The Seasoned Traveler

Recipes and remedies using herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients from the world's pantry


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Lamb and Apricot Tagine

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My hand-painted tagine has been a decorative piece in our dining room but has never served as a cooking vessel as it was meant to do — until tonight. Finally I seasoned it, invested in a little diffuser to use on a flame-top stove, and improvised on a recipe from the Bon Appétit archives. We all loved how aromatic and sweetly spiced (but not spicy!) the sauce was, infused with apricots, ginger, and a ras-el-hanout blend (coriander, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric, among other spices). The lamb, after 2 hours of slow simmering, was spoon-tender and luscious. I used leg of lamb, but lamb shoulder or even beef would also work great in this recipe; and although the funnel-shaped tagine helps keep the moisture circulating inside, you could easily cook this in a Dutch oven or other pot and just increase the amount of broth for the sauce. I served the sauce over couscous with raisins and some toasted pine nuts to give it some crunchy texture. This Moroccan-inspired dish is perfect for a cold winter evening with family or a small gathering of friends. Enjoy!

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Stirring Lessons: How to Make Caramel Custard, Parts II & III

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“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

Some days I wish Julia Child were with me in the kitchen. By nature, I am the kind who studies a problem from all sides, reads up, prepares. And when nothing goes according to plan, my despair and doubt come flooding in. What made Julia Child so admirable and endearing is not simply a je-ne-sais-quoi attitude, but rather a defiant “je-ne-sais-quoi-but-I-sure-as-hell-can-handle-whatever-comes-my-way” kind of take on life. It’s an attitude I can only aspire to, both in the kitchen and in life. Continue reading


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Stirring Lessons: How to Make Caramel Custard, Part I

IMG_5779I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
― Thomas A. Edison

I had forgotten how temperamental caramel can be. And eggs. Perhaps I should call this “How Not to End Up with a Hardened Sugar Lump and Scrambled Egg.” Continue reading


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Lemon, Saffron & Paprika Roasted Chicken Thighs

IMG_5606I love that this recipe achieves juicy, flavorful chicken and a nicely crisped skin, and can be made in one all-purpose pan. Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is also the most exquisite, and is known in Persian culture to lift one’s spirit and treat depression. Here, combined with zingy lemon and paprika, it makes one happy dish. Continue reading