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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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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.

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hello again.

so i’m back. blame my absence on a semester and a half’s worth of term papers, exams and stacks of books, not to mention a hundred page paper i penned on iranian foreign policy. last semester was like international relations boot camp. it paid off though.

i travelled to dc in april for the national model arab league conference, and i walked away with an outstanding delegate award at the west coast model arab league. i met some amazing people in dc and had a great time out on the town. i flew to maryland in june with the family, and spent a few days in new york city and dc as well. now i’m savoring the summertime before i begin grad school in the fall at sfsu, commuting back and forth from santa rosa to san francisco for work, and looking for a place to get back in the city by the fall.

i don’t like summarizing seven months into two neat paragraphs.