Cold, damp weather often makes one long for something warm and comforting to eat. Since finishing The Fourth Queen last week, a partially-based-on-real-historical-events novel about a Scottish lass who is abducted by pirates and sold in the harem of the Emperor of Morocco, I have been badly craving some sort of lamb-and-couscous concoction, laced with cinnamon and some sort of dried fruit.
I found just such a recipe in a cookbook I already own, Claudia Rodin's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I lusted after, then asked for (and received) this book as a Christmas gift in 2007. I've yet to cook from it, which is sad, true, but not too surprising, given the massive heft of my cookbook collection. Just look at this book, though. Isn't it so very pretty? Really, have you seen a prettier cookbook? I didn't think so.
The recipe in question also calls for caramelized onions and raisins, which I have in my pantry, of course, along with couscous, which I restocked last week. And I happened to have a package of lamb stew meat in my freezer. Oh, happy day! I can't wait until Saturday!
Of course, my lamb-and-couscous yearnings (and my reading of The Fourth Queen) were inspired by dreams of traveling to Spain and Morocco next spring. Those plans have been derailed by the need to go to Hawaii for a wedding next January. Since we're flying there anyway, we figured we had better make that our main 2010 vacation. Plane tickets are cheap (free for J with his Alaska Air miles, just over $400 for me), and we'll be spending only a few days on more-expensive Maui (the wedding location) before hopping a puddle jumper to Kauai. We're planning to rent a small cottage (inexpensive but really cute!) with a full kitchen and a gas barbecue, since it's cheaper and healthier to not rely on restaurant meals for 2 weeks.
I can't say Hawaii is my first choice of vacation destinations (which is why I've never been), but it will be warm, there will be sun, and I'm sure it will all be just lovely.
Wednesday, March 18
Morning workout: "Beautiful Technique" DVD (flow practice + choreography)
Breakfast: 2 espressos (one with 1% milk); leftover steel-cut oatmeal with pecans, almonds, dates, raisins and coconut; 1/2 c. fresh pineapple; 16 oz. water.
Snack: Apple; 10 almonds; 16 oz. water.
Noon workout: "Next level" DVD (warm up + hip layering drills); "Baladi" DVD (Baladi 1 maqsoum drills).
Lunch: Mixed green salad w/ oil & vinegar, 5 oz. turkey breast, 4 oz. red pepper, 3 oz. cucumber, 1 oz. walnuts; sparkling water; green tea.
Snack: Large carrot; handful of pea pods; Wasa cracker + one LF Laughing Cow cheese wedge; 16 oz. water.
Post-work workout: Drum DVD (rhythm practice: malfouf, ayoub, masmoudi, baladi); "Killer Ziller" DVD (drills section); weight lifting ("Body Fat Solution" workout A); 2.2-mile walk (with some hills).
Dinner: Mixed green salad w/ oil & vinegar, 2 oz. red pepper, 3 oz. cucumber, 2 tbs. feta cheese, 4 falafel balls (from Costco); rest of leftover black bean enchiladas (about 1/3 portion); 16 oz. water.
Snack: Espresso shot; orange.