Kiafardaily

Cherry Clafoutis

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There is not a single time I see big black cherries and they don’t bring memories of my childhood. We had this large cherry tree in our summer villa, and every year, it would give us the juiciest and largest black cherries! They were heavenly delicious and just pretty to watch! I was one of those girls who would climb up trees as much as the branch could carry my light weight! You can imagine how far up I could climb! It was my ritual to pick the cherries from this tree every years until I came to Canada where I find very similar cherries coming from Okanagan!

Watching these cherries when in season truly connect my every summer to the past! Now that I know much about cooking, I not only indulge in fresh picked ones, I use them in baking too!

This week we picked some wild black berries from an alley near our house. I thought they would be a perfect match with mixed cherries to make my summer time clafoutis! This dessert was heavenly delicious and hope you bake it and enjoy it as much as my family and I did!

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400-600g fresh whole cherries or other summer fruits cut into pieces
60g powder sugar, extra for dusting

Some sugar for sprinkling over the baking dish
3 tbsp concentrated (evaporated) orange juice (optional)
60g butter, melted, plus extra to grease
100g pastry flour
Pinch of salt
4 eggs, beaten
250ml whole milk
3 tbsp almond meal
Grated zest of one lemon (optional)

 Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a medium baking dish (wide enough to hold cherries in one single layer) with some butter, and sprinkle sugar. Spin the dish round to coat the inside with sugar, then set aside.

Wash the cherries and remove the stalks. Place them in a bowl and lightly crush to pop the cherries’ skin. If you like, you can remove the stone, but it is better not to do. Place them at the bottom of the greased baking dish.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Place the eggs in a medium bowl with powdered sugar, beat with a whisk until fluffy and pale.

Then, add milk, butter, and orange concentrate. Mix well and last, add the flour. Mix with a rubber spatula and Pour into the prepared baking dish over the cherries and bake for 30-40 minutes, until edges are light golden and the centre is springy to touch. Cover and let cool down for 10 minutes. Flip two times to get the top upright! Decorate with icing sugar and fresh fruits. Serve warm immediately with vanilla ice cream, or coffee! Any way you choose this desert, this dessert is irresistibly delicious!

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Soaked Bulgar Kale Salad

This year, I have started a larger vegetable garden in which among many greens and vegetables, I have planted curled green kale. Kale is known to have leaves that are a bit chewier and coarser than lettuce, making them less popular among kids and young folks. What I always do with it was to use it in my green smoothie! It gives the smoothie a beautiful bright green color and makes it nutrient rich without compromising the taste! You can find the recipe here.
However this time, I felt these home-organically grown kales are very delicate, honestly softer than lettuce leaves. Therefore, I decided to make a full yet light dinner out of them. The result was perfect and so so so delicious that I decided to write a blog about it. Here Is my recipe for this semisweet kale salad. You can definitely make this salad even if you don’t have your own kale; simply grab a bunch at the grocery store with smaller and younger leaves. I am sure you get very similar results! Enjoy!

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Serves 4

1cup uncooked bulgar

1Tbsp Olive oil

2Tbsp lime juice

1Tbsp honey

1Tbsp mustard

250g cooked chicken meat, diced

A bunch of curled kale, thinly sliced

1cup crispy pear, diced

1/2 cup aged marble cheddar cheese, diced

Salt n pepper

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Direction

Soak the bulgar ahead of time in the cold water for at least one hour. Drain and set aside.

Combine all the diced ingredients. Add the bulgar and toss with olive oil. Finish with adding the lemon juice, mustard, and honey. Adjust the seasoning. Toss well and serve.

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Rhubapricot Leather Rolls

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Rhubapricot Leather Rolls are the healthiest and most fun summer snack that can be fit into any pocket without any mess! Although this statement is very subjective, one can argue over so many good qualities of this snack. It is not only great to be licked on fresh next day, its main goodness reveals in winter when fresh fruits and summer vegetables are scarce! Well, in my home, Farnaz and Kiamehr almost finished this batch already, so I need to work on my next batch already and this time I have to hide this winter treasure! Hope you like this recipe! Go ahead and make this super tart snack and cause some mouths to water and squeeze!

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Ingredients
2 lb rhubarb
1/2 lb apricot
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1tsp lemon juice
Equipment: a mixer, 2 sheet pans, parchemnt paper
Directions
  • Arrange the oven to the lowest temperature it allows.
  • Place parchment paper at the bottom of two oven-safe sheet pans; cut the papers slightly bigger to pass the rim. Set aside.
  • Chop the apricots and rhubarb into large pieces. Place them in a copper pot (preferable) and add the sugar and water. Bring into a simmer and cook without a lid until fruits are just soft and colour has not changed. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Let stand to cool down.
  • Transfer the fruit mix to a blender and make it into a purée. Do not over mix or you get air bubbles.
  • Using a flat spatula, spread the puree as thin as 1/6 inch. If you like the fruit leather very thin, you may need two sheet pan.
  • Place the sheet pan in the warm oven and let dry.
  • In the end, cut the sheets into 1.5-inch stripes and roll, roll, and ROLL! Tight with kitchen twine and keep in a container at room temperature.

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Fespinach Egg Dish

An easy Sunday Breakfast at Fariba’s!

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Tomo is a dear girl from Japan who lives in Vancouver. She is a  friend of my daughter, Farnaz, and comes to our house to visit regularly. Last weekend, she was our guest and on Saturday morning Farnaz came to me with a request for breakfast.

Well, I told her that a good breakfast needs an excellent list of fresh ingredients! Without grocery shopping, it is not going to turn out a pretty and tasty breakfast! She hopped onto her car and came back with a bag of things I have listed as ingredients! And you can guess the happy ending! I served them this delicious breakfast that I am going to give you the recipe just down below!

 

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Ingredients: 

8 fresh whole eggs

2 bunches baby spinach

250g  feta cheese, cubed

2tsp sumac

Salt and pepper

1Tbsp butter

Toasted bread slices for serving

Method:

Grease the bottom of an oven-proof dish with butter. Warm up the oven to 350F.

Meanwhile, blanch the spinach in boiling water for max 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze the water out and chop up. Mix spinach with feta cheese and sumac. Arrange the mixture in the pan into four sections.

Crack the eggs in the pan and season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for max 10 minutes until the eggs are slightly set. Let cool for 5 minutes. And serve with toasted bread and a green salad if desired! My choice for greens are mixed greens we buy from grocery stores and simply toss them in a large bowl first with olive oil and then with some vinaigrette of your choice! Enjoy every bit! Cheers!

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Young Green Almond Mutton Stew

It is nothing tastier than crunching on the spring green almonds in Spring.  If you were born and raised in Iran, your mouth waters as you are reading this text! It is absolutely the most delicious and freshest thing you can start off the season of rebirth!

However today, I did something different with my green almonds. I turned it into a stew made with lamb shank. The recipe was a great success. Simply make sure not to overcook the Green Almonds! A simple rule, in this case, is that it is better to serve undercook than overcooking. Remember, serve it Al Dente!

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Ingredients

2 medium onions, minced and divided

3Tbsp vegetable oil

1 pound Mutton stew shanks, cleaned and cut

1 teaspoon saffron, ground

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4tsp white pepper, ground

300g Young almonds, cleaned and stemmed

3 cups Chicken broth

 

Directions

In a skillet heat oil and sauté meat pieces until brown on all sides. Set aside. Sauté onion in on Tbsp oil until fragrant. Add pepper and turmeric and cook for 30seconds. Add the meat and two cups of chicken broth. Let cook on medium-low heat and cook for about 2 hours until tender. Add saffron.

Meanwhile, sauté the rest of the onion and green almonds until fragrant. Add one cup of chicken stock and cook until al dente.

Cook rice and mix 3Tbsp with ground saffron. Set aside.

At the end mix almonds with meat and cook for 15 minutes. Serve with saffron rice.

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Our Garden Zuccini Flowers

My dad had bought me some zucchini seeds to plant last year when I was coming back to Vancouver. And I did plant them in the spring! Soon my zucchini plants grow so big and started to flower on a regular basis. Some would fall off and turned into zucchini but some flowers just stayed flowers!

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I knew from my last summer’s travel to Sicily that they stuffed and fried them. They were served as an afternoon snack fresh. I was inspired by Sicilians taking advantage of falling flowers! So, I decided to transform my beautiful flowers into a yummy recipe!

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The recipe I prepared is a simple and clean deep fried zucchini flowers. The ingredients I used are borrowed from Italian cuisine. Feel free to change the into your own culture’s taste bud and enjoy them your way! There is absolutely no end to how you can be creative and trans formative when we get to cooking!

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Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Ingredients:

10-15 Zucchini Flowers

½ cup Ricotta cheese

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 garlic clove, minced

2 egg yolks

Salt and pepper

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup cornstarch

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

3 cups vegetable oil

Method

  • In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, egg yolks and salt n pepper.
  • Gently open the blossoms and fill with about a tablespoon of filling with a small spoon. These blossoms are very fragile; so make sure they are not ripped in the filling process.
  • Twist the tip of the flowers to close and encase the filling.
  • Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt n pepper, and baking powder.
  • In a small pot, heat oil to reach 350F. Then, fry flowers for about 5 minutes or until light golden color and crispy (Make sure not to fry too many at the same time, since this makes the oil temperature to decrease which makes the flowers less crispy and soggy. It is best to fry them in small batches and bring oil to 350F before next batch).
  • Place flowers on a paper towel and serve while hot!

Please Note that you can prepare the filling a day a head and flowers stay fresh if wrapped in paper and kept in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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stufffed zucchini

Quince and Lamb Shanks Braise

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Our home is surrounded by garden all over and depending on the season, plants show off different scenery. It is been snowy the last few days and we keep the window blinds open the whole time these days to enjoy the beautiful snow covered gardens. When things frizz at this time of the year, all the magic stories and beautiful nights start to come around. I have everything ready to celebrate the best time of the year Christmas and Yalda nights, just few days apart from each other! And all in all, it means that holidays are in here!

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These day home has a new refreshing air since our Farid is back home, and we are all together as one family again celebrating the magical nights of Yalda and Christmas. Nothing feels better than just being together eating a healthy and family style food! And this brings me to the kitchen cooking something well paired with the holiday season.

Since quince is in season, I decided to share with you my recipe which I am going to make for Yalda night! I decided to upload a bit earlier so you too can make this dish in holiday season! The sweet and spicy taste of quince braise is definitely a great complement for celebrating dinner tables.

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Here is a list of what you need

  • 5 lamb shanks, cleaned and trimmed
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 large quince, cut into wedges (right before cooking)
  • 2 medium onions, small cubes
  • 2 lime juice and zest, keep zest and juice separate
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2tsp coriander, ground
  • 1tsp cumin, ground
  • 1/4tsp saffron, brewed in 2Tbsp of boiling water for 2 minutes
  • 1Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple or orange juice
  • 1Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1Tbsp butter

Method

·      In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil and brown lamb shanks on all sides until golden brown. Set aside

·      Meanwhile place a large casserole pot over heat and melt the butter. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until translucent and light golden. Add the spices, lemon zest, tomato paste, brown sugar and cinnamon sticks. Sauté for 1 minutes. Add the shanks to the pot and add half the chicken stock.

·      Cook for 1hour or until shanks are half cooked.

·      Meanwhile, peel the quinces, cut them into wedges and add them to the casserole dish. Add the rest of the stock and apple juice, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cook until the lamb is tender so it easily comes of the bone and the quince are soft.

·      You can finish the braising in the oven without lid. This gives the dish a darkened and more rustic look. Sprinkle the saffron water over the lamb and serve on the casserole dish or a platter. Enjoy!

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Autumn Classics

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Every autumn is a new time of birth. Birth of colors and shapes. It is just a beautiful time of the year to watch every single bit of nature. To me, this time of the year is an awaikening time into a world of wonders.

Winter squashes are actually a symbol of birth since they carry seeds that can be planted to a new plant. Last week I went to the market and as customary of every fall, I bought different kinds of winter squash. They were my table design for few days and then I decided to cook them while they are fresh; this time, stuffed! They have little meat but since they have funky shapes and colors, they are kind of treatable to everybody.

Kiamehr just loved scooping out stuffing out of his pumpkin bowls!

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Stuffed Pumpkins, classics of Fall

Ingredients

100g Wild Rice, cooked and drained

100g Brown rice, cooked and drained

100g Cranberries

2 cups chicken stock

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1tbsp dry basil

2tbsp dill, finely chopped

1 medium apple, medium chopped

2tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 cup dry split peas, cooked and drain

1 garlic clove

1 large apply, small dice cut

50g almonds silvered or pine nuts, toasted

2tbsp olive oil

2tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsps all spice

1tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400F.
  2. Toast pine nuts or almond silvers in a pan until golden.
  3. Roast pumpkins (whole) in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour in the oven until almost soft.
  4. Let cool for 1 hour and then remove the heads and take the seeds out. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the onions and minced garlic until soft and translucent. Add cooked wild rice, split peas, and half cooked brown rice. Saute for few minutes.
  6. Add chopped parsley, dill, basil, and spices. Mix well. Add 2 cups of chicken stock.. At this stage, add the almonds , diced apples, and cranberries and and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Place 2-3 table spoons of stuffing inside the little pumpkins, add two tbsp of apple juice and put the head back. Fill all the pumpkins and bake them in the oven for another 30 minutes. Adding apple juice helps keeping the stuffing moist and giving it a fruity flavor.

I served my stuffed pumpkins wit greens and honey lemon dressing. To make the dressing mix one tbsp honey with 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1tbsp white vinegar, 1tsp sugar, and 1tbsp almond powder. Mix the ingredients well in a bowl and toss the greens with dressing.

Hope you enjoy this fall inspired recipe at home like how we did!

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My Simple White Bread

 

White bread is one of my classic everyday baking at home. It doe not matter where I am, it is included in my daily menu. When I was living in Tehran, I would make this bread not only for my family, but for my sisters as well. They loved it and asked me to make them everyday! My sister would enter my home and smell into this great smell of fresh bread. Along with baking, we would sit, have a coffee, and chat about our days and things were going on in our lives. I have such a great memories from those days and this bread itself. I really want you to make this bread and see how it becomes part of your home tradition too. It is soft, buttery, and taste much different than regular white loaves you would buy from the store. With few times try outs, you too become an expert and it takes you less time too bake them than going to shop for them. This recipe is very accurate and should work out! If anything went wrong please leave me a message so I can help you out! Just do not get disappointed! I screwed up a few times before I got a hang of it too!

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Ingredients
45 gr butter, melted
45 gr sugar
1tsp salt
1/2cup luke warm water
1 1/2 tsp Instant yeast, or 3tbs active dry yeast
600g white flour, a bit extra for dusting and if needed a bit more
1egg for brushing, optional
1 cup milk, luke warm
Sesame seed, optional

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How to make this bread
Mix yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and let sit for 5 minutes until bubbles form. Melt butter in microwave or in a saucepan and add milk. Add yeast and butter milk mixture together.
Place the yeast mixture, flour, sugar, and salt into the mixing bowl on the stand mixer. Attach the flat beater. Mix on speed 2 until well combined. If the dough looks a little dry add the remaining water. Mix until the dough comes together. Change to the dough hook. Knead for 5 – 6 minutes (staying on speed 1 or 2), until the dough is soft and elastic.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl*, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave the dough to rise. This takes about 1 hour, in a draft free warm place.

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan forced). Lightly grease a large loaf medium sized loaf tin (approx. 11cm x 21cm x 7cm)

Punch the dough down and return to the mixer, knead a further 3 minutes. Remove the dough and place it evenly into the pan, or for a cobb shape, place in a ball shape onto a lightly floured flat baking tray. Cover with the damp tea towel and place in a warm place for 45 minutes or until risen to the top of the pan.

Cut slashers into the bread with a sharp knife and dust with extra flour. Bake 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when lightly tapped. Turn bread out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.

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CUBA

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Saeed my husband is such a ready-for-any-trip person!! Once we arrived in Vancouver few weeks ago, he started looking into some sort of getaway place to spend few days away from home! It was like taking a vacation to rest from another vacation! So funny, but before I knew it, we were on the plane heading off to Varadero. Arrived around early evening when it was dark, when I say dark, I not only mean the sky was dark but the whole highway did not have any lamp and nowhere we could see. And when we got into the city, people just marginally lighted up their houses. It was a very strange feeling to see how different their lifestyle was from us, Canadians. At a certain place there was a gate that only tourists could pass and it was the entrance to where all the hotels were located.

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If I am to describe Cuba in one word, that word would be authentic in nature and rustic in design. This country is full of natural landscapes where we found ourselves drown into each one for hours. We went to the Jeep Safari Tour which took us to the most beautiful scenery in the world.

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While in Cuba, we went on a Safari trip and visited some of beautiful scenery, villages, and life of people. For lunch we went to a suburban farm operated by a Cuban family. They served black-bean rice,, vegetable soup, streamed pumpkin on the tables made out wood and the chair’s seats were made out of goat’s skin. It truly was an incredible place.
They served us coffee at an old Cuban house. Life at passing-by villages at its most simplest form. People are poor but houses are with a lot of character.

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We also went to Havana another day. Here in this blog I just leave it to photos to describe what went on.

Just in short, people in Cuba drive cars of 50’s or so; very old and rustic. I pinched myself sometimes, because to me it was incredible how people managed those cars for so many years. Cars looked like the ones we can only see in stone-age movies!

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cuba1This is the photo of a tree that had grown on the second floor of an old building, coming out right out of windows, searching for light.

I found this incredibly telling for how people of Cuba have searched pride in their lives in the past 60 years.

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cuba32A man dressed like Che Guevara, acting like a fighter along with his fellow citizen.

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cuba38Cubans just do anything to make a little bit of money. People are very educated but what government gives them, just makes enough to be alive. A lot of people by dressing up or playing a little trick and treat want to make as much as money they can from tourists.

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CUBA35We visited Che Guevara’s home in Cuba. This location and its stories were fascinating. A man with a good intention but bad results.

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cuba52This girl I saw in Havana was a very special one to me. She was painted in silver holding a silver rose. Passing-by tourists would stop by, took a photograph and put a little money in her little silver bag. The moment I saw her, my heart just melted. In a poor country where people have barely can make a living, for a woman, this is a loving way of making good and clean money. She seemed to be like a statue from distance but actually, she had very affectionate and telling eyes. I loved her so much.

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Now, it comes to what we ate the most in Cuba!. The black bean and rice was basically what was served everyday in the resort and what we ate at the village on Safari. “The black bean and rice dish comes with an interesting title. Literally translated, Moros y Cristianos means Moors and Christians. It is presumed the dish gets its name from the time when the Moors occupied the Iberian Peninsula. The black beans represent the Moors and the white rice represents the Christians. In Cuba, the name of this dish refers to the mix of African and Spanish cultures. Vegetarians can make an entree of this soul-satisfying side” (cubanfood.org).

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Here is my recipe for this satisfying and tasty dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups of white rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste

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Directions:

Cook black beans in water for about 2 hours until cooked and set aside. You can skip this step by using one can of black beans.

Put garlic, pepper, cilantro, and onion in the food processor and puree.

In a medium pot, add olive oil and saute garlic and mixed puree for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cumin, beans and tomato paste and mix.

Add 3 cups of white rice and 4 cups of vegetable broth. Mix and cook until the broth is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Then, cook on very low heat for another 20 minutes.

Serve this dish with kebabs or stew of your choice. It is easily paired with almost any other dishes.

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