Kadjemoula

Remember when you were kid, there were always these toys that looked amazing on the box—like this rock tumbler I used to pine for at Toys R’ Us (yes, I was the kid who pined for a rock tumbler)–and when you got it home and took it out you thought it would be as easy as pie to tumble rocks, only there were all these complicated pieces and dad had to put it together and by the time he did you were bored and you didn’t want to tumble rocks anymore?

Well my new camera isn’t like that. I still love my new camera. My new camera took this picture of Kadjemoula tonight (which I will get to in a moment). As far as food porn goes, I think this is centerfold worthy: (click to enlarge)

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God, I love that picture (even though it’s a little off-center). That picture makes me pat myself on the back and say, “Back–aren’t you glad your front decided to get the camera that you got?” I’m the love child of Annie Lebowitz and James Beard! (The Kadjemoula is a James Beard recipe.)

But back to the rock tumbler for a moment. The frustrated child with new toy syndrome concerns Adobe Photoshop and iPhoto. The last hour was spent formatting the pictures in Photoshop (adjusting levels, colors and contrast) only to have iPhoto not recognize the changes. So I couldn’t post, as I usually do, all the refurbished images to my .mac homepage and so I can’t punctuate this post with pictures like I usually do. I mean, eventually I’ll figure it out. But it was all…going…so…slowly. And at least you got to see my centerfold Kadjemoula pic.

So what is Kadjemoula? It is North African Lamb and Beef Stew. The recipe comes from (come on, come on…can you guess it? I threw it in my bag today? Yes, of course, Amanda Hesser–because paperback cookbooks are easily portable and easily portable is to cookbooks what location is to real estate in my little world) Cooking For Mr. Latte as adapted from The New James Beard by James Andrews Beard.

I like the concept of this recipe. It’s beef and lamb but the spices are cinnamon and ginger and pepper and there’s dried prunes and apricots in it too. What’s that you say? You want to see a picture of the apricots? FINE, FINE…I’LL WASTE VALUABLE TYPEPAD SPACE AND POST THIS PICTURE OF DRIED APRICOTS LIKE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DRIED APRICOTS BEFORE. (Actually, these are dried Turkish apricots so they’re way special. I bought them from Whole Foods.*) (*And can we just talk about, for a second, how long the line was at Whole Foods tonight? IT WAS ENORMOUS. Seriously, it snaked all the way around the store. It was 15 minutes long. It’s madness, I tell you, madness!)

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So all of this goes in a large pot and after browning the meat (which has been coated with flour in a plastic bag) it stews for 2 hours while you make important phonecalls. When time’s getting close you can make cous cous to soak up the juices. I highly recommend this. Do you really need to see the cous cous? You REALLY need to see it? YOU ARE SO PUSHY.

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I really enjoyed this stew. Once again, like with my Beef Bourguignon, the beef wasn’t so flavorful. (The lamb was flavorful, but not the beef). But Amanda never tells you to season the beef, so I can only think I didn’t brown it enough. But Amanda says, “Brown it quickly” so maybe it’s not that. The sauce, though–the broth, rather–makes the not so salty beef forgivable. And how often do you make North African stews? I’d imagine not often. So whip out your Cooking For Mr. Latte and make this sometime. It won’t disappoint. It ain’t no rock tumbler.

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