Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Taste of The Middle East!

The other night I had the pleasure of having my beautiful Aunt and Uncle over for dinner. I decided to share with them the flavors from father's side of the family, so I cooked us up some Persian fare. I celebrated the traditional rich and exotic flavors found in Persian cuisine, but lightened things up by keeping the meal vegetarian.


For starters, I made a Watercress Parsley Salad with Pomegranate, Radish and Lavender Honey Infused Fromage Blanc. Typically, at a Persian table before dinner, you'll find a beautiful bed of greens with bright radishes nestled in between the leaves. We call this "Sabzi". Instead of serving bread to start with, we eat Sabzi to help invite our main dish. I thought it would be interesting to combine some of the greens found in Sabzi, and create this light and fresh salad to welcome our main course. 

For dinner, I served Herbed Basmati Rice (Sabzi Polo) and Pomegranate Saffron Red Lentil Stew with Oyster Mushrooms. (Khoresht Gheymeh). The oyster mushrooms have great texture, and are able to hold up against the rich lentil stew. 

Lastly, for dessert, I whipped up a Vegan Raspberry Elderflower Cheesecake with Pistachio Rose Crust. It was really good... And tasted extremely Persian.

It was a lovely night, and I think my family enjoyed the meal almost as much as I enjoyed sharing it.

Vegan Raspberry Elderflower "Cheesecake" with Pistachio Rose Crust

Although this dessert highlights some traditional flavors you'd find in a typical Persian dessert like rose water and pistachio... I actually got inspired to combine pistachio and raspberry after eating a dreamy pistachio raspberry pastry in Paris. Not to mention - the colors and flavors work beautifully together. You can serve this tart completely raw, or bake the crust before adding in the filling.


 

 


Vegan Raspberry Elderflower "Cheesecake" with Pistachio Rose Crust
by Sarah Farsh July 9th, 2013

crust:

  • 2 cups pistachios, shelled, unsalted
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • pinch of cardamon 
  • 4 tbsp oats
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • splash of water if needed
"cheesecake" filling:
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup elderflower water
To make pie crust, simply blend all crust ingredients together in VitaMix or food processor. Spread out evenly into a tart or pie pan. If serving tart raw, freeze dough in tart pan before adding in filling. If baking crust, bake on 350 for 15min and let cool.

For cheesecake filling, blend all filling ingredients together in VitaMix or food processor, and poor into raw or cooked pistachio crust. Freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight, and serve chilled.

Pomegranate Saffron Red Lentil Stew with Oyster Mushrooms (Vegetarian Khoresht Gheymeh)

A vegan version to one of my favorite Persian dishes. 


Pomegranate Saffron Red Lentil Stew with Oyster Mushrooms (Vegetarian Khoresht Gheymeh)
by Sarah Farsh July 9th, 2013

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 8oz can of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth (or more)
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 3 dried limes
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1 tbsp turmeric 
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Persian saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a stew pot, dry saute onions, adding splashes of vegetable broth when needed (you can also use olive oil if you aren't worried about the fat). Add in tomato paste, vegetable broth, pomegranate molasses, red lentils, dried limes, lemon juice and all spices. Mix well and bring to a boil. Add in dried red lentils and oyster mushrooms, mix well and cook on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until red lentils are cooked. Be careful not to over cook red lentils, they cook up very quickly. You can add more vegetable stock if you prefer a soupy stew, and less vegetable broth if you prefer a thicker stew. Serve with basmati rice. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Herbed Saffron Basmati Rice (Sabzi Polo)

This rice is a great base to serve with grilled veggies, or a tasty stew. 

Sabzi Polo (Rice with Dill, Parsley and Saffron)
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Persian Saffron
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
Bring water and rice to a boil. Add dill, parsley, saffron, turmeric and salt, and mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to low, and cook with lid on, undisturbed, for 30 - 40min until rice is soft.

Persian Watercress Salad with Pomegranate, Radish and Lavender Honey Infused Fromage Blanc

An elegant salad with an exotic twist.

Persian Watercress Salad with Pomegranate, Radish
and Lavender Honey Infused Fromage Blanc
by Sarah Farsh July 6th, 2013
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red radishes, sliced
  • sprinkle of Nettle Meadow Honey Lavender Fromage Blanc (or goat cheese)
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together, and serve chilled.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Black Beans, Corn and Quinoa

Almost every night, before I go to sleep, I prepare my breakfast and lunch for the next morning.

Unless I've made dinner the night before and have leftovers... I'll usually enjoy a loaded Chia Seed Pudding for breakfast, and a large salad with yummy fixings for lunch. I'll also pack some fruit to snack on throughout the day.


I try to make it a point to switch up my salads, so that they are always special. One part that usually remains the same is a huge bed of greens. From there, my toppings can vary from black beans, roasted corn, avocado, peppers, pickled jalapeƱos, garbanzo beans, quinoa, brown rice, sprouts, grilled eggplant, or whatever other veggies I'm in the mood for.

For tomorrows lunch, I'm going to have my salad greens with Black Beans and Quinoa. Yummy.



Black Beans and Quinoa
by Sarah Farsh July 1st, 2013
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 can unsalted black beans (drained)
  • 1/2 cup organic frozen fire roasted corn (Whole Foods Market)
  • pinch cumin, coriander and garlic powder 
In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Turn heat off after boiling, and add dry quinoa and miso paste, stir well. Put a lid on top of pot, and keep covered for 10min. Stir, and cover again for additional 10min. Water should be absorbed by quinoa by that time. Add can of beans (drained), corn and seasoning.