There are very few man-made structures that come to symbolize a city or country. The Statue of Liberty, the Sphynx, and the Eiffel Tower all invoke images of the countries where they reside. We have yet to visit Egypt, but we have gone to the Statue of Liberty in New York as well as gone to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Not surprisingly, you can find replicas of all of these in Las Vegas, but clearly that isn’t the same thing as seeing the real thing. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time almost a decade ago is definitely one of our favorite travel moments. There is something special about the Eiffel Tower, whether it is its raw architecture with the exposed beams or its graceful curvature as it reaches skyward. Clearly it is the most photographed landmark in Paris and every souvenir vendor has miniature replicas galore. We have seen it in autumn with brightly colored trees in the foreground, at night from the Seine, as well as on a cold, wet, winter day. The time of year doesn’t seem to matter, when you see the Eiffel Tower you get a sense that you looking more at a symbol of the French people than a tower constructed to be the entrance of the world fair in 1889. For this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, Structure, we have chosen a variety of photos that we have taken of the Eiffel Tower.
There was so much spectacular scenery as we drove around the southern and western parts of Iceland. As we drove along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, we really enjoyed seeing the black beaches, which are basically lava flows that extend into the ocean. The peninsula is often referred to as “Iceland in miniature” because it has everything from beaches, volcanos, glaciers, and an abundance of wildlife. Seeing the beauty of the beaches is a reminder as to the forces of nature and how these forces continuously interact with one another. For this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Colors that Start with the Letter B, we are sharing a few of the photos that we took of those amazing black beaches and lava flows in Iceland.
One of our favorite memories of our trip to Morocco was having lunch at a small, family-owned restaurant where they cooked us chicken in a tajine. Tajines themselves are quite beautiful, but they are also functional for cooking one pot meals. We bought a tajine while we were in Morocco, but it was too small to actually cook a dinner so we recently bought a full-size tajine. As we continue to try to replicate meals that we have had during our various travels, we decided to cook a Moroccan chicken dinner. There were some fairly unique ingredients in the recipe that we decided to use and modify, but we were actually surprised that we were able to find them in our local grocery store. Typical of Moroccan food, it was both sweet and spicy and it could easily be modified to suit any taste. The original recipe called for chickpeas, but our family has an allergy to them, so we substituted potatoes, which made it a little hardier. We were very pleased with the results and found the dinner to be very delicious. Because it was just the two of us, we made only cooked two chicken thighs, but the recipe could be increased to serve a larger family. Also, if you don’t have a tajine, you could simply use a Dutch oven instead.
- Two Chicken Thighs – skin on
- 1 tbsp Canola Oil
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Yellow Onion – peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 Garlic Clove – finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Ras Al-Haunt
- 1 Large Pinch Saffron – soaked in a 1/4 cup of warm water
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 1/2 cups Canned Diced Tomatoes (15 oz can) – drained
- 3/4 cup Dried Apricots – sliced in half
- 1 Large Red Potato – cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup Creme Fraiche
- 1 tbsp Harissa
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is preheated, place the tajine into the oven to start heating. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down and cook until the skin is golden brown, approximately five minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue cooking for another two to three minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and let it rest. Reduce the heat to medium and remove all but one tablespoon of oil from the skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft and semi-translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds, then add the ras al-hanut and cook for another thirty seconds. Add the saffron with the liquid it was soaked in as well as the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, potatoes, apricots and bring to a simmer. Remove the tajine from the oven and transfer the vegetables and liquid from the skillet to the tajine. Nestle the chicken thighs on top of the vegetable mixture, put the lid on the tajine and return it to the oven. Cook in the oven for forty minutes. While the chicken is cooking in the oven, mix the creme fraiche, harissa, and salt and let stand in the refrigerator for thirty minutes. Plate individual servings of chicken and vegetable mixture. Garnish each serving a tablespoon or two of the harissa sauce.