Category Archives: Appetizers, Sides and Salads

Holiday Sides with Quinoa and Lintel

Here are two absolutely healthy simple yet delicious sides/salads to go with any Holiday dishes. Let’s get into them without further ado

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Good nuts, pretty nuts

Walnuts and almonds are so good for your health: they are said to prevent heart disease and lung and prostate cancer and nourish brain cells. Walnuts and almonds also contain healthy calories and healthy fats. In fact, those who incorporate these two nuts into their regular diet are said to be less likely to gain weight.

I love walnuts with my tea and feta for breakfast; and I usually use almonds on my salad. My favorite nut dish however, is the one on the picture. Just on its own, as a side dish, appetizer, filler, snack, and with bear as a chaser or “mazeh”. Read more »

Lentil Salad with Bell Pepper & Cumin

As promised in my previous blog post, here is the recipe for a hearty salad, to add more color and flavor to any autumn table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup large lentil
  • 4 halves of bell peppers in green, red, orange and yellow, (1 half, each)
  • ¼ tbsp. cumin
  • Fresh lemon juice, salt and olive oil as desired Read more »

Mirza Ghasemi, (Persian Smoked eggplants casserole)

Mirza Ghasemi is a vegetarian dish from Gilan in Northern Iran, yet quite popular through the country and beyond, especially as a tasty side dish.  Made traditional way, the recipe contains only four ingredients (eggplants, tomatoes, eggs, and garlic).  The real trick however in making a remarkably authentic Mirza ghasemi is to making this casserole-like dish taste and smell, partially or totally smoky! And that has to do with how you cook your vegetables.  So, let’s get started!

Ingredients (serves 4)

Eggplants, 4-5, small. Tomatoes, 4 large. Garlic cloves, 5 (use more if you like garlics or less if you don’t). Eggs, 4. Oil, 3 tbs. Salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Grill pierced eggplants and whole tomatoes on a barbecue grill – ideally on charcoal, till skin is burned and inside is well cooked. Obviously eggplants require more cooking time. Cut off the two ends of garlic cloves and place them on the barbecue grill with the skin on and grill them for a few minutes as well. Remove your vegetables, as they are sufficiently cooked and set aside to cool.  Note that it is customary to grill and “smoke” the eggplants, but I have figured smoking tomatoes add to the delicious taste of Mirza ghasemi. My friend has discovered and kindly tipped me preparing garlic the way I just mentioned is magical! It truly is, you just have to be careful not to burn it. And while you are at it, make lots of smoked garlic and use them in your jar of olive oil along with fresh herbs and red chili pepper.

Using a cutting board, remove the eggplants’ skin and cut the eggplants in tiny pieces, sprinkling salt all over. Set aside. Do the same with the tomatoes. Skin the smoked garlic, and smash it. In a skillet sauté the smashed garlic in hot oil for a couple of minute over medium heat.

Add eggplants and sauté for ten minutes or until light brown. Add chopped tomatoes, and stir another 3-4 minutes. Taste for adjustment. Then cover the lid, reduce the heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.

At the last stage, remove the lid, break the eggs, immediately maximize the heat, stir thoroughly. You could add black powder pepper if you like.

Mirza ghasemi is traditionally eaten with plain rice, kateh style.

Crab Salad / Sandwich

Crab Salad, often eaten as sandwich, is definitely a summer delight because it is so simple to make and made mostly of refreshing ingredients. It is also among the salads that is made of almost any vegetable and herb – depending on your taste – you could mix the cooked cooled crabmeat with onion, bell pepper, lettuce, vinegar, basil, chervil, coriander, even hazelnuts and  boiled egg. Here is my selected version of crab salad. I love it and actually crave it as soon as it feels like summer out there!

Ingredients:   300 gr. cooked crabmeat, flaked. 1 cup celery (leaf and heart), diced. 3 tbsp. parsley, chopped. 2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise.  1 medium lemon juice. To serve, you could use any plain or seeded sandwich rolls, or for an added visual effect and nutritional value top it on avocado wedges. Read more »

Moussaka, domesticated

Okay, this is a completely innovative meatless, eggplant-based side dish inspired by the Greek moussaka; it is much simpler than Moussaka, with far fewer ingredients. I have worked on the recipe several times and am quite proud of the result.  Here we go.

 Ingredients (Serving 4-5): 1½ kg eggplant, peeled. 1 kg tomatoes. 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced. 4-5 cloves of Garlic, minced. 250 gr, Mozzarella  cheese, grated. 1-2 tbsp. tomato-based hot sauce (see below). 1 teaspoon turmeric. Salt and cooking oil as needed. Read more »

Kale Chips

I was so excited when I first discovered the “massaged kale salad” and shred it here.

More excited still with my recent discovery of Kale chips. I followed Kate Eats Real Food’s recipe here and came up with an excellent – crispy and de-li-cious chips kale chips!!

Here are the pictures I took in the process and the sounds I was able to produce in the process too!

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Fresh Herbs (sabzi)

A plate full of seasonal herbs, fresh walnuts and cheese- an unbeatable Persian treat when accompanied with hot barbari bread and a large glass of tea!

A Trio of delicious, easy finger foods

I have come up with a combination of finger foods, which could be prepared in about 2-3 hours, max.,  tasting real good and looking way more laborious. So, Let’s get right in to it!

  1. 1.      Stuffed Meat Rolls (rollet-e goosht):

Ingredients: 400 gr., ground beef or veal. 1 medium onion, peeled and grated (squeeze to discard excess juice). 1 egg. 1 clove of garlic, finely grated. 1 and ½ , chick pea flower (ard-e nokhodchi). 1/2 tbsp., chopped parsley.  ½ cup, V8 or plain tomato juice. 1 teaspoon turmeric.  2 tbsp., Oil.  Salt and pepper to taste. Stuffing: 1 and ½ tbsp. chopped parsley. 1 Boiled egg, chopped. Variation: add crispy fried onion, chopped walnuts.

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Grated cucumber & yogurt (Maast-O-Khiyar)

Maast-O-khiyar: Grated cucumber and yogurt, mixed with salt, black pepper and dried mint powder, and topped with dried rose powder: a perfect combination of tastes, aroma and color and a savory companion of many Persian foods.