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Moroccan Barbecue Spice Mix

Prep: 15 minutes/ Cooking: 3 to 4 minutes /Yield: about 2/3 cup
Dry toasting whole spice seeds intensifies their flavor and fragrance. You can liberally rub this enticing spice mix over salmon, halibut, pork, chicken or beef before cooking, or add it to sautéed onions with chopped kale, collard greens, or cabbage, sea salt, and black pepper with a little bit of broth, then cover and simmer for a delicious side dish. Thanks go to Chef Bruce Sherrod of Berkeley, CA, for sharing this recipe.

Note: To shell whole cardamom seeds, place 1 tablespoon of whole cardamom pods (they have a beige color) on a cutting board. Rock over them with a heavy-bottomed skillet or chef knife. Pull away and discard the shell fragments, then measure the black seeds. Repeat as needed. To skip this step, buy shelled cardamom seeds in the bulk spice section of natural foods stores.

Note for holiday gift giving: Small gift jars of this spice mix are perfect for holiday gift giving. Tip: Assemble a triple or quadruple batch of the raw spice seeds several weeks or months ahead. Mix well, then toast and grind in batches up to a week before packing in jars and wrapping or shipping.


1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1/4 cup whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole shelled cardamom seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves

1.To toast seeds: Combine spice seeds in a dry, medium-size skillet over moderate heat. Stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour seeds into a shallow bowl to cool.

2. To grind: Finely powder the toasted spices in a spice-dedicated coffee grinder (not the same one you use for coffee) or mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to 6 months (use sooner if possible).

3. To use with fish or meat: Season steaks, chops, fish, beef or pork roast with coarsely ground black pepper and finely ground sea salt; roll the meat in a portionof spice mix and press firmly to coat all over. Sear seasoned fish or meat in a heavy, oven-proof skillet with coconut oil, clarified butter or ghee (2 tablespoons per 11⁄2 to 2 pounds fish or meat) until hot but not smoking. Sear 1 to 2 minutes per side, then finish in a preheated 400 ̊ F oven.

4. Allow the seasoned meat to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, or cover loosely with unbleached parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before cooking. (See Index for Moroccan-Spiced Salmon, Moroccan-Spiced Pork Chops, or Moroccan-Spiced Pork Loin.)

Entire recipe (spices): 186 calories, 33 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 600 mg calcium, 70 mg sodium

1 tablespoon: 19 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 1/2 g fat, 60 mg calcium, 7 mg sodium

© Copyright 2004, Don Matesz & Rachel Albert-Matesz

From The Garden of Eating: A Produce—Dominated Diet & Cookbook (Planetary Press, 2004)

Moroccan Barbecue Sauce

Prep: 15 minutes/Cooking: 20 to 30 minutes/Yield: 2 1/3 cups; 9 servings
This jazzed up ketchup alternative requires very little hands-on prep. Consider making a double batch; it freezes well and tastes delicious with so manay things: salmon, halibut, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, meatballs, meatloaf, or steamed broccoli. Homemade Bone-building Broth or chicken or vegetable stock produce the best flavor, but you can substitute packaged broth from a natural foods store. Note: for convenience because this recipe freezes well.
Holiday prep Tip: Assemble multiple batches up to 2 months ahead, then cool, cover (vacuum seal if possible) and freeze. Shipping: Ship with dry ice. For local gifts, deliver from refrigerator or freezer in a cooler with ice packs.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil

1 cup minced fresh onion

1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce (reduce by one-half or more if using salted broth below)

4 cloves of minced garlic (about 1 to 1 1/3 teaspoons)

1 large or 2 small shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Moroccan Barbecue Spice Mix (Page 000)

1 tablespoon Harissa (available at Indian groceries) or low-sodium hot sauce, or ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (such as ground chipotlé), or to taste

6-ounce can salt-free, sugar-free tomato paste

1 1/4 cups water or homemade chicken or vegetable broth or stock (Page 000, 000, or 000) or preservative-free chicken or vegetable broth, such as Imagine Foods or Pacific Brand

2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar or 3 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon stevia extract powder (a non-caloric herbal sweetener)

1 to 2 tablespoons honey, agavé nectar or sorghum syrup

1. Heat oil and onions in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring periodically. Reduce heat as needed to prevent burning. Add sea salt or tamari, garlic and shallots. Stir for 2 minutes, add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

2. Bring mixture to a low boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer with the lid ajar or cover with a spatter screen. Cook until thick, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring periodically.

3. Pour sauce into one or more wide-mouth glass jars. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Once cool, freeze what you don’t plan to use within 2 weeks.

1/4 cup: 51 calories, 2 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate (1 g fiber), 2 g fat, 13 mg calcium, 116 mg sodium

© Copyright 2004, Don Matesz & Rachel Albert-Matesz

From The Garden of Eating: A Produce—Dominated Diet & Cookbook (Planetary Press, 2004)

Baked Apples with Date-Nut Filling

Prep: 30 minutes/ Cooking: 1 hour/ Yield: 9 servings

You don’t need butter or brown sugar to make irresistible baked apples. This dessert tastes wonderful warm or close to room temperature and the leftovers keep for up to 5 days.

Note: Use eating apples rather than cooking apples because they hold their shape better. Cooking apples usually collapse into an applesauce mess.
1/3 cup packed, dried, sulfite free raisins
1/3 cup packed, dried, pitted dates
1/3 cup unsalted, unsweetened almond or cashew butter
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon pure vanilla or maple extract (preferably non-alcoholic)
1 1/4 teaspoons apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice (do not use allspice!)

9 small to medium size tart-sweet apples (5 to 6 ounces each):
early gold, ginger gold, golden delicious, braeburn, gala, Fuji, pink lady, or Cortland

1/3 cup filtered water

1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Mince dried fruit and combine with remaining filling ingredients. Or, combine filling ingredients in a food processor or Vita-Mix and process until smooth.

2. Wash apples and core twice to create a wide cavity. Remove apple bits from around seeds, then core, mince, and add to filling.Peel upper 1/3 of each apple to keep skins from splitting during cooking, or remove entire peel.

3. Fill apples, mounding extra filling on top. Stand apples in a 9-inch square or oblong baking pan. Add water to pan. Tightly cover pan with parchment then aluminum foil, or a tight-fitting lid. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until fork tender but not mushy.

4. Simmer the pan juices in a saucepan to reduce to 1/4 cup, then spoon over apples. Serve warm or close to room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 5 days.

1 serving: 195 calories, 3 protein, 35 g carbohydrate (7 g fiber), 6 fat, 62 mg calcium, 2 sodium


* Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled, finely grated fresh gingerroot or 1/3 teaspoon dried ginger plus 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves for apple pie spice.

* Slow Cooker: Place stuffed apples in a 3 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker with 1/3 cup water. Cover and cook on LOW 3 to 4 hours, until fork tender. Transfer apples to serving bowls. Cook juices on HIGH to reduce to 1/4 cup. Spoon over apples and serve.

© Copyright 2004, Don Matesz & Rachel Albert-Matesz

From The Garden of Eating: A Produce—Dominated Diet & Cookbook (Planetary Press, 2004)



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