Monday, January 4, 2016

Shashito Peppers with Toasted Sesame & Smoked Salt

Anytime I see shashito peppers on a menu at a restaurant, I always order them. I don't see them everywhere so it's special when I do. I've never thought to make them at home until I found them fresh in the produce section and though I'd give them a try. They are CRAZY easy to make and taste just as good as when I get them at restaurants. They are a perfect little tapa to serve with cocktails or wine night with friends where cooking isn't the main focus. It takes minutes to saute and they are a crowd-wower. Perfect little snack to offer guests when you want to spend less time in the kitchen.

Shashito Peppers with Toasted Sesame & Smoked Shaved Salt
  • 1 pint fresh shashito peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tsp smoked salt flakes
In a large non-stick fry pan, heat up olive oil and add shashito peppers, sesame seeds and pinch kosher salt. Saute on high heat for 5 - 10 minutes and keep tossing until all sides are lightly brown. Top with smoked salt or specialty salt of choose. You can eat the whole pepper besides the stem. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Baba's Persian Shakshuka (Poached Eggs w/ Tomato & Saffron)

When I was little I would have this Persian (or Israeli) omelet almost every weekend. I have to admit that sometimes I'd even get sick of the idea of having the same thing over and over, and would request other options for a Sunday morning with my family. You know like pancakes, french toast or even cereal?! Shashuka was my dad's specialty though, in fact I think it's the only breakfast he really knew how to cook. Even with all the repetition, I could never never resist it once I smelled the tomatoes start to cook up with turmeric. The colors, flavors and aroma of this dish are very seducing, and it's surprisingly easy to sever for a larger bunch. 

Baba's Persian Shashuka, Poached Eggs w Tomato & Saffron
By my Baba Joon 
  • 4 - 5 vine ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 handful baby spinach (optional, extra veggie kick!)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch of Persian saffron 
  • kosher salt to taste (1 tsp to start)
  • fresh parsley and feta to garish on top (optional)
  • 6 organic, cage-free eggs
In a large frying pan, sauté onions with oil, add tomatoes and all spices. Cook down on medium heat until tomatoes melt, it will take about 10 - 15 minutes. Add dill, and optional spinach, mix in well with tomato base. Carefully crack eggs over tomatoes sauce so they are spread out across surface. Put a lid over pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until whites are cooked but the yellow should still be soft. With a large spoon, carefully spoon out mixture with egg - try to cut on cooked egg white so the yolk can crack when your ready to eat. Sprinkle with optional parsley and feta, and serve with warm hearty bread. We use Barbari bread which is a Persian farmers bread but it's hard to find if you don't have a close by Middle Eastern store. You can substitute with a french baguette, thick pita or fresh baked sourdough. 

Vegan Khoreshteh Karafs (Persian Celery & Mint Stew)

Karafs is my second favorite Persian stew after Ghormeh Sabzi; it's an aromatic celery based stew with lemon, mint and parsley. It's best served on top of basmati rice, but you can also enjoy it like a soup with with some hearty bread. Traditionally my family makes karafs with chicken, I've seen other families make it with stew meat. My version is vegan and vegetarian friendly since I use beans as a protein and it's just as good!

Vegan Khoreshte Karafs, Persian Celery & Mint Stew 
by Sarah Farsh January, 1 2016
  • 1 bunch celery, cut into 1-2 inch size pieces
  • 2 cups fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 4 dried Persian limes
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 - 3 cups veggie broth or water (more or less depending how soupy you like it)
  • 1 can red or white kidney beans 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
  • salt/pepper to taste 
In a large soup pot, dry sauté onions adding veggie stock or water as needed. Add celery and optional oil and keep cooking. Add mint, parsley, turmeric, garlic powder, salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes until all veggies are combine and start to sweat. Add lemon juice, dried limes, and 2 - 3 cups veggie broth or water, stir and cook on medium/low heat with lid on for 25 minutes. Add can of beans, cook for additional 10 - 15 minutes and it's ready to serve!