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akhareh taabestaan

this week’s cooking:


black-bean-stuffed plantain croquettes with tomato sauce


veracruz-style shrimp over tortillas in pumpkin seed sauce | coconut, caramel, and rum flans


creamy tomato soup with buttery croutons | mushroom dumplings in parmesan and sun-dried tomato sauce


warm soba in broth with spinach and tofu | garlic chive and beef potstickers


hawaiian-style butter-coconut mochi

i finished reading life of pi last night. i loved it. its brilliant, but i’m still not sure if i understand the end properly (or at least which version to believe).

i also saw promises last night, and i highly recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in the israel-palestine conflict. the special features were just as interesting as the documentary itself, namely the updates on the children.

here’s the recipe for the mochi (this one is super easy and yummy):

1 lb mochiko
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
5 eggs
1/2 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. preheat oven to 350F.
2. whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. mix together wet ingredients in another bowl. add coconut mixture to flour mixture, whisking until batter is combined.
3. pour batter into an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan, and bake until top is golden and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. cook cake completely, about 2 hours. cut mochi into squares before serving.

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entekhabat

it appears my post-grad school life is consisting of three things so far: reading whatever i can get my hands on, cooking like a 1950’s sitcom housewife, and researching jobs.

i’m halfway through palace of desire, part two of naguib mahfouz’s celebrated cairo trilogy.

i spent some time yesterday cooking up dinner:

stacked ceasar salad with parmesan rafts (homemade dressing makes all the difference) | wild rice with shallots | oven-roasted steak with bernaise sauce


chocolate mousse (i learned the hard way that only cream and not a mixture of cream and milk will foam into nice thick clouds.)

the presidential elections in iran are getting underway right about now. at this point the presidency could go to any party; its hard to tell what the outcome will be. its a close race. it’ll be interesting to see what happens if no one garners over fifty percent of the votes and the elections face off to a second round in the next couple of weeks.

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happy new year

i’m back in california. even the incessant rain can’t dampen my contentment from being back in the bay area.

now for what we’ve all been waiting for – pictures from the trip. we shall go in order:

bye bye oakland.

bye bye bay area.

hello virginia.

near mount vernon.

in alexandria, virginia, which struck me as being similar to corte madera, but more touristy.

my cousin aryana.

you can’t tell by the picture, but this stick of “butter” at the smithsonian in washington, dc, is about the size of a dining room table.

poetic calligraphy from the persian empire’s savafid dynasty at the smithsonian. i was suprised to see that the art and poetry from india’s mughal dynasty was also in farsi.

Quranic calligraphy from the savafid dynasty in tabriz.

from iran’s sassanian dynasty.

those sassanian eyerainians sure knew how to get down.

at the smithsonian.

i made chinese food for dinner one evening.

aryana enjoying her amish lunch in amish country.

there’s lots of barns in amish country, pennsylvania.

a view of dc from the masonic lodge in alexandria.

duckies in maryland.

my sister and i were entralled by ducks walking on the frozen lake.

priceless.

aryana having a blast at the “lake” (psst – its really a faux lake built near an upscale mall).

chelo kabab at moby dick – the dc area’s favorite iranian restaurant chain.

want more pictures? my sister has some up too.

khordani:

sobhaaneh: dates

nahaar: chelo kabaab; chicken chow mein and crab

shaam: penne pasta with marinara and green salad; okra sambal and nonya daging rendang

snack: chocolate truffles; japanese rice crackers

beverage: iranian tea; peppermint mocha frappuccino; ginger ale; lukewarm airplane “tea”; funky monkey; irish breakfast tea

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the taste of roses

summertime means ice cream and there is no ice cream better than rosewater ice cream, akbar mashti style. sometimes i make it completely handmade, but usually i cheat, using softened vanilla ice cream as a base instead of making the cream in a pot and freezing it.

half gallon vanilla ice cream

half pint heavy cream

four tablespoons rosewater

3/4 cup chopped pistachios

1. soften ice cream.

2. freeze heavy cream and chop into one-inch pieces.

3. add frozen cream pieces, rosewater and pistachios to softened ice cream in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

4. cover and freeze until firm.

5. taste it, rub your tummy and say “mmm.”

this ice cream is heaven. halva ice cream is also deeeelicious. its hard to explain the taste of akbar mashti ice cream because it tastes like roses. picture the smell of roses and think of what they’d taste like. i love it.