My fiance treated me to a sweet birthday, including a homemade dinner and baked from scratch birthday cake (the first cake he's ever made from scratch!) He also got me a Penny Larsen Jewelry necklace with a Minnesota charm that has a red stone near my hometown. I had been eyeing the necklace longingly at shops since February.
For dinner, he made a Moroccan tagine substituting quinoa for the couscous. It is the Year of Quinoa after all (and we didn't have any couscous.) Couscous is a ball of semolina flour (the stuff used in spaghetti noodles); whereas, quinoa is a grain-like seed that happens to be a complete protein. You can find both in the bulk section or the pasta/rice section of most groceries. Yeah, but what's a tagine?
Tagine refers to both a rich stew and a type of clay pot usually used to prepare said stew. Tagine pots are clay with a bowl like bottom and a clay lid that is cone-shaped. The perk of the tagine pot is that it minimizes the amount of water needed to cook the stew by collecting and recondensing the steam from the slow simmering stew. This is especially useful in places with little access to water - like North Africa where the dish originates. Being from the land of 10,000 lakes, we don't have a tagine, but a cast iron dutch oven does the job in a pinch.
You can read more about this specific tagine and get a link to the recipe at my fiance's blog.
For the made-from-scratch chocolate cake with ganache, Isa Chandra Moskowitz from Post Punk Kitchen, yet again, offers a stellar vegan "Just Chocolate Cake" recipe. That lady sure knows how to bake! Not to worry, we're doing the 30 Days of Biking pledge to ride our bikes every day in April, so we burned off some of the cake calories.