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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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vaay dahanam aab oftaad, eshtehaa’am raa oftaad

this evening i saw the house is black, a 1963 documentary about life on a leper colony, by the legendary iranian poet forugh farrokhzad. poetically narrated, it was extremely sad and moving. both mohsen makhmalbaf and abbas kiarostami consider this short documentary to be a major influence on their work. the dvd also included an interview with pooran farrokhzad (forugh’s sister), as well as two short films by mohsen makhmalbaf – the school that was blown away (1996) and images from the qajar dynasty (1992).

i’ve been cooking a lot these past few days (suprise suprise):


thursday night: cucumber shrimp rolls with spicy peanut sauce and wonton noodle soup


friday night: artichoke and spinach phyllo swirls and roasted chicken with orange-brandy glaze


saturday night: green salad with citrus vinaigrette and eggplant parmigiana

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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