The Normans in North America!

Still Living the Adventure

Even to another continent? June 28, 2010

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 9:05 AM

Before my parents visited, they asked me what I was missing from America. Aside from the usual things (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate chips, Wheat Thins), I had really been missing a refreshing lime-margarita. Lime products aren’t around here in north Africa for some reason. Look what they brought!!!

So, much to my surprise, they actually brought a bottle of pre-mixed margaritas! I had to laugh when I saw the sticker on the bottle…

Something tells me the people at Jose Cuervo weren’t thinking "Africa" when they put that sticker on the bottle.


Potato Salad June 25, 2010

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 12:40 PM

I have one thing to say about this: recipes for potato salad should come with a warning — "You ran the Marine Corps Marathon is less time than it will take you to make this potato salad. Prepare yourself for a marathon in the kitchen."

Though it did take forever to make, it turned out great and has been a wonderful reminder of summers at home (I used my mom’s recipe).

Check it out — it doesn’t even look that impressive! How can this take so long?


Chicken! April 15, 2010

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 9:20 AM

It’s been a while since I posted about food, mostly because I haven’t been too adventurous in the kitchen recently.  I had been wanting to roast a chicken for a while, but never seemed to make it happen.  I finally got impatient and cooked one up on a Monday evening.  The results were pretty good, and it’s hard to find a better bargain than a $4 chicken that provides at least 4 meals including leftovers.

Here’s our bird.  We had our housekeeper buy the chicken at the local market, where they butcher and clean them for you.  That way it’s fresh!

Ready for carving! I think I should have left in a bit longer to get the skin nice and crispy.

Quite a feast for a Monday night. My favorite part was actually the pan gravy. Delicious!


Learning to Cook Moroccan January 26, 2010

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 12:52 PM

Since we’re 3 posts away from the most recent food entry, I figured it was time.

We haven’t cooked many Moroccan dishes ourselves yet, though we’ve watched our house helper make a variety of meals over the past few months.  Last week we asked her to cook Seffa, a dish we hadn’t tried but was recommended to us by almost everyone here.  When she finished, she explained to us how you arrange the noodles and put crushed almonds, powdered sugar, and cinnamon overtop.  We were excited until we realized that the customary chicken or lamb that goes inside the noodle mound was suspiciously missing.  So we delayed our Seffa experience until we could do some research.

Armed by Google, we found a number of good Seffa recipes and discovered that Najet had done the hard work of making the noodles (takes over an hour and lots of attention to them).  We decided to go for it and made some chicken to go inside.  Here’s what it looked like when we were done.  It was delicious!

There's a chicken surprise under those noodles topped with almonds, cinnamon, and powdered sugar...


Christmas food! December 25, 2009

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 12:27 PM

Alas, this will be another post devoted mostly to food, but it’s worth it!  Being away from our families means that we have to make the traditional Christmas food ourselves.  The two biggies to get right are Baked Potato Soup (Norman tradition) and Monkey Bread (Stewart Tradition).  I’m happy to report that both turned out exceptionally well.

We spent Christmas Eve morning in the kitchen together.  The first task was frying up the bacon, which we purchased HERE from a French butcher.  Then on to scooping out potato guts, shredding Mimolette cheese, and chopping green onions.  After that, you just have to stir a pot for a couple hours and you’ve got a dynamite soup!  It was a huge hit yesterday at the Christmas Eve dinner organized by some of our friends from school.  Luckily, we still have some left over.

This morning (Christmas), Keely got to work on the Monkey Bread.  Thankfully, we were able to use a friend’s breadmaker to prepare the dough.  It was quite a mess with melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, flour, and bread dough everywhere — but it was WORTH IT.  What a delicious Christmas morning treat!

Any day that starts like this is going to be a good one! The smell of bacon is a rare one in our neck of the woods!

Gathering materials for Potato Soup -- notice the mountain of potato guts in the bowl on the table. Also note the pile of green onions...

Keely is hard at work with the soup. It's quite a workout to stir continuously for 2 hours! We tag-teamed it 🙂

The gathering for Christmas Eve dinner. We had lots of fun and ate some delicious food. We invited our friend Elisabeth from our language class and she came! She's just to the right of Keely.

We made a breakfast casserole since we had a little extra bacon. Scrumptious!

Keely's magnificient Monkey Bread. I like this tradition... 🙂


Cookies! December 21, 2009

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 2:32 PM

We took advantage of our short trip to the USA in November by bringing back some brown sugar.   This is my first attempt at chocolate chip cookies.  I’m sad to say I forgot the 1/4 tsp of salt, but they still tasted good.  We’ll try again sometime soon.

I realize this is slowly turning into a food blog, which is not my intention.  I’ll do my best to change in the next few weeks.

Doing the mixin' and tasting the dough along the way, just to make sure it's ok.

They're getting there. Sorry this picture is a bit hard to decipher. Our oven door is very reflective...

Yum! It's a slow process when you only have one cookie sheet (and that's really a "pizza" sheet).


Popcorn! December 13, 2009

Filed under: Food — kgnorman @ 9:01 AM

This is my new favorite snack.  You may not think it very novel, but it’s not like we can go choose from 10 varieties of Orville Redenbacher’s microwave popcorn.  Thus we’re popping it old school, on the stove, and it actually tastes GREAT!  Couple that with the ridiculously low price of corn kernels, and we’ve got a dynamite snack.

Here’s our recipe if you want to try it at home:

Use 1/2 the amount of vegetable oil as you use corn kernels (we’ve been told this is a little heavy on the oil, but it sure tastes good).

Put the oil in the pot over medium-high heat.  Add the corn and cover — this is important unless you want popcorn all over the kitchen.  I usually add some salt at this point as well.  When you start to hear popping, lift the pot and shake it a bit to move the kernels around the bottom of the pan.  Repeat this every 30 seconds or so as you hear more popping.  When the popping dies down a bit, you’re done!  I usually add more salt after it’s done popping.  Some add butter — yum!

Seriously — try it at home!  You’ll have a blast, we promise.

Here’s our proof —

Getting ready to add the corn! Just look at how much fun she's having!

And voila -- perfect popcorn without the microwave! I love it!