My Love Affair with Morocco:
I’ve dreamed of visiting Morocco for as long as I can remember. The first time I stepped into a Moroccan rug shop here in LA, I was captivated by the vibrant colors, the intricate designs, and exotic patterns. I’ve always wanted to explore the country’s endless flea markets and taste its rich, exotic cuisine. Inspired by my dream destination, I decided to create a Moroccan oasis in my very own backyard.
To glam up the picnic, I rented an authentic Moroccan wedding blanket, which was hand-woven from sheep’s wool, linen, and cotton, and decked in sequins. Moroccan-style lanterns were arranged around the table, creating a warm, welcoming glow after dark.
I added comfy pillows and throws into the mix for guests to lounge and relax, Moroccan-style.My friend Holly Flora created luscious bouquets made of orange dahlias, crimson ranunculus, olive branches, and fuchsia garden roses, which brought the tables alive in color.Brass goblets were placed between colored glasses and chinaware to create a dynamic, eclectic look. We even incorporated fresh grapes and apricots within the floral arrangements to create an organic and exotic look that matched with the menu. Along with hand-knitted napkins with pretty fringed hems completed our table setting.
The picnic menu comprised of seasonal takes on Moroccan classics. The spices, colors, and mix of veggies and dried fruit —it was a feast for the senses!
A sumptuous assortment of house made dips and spreads were served at the beginning of our meal. Spiced carrot hummus, a beet and feta spread, and classic hummus were paired perfectly with freshly baked crudités and pita chips.
Other Moroccan spices like saffron, cinnamon, turmeric, and thyme were generously sprinkled throughout each dish, filling the space with wonderful aromas.
You can’t have Moroccan food without having tagine on the menu. Tagine is a traditional stew named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Our dish was served as a family-style main, made with juicy chicken and flavored with lemon, olives, saffron, and turmeric.
Another standout dish was the rice pilaf made with dill and currants, served with drizzles of yoghurt dressing. Perfect for soaking up all those yummy sauces!
Healthy side dishes like roasted purple cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli tasted great and looked beautiful on the table. Pine nuts tossed with mint, together with roasted chickpeas gave a nice contrast of texture and taste.