DON'T TAKE ME TO THE CASBAH

Preserved lemons in the works.

Some fanatics have a sense of humor. Why else would Saudi Arabia's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice ban the sale of red items in February? The idea of making red roses, heart shaped red boxes of chocolate, and red undergarnishements  illegal around celebrating Valentine's Day 
is a joke wasted on me.  I  love life, they love death and they claim that they have already won.  How in blazes red roses and  unmentionables will impede the return of the Caliphate is something around which I cannot wrap my decadent western mind.  For that and other reasons,  I have asked my beshert to resist the temptation to take me to the Casbah, located in North Africa, home of preserved lemons.
Romantic old geezerette that I am, I have no alternative but to have the Casbah to come to me--minus things that go kaboom.  Preserved lemons are very Casbah.  They have nothing to do with Saudi Arabia, of course. Wrong continent.   Think  Moorish Spain.  Think fountains at  Alhambra  bustling souks,  odalisques nibbling  nougat ,  dark eyed men reading Djudeo-Spanish poetry--there was such a thing as the Convivencia back then.   Think Djej Mmeffened--Tunisian whole chicken roasted with eggs.   Think Hannibal's descendants  dining in the shade of  silken tents.  
I search    North African  cookbooks for a recipe and I realize that preserved lemons are very slow food. It takes  weeks for all the flavors to mature. I  settle on easy instructions in a an American magazine that throws tradition straight out the window. In this recipe,  lemon wedges  are packed in kosher salt, drenched with lemon juice baked for three hours. Minutes into the baking, it is no longer winter in Little Macondo.  It is high  summer in Moorish Spain.

If i can tear myself away from Judah Halevi's poems, I will make a a simple chicken recipe that includes green olives cardamom and dried coriander. 

"Oh, how long I wait, till my sweetheart comes back," she said,
"Laying his caressing hand underneath my burning head." 

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