White Dog and The White Dog Army recipe for Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds...
(for when you are having company for dinner and you have a Moroccan theme)
Ask dad to mix cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Make sure to sniff each spice before he adds it and try not to sneeze when the pepper is stirred in. Make a paste by adding olive oil and insist you want to have a piece of kibble dipped in the oil as a treat.
Gather really close as dad cuts 3 lbs. of lamb into chunks and trims off the fat. Let dad know that USDA rules demand that kitchen supervisors taste the trimmings for safety. Volunteer to put your life at risk by continue to sample EVERY piece and keep reminding dad until he threatens to make you leave the kitchen.
Lie in the middle of the kitchen floor and pout.
When dad adds the spice coated lamb to the tagine pan containing hot butter and oil. Sigh heavily and look pathetic. As the lamb browns and the house starts to smell exotic and delicious, forgive dad and do your very best "sit pretty" right next to the counters (so he cannot yell that you are near the hot stove). Turn on "those eyes" and let him know you love him...love his cooking...love lamb...love your wonderful life...and would equally love a taste of the lamb.
He WILL cave and set a side a couple of pieces to share after cooling. While he cooks the onion, garlic, cilantro, and parsley, get comfortable and lie in the doorway...these aren't parts you want to sample (well, with the exception of YoYoMa who is always told "no onions!"). Enjoy the smells of the tagine simmering for half an hour.
Ask for a finger taste of honey as the sauce is made with more cinnamon and apricots. Wag hard until you get a piece of dried apricot thinking it is a sweet potato treat and then politely leave it behind the coffee table when you realize it is chewy fruit...don't worry YoYoMa will find the pieces and suck them up. Chase the almonds that jump from the cutting board all over the kitchen and then ignore it when you find out it is a nut, not kibble...but then ask for a piece of kibble dipped in the sauce...just to make sure the spicing is right.
Barely give dad room to move when he serves the tagine on top of minted couscous and let all of the guests know how hard you worked for their pleasure. Remind them that you have been SO busy preparing the delicious tagine they are about to enjoy that you have neglected to keep yourself nourished. Stop begging when momma mentions "party manners," and go sit by dad who understands and slips you bits when she isn't looking.