Monthly Archives: April 2016

Salad Olivieh

I remember having Salad Olivieh in Iran in restaurants when we travelled into the center of the country.  When I asked my husband if he would like me to try making it, he jumped on the idea.  Unbeknownst to me, it is one of his favorites. So, the pressure was on.

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As seems to be my approach these days with Persian foods, I looked up a variety of recipes, go a general sense of the commonalities and then created my own recipe, tweaking as I went along.  The result: a really good tasting chicken salad that even I (who normally does not like chicken  salad) really enjoyed! I didn’t exactly get the taste he was thinking of, but that was because I used leftover chicken from Chicken Marbella – which had its own distinct flavor. But it didn’t really matter, he fully enjoyed it.

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It was a double treat for me, since it was Kosher for Passover!

Salad Olivieh

1 large potato (about 3/4 lb), peeled and diced

Just over 1/2 lb (9 oz) cooked, skinless chicken breast

1 cup frozen peas, thawed if from the grocery store, lightly cooked if fresh frozen(from Highland Orchards)

2 or 3 Persian (or Israeli) pickles

1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and diced (from Farmer Kim)

5 – 7 Tbs mayonnaise

3 Tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp dijon mustard

3 Tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt & Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the potatoes in a microwave safe dish and add a little water (about 1/4 inch deep).  Cover and microwave for til tender, about 2 – 4 minutes, depending upon the size of your dice. Set aside.

Shred the chicken breast, then chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Dice the egg and pickles.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, chicken, peas, pickles and egg.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the mount of mayo to get the flavor and consistency to your taste.

Combine the dressing into the chicken mixture, mixing well. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours to let the flavors come together.

Serve as a sandwich, with bread, a baguette, pita, or matzoh!

Enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Passover, Persian, Recipe, Sandwich | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Banana Maple Matzoh Brei

By the end of Passover I am always scrambling for some way to excite my family, and myself, about one more matzoh meal.  Last year, I saved Martha Stewart’s Banana Maple Matzoh Brei for the last lunch of Passover.

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And what a treat is was! But be careful, our bananas were almost over-ripe so it was extremely sweet.  Err on the side of less maple syrup in the mixture and then add more as needed.  We also decided that toasted walnuts or pecans would be a great addition.  I may try that this year.

 

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Ooh, I just had another thought, this could even be turned into an amazing ice cream sundae!

Banana Maple Matzoh Brei

Martha Stewart

3 matzos (broken into 2-inch pieces)

1 banana plus banana slices

1/4 cup pure maple syrup plus more for drizzling

1/4 cup vegetable oil plus 1 tablespoon

1 large egg

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

Soak matzos in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander.

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Mash banana with maple syrup using a fork.

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Whisk in oil, egg, and salt.

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Gently stir in matzos.

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Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Spread matzo mixture evenly in skillet, pressing gently.

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Cook until underside is golden, about 4 minutes. Flip using a spatula (mixture will break up). Cook until underside is golden, about 5 minutes.

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Transfer to plates. Top with banana slices, and drizzle with maple syrup.

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Serves 2.

Categories: Breakfast, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Passover, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Persian Haroset

First, I must apologize for not having my slew of photos for you.  I did not expect this experiment to turn out so well on the first shot.  The Haroset turned out so well, I had to quickly cover it and put it in the fridge to keep from eating it all now! SO I wanted to share it with you before Passover begins.

I made both Ashkenazic and Persian Harosets this year. Both are combinations of apples and nuts. The main differences are that the Ashkenazic version uses walnuts and adds in sweet wine while the Persian version adds walnuts, almonds and pistachios and includes dates, pear and is flavored with pomegranate. We shall see who prefers which at my Seders…

Persian Haroset 

1/2 cup almonds, roasted unsalted

1/2 cup walnuts, roasted unsalted 

1/3 cup pistachios, roasted, unsalted and shelled

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 cup dated, pitted and roughly chopped

1 large apple (Fuji), peeled, cored and roughly chopped

1 pear, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

1/3 cup pomegranate juice

Directions

Place the nuts, spices and salt in a food processor.  Pulse until roughly chopped.

Add the dates, apple and pear, pulse until chopped and mixed.

Add the pomegranate molasses and juice, pulse a few times until well mixed.  Do not puree the mixture, leave it with a little crunch or bite to it.

Enjoy!

Makes about 3 – 4 cups.

 

Categories: Apples, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Passover, Persian, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Kalam Polo (Persian Rice with Cabbage and Beef)

I have to admit that I was shooting in the dark when I made this.  I had made a different version before, and it was ok, not great.  But I figured, making a tasty combination of rice, beef and cabbage is kind of in my eastern european, Jewish blood.  I just needed to figure out how to do a Persian version.

So, I researched some different recipes, and they were all very different from each other, and decided to follow my gut and go to the Persian flavors I know.  We ended up with this version…and it is yummy, and comforting, and so beautifully yellow! Gotta love turmeric and saffron!

This version uses a Persian rice cooker, but if you don’t have one, not to worry.  Instead of putting the rice and meat mixture into the rice cooker, put it in a pot and place a clean dishtowel on top then the lid and cook it over a medium-low flame. The rest of the directions are the same.

So much happiness from such humble ingredients.

Kalam Polo (Persian Rice with Cabbage and Beef)

3 cups basmati rice

1/2 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water

1 Tbsp grape seed or canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 medium cabbage, cut into 1/2” inch pieces

1 lb extra lean ground beef

3 cups water, divided

1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 – 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp advieh (if you cannot get advieh, you can substitute cinnamon, but use a little less)

1 Tbsp turmeric

1 Tbsp tomato paste (or a little more)

Directions

Place the rice in a bowl, rinse with cold water until it runs clear.  Then leave the rice to soak in salted water for 2 hours.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (one you have a cover for) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the cabbage and ground beef and cook until the beef is browned and the cabbage starts to get tender, breaking up the beef as it cooks, about 5 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, advieh and turmeric.  Stir to mix the spices through.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, a couple of minutes.

Add 1 cup of water and the prepared saffron.  Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes.

Drain the rice and place it in a rice cooker.  Add in the meat and cabbage mixture and mix through thoroughly.

Add 2 cups of water, cover and set to cook for 45 minutes.

To serve, break up the tah dig that forms at the bottom of the cooker. Enjoy!

Serves 8.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Asparagus, Mushroom & Tomato Galette

With the crazy weather we are having, I am not sure how long the local asparagus will last.  Right now only 1 farm has any, so I will be taking advantage if it being here and making a couple of asparagus dishes this week.

I also am on a mission to use as much of the flour in my house as I can before Passover. I was able to use the rest of my whole wheat flour in cheese pie crust for this asparagus, mushroom and tomato galette.

What a fun way to eat your veggies for dinner!

Asparagus, Mushroom & Tomato Galette

Cheese Crust

6 Tbsp cold butter, cut small

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

4 – 6 Tbsp cold milk and/or water

Galette

1/2 lb asparagus, shaved (I used a mandolin, very slowly and painstakingly) (locally grown)

4 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced (locally grown)

2 tomatoes, sliced and seeds removed

1 egg, beaten (locally raised)

Coarse sea salt

Directions

Heat the oven to 400F.

Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter into the flour until the size of peas.  Mix in the cheese.

Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

Roll out to a large thin circle-ish shape. Layer on the fillings, leaving a 2-inch border.

Fold the sides of the pastry up and over, folding as you go around.

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle the entire galette very lightly with the coarse sea salt.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, til the crust is golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4 as a main dish.

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 3 Comments

Salmon Pasta with Peas

There are days when even a local-obsessed cook like me can only get as local as what I can find in my freezer or pantry.  I’ve been away on business and have not had the chance to go to the store, little less the farm market, when I needed to make dinner.   So the only “local” ingredient is the frozen peas, they are raised and processed just a couple of hours away in Pennsylvania.

I do have to admit that I love canned salmon, as does my son (he loves salmon in any form). We would have been happy just eating the salmon straight from the can.

I combined the two with Cam’s favorite pasta, wagon wheels, to make a very simple, comforting dish.

Salmon Pasta with Peas

1 lb pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 oz bag frozen petite peas

1 Tbsp minced chives

1 15 oz can salmon, drained

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

High quality extra virgin olive oil, for finishing

Juice of about 1/2 lemon

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and cook the garlic for about 30 seconds.

Add the peas and cook for a few minutes, just until the peas are heated through.

Add the salmon and the chives.  After about a minute, remove from heat.

Toss the salmon mixture with the pasta. Sprinkle with lemon juice and finish with some of the high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Serve topped with grated cheese.  Enjoy!

Serves 6.

Categories: Kosher, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: | 3 Comments

Persian Macaroni Revisited

Probably the biggest food surprise I experienced in Iran was Persian macaroni, aka spaghetti and meat sauce. Definitely not an Italian version, and not even an American version, but a version that was uniquely Persian, complete with tah dig (forgive, my slightly burnt tah dig, I am still perfecting my spaghetti tah dig.)

Some of ingredients are predictable – ground beef, spaghetti, tomato paste, onions and garlic.  But there is also turmeric, and not tomatoes or tomato sauce, just paste.

And of course there is the cooking method, you finish the macaroni the way you finish rice, steamed over a layer of oil so a crispy crust, called tag dig, forms on the bottom.

Persian Macaroni

1 lb extra lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp turmeric

Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. tomato paste

8 oz. tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1 lb spaghetti

1 Tbsp canola oil

Directions

In large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic. Cook until all the liquid from the onions evaporates. Add turmeric, salt and pepper.

Add tomato paste and stir until the paste is fried, then add tomato sauce and water.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

While the meat cooks, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and mix together with the meat. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Put the oil in the bottom of a covered pot, sprinkle with some turmeric. Transfer the meat and spaghetti to the pot. Cover tightly and cook over medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes.

Serve with tah dig and enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | 2 Comments

Win’s Quiche Lorraine (well, my rustic, kosher version)

It was with fond memories that I made my former mother-in-law’s quiche lorraine. Win was a terrific woman, whom I was honored and blessed to have in my life. My daughters loved her quiche lorraine, but since I do not eat pork, it was a dish I wouldn’t make. This week I decided to try making a kosher, vegetarian version, using  vegan bacon.

This was the first time I tried vegan bacon, while I wouldn’t use it as a stand alone as in eggs and bacon, but it worked quite well for making the quiche both kosher and vegetarian. It added the ‘bacon’ flavor and had a nice crisp texture.

I also decided to make a  whole wheat pie crust. And, voila!, here is my rustic version.

You can’t tell from the looks of it but the crust was incredibly flaky and tasty.  The recipe comes from YayYay’s Kitchen.

Win’s Quiche Lorraine (Kosher, Vegetarian Version)

2 eggs, slightly beaten (from Farmer Kim)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp corn starch

dash black pepper

2/3 lb vegan bacon, crumbled

1/3 cup chopped green onion

8 oz swiss cheese, chopped

9′ pie shell of your choice (I used a whole wheat pie crust recipe from YayYay’s Kitchen)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl mix eggs, milk, mayo, cornstarch and pepper.

Add the bacon, onions and cheese.

Pour into the pie shell.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is golden brown.  Allow to set for 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Persian Chicken and Rice with Peas & Dill (Morgh ba Polo Shevid)

Coming on the heels of my very successful Barberry Rice with Lemon Chicken (Zereshk Polo ba Morgh), I was a both very confident and a little nervous attempting to create a different Persian chicken and rice dish.

I have made a similar rice dish, Baghali polo – with lima beans, so I thought I the rice with peas (Shevid Polo) would feel familiar. And it did. The biggest problem I had was keeping myself from eating all of the pea mixture before adding it to the rice.  And that is saying a lot since I do not generally like dill, and there is plenty of fresh dill in it.

Then there was the chicken.  The lemon chicken was so good, I was nervous that a non citrus, non-tomato-based chicken wouldn’t compare.  But, it would have turmeric, saffron, onions and garlic – those are always good. I also used chicken thighs so the meat itself would have more flavor.

The result…2 thumbs up from my son.  He said he not only liked it, he loved it!  And he is not usually generous with his ratings.

Persian Chicken and Rice with Peas & Dill (Morgh ba Polo Shevid)

Rice with Peas & Dill (Polo Shevid)

2 Tbsp canola or other neutral oil, divided

1 onion, diced

1 large shallot, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag frozen peas (1 lb)

1 bunch dill, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups basmati rice

2 Tbsp water

Chicken

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 – 3 lbs chicken thighs, with bones

1 cup chicken stock

1 – 2 cups water

1/8 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

Directions

Rice (Conventional Approach)

Wash the rice, rinse and drain about three times until the water runs clear.

Place the rice in a filled with salted water.  Bring to a boil. Just as it comes to a boil, check the rice it should be al dente, remove from heat and drain the rice in a colander.  Rinse under cold water.

Put the oil and water in the pot. Return the rice to the pot and sprinkle with another teaspoon or so of water. Cover with a padded lid or a clean dishtowel and then the pot lid. Heat over medium high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low and cook for 35 – 40 minutes.

Peas & Dill

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, shallots and garlic. 

Cook until onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and dill, cook until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Chicken

Meanwhile, In a large dutch oven, brown the onion and garlic in the oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down and brown, about 7 – 10 minutes.  Flip and brown for another 3 minutes.

Add the turmeric, salt and pepper. Stir to coat the chicken.

Add the chicken stock and 1 cup water, cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the prepared saffron and reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. If the liquid in the pot starts to evaporate, add up to 1 more cup of water.

To Serve:

Reserve 1 cup of the pea mixture. Place rice in a large serving dish, mix in the remainder of the pea mixture. 

Place the chicken on top of the rice.

Break up the Tah Dig – the crisp layer of rice at the bottom of the pot – and place around the outside of the dish. 

Top with the reserved pea mixture.

Top the chicken with extra sauce when it is served on a plate. Enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6

 

 

 

Categories: Kosher, Persian, Recipe | Tags: | Leave a comment

Persian Breakfast

One of my favorite things about visiting my father-in-law in Tehran is breakfast. The simplicity, taste, texture and ritual of it.

Simplicity: 3 or 4 ingredients (it started as 3, but my daughter introduced the 4th – honey):

  • Flat, almost paper-thin bread (the closest thing I can find here is lavash)
  • Feta, not Greek feta, Bulgarian is the closest
  • Walnuts, freshly cracked is ideal (in Iran they come from my father-in-law’s trees)
  • and Arielle’s addition…honey

Taste & Texture: salty, creamy, crunchy, and with the honey, sweet

Ritual:

  • Tear off a piece of bread
  • Spread it with some feta
  • Place a nut or two on top
  • Drizzle with some honey, if you are using it.
  • Roll up the piece of bread
  • Enjoy!
  • Repeat…

Not to forget the tea, always the delicious Persian tea! Although I have to admit that here I typically have my cup of coffee with it. But somehow I end up sipping it slower and enjoying it more.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Persian, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

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