PFB #2: Out of my comfort zone with Iranian cuisine…

September 26th, 2010

I like recipes with a story… this one has a story…

During the summer when I was about thirteen or fourteen, my family had dinner with good friends. An Iranian woman joined us. Now, I was definitely a teenager– self-conscious, unsure of myself and moody. She wanted me to teach her how to dance like an American. I took dance for over twelve years. I love dancing. But that day, I was embarrassed. I had no desire to dance in front of family and friends in a living room. What if I looked like an idiot?

Eventually, I warmed up…perhaps it was the delicious salmon and tahdig… or once I learned that she had been thrown in jail for talking to a male friend on the street… or the fact that she was down right awesome… We ended up dancing the night away in the living room… Sharing a bit of our culture with one another. It was truly one of my best experiences.

When I saw this challenge, I immediately thought of this recipe. After some emails and a wonderful friend who quickly responded with the details, I made the dill salmon with tahdig for our dinner. Tahdig is the crunchy buttery rice from the bottom of the pan. This is a traditional Iranian dish served on the first day of spring. I served it with traditional Sabzi Khordan and Alounak’s Persian Flatbread that I found in Crazy Water Pickled Lemons.

The dinner was amazing! The rice did come out a little mushy, as I always struggle to cook it properly. But I did learn to make homemade pita! and I juiced an onion!  Did you know you can juice an onion?  More importantly, I shared this meal with people important to me. A meal that represents a time when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and learned so much.

Iranian Salmon with Dill and Lemons

Juice of 1 Medium onion (using a food processor, chop up the onions and then press them through cheesecloth or strainer)
one medium garlic crushed
Lemon juice (about 1/4 cup)
Olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
Dill (about two tablespoons chopped)
2-3 pounds of Salmon

1. Wash the fish first and dry it.
2. Mix all ingredients together and pour over the fish.
3. Leave it in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
4. Heat oven 200 or 250 Centigrade
5. Put small pieces of butter over the fish
6. Bake the fish for 15-20 minutes

Rice with Dill

1. Rinse 3 cups rice several times and cover with warm water and salt, let it soak for a at least half a day.
2. Dump out the salt water and rinse with fresh water.
3. Start cooking the rice on the stove on high temp, mix occasionally.
4. Collect and discard the foam from the rice as it is cooking.
5. Add the dill, (I use 2 1/2 small bottles of dill for 2 cups of rice. It should look rather green)
6. Take one or two grain and taste it to see if the centre of the grain is cooked, it should not be too soft, just not hard. (I cooked it for too long. Check it after ten minutes).
7. Pass the rice through a sieve and rinse with warm water.
8. Pour half cup of oil (not olive- I used vegetable) and tablespoon butter in the pan and add half cup of water on medium heat till the butter melts.
9. Pour most of the liquid in a cup and leave small amount on the bottom for tahdig.
10. You can put slices of raw potato or pita bread on the bottom of the pan, then add the rice.
11. Make several holes into the rice with the handle of a long spoon for the steam to be able to come out.
12. Cover the pan and let it be on medium heat till steam builds up on the inside cover of the pan. At this time pour the rest of the liquid all over the rice and turn the heat to very low.
13. Wrapp the cover of the pan in a thick cloth and cover the rice with it. It should cook slowly for at least an hour. This rice should look very flaky and soft to bite on.

PPQ: My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 26th, 2010

It is that time again… Project Pastry Queen…  For this week, Kalyna picked the Chocolate Chip Cookies… I’ve been craving them lately so I was excited to try…

Honestly, I was disappointed with this recipe.  They ended up being little rocks… I do not know if I messed up the recipe but I found there to be too much flour.  My friends loved them and they were gone quickly but… not my favorite.

Hopefully, the other members Project Pastry Queen had more success…Check out the recipe.

An Appetizer… Thank you for voting!

September 25th, 2010

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for voting for me! I made it to the second round of Project Food Blog.

I have been working on the next challenge… tomorrow I’ll unveil my Classic Ethnic Dinner…

Now just a little appetizer… Sabzi Khordan and Alounak’s Persian Flatbread that I found in Crazy Water Pickled Lemons.

Sabzi Khordan
equal bunches of cilantro/tarragon/mint/basil, chopped
1 bunch of radishes, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 oz. feta, crumbled
olive oil

Mix it all together. Eat with Alounak’s Persian Flatbread.

Alounak’s Persian Flatbread

1 tsp. dried yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
9 oz flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
olive oil

1. Proof the yeast with the yeast, sugar and a little water for about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add a little water at a time until it comes into a ball. (I used maybe only 1/2 cup of water in total).
3. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and leave it to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Set oven to at least 450 and place a baking sheet in it.
5. Once the dough as risen, divide in four balls. Roll into dinner plate sized portions using a rolling pin. Stretch a little more with you hands. Leave them to proof for a half an hour.
6. Grease the baking pan with olive oil. Prick the dough with a fork. Place on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. The bread will puff up.