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Posts Tagged ‘food preparation’

If you read my previous post on Sabzeh, you might be interested in the history behind this celebration. A very detailed explanation of the celebration as experienced in Persia (Iran) is found in a great cookbook, entitled New Food Of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, by Najmieh Batmanglij. You can find this on pages 403-408 in the 2008 edition. This is a beautiful book with enticing photos of the prepared food AND ancient Persian art. The book jacket describes the book as “a treasure of 250 classical and regional Iranian recipes. 120 color photographs of food intertwined with Persian miniatures and illustrations together with descriptions of ancient and modern ceremonies make New Food of Life not just a collection of excellent recipes but also an introduction to Persian art and culture.”

The book is lovely and interesting enough to be a coffee table book, especially for foodies, travelers and art historians.

I didn’t buy the book for any of those reasons though. I bought it to explore a cuisine I could cook for my husband who is allergic to wheat. Very few of the recipes use wheat; there is much more use of rice. So if you or a family member have issues with wheat, you might explore Persian cuisine. I’m sure there are other good cookbooks out there. I’m just familiar with this one and it is available in Barnes and Noble  stores. The author does a good job of addressing the issue of specialty ingredients. Compared to Indian cuisine, I think the Persian recipes call for fewer exotic ingredients. Still, you will need access to a middle Eastern grocery store for some of the ingredients. Helpfully, the author includes a list of specialty stores by state and city in the back of the book. The one I explored in Houston, Phoenicia Supermarket on Westheimer, was a true delight to visit. They supply ingredients for many middle eastern cuisines as well as cooking supplies, books, carryout, and a dining area.  It’s a great place to explore.

Naw Ruz being March 21, I wish you Happy Naw Ruz!

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You know how expensive asparagus is. It’s delicious but pricey, even when on sale.  And you know the way to prepare asparagus is to “snap” it off toward the cut end wherever it will break off. That breaking point marks the borderline between tender and too tough to eat. So what happens is you wind up throwing away about a third of the asparagus you purchased.  That really doesn’t have to happen if you will take a little extra time and peel those ends that used to be discarded.

Peel off the outside skin using a good vegetable peeler. These pieces are so small that using a knife to peel them makes the job very difficult and a little dangerous.

Mario Batali vegetable peeler

Mario Batali vegetable peeler

Be sure to make a fresh cut at the end of the spear. What you have left after peeling is a nice tender piece of asparagus.

How to use this in your cooking? Julienne to add to stir-fried vegetables. Coarsely or finely chop to add to a fritatta or quiche. Want to get really sneaky? Add the finely chopped pieces to spaghetti sauce and sneak some vegetables in on the kids without them knowing it.

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How to peel a kiwi

Sliced kiwi is a delicious topping for a fruit pizza. However, it is difficult to peel,kiwi on fruit pizza and of course you don’t eat the peel.

Here is an easy way to peel the kiwi:

1) Slice off both ends of the kiwi;

2) Take a teaspoon and slip it just under the skin of the kiwi, as close to the skin as possible, with the cupped side of the spoon facing the curvature of the kiwi.

3) Insert the teaspoon only about half way through the kiwi.  Rotate the spoon completely around the kiwi.

4) Remove the teaspoon and insert it at the other end of the kiwi. Again, rotate the spoon completely around the kiwi.

You will now have separated the skin of the kiwi from the fruit and can slip it off the fruit.

The fruit is now ready to be sliced with a knife and placed on the fruit pizza or other uses.

Enjoy!

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