Sizzling Skillets & Other One Pot Wonders, by Emeril Lagasse
1 1/2 ounces spiced rum
1 ounce pear juice or nectar
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
Clove nutmeg- preferable fresh grated
Kevin and I were in Las Vegas earlier this year and spent quite a bit of time lounging around Lagasse Stadium, Emeril's sports bar in the Venetian. I am not a gambler and do not part easily with my money, but I do love a good horse race. I had not yet placed a single bet during our trip (really!), but the moment I saw "Kalahari Queen" among the list of horses, I had to dip into the cash stash-- and bolted down the stairs to the window. Got the bet in just under the wire... and The Queen didn't let us down. My one and only bet in Vegas was a winner. Needless to say, I picked up the tab. Ever since, I have wanted to develop a cocktail called the Kalahari Queen. This has not officially come to fruition, but some semblance of a recipe has been formed... (Where is Our Lady of Libations, Chris Delhavi, when I need her?)
In cocktail shaker filled with ice, add rum, pear juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for about 6 seconds, then strain into cocktail glass. Top with a dash of bitters and a few gratings (or dash) nutmeg
When perusing Sizzling Skillets & Other One-Pot Wonders, I envisioned the Kalahari Queen pairing well with Emeril's Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Tagine because of it's warm North African flavors. This was the second recipe collaborated upon with Catherine Murray of Photo Kitchen, and all the lovely pictures once again come from her. I chose this recipe both because it (and she) is vegetarian and because I wanted to see how she brings all the orangey-golden colors to life in the clay tagine. Check out Catherine's blog (Freshly Baked by Photo Kitchen) to see more mouthwatering shots of this recipe.
Unlike traditional North African tagine stews (which often consist of meat and vegetables) this recipe called for butternut squash, carrots, onions, peppers (which I forgot) and of course, chick peas. The combination of aromatic spices and a touch of saffron made this a most fragrant dish. It just occurred to me that I never thought to use saffron in tagine recipes, but am now a fan! (Thanks to Ariana for the giant load of Spanish saffron direct from Bhutan). Another interesting twist was the addition of dried fruits, which one might expect in Moroccan cuisine, but this combined with the spice & herbs created a truly unique flavor profile. Bummer: golden raisins were nowhere to be found in our grocery store, so we made due with dark raisins, which no doubt lent a different flavor (and look) to the final dish-- but their dark color gave the photos a little more visual interest.
We were giggling that the beautiful squash, when cut in half, looked like a chiminea------->
The butternut squash, of which I am not generally a fan, absorbed the warm flavor of the spices and stock. No one ingredient overpowered another. I highly recommend trying this recipe- even if you are not a fan of b-squash- because there was, by no means, that typical "butternut squash overkill" one finds in soup or risotto (not my fav).
If anything, this was a chick pea heavy recipe, and we were both OK with that! In order to keep this dish purely vegetarian, I replaced the chicken stock with vegetable stock. No complaints! We let the tagine work its magic while Catherine photographed the English Cottage Pie. Once we returned to the kitchen, the fragrant dish was cooked down into a medley of orange deliciousness. When paired with cous cous (which was cooked separately in water) and brightened with a splash of lemon, made an extremely filling dish with a lot of leftovers, shared with Catherine and a few other friends. Next time, I plan to cook the cous cous in vegetable stock (or even directly in the tagine) and will get my hands on golden raisins. Curious as to how that one little omission changed the dish... keep you posted.