Monday, February 19, 2007

Persian Feast! & 5 Things

** UPDATE ** I brightened my Persian feast picture and added the brighter version too. Now you can see the tasty dishes a bit better.

I got the cooking bug today... I've been reading a lovely book about Iran ("Neither East Nor West"), and the author was writing about some of the dishes that her hosts were serving her... That was all the temptation I needed!

I had some tempeh and seitan in the freezer, so they came out to defrost & I got to work.

I made Fesejan using this recipe. Instead of "meat or small duck or partridge," I used tempeh. :) WOW! This dish is amazing! Such lovely and delicious flavors. A combination of sweet, sour, bitter, salty. Very complex, and just what I was in the mood for. The ingredients include: onion, turmeric, tempeh, walnuts, pomegranate juice, eggplant, and cardamom. Incredible! It was actually quite easy and quick... especially since I decided not to fry to the eggplant. I just steamed it quickly and then proceeded with the recipe. I'm sorry the picture is so dark (some of our lightbulbs are out), this would have made a gorgeous picture in the light of day. I cut the tempeh into triangles and they were so beautifully glazed. ahhh.

I also made Ghormeh Sabzi (vegetable stew) using this recipe. This is the dark green one on the right of the plate. Instead of meat, this time I used seitan. I also used canned kidney beans, cilantro, dill, chives, leeks, parsely, spinach, onion... and a few more ingredients. This dish was also amazing, even though I could tell I hadn't done it exactly right. I wasn't ever able to get all the herbs to lose all their moisture, as the recipe called for. I also left out the dried lemons, because I dont' have anywhere to find those around these parts. The dish had a great flavor, and since I was using seitan, I only had to cook it for about 15 min, rather than one hour like the meaty version called for... Another veggie victory!

To go with dinner, I made plain white rice. I LOVE proper persian rice, but a girl can only juggle so many things at once. :) I used this rice from TJ, and I have to say that I really recommend it. I love the way it cooks up - not too starchy, not too sticky. mmm

For dessert I took the idea of this recipe and made us each two special dates:
pit the date
stuff in half of a walnut half
roll in sesame seeds
roll in a mix of powdered sugar and cinnamon

I also made some pudding cups using this Oeteker's Butterscotch Pudding mix. As long as you use soy milk, it's all vegan. YUM.


Also, Chris over at Eat Air tagged me to write 5 Interesting Things About Myself. hmmm

* Over the last few years I have become aware of how damaging my various "identities" can be. I've noticed that once I identify as a "yoga teacher" or a "nice person" or a "serious person" or whatever... I instantly, and unconsciously, restrict my behavior choices to fit those self-imposed labels. Obviously, discipline and self-judgment are important, but in hindsight I've often realized that I didn't acknowlege something real that I was feeling or experiencing as a result. So, I don't know if that is interesting or not, but this exercise made me aware of those tendencies again.

* when I was two years old I finally said my first word, and it was "woof"

* I have been studying and practicing yoga for about 12 years. I started teaching yoga about 5 or 6 years ago. I practice almost every day, for at least an hour. Currently I am working toward a few specific goals in my practice: more mindfulness during practice, regaining strength after a 3-year long shoulder injury, deepening my backbends so that I will be able to drop back from standing into a full backbend (and back up again someday!!??), developing generosity and gratitude (trying not to be too selfish!), studying as much Anusara Yoga as possible to learn more about that, and - most especially - cultivating the elusive balance between discipline and JOY.

* Eight of my closest friends have known me since at least Junior high... and a few of them even go back to kindergarten. We are all still friends and get together as often as possible. Some people didn't get that lucky, especially in high school, so we are all very grateful for each other!

* So far, I really enjoy aging. Every year that I get older I feel more balanced, content, and generally skilled at responding to my emotions (and life in general). I think this is largely due to my loving boyfriend and my loving yoga practice and to all the wonderful people much older than me with whom I study yoga (with our teacher Kofi Busia). They have been such an inspiration to me, sometimes I wonder "How nice will it be when I'm 40?!". Ha ha! Maybe there is a cruel surpise ahead for me, but I don't think so!

Maybe that was interesting, maybe not! thanks for coming by either way. :)


  1. Ooh, I wish your picture was lighter so I could see the tempeh! And that pudding is pretty much what I lived on the first week after having my wisdom teeth pulled. I alternated b/t chocolate and butterscotch.

  2. That meal sounds delicious and creative... The dates sound teriffic. I sometimes think I should branch out a little more in the foods I prepare--so your post is quite inspiring! Thanks for sharing the 5 interesting things about yourself--I think you are a very interesting person! :)

  3. Food looks delish! And I love your positive attitude on aging!

  4. thanks for sharing your interesting "5 things". i am all too often guilty of restricting my behavior due to various identities as well and have struggled with that in myself. it helps me to know that someone who i thought was one of those people who is just themselves all the time struggles with it as well. and what a huge blessing to have so many lifelong friends! that is truly a rare and beautiful thing!

    a few more things i wanted to ask about...can you share your recipe for decorating frosting? your designs are really gorgeous and intricate. ... does the Vegnews article about San Diego mention any restaurants in North San Diego county? Thanks!


  5. Anonymous4:18 PM

    I really enjoyed reading more about you. I think your first word is hysterical and I really like your insight into identities - so true! I've been working on my list of "things" also. I better get going with it. Your Persian cuisine looks delicious. I've been meaning to ask you since reading about it - how do I sign up for your X-Mas cookbook? :)

  6. I love eating all the different ethnic foods, but I don't think I've tried Persian. Your dishes look delicious and so healthful. And those dates look too good!

    I really admire your dedication to yoga. You've been an inspiration to me on many occasions.

  7. I agree about enjoying aging. I'm 31, and I never lie about my age. I'm glad to be out of my 20's!
    All the food looks excellent! Any food storing / saving tips you might have would be welcome!

  8. Hi Bazu,
    Hopefully you'll come back and see my brightened picture! We have such crummy lighting... it's nothing like Susan's lovely photos, but at least you can see the yumminess now. :) Also, those pudding mixes are great huh? In addition to chocolate and butterscotch, I also love the coconut flavor. I've got a box of banana flavor that I have yet to try.

    Hi Laura!
    Thanks for your nice comment. I know what you mean about wanting to branch out into other things. It's funny to see the foods that other bloggers make or use regularly that I haven't tried yet. It's so inspiring.

    Hi Sarah!
    :) Yeah, I'm one of the few people I know who always sticks up for getting older!

    Hi IslandGirlShell,
    Nice to hear from you! I think the identity issue is something we all struggle with, I guess it's part of the human condition. Even after devoting my life to yoga, my life is still full of struggles, and problems, and shortcomings etc. Sigh! But, at least I'm a bit more humble about them, and a bit more forgiving of them in others than when I started. Thanks for the nice words about my frosting! I don't really have a recipe, but I'll tell you how I make it. I pour a bunch of powdered sugar in a bowl (about 1 c or so to start), and then about a tablespoon or so of Earth Balance. then I add a tiny bit of soymilk at a time and start stirring. I look for the exact balance of ingredients where when I stir it, the mixture is thick enough to cream the earth balance on it's own (if it's too liquidy the EB just stays globby & if it's too thick, the mix looks dry and is very hard to stir). I save a bit of powdered sugar and milk on the side to add as needed until I find the balance. Hope that works for you, let me know!

    Hi VivV!
    I'll include a post about my Xmas cookbook, because you are not the first person to ask! The Persian food was super delcious. So rich, and such unusual flavors.

    Hi AtxVegan!
    Yeah, the dates were tasty. At restaurants, Iranian food can be pretty meat-oriented... but with some pretty simple adaptations, it's quite easy to veganize. And the flavors are quite unusual and new for the palette! Also, thanks for the kind words about my yoga studies. It's been a force for nothing but good in my life.

    Hi Lizard Princess,
    Right on! I'm with you... SO glad to be out of my 20's. Phew! We made it! ha ha. I store a lot of stuff in the freezer... unless I know I'm going to eat in the next 2 days or so. I also keep a list on the side of the fridge with everything that's in my freezer, so that I don't forget! Also, I've found that microwaving seitan results in rubbery seitan (gross!)... so I try to defrost my seitan dishes at room temp, and then warm them on the stove top or in the oven. I'd love to hear other people's ideas on this topic too!!

    :) Amey

  9. Yes, I came back! The brighter picture really helps me, b/c I'm usually on my little itty laptop, so I really need help seeing photos on blogs! (Also, I have "grad. student eyes" everything is blurry to me!)

    I love ghormeh sabzi, and it's so easy to veganize- just leave out the meat. Your feast does look great!

    Also, you are SO lucky to have such life-long friends. I've moved around so much, I feel like my friends are scattered all around, and I'm lucky if I see some of them every few years!

  10. Your Persian feast looks delicious! I really want to try your tempeh dish.

    Thanks for sharing the 5 things about yourself. I can relate to the "identities" one. I tend to get tunnel-vision about certain hobbies or parts of my life, where I tend to focus only on one thing to the exclusion of all others. I'm not sure it's a good thing, but at least it makes me better at the thing I'm focusing on.

  11. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Well you've certainly been busy! I ate at a Persian restaurant once and it was great but I've never tried cooking Persian myself. It's always fun to explore new cuisines though.

    And your 5 things are interesting. I agree that it's great you have such wonderful life-long friends. I've lost touch with pretty much everyone I knew before college...

  12. Your Persian feast looks wonderful! That is one type of cuisine I haven't tried before. What a cool way to eat dates!

    I really enjoyed reading your five things. Your yoga journey inspires me - even if I still feel I have a long way to go, I've experienced many changes in my life due to yoga. I haven't been practicing as much as I'd like to, but my mat has been calling loud and clear for me to come back! :)

    You are right to be grateful for your lifelong friends. Those kind of people don't often cross our paths!

  13. Hi Bazu,
    Yay! I"m glad you came back. Yeah, the gormeh sabzi was fantastic. It really tasted "Iranian" to me - and reminded me of all the Persian food I used to eat.

    Hi Susan!
    I was thinking of you when I was cooking up those persian dishes, and thinking "how would Susan reduce the fat in this?" ha ha! Thanks for being such a great inspiration in that regard! And I know what you mean about focusing on one thing at a time. I think it is indeed helpful in some ways.

    Hi Chris!
    Yeah, I definitely recommend Persian food - great flavors. Also, it's funny because I didn't really end up making many friends in college, because I had such great friends already. From what I understand, most people have the opposite experience.

    Hi Kati!
    Yes, I've enjoyed reading about your adventures with yoga as well... I'll be interested to hear what your yoga mat tells you when you go back to it! :)

  14. Hope you enjoy this. I use it on my yoga mat....

    I am (more accurate to body is...) Persian and I like Persian food. All I need is your cooking bug, and I will be set ;)


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