows can become very difficult in winter for those of us who are most sensitive to the cold.
One way of dealing with this? Spend a lot of time in the kitchen, preferably concocting things full of spices and butter and meltingly soft vegetables. Today I wandered around the market gathering things that may not be at the height of their growth season right now, but are definitely appropriate according to my internal sense of what to be eating in autumn. This evening, as Maghrib (sundown) happened just before 6:00 p.m., I was at the stove putting together one of my favorite fall dishes, a Moroccan-style vegetable tagine. (I have no idea where I got this recipe…I found it somewhere on the internet three or four years ago. My apologies to its creator.) It is fragrant and sweet and savory and full of nutrition and makes me feel like I have a warm blanket of happiness wrapped around my internal organs.
MOROCCAN VEGETABLE TAGINE
(makes 4 large servings or 6 small)
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp. turmeric
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 c. water
- 1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 14 oz. cooked chickpeas
- 2 tsp. harissa (I used 1 ½ tsp. Sriracha instead)
- ¾ c. raisins, dried cherries or dried chopped dates
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- Salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat oil and add the onions. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes or until aromatic.
Add the carrots and water, stir well, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin/squash, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, harissa, raisins, and honey; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with couscous.