Plan a “Kuku” picnic with tips & recipes from the Persian holiday Nowruz

Newroz celebration in Istanbul. Photo by Bertil Videt.

The first picnic of the year is a thing of beauty: tender daffodils and hyacinths poking through last season's dusty, yellowed grass. Herbs getting bushy and fragrant. The air is cool, but the sun is warm. If you're looking for an excuse to get outside and celebrate, you're in luck: the Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, is the time to do it. But before you scope out a sunny patch of grass, there are a few things you should know. Why Nowruz? Sure, you could just plunk down a blanket and … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Iran

Farisa

THE SCENE Beep. Beep. Beep. I was waiting to pay at Whole Foods, watching my food come down the belt with one eye and shooing Ava away from the chap stick display with the other. Other than that, I might as well have been asleep. I've been working hard. Lately, that's all there's been time for. Working to be a good mom. Working to be a good wife. Working to not melt in the 100F temperatures Tulsa has been sustaining for a month now. And, of course, working on work. My brain … [Read more...]

Recipe: Iranian Cucumber Salad

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Serves 2-4 Would you like to create a mosiac in a bowl? Capture the beauty of Iran in a bite? This bright, crunchy, sour Iranian side dish is at once cooling and hydrating - perfect for these dog days of summer. Also, it tastes a heck of a lot like a quick pickle. If you add the big bits of coarse ground pepper, you'll be bitten by a teasing taste of heat. Recipe adapted from The Silk Road Gourmet by Laura Kelley. You can find more recipes and fascinating history on her blog Silk Road … [Read more...]

Recipe: Kabab Koobideh

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Serves 4-6 It's been a long week. You're tired. You might even be cranky (I won't tell). I've got good news. Now is the perfect time to put on your superhero cape and make kababs on swords. (Ok. They aren't really swords. They're sword-like skewers. But they might as well be swords because they are that wonderful. You can buy them at your local Middle Eastern market and you'll be forever glad you did.) Iranians - and people all across the Middle East - love to use these mega … [Read more...]

“Doogh” you like fizzy yogurt? (w/ poll)

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Have you ever taken a big swig of a drink expecting to taste one thing, but getting another? I have. Here's what happened: I was little. I woke up in the middle of the night, crazy thirsty, and wandered blind into the kitchen to get a drink of water. Because we bottled our own spring water from Cape Cod, there was a lot of it - all stored on the side of the fridge in jugs. I felt my hand over the top of one and hoisted it up. I took several giant gulps before I realized it was most … [Read more...]

Recipe: Persian Sour Cherry Rice

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Serves 6 Take a look around you. I mean really, really look around. Every little thing - that weathered window sill, the sparkly vase, even that fuzzy gray pillow - they can all be your inspiration. Your muse. The catalyst to the next great idea. Take this Persian Sour Cherry Rice, for example. When I look at this masterpiece in form and taste - I can't help but wonder what inspired someone to create such a dish. Who was the clever soul that first made this tower of deliciousness … [Read more...]

Menu: Iran

Ava

It's the dog days of summer over here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All but two days in July have been over 100F. And there's no end in sight. All day long the sky shimmers and the pavement radiates. My neighbor's giant tree is dropping leaves. Our crusty grass hasn't been green in weeks, and I haven't worn a pair of socks since May. In honor of this painfully persistent heat wave, I've put together a refreshing summertime meal, straight from the heart of Iranian cooking. When it gets this hot, for this … [Read more...]

About the Food of Iran

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Pop Quiz: Would an Iranian ever use minute rice? Welcome to one of the most mountainous countries in the world, chock full of winding mountain paths, arid plateaus, and scrubby, windswept trees. Welcome to Iran. If you learn one thing during this week's Global Table Adventure, learn this: Iranians make the most beautiful, perfect rice. And I mean perfect. Jaw-dropping. Breath taking. Not one gummy grain in the lot. It should be no surprise then, that, from mountain top to mountain … [Read more...]