Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zereshk Polow

Yes, another Persian food recipe. I can’t help it. It feels home to me so I always return at least once a week. One of my favorite and all time easiest recipes is Zereshk Polow, which is the Chelow (rice) recipe with Zereshk

Zereshk is the farsi word for barberries. I have yet to see barberries sold at a regular grocery store, but if you go to Persian or International supermarkets you can usually find some. Don’t take my word on that though because quite frankly I have never bought them in the U.S. because I’ve always had a steady supply from Iran. Any time family visits from Iran they usually have two things in bulk: Saffron and Zereshk, so I’ve never had to buy them from a grocery store in all the 20 years I’ve lived in California. But if you want to make some I don’t mind sharing.
Variation: I usually add some cooked and shredded chicken and extra saffron water to the zereshk mixture at the very end.

Zereshk Polow
Servings: 3-4 Servings
Prep & Cook Time: 1 hour
Recipe for Chelow (rice)
1 cup zereshk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp saffron water (saffron threads diluted in hot water)
½ cup slivered almonds
1. After you begin the steaming process for the Chelow recipe, wash the zereshk thoroughly by soaking it in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes, then drain. This allows the dirt and rocks to the fall onto the bottom of the bowl.
2. After 10 minutes before the rice is done, in a small pan heat 2 tbsp of the oil and 2 tbsp of the saffron water on low heat. Add the zereshk. Be sure that the stove is on the lowest possible setting (1-2) as zereshk will burn quickly if even on low-medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring often, for another 3 minutes.
4. Add the slivered almonds and the last tbsp of saffron water and cook for another 3 minutes.
5. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the zereshk mixture on top the rice.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Have you tried the fresh pastas from the Farmer’s Market? If you answered “No” I feel sorry for you ;) . This weekend, try not to sleep past noon and get yourself over to the Farmer’s Market for some seasonal zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and of course some fresh pastas. My personal favorite is the lemon fettuccine. I could eat this stuff all on its own it’s so lemony and fresh! I remembered my boyfriend making zucchini ribbons once using a peeler, and I thought that would look great with the long strands of fettuccine. This was another one of those “easier said than done” things because I (honestly) can not use a peeler. I grew up using just a knife to peel and with 20 years of practice I can peel with a knife like no one’s business. The few ribbons I managed with a peeler looked pathetic, so I went back to using a knife to cut the long ribbons of zucchini. And it worked just as good as if I was using a peeler.
This is a recipe you can really make your own by adding different veggies, or spices, but looking at the pictures I’m sure your mouth is watering for my recipe ( right?).
Zucchini Ribbon Pasta
Servings: 4 Servings
Prep & Cook Time: About 1 hour
1 garlic bulb
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 red onion
Variety of zucchini
Extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs of green onion
2 tbsp of freshly chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 lemons
Sea salt and pepper
1- Heat oven to 375 degrees F . Slice about ½ inch off of the pointy side of the garlic bulb. Put bulb in the center of a piece of foil making a bowl with the foil around the garlic. Drizzle on some olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Rap the bulb in foil.

2- Cut cherry tomatoes in half or into thirds, squeezing out some of the juice from the core, and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, then mix to coat. Spread tomatoes onto a cookie sheet and roast, along with the garlic bulb, for 30 minutes. Set both aside once finished cooking.
3- Slice zucchini thinly lengthwise using a knife or peeler to make ribbon like pieces.
4- Place in a bowl and add the juice of one lemon, about 2 tbsp of olive oil, green onion, cilantro salt, and pepper. Mix to coat and set aside.

5- Slice the red onion and sauté on medium heat with some olive oil until soft. Set aside
6- Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. While that is coming to a boil, unwrap the garlic bulb from the foil and squeeze out each clove into a small bowl. They should be soft enough to slip right out.
7- Smash the roasted cloves until it looks almost like a paste. Then add the juice of the remaining lemon, and 2-3 tbsps of olive oil. Set aside.
8- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and pour 2 cups of cold water over pasta to stop it from further cooking. Put back into the medium put and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking
9- In a large pan sauté the zucchini mixture on medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring often. Add roasted tomatoes and sautéed red onions, and cook for another minute. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Finally add the roasted garlic sauce and toss to coat. Enjoy!