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Archive for May, 2009

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream1 (Medium)

Let it be known that I am a bit snobbish when it comes to ice cream.  I simply love gelato.  American ice cream on the other hand? I am not too fond of. I will eat it, but the truth is that for me gelato is so much better. It is important to say that the gelato that I am talking about is not the type that you buy here. Oh NO! I am talking about the real thing, the one made on Italian soil. You don’t believe me that the gelato in Italy tastes better? Just ask The Sous Chef. Before we set foot in Italy I swore that I was going to have gelato every day. He thought I was blowing smoke out of my behind when I kept on telling him that there is no gelato like Italian gelato…until he had  his first taste of real Italian gelato. Guess who actually ended up having gelato every day? That’s right The Sous Chef!

Now that I have established my love for gelato, I also would like to share with you all that Persian Ice Cream holds a very special place in my heart. I love the fact that every bite is a delicious blend of saffron and rosewater.  And I love it even more when the ice cream is placed between two wafers and eaten like a sandwich. YUM!

Today’s recipe is my **own** homemade version of Persian Ice Cream. It is sooo soo good and I am proud to say that it is my second attempt at making ice cream. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we have here!!!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 cup of cream

1/2 cup of sugar + 1 tsp

1 pinch of sugar

3 tbsp of rosewater

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup of shelled pistachios

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream2 (Small)

In a sauce pan add sugar and milk.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream3 (Small)

Then add cream and warm it all up on medium heat.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream4 (Small)

Give it a stir to make sure that the sugar dissolves. Make sure it does not boil. Once the mixture is nice and hot turn it off and remove from the stove.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream5 (Small)

Place 1 tsp of sugar with saffron in a small mortar and grind until the saffron threads turn into powder.

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Add the sugar and saffron to the milk mixture. Add rosewater. Give it all a stir. Let it cool down. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or over night.

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During the time that the mixture rests the flavors will blend. So make sure you don’t skip this step. Warm up the mixture on low heat.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream7 (Small)

Taper in the egg yolks. This is a very important step as you don’t want to cook the eggs.  Place the eggs in a separate bowl. Slowly pouring in some of the hot mixture while continuously stirring. Then slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the warm pan.  Make sure that you stir constantly until the mixture thickens. This should take about 10 minutes.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream9 (Small)

Place some ice and water in a bowl and then add another bowl on top of it. Then place a strainer on top.  You might want to do this before you place the egg yolks in the hot mixture allowing for the smaller bowl to get nice and cold.  Strain the mixture and let it completely cool down.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream10 (Small)

Place the mixture in the ice cream maker along with the pistachios and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Saffron & Rosewater Ice Cream11 (Small)

Once the ice cream freezes remove it and place it in a air tight container. The ice cream is ready at this point. But I like to freeze mine for a couple of hours before eating.  This recipe makes 1 pint of ice cream.

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sisterhood_award

Today’s Wellness Wednesday is all about appreciation, rewarding those I enjoy, and passing on the love.

A little while ago one of my favorite bloggers Mely from Mexico in my Kitchen, whom I first became aware of when she left a comment on one of the first dishes that I made,  surprised me with The Sisterhood Award.  I was floored and touched by the award because I am not a popular blogger.  I am just little me!  I have only been given awards a couple of times in my life. The most memorable and meaningful one was when I was in high school. At the end of my Junior year I was awarded for being “The Most Improved Swimmer.” That was because while I learned how to swim at an early age, I did not know how to swim competitively. I went from barely being able to swim a pool’s length to competing in swim meets within a couple of months.  To this day, 17 years later, that award is still with me and it has always been displayed where I can see it around any home that I have lived.  It is a reminder that if you put your mind into it, you can make things happen for your self and that hard work pays off.

The Sisterhood Award came from someone who I admire and it is always nice to be given a little boost and reminder that other people enjoy what you put out there.

I started blogging about a year and half ago about this that and the other. Occasionally, I would also post recipes. Amongst these there were three Persian recipes. I soon noticed that a lot of people searched Persian dishes.  Thus, was born Persian Kitchen, out of pure love to share the cuisine and culture of my homeland.

I have to tell you that I also freaked out at first at the thought of passing this award along because it was only then that I realized that none of my own friends are bloggers.  The Sous Chef, the wonderfully awesome and logical man that he is, reminded me that this is because none of my friends are writers.  Once I was done freaking out I realized that there are a  few blogs that I enjoy reading and admire the time and effort that the authors put into their blog.  I may not know them all in person, but I love checking in and reading what they have to share with the world and admire their photography.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Mely for passing on this award to me. I love reading her blog because I LOVE Mexican food. There is a very high probability that in a past life I was a Mexican because I could eat Mexican food everyday and be happy! I love the way Mely posts her recipes by showing pictures of the step by step process.  I also have to share the fact that the day I saw the picture below I nearly fell off the chair that I was sitting in:

Now tell me that’s not appetizing and one hell of an awesome presentation.  Please check out her blog as she has some delicious recipes to share.

I would like to pass The Sisterhood Award to the following bloggers:

Donna of South Bay Pets

Donna writes for the Daily Breeze, which is our local news paper.  Here is the thing, once I got over the fact that I am a loser with  no friends who blog (!), and the Sous Chef telling me that I don’t have any friends who are writers, I remembered, wait a second, I do know a writer, heck she writes for a living because she is a journalist!

I was a fan of Donna’s blog since it first started in the spring of last year. One fine night I was at our local dog park and started conversing with a lady who had two awesome dogs. My Dog kept on going after the orange ball that the lady threw for her own dog.  Low and behold throughout the conversation I found out that she is THE Donna of the South Bay Pets and the one that covers our neighborhood in the Daily Breeze! Small world huh?

2.  Jill of South Bay Soliloqui

Let me tell you a little something. I have a strategy. If I randomly find a blog that I like, I sometimes click on their blogroll because chances are that they are a fan of someone who is as neat as they are.  Jill was a third click, as in I randomly saw one blog, clicked on their blogroll, then found another cool blog through that person’s blogroll, and then found Jill. I love her diving pictures and her recipes.  She has been MIA for the past 20+ days and hope that she will not stop blogging!

3.  Tash of Palos Vedes Daily Photo

You wonder how I found Tash? On Jill’s blogroll!! See? What did I tell you?!! Here is the truth, I think that Tash is a lady. But I am not sure,  she sounds like a lady, but Tash if you are not, my apologies to you and clearly I am making a fool out of myself! Anyway, love the photos of Palos Verdes and seeing places that I sometimes drive through in her/his photography!

4. Laila of  Laila Blog’s

I found Laila’s blog when she left a comment here a little while ago. I love the fact that she shares the her family’s recipes with her own added touch.  Everything that she makes looks very yummy!

5. Samin of Ciao Samin

One find day last year I was on the phone with one of our dearest family friends. He told me about his daughter’s blog and that I should check it out because she is a cook.  So I have been following her blog. I think it is pretty cool that she is an Iranian and a cook, especially because in our culture if you are not a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, or some type of entrepreneur you are just not good enough.  Anyway, a little birdie, who recently met her, told me that she is very cool! 😉 I might have to find that out on my own come July!

6.  Roia of Persianchyld

Roia left a couple of comments on my blog and I was soon enamored with her story telling abilities! I have been reading every post and eagerly counting the days until the next one.  I love the way she writes and the candid way in which she shares her life.

7.  Lori Lynn of San Pedro Daily Photo & TaStE WiTh ThE EyEs

Guess how I found San Pedro Daily Photo? Through Palos Verdes Daily Photo!!! Now anyone that takes the time to take pictures of San Pedro and show its beauty, and trust me there is plenty underneath it all, has got my respect.  And then to discover that she even has a food blog??? Can’t get any better than this now, can it?

8.  Elena of Lunar Musings

Last and not least, Elena who is the master mind behind Wellness Wednesday. I met Elena through the Sous Chef. I have a little confession to make, I have no idea what she talks about on her blog. None.  But I like to look at her pictures! Shhh don’t tell anyone, but I think The Sous Chef and I might have teased her a bit too much about her  regular bathtime Facebook updates.  I secretly miss giggling about them! I have to confess that her being vegetarian AND gluten free has added a layer of culinary creativity to my repertoire.

That’s all I’ve got folks! Pass along the love!

The rules of the “Sisterhood Award” are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 people whose blogs you enjoy.

3. Provide a link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blogs.

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person who has nominated you for the award.

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Koofteh Berenj 1 (Medium)

Some call them Koftah, others call them Keftah, but we, Persians, call them Koofteh! Today’s  recipe indeed is for Koofteh Berenji, which is meatballs with rice and split peas. These are seriously yummy and were enjoyed in our house for quite a few days!

It was fun experimenting with recipes where I could use the abundance of  Gojeh Sabz that I had sitting in my fridge. To be exact this is the second recipe that I made during my cooking marathon along  Khoresht Gojeh Sabz.

These take a little bit of time as far as preparation goes, but they are well worth it!

Ingredients

1lb of ground meat ~ I used extra lean 15%

2 large onions, one graded and the other sliced length wise

1/2 cup of split peas

3/4 cup of rice

1 bunch of parsley

1/2 bunch of dill

1 bunch of green onions

2 branches of tarragon

2 eggs

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 tsp turmeric

3 tsp advieh

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 cups of broth or 3 bouillon

1 cup of gojeh sabz

salt & pepper

Let’s get started!

Koofteh Berenj 3 (Small)

First things first: wash split peas and rice, add 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and cook for 30 minutes.

Koofteh Berenj 2 (Small)

Clean and wash the herbs. Notice that fresh tarragon is missing here. My local Persian store was all out. I was rather disappointed because tarragon happens to be one of my favorite herbs.  But have no fears, I have a substitute coming right up! Also chop the green onions and place them aside.

Koofteh Berenj 4 (Small)

I am partially clever and partially lazy so I thought I could use our food processor to grade the onion. Frankly speaking  I was not in a mood to shed some tears.  Somehow grading onions is our food processor is not a good option.  After seeing the results I might have used two explicit words to unload some of the frustration I felt after the failed attempt. Anyway, I don’t care how you do it, just grade your onion please.

Koofteh Berenj 5 (Small)

Then throw in the herbs and pulse a couple of times for a nice chop chop.  The smell of the chopped herbs should make its way up to your nose any minute now! By the way, this is a nice and quick way to chop a large amount of herbs together.  I love the food processor for precisely this reason. It might fail its purpose for grading onions, but he is my bestest friend when it comes to chopping herbs, and grading cheese, to think of it!

Koofteh Berenj 6 (Small)

Once the rice and split peas are done, place them in a colander to drain the juices. Save the juice as it will be used as part of the broth.  You should be left with about 1 cup of water.

Koofteh Berenj 7 (Small)

Now gather all of the following ingredients as seen in the picture: rice, split peas, graded onion, chopped herbs, ground beef, advieh, and eggs.  You will be mixing all these ingredients together in a bowl. If you are going to use a mixer like I did, once again, clever/lazy way, I have found that it is best to beat the eggs and advieh in a small separate bowl first.  Regardless of whether you are making this in a bowl or mixer, I have found that it is much easier to first combine the herbs, spices, seasoning, with the egg, and then once these are nicely incorporated add the meat.

Koofteh Berenj 8 (Small)

So moving right along, place the eggs and chopped herbs in the mixer.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Koofteh Berenj 9 (Small)

Give it a nice mix so that they are incorporated.

Koofteh Berenj 10 (Small)

Add the green onions. Remember how I said that I didn’t have fresh tarragon? Add 1 tbsp of dry tarragon. It is not the same as fresh, but it will do. Give it a mix.

Koofteh Berenj 11 (Small)

Then add the ground beef, split peas, and rice.

Koofteh Berenj 12 (Small)

Mix for about 5 minutes, starting on a slow speed and gradually going higher. If you are overzealous, like I can sometimes be, and go to a fast speed right away, then you will find your counter to mirror mine, where things just flew everywhere.

Koofteh Berenj 13 (Small)

While you are mixing, stop half way through to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Also you might want to scrape the bottom of the bowl as sometimes things just stick to the bottom.  Once your mixture is nicely incorporated, make the meatballs, about the  size of a small orange.  I don’t have a picture of this process as I was home alone and it is a bit hard to make meatballs and photograph yourself at the same time. 🙂

Koofteh Berenj 14 (Small)

Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.

Koofteh Berenj 15 (Small)

This is an extra step that I did because I didn’t have broth and used 3 bouillon.  Place 3 cups of water and 3 bouillons in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add the 2 tbsp of tomato paste and mix until both the paste and bouillons are dissolved.  One thing that is very important to do is dissolve the tomato paste in either warm water or warm broth.  This is something that I learned from my grandma and it is seem to be universal in Persian cooking.

Koofteh Berenj 16 (Small)

Place the broth with tomato paste along with the rice and peas broth over the onions.  Check the seasoning of your broth now and make sure that it is just right.  Add gojeh sabz and slowly place each  meatball in the pot.

Koofteh Berenj 17 (Small)

I should have used a bigger pot, I know! but anyway, partially cover and cook for one hour on medium heat.  In the mean time make sure that you baste the meatballs that are exposed on top or gently turned them over half way through.  Uncover the pot and cook for another half hour.

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Hello Dear PK readers,

We just wanted to wish you all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend. The first long weekend of the summer is here! The Sous Chef and I have got some serious good times planed at our house as we are hosting a BBQ on Sunday.

In case you are thinking of making some type of appetizer we have three delicious choices for you here at Persian Kitchen!

There is:  Borani Esfanaj ~ Yogurt with Spinach

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or Kashkeh Bademjan ~ Persian Eggplant Dip

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or the one and only: Lima Bean and Dill Kuku

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Enjoy your long weekend!

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Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 1 (Medium)

As I mention in my post about Ghojeh Sabz and Chaghaleh Badoom, my mom told me that there is such thing as a Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht. This little piece of news had me all curious about the possibilities and the outcome of such different and new type of stew.  I thought my mom had a recipe for this and when I asked I literally got the following directions:

“Just sauté an onion, added cubed meat, and water and let it cook. Then add equal amounts of parsley and mint, add the plums, and cook for 45 minutes.”

Mind you this came from the person who follows recipes verbatim. So here I was trying to make this new dish with the minimal direction and plenty of skepticism about the lack of garlic and any type of quintessential Persian spices.  So I scratched my head a little, thought it over, then walked into the kitchen and began an afternoon of cooking marathon.  I say cooking marathon because I made two different dishes that day. And the irony is that by the time I was done with this dish I was sooooo hungry that I ate and completely forgot to take a nice picture of the finished product! So the picture above is from the leftovers!

So here we go!

Ingredients:

1 medium onion

1 lb of cubed meat (I used lamb in this recipe because that’s what I had in the freezer)

1/8 tsp of turmeric

1 bunch of parsley ~ 2 cups

1 bunch of mint ~ 2 cups

3 cups of unripe plums

salt & pepper

Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 2 (Small)

Sauté onion in some oil until translucent

Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 3 (Small)

Add turmeric and give it a stir allowing for the spice to release its flavor. While my mom said no turmeric, I decided that this is one of the most important steps in building your base for each khoresht. Turmeric adds a good flavor to the meat and broth.

Add the meat and let it brown in order to seal in the flavor.

Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 4 (Small)

Add 3 cups of water, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 5 (Small)

In the mean time wash and dry the parsley and mint. Give it all a rough chop.

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Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 7 (Small)
Add the unripe plums.

Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht 8 (Small)
Finally, add the herbs. Give it all a stir and let cook for 1 hour on medium heat.

The result was very good. It was definitely worth a try! There is this nice blend of mint, parsley, and a hint of the delicate taste of the plums  in every bite.  Depending on how sour your plums are this dish can come out a bit sour. Mine was not sour, the balance of flavors was just perfect.  There is always the option of adding some sugar if it is too tangy.

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Everyone else is doing it, so I thought, “why can’t we?”

Follow Persian Kitchen on Twitter. The link from here is on the sidebar to your right, just below the “On the Menu” box.

Enjoy!

The Chef

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May 2009 027 -2

A couple of weeks ago I was doing my favorite exercise: surfing, the web that is.  I came across a blog, which I can’t for the life of me remember which one it was, where there was a post about the decline in the bumble bee population.  Then last week I was curled up salivating over reading Sunset Magazine and there it was again.  A column on the left side of the page, where advertisements usually are displayed, the same information about the detrimental consequences that our farmers may be faced with the decline of the bumble bees.  You can read all about it on Help The Honey Bees. There is a lot info on this site so click away. It is a bit slow but well worth the time.

A quick Google search lead me to many different sites and I found out that this by any means is not a new issue. In fact it has been a concern since about three years ago.  I find this very sad that many of the members of the animal kingdom nowadays are becoming distinct and the blame is to be put on no other than us humans.  This is yet another reason to look around us and how by our actions we contribute to the destruction of our planet.

Maybe we all need an extraterrestrial to come down to earth and give us a nudge just like it happens in the movie “The Day Each Stood Still.”

I think bees are cute.  They used to scare the heck out of me when I was little because of people’s reaction when they got stung by one. As I child I remember being told to sing a song that rhymed with the word vinegar in Farsi, serkeh, in order to keep them at a safe distance from you.  I am not really sure if this is really true or just myth. But one thing is sure, I have made it three and half decades without…oh no I am not going to to say it because I might step into the garden and you know what? It might happen…. because, I am proud to say that we have plenty of bees flying around in our garden right now since our three Bottle Brush trees are in full bloom as seen in the picture.  All you hear is bzzz…bzzz, bzzz.

I must admit that after reading various articles, the buzzing is now music to my ears! I can’t say I have always felt this way! I remember once as a child going to the South of Iran on a small vacation near a river. I have no idea where exactly, but you know when one scene of your life gets stuck in your head? I remember  sitting outside chatting in the evening when the temperatures were cooler with various family members on my father’s side of the family.  Many of the cousins were there with us along with some family friends who had brought their kids.  Somehow that evening a few people were stung by the bees.  Here is the funny thing, I remember one of my cousins rolling up her pants and sitting and waiting to be stung by the bees because she had heard that it was good for rheumatism.

So here I am surrounded by people who yell and scream when bees come around. Then every so often they get stung and what follows is  crying and hollering from pain. All the while this other  person is sitting there waiting. Ironically, her wishes didn’t come true that night which resulted in the usual nagging that most Persians are so good about! So needless to say that the presence of bees has always created such a fuss around me.  Maybe I would have reacted the same way had I been….you know…had an encounter as such. Or had I stepped on dead ones while walking on the beach like my sister has, twice! Don’t tell her I told you this, but she hates bees, they even get to her while dead! 🙂

According to the Help The Honey Bees website you can help stop the decline in their population.  It is simple, all you have to do is plant seed that will grow into plants that will attract the bees.  You can find more info by following the link above. There might even be an added bonus for those of you ice cream lovers!!! 🙂

Or you can read this informative article from Concord Monitor.

Do you have a garden? Have you ever thought of starting your own garden?

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