Tag Archives: Casablanca

Casablanca and Moroccan Beef with Cous Cous

28 Jul

I’ve said before that Casablanca is my absolute favorite movie.  Well, my friend Jen had never seen it (I know, gasp, the horror).  So a few weeks ago I decided I was going to force her to watch it and also make a Moroccan meal to go with the movie.  So instead of looking one up online, I turned to the family.  My cousin Mike (uncle to miss adorable below) is a trained chef, even if that isn’t what he’s doing for a living right now.  So I asked him to send me something to go with my movie watching and he sent me this Moroccan Beef with Cous Cous recipe.

First though, I went to see this little girl earlier in the day, had to get in some snuggles.  My mom is holding her here, I love this pose though, we call it Thinking Girl.  Look at those LONG legs!


Here is the recipe from Mike with some pictures from me.

Moroccan Beef Cous Cous (yields 4)

  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin (or chuck) – 1 inch cubes
  • 1 spanish onion – chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 3-4 white or gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 large carrots – peeled and cubed
  • handful of fresh chopped parsley and cilantro
  • handful of red or green olives (optional)
  • handful of garbonzo beans (optional)
  • 1/2 or 1 whole preserved lemon (or grated lemon peel)
  • 3 cups of beef stock
  • Morrocan cous cous (or Israeli if you can’t find it)
  • Chicken stock


Pat beef dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and saffron (reserve some of spices for vegetables).  Add olive oil to large pot and brown the meat on all sides (in batches if needed) on medium-high heat. Remove from pot.


Reduce heat and add a little more olive oil and sweat onions, garlic, and carrots until soft. Add remainder of spices and stir.


Add beef back into pot and add 3 cups of beef stock and cover. Simmer the meat and veggies for about 1 1/2 hours or until beef is fork tender.

IMG_0752 IMG_0754

Add the potatoes, beans, olives and preserved lemon (or peel), adding broth/water if necessary. Partially cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is reduced until thick (add corn starch slurry to thicken if liquid is being reduced too much).


Add some chopped parsley and cilantro. Season the stew with more spices and salt and pepper if necessary.

During the last part of cooking, follow instructions on cous cous package. Once it is light and fluffy, add cous cous to bowls. Spoon stew over cous cous and garnish with more parsley and cilantro and serve.


A note from Mike:  This is a staple of Moroccan cuisine and is usually cooked in a tagine. Since most people do not own a tagine (myself included), a stock pot will suffice just fine. This is tasty on cool night and while watching Casablanca!

So I cooked this up and we watched Casablanca.  I’ve seen it like 3 dozen times so my opinion doesn’t count.  Jen’s thoughts on it though had to do with the fashion (she loved it), and the drama (a little over the top for her at moments).  I hadn’t seen it in a while, but it was as good as I remembered of course.  Rick’s speech at the end alone is enough to watch this movie, it has more great statements than almost any other movie.  If you’ve still not see it, please go rent it.  It’s only about 1.5 hours long, so it won’t exactly take up a bunch of your time.  And make this dish, it’s actually really easy and it tastes really good.

My Favorite Movies

23 May

So I just got home from spin class.  I love those classes.  Seriously, like 725 calories in 60 minutes of spin and about 15 minutes of stretching.  I’m trying to increase my flexibility, my goal is to be able to do a split (or at least come close) by the end of summer.  So, I spend about 15 minutes doing some serious stretching a day lately.  Some trainer once told me that flexibility helps increase your strength potential.

Anyway, on to my post for the day!

I love movies, if I could go back in time and talk to my 18 year old self, I’d say move to LA and go to film school, just give it a shot because after you’ve started working and making some money you won’t want to take the risk.  So if anyone invents a time machine, please let me know.  I’ve written one movie script so awful that I actually deleted it after working on it for a few months.  I mean, I was so embarrassed by how bad it was that I couldn’t handle ever reading it again.

So I settle for watching movies, the good, the bad and the mediocre.  I have tried to see the traditionally popular movies, the AFI top 100 especially.  I’ve worked through most of it, I’ll have to go see what movies I have yet to watch.  One that is typically at the top of all movie lists is absent from mine, Citizen Kane.  I’ve seen it, it’s good, I now know what Rosebud is.  If you haven’t seen it, you should, just for your own education.  It’s epic and it was the first movie that was not told strictly chronologically.  Meaning that you knew the end as the movie started and it was mostly told in flashbacks.  It was interesting, but it was also a bit on the drawn out side for me.

Anyway,  something that I tell my mom and friends all the time that people should be able to immediately name their top 5 movies, it tells you a lot about a person 🙂  Here are mine…


Casablanca – Deep down I’m a romantic and have an old soul (or I’m pretentious as this is a lot of people’s top movie, but that’s not true in this case).


Godfather – What can I say, my Italian roots are showing with this one (or I just like to watch movies with TONS of great actors and lots of action).


Caddyshack – I like to throw this one on so people don’t think that I take myself too seriously despite the serious movies on this list (and it’s fun to watch some great comedians all together).

North by Northwest (1959) Poster

North by Northwest – Cary Grant and a thriller.  Enough said.

V for Vendetta (2005) Poster

V for Vendetta – This is my rebellious side showing.  I like to think that in a futuristic dictatorship that I’d be part of the movement to overthrow a crazy regime.  I just love stick to the man movies for some reason.

And I may as well throw in 6th and 7th bonus movies that I really liked… Inception, it almost knocked V for Vendetta off the list.  Leo’s performance is fantastic and it is one of the most original movies I’ve seen in years!  The other is Meet me in St. Louis.  I love musicals and old movies, this combines both.  This is awesome because it has Judy Garland before the drugs really got to her and her rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas makes me cry every time.

I’ll also state for the record that anything above 3 sometimes move off and on the top 5 list depending on my mood.  But for the last decade 1 and 2 have remained the same, it would take something pretty special to bump them from the list.

I’ll review each in turn, it will give me an excuse to watch each of them.  I also have that list of movies that I watch over and over and over again because they are easy and fun to watch, but because I create my list from a cinematic standpoint, they don’t make the official list.  Dazed and Confused, The Holiday, Love Actually, Super Troopers and Beerfest just to name a few.

So, what are your top 5 movies??  Tell me and I’ll psychoanalyze you 🙂

%d bloggers like this: