I believe the old saying is, “When life hands you lemons…preserve them by putting them in a sealed, sterilized jar with salt and more lemon juice for three weeks.” No? Well it should be.
Some years ago when my best friend was suspended from college for a semester, she took her “lemon” and went to Morocco to study Arabic for 3 months. There she learned that preserving lemons is a technique used in a majority of Moroccan dishes, camels are not friendly, and the tagine (pronounced Ta-Zheen) is the only way to cook. Like a Moroccan frying pan with a lid, a tagine slow cooks your meat and veggies for a tender, aromatic dish. She ate out of one with her host family everynight. The language barrier was often so strong that sometimes the only thing they had in common was the delicious food before them. On her return, her souvenir laden luggage wouldn’t allow her to bring back her own tagine. However, she recently found one for $3 at a local yard sale and on no particular Monday in May, put it to good use. She piled potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas on top of some all natural beef and threw it in the tagine. All garnished with some dried apricots and what kale we had left. That’s it! An hour and a half later, Voila! The result had the neighbors sniffing the air curiously. To top it off, some traditional flat bread and a side of beet yogurt. We ate and laughed as she shared stories of Morocco and all that she had learned. Following the meal, she rose with a disconcerting grin on her face and said, “Time to clean up the kitchen. Tagine Regime unite!” JB