Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Nowruz

Today is the celebration of Nowruz, Persian New Years. We celebrate our new year on the first day of spring. I always loved this celebration and try to do something every year for it, even if it's something small.

This year, I had my Baba (dad) over for dinner to celebrate with me.


We made a pretty traditional Nowruz dinner featuring Sabzi Polo (rice with dill and sweet peas) and Mahi (fish).


To sidetrack a bit, I must admit that I was apprehensive to share this post. Since this blog is still pretty new to me, I obsess over a lot of details. Health being my number one focus here, I don't want any mixed messages. I realize now that the first impression when visiting this blog for some may be that it's a "vegan blog", which it isn't really. Although I can safely say I cook 90% vegan, oil free, whole food, plant based cuisine, I wouldn't call myself a vegan, nor this blog. My main message here and everywhere is health. I will still occasionally eat animal protein, and the rare occasions that I do, it's very limited with veggies being the main bulk of my plate. I don't believe there is any benefit to eating animal protein as long as you eat enough vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. The occasions where I do end up eating animal protein are usually for the same reason I have a bite of decadent cake. I also make sure I know what farm my meat comes from and that the animals were raised humanly.
This blog is simply about health, a little about me, and a focus on a plant based, whole food diet. This lifestyle is meant to be livable. It's important to know and realize what your currently capable of maintaining and work on improving yourself day by day.

Now onto the food...
For my veg, I baked off some zucchini, summer squash, asparagus and tomato.



I was thinking I could substitute the salmon with tempeh, but because it's the New Year and I wanted to stick to tradition, I decided to go with salmon. If you are a strict vegan or vegetarian, I would recommend you try making the red sauce I cook the salmon in. You can use it with tempeh or veggies and it would come out delish.


Sabzi Polo is one of my favorite Persian rice dishes. It can be made with either lima beans or sweet peas, today I used sweet peas.


Most of my dishes tonight include Persian Saffron, a spice that's hand plucked from a flower. Persian Saffron (not to be confused with any other variation of saffron) is the most expensive spice on the market pricing as high as gold. "the most intense varieties tend to be Iranian." - Wikipedia. You only use a very little bit of it in your cooking, a little goes a very long way.


Cooking and having dinner with my Baba was a very sweet way to start off the new year. I wish my mom was in town to celebrate with us, maybe we'll do another small celebration for her when she gets back =)

 

Sabzi Polo (Rice with Dill and Sweet Peas)
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 2-3 cups sweet peas or lima beans, frozen
  • 1 tsp Persian Saffron (or however much you can afford)
In a rice cooker, cook rice with all ingredients together. You can cook this on a stove top by following the directions on your rice package and adding in the rest of the ingredients.

Baked Veggies
  • 4 zucchini squash, sliced
  • 2 summer squash, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 vine tomatoes, sliced in half
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Place all veggies onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle with spices. Cook in oven for approx 30min.

Saffron Salmon
By Sarah Farsh March 21, 2012
  • 2 small salmon fillets
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 12 oz veggie stock
  • juice from one lemon
  • as much saffron as you can afford (up to 1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large saute pan, dry saute onions on high heat. Lower heat to medium and add in tomato paste, veggie stock and turmeric. Place salmon fillets skin side down on top of sauce and onions. Add lemon juice, saffron, dill, salt and pepper. Cover pan and cook on low heat for 20min.


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