I love the parties and fresh starts and resolutions brought by a new year’s dawn. For 2018, God laid this scripture on my heart and led to scribblings on a fresh new journal page:
My daughter brought another new thing into my 2018, this one clay, strangely shaped, and lead-heavy. She’d haggled over it in a Moroccan market and lugged it around that country, to Spain, and then as a carry-on for the trip back home. If that’s not sacrificial love, what is?
Meet tagine, an “earthenware pot” used by some in Africa and the Middle East to slow-cook dishes (Wikipedia.com). Think tender, moist meat, firm, flavorful veggies, and an array of spices that run the gamut from basic cinnamon sticks to the exotic Ras el hanout, from an Arabic word meaning “top of the shop” and “typically would include cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric) www.ehow.co.uk/list_7402700?spices-moroccan-tagine_.html).
You think it’s a stretch for a new cooking pot to symbolize 2018?
I first heard about tagines at the Normal, Illinois, go-to place for foodie/cooks, the Garlic Press, but the prep work and the price kept me from biting.
Again, my daughter displayed active love and seasoned the pot, step by step (https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-season-a-tagine-2394972). All I had to do, after getting it home in one piece, was wipe it off with a damp cloth….
…and learn to cook in it.
My first attempt, a basic chicken with onions, Moroccan spices, and green beans, was ok but left no tantalizing tingle on my tongue nor inspiration for me to keep the recipe. A Google search revealed that I had not:
1. added liquid to the pot (Bad recipe. Don’t just discard, rip to shreds.)
2. put the tagine in a cold oven, then turned it on. (I was lucky it didn’t crack.)
3. allowed enough time for the flavors to meld and for the steam trapped in the funny flue to tenderize either the chicken or the veggies.
4. incorporated the use of dried fruits and/or nuts, big-time enhancers of Moroccan dishes.
A slide back into the oven (yes, you have to remove your racks) produced a very good dish.
Still nothing to write Angie Reedy (or other foodie friends) about.
A deeper Google search was called for. I must devote time putting action behind the whim, caprice…the symbolic statement written on the first page of a new journal.
Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds, a dish developed by Balia Lafridi and sampled by Maggie Ruggiero “on a recent visit to Marrakech,” is now my goal within the goal, because even minor resolutions have subparts that involve a conscious action, some, every minute; others, every day, week, or month (https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-tagine-with-apricots-and-almonds-234649).
Whether your 2018 resolution involves winning souls for Christ, losing 50 pounds, or incorporating a tagine into your cooking regimen, may you meet the task with persistence, gusto, hope, faith, belief, and a laugh or two. And get past those failures. They happen.