We had a super fun, super great NoRooz party last night! It was so wonderful. Most of my family came, along with many friends -including a few who are Iranian or have Iranian ties. Around 12:30 last night, I sat down to make a huge NoRooz blog post - and found that all the pictures we took yesterday had vanished from our memory card! Apparently we had some sort of memory card failure (very poorly timed, I must say!), and all the MANY food pics we took yesterday vanished into the ether. So, you'll have to make do with one or two recreated "leftovers" pics and lots of writing. It's a bummer too, because there was SO much food, and it was all beautiful. You'll just have to imagine last night's loving presentation!
ghormeh sabzi (I actually just defrosted my BIG pot of leftovers from a few weeks ago)
sohan as ali
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 c finely chopped fresh parsely
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 T dried fenugreek
One of my favorite things to make every year for NoRooz are these delicious treats: Sohan As-Ali. So elegant, quick (in fact - quite a fast paced thing to make), and very tasty. This recipe is from an old greeting card that one of my cousins sent me.
1 c sugar
2 T agave nectar + 1 T brown rice syrup
4 T corn oil (or other light oil)
1 1/2 c unsalted, slivered, blanched almonds
1/2 tsp ground saffron (or about 3/4 tsp saffron threads)
2 T rose water
4 T unsalted, chopped pistachios
1 glass of ice water
First, get everything ready, chopped, etc. This goes fast once you get going. Get your parchment paper laid out onto a bit cookie sheet or cutting board near your stovetop. Soak the saffron in the rose water and set aside until needed. Put your chopped pistachios nearby.
In a heavy pan, over high heat, melt the sugar, oil, agave & brown rice syrup for about 3-5 minutes - stirring often.
Add in the slivered almonds and keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so. The mix should be firm and golden (a dark golden color is fine if you use unrefined sugar like I do). Position your ice water next to you at this point.
Add in the saffron-rosewater mixture and cook another 2-4 min. Be careful not to burn it - the color should not be dark dark brown. (I find that I use the shorter end of most of these time estimates). Drop a little bit of the mix into the water - if it hardens immediately then it is ready. If not, keep cooking and stirring. Once it's ready, reduce the heat to very low.
Drop teaspoon-full blobs of the stuff onto your parchement paper, and sprinkle on some chopped pistachios (this is a fun thing for a helper to help with). Leave a little bit of space between them, as they may spread out a tiny bit (maybe 1 inch of space). Allow the treats to cool - and then enjoy them!
Makes a lot.
I also made another Persian sweetie, which I had never made before: Chickpea Cookies! This Turkish Delight is actually storebought - but my Chickpea Cookies were one of the many memory card casualties. So this picture will have to do. Anyhow, these were *really* good turkish delight candies! I pretty much just followed the recipe as it's listed there - but here are a few tips/comments:
- use equal parts sugar & chickpea flour (like 1/2 c each)
- add in a little bit of oil at a time, until the whole mix is moistened, but not excessively oily looking.
- let it sit 4 hours or so (or even overnight)
- making the little balls isn't super easy, as it's crumbly dough, but just persist. Keep pressing and padding the dough until you get nice little smooth balls. Not bigger than 1 inch round. Set on a cookie sheet (ungreased) about 1 inch apart.
- bake about 18 minutes until lightly golden (color really doesn't change much).
- these cookies were SO CUTE and were also very tasty ... they were completely devoured, which is why I don't have a "leftovers" picture to share with you all!
For the breads we had pita bread, some whole wheat Sangak that my Iranian friend brought me for NoRooz, and also some Trader Joe's Middle Eastern Flat bread. Mmmm.
It was a really wonderful holiday - filled with love and friends and celebration and even a new outfit for me! (It's tradition to put on new clothes at the moment of the holiday - the exact moment of the vernal equinox...). Happy New Year to all of you!