It’s Like Casablanca In Here!

The air permeated with scent of lemon, onion, and spices.  The green olives and the raisins rested in a bowl on the counter.  The meat sizzled and popped over the flame.  Sam sings “As Time Goes By” in the background as Rick meets Ilsa’s eyes. Her husband, the Czechoslovakian resistance fighter  Viktor Lazlo, looks on as the two former lovers reunite.  Could this man, Rick, help them flee the country? What would he, Lazlo, give up in return?  Could he release his beautiful wife to this cynical man?  But look at the way he looks at her, she might be halfway there already.

He moves along the mint green walls festooned with FiestaWare and then along to the white cupboards and Frigidaire. He stops.  Looks around.  This isn’t Rick’s Cafe Americain!  Where’s Ilsa?  Rick?  Sam?  Who’s that little blond girl behind the stove?  What’s she making?  Moroccan Turkey Burgers?  Isn’t turkey for that American holiday?  He gently coughs.  She doesn’t hear him.  He coughs again, getting her attention, and kindly asks that she use her reverie to transport him back to the 1941 world of black and white.   She wakes from her daydreaming, tells him to tell Claude Rains that she loves him in Notorious, and sends him back.

I cannot pull glamorous movie stars of the past into my kitchen (if I could it would be Cary Grant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), but I most certainly can put Moroccan Turkey Burgers on the stove.  This recipe is a nice twist on the standard turkey burger, and it offers a subtle taste of the North African coast. While I cannot serve them with a side of Rick, sweet potato fries are almost as good.

This makes…
this.

Moroccan Turkey Burgers

1 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped

1/4 cup dried currants or raisins

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound ground turkey

lettuce, tomato, 4 Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns

1.  Combine the first 9 ingredients in a bowl.

2.  Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1-inch thick patty.

3.  Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add patties; cook 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.

4.  Arrange lettuce and tomato on roll, add patty, and top with other half of roll.

4 servings.

Recipe comes from Cooking Light: Annual Recipes 2000.  (My favorite cookbook of late.)

Sweet Potato Oven “Fries”

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 large).  I use garnet yams for their color.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

1. Wash potatoes, peel them if you want to.

2. In a large bowl stir together oil, paprika, and cumin.

3.  Cut the potatoes into slices no thicker than 1/2 inch.  Then cut through the slices to make 1/2 inch wide strips.

4.  Toss the potatoes in the oil until well-coated.

5.  Arrange potatoes on lightly oiled baking sheet in a single layer.

6.  Bake for 25-40 minutes.

7.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

Serves six.  This comes from Moosewood Restaurant: Low-Fat Favorites.

I think these two recipes will make for a long and beautiful friendship.

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