Chickpea and Kale Frittata

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I love frittatas because they’re basically an entire meal in one skillet. I grew up with frittatas (or kuku, as they’re called in Farsi): herb frittata (kuku sabzi), potato frittata (kuku zibzamini) — you get the picture. But chickpeas? That’s something new. It works beautifully here, along with a healthy serving of kale.

Chickpea and kale frittata

Ingredients:

12 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (basil works well here too)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons curry powder (I used a mix of Madras and Jaffna curry powders here)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Whisk eggs, parsley, sour cream, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl until no streaks remain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add chickpeas and curry powder and season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, garlic, and remaining teaspoon oil to chickpeas in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.

4. Add a handful of greens and tablespoons. water and cook until slightly wilted. Continue adding greens a handful at a time, letting them wilt slightly before adding more, until all greens are wilted, about 5 minutes total; season with salt. Let cool slightly.

5. Return pan to medium-low, pour in egg mixture, and cook, stirring eggs and swirling pan often, until edges are just set (texture should be like a very soft scramble), about 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake frittata until puffed slightly and center is just set, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.

Cheddar-Green Onion Biscuits

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I’ve generally shied away from making biscuits because, quite frankly, I suck at it. I over-knead the dough, I don’t add enough butter, and my final product is usually hard baked disks of crumbly flour.

Except for these biscuits. Flecked with bits of cheddar cheese and green onions, they’re a cinch to make, even for someone like me. Good luck eating just one.

Cheddar-green onion biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus 1 tablespoon melted
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup buttermilk, divided

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a large bowl until combined. Using your fingers, work cold butter into flour mixture until butter is in small, flattened pieces and mixture is crumbly. Stir in green onions and cheese. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk, and stir just until dough comes together, adding up to 1/4 cup additional buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. (Dough should be neither sticky nor crumbly.)

2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 to 4 times just to bring dough together. Pat dough into an 8- x 6-inch rectangle; fold 1 short side a third of the way over toward center. Fold opposite short side over folded end (business letter fold). Rotate dough clockwise 90 degrees; pat out dough into a 8×6-inch rectangle, and repeat folding procedure. Pat dough out into an 8×6-inch rectangle (3/4 to 1 inch thick); cut dough into 8 rectangular biscuits.

3. Place each biscuit rectangle on baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake biscuits in oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Salted Chocolate Halva

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You say halva, I say halvardeh. The crumbly, sticky sesame-based confection that’s called halva in the Levant (and the West) is called halvardeh in Iran and that’s because what’s called halva in Persian refers to a related confection made from wheat flour, butter, and with rosewater. But for the purposes of this recipe, let’s just call the crumbly sesame-based version halva.

Semantics aside, I can’t get enough of this stuff. One of my favorite breakfasts is halva simply wrapped up in lavash with a side of strong black tea. I also, uh, love halva straight out of the box. And I am equally parts delighted and terrified to learn that I can make halva from scratch, at home, with relative ease. Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, this bittersweet chocolate-glazed version is much tastier than store-bought. Once cooled, cut this up into tiny squares for a decadent teatime treat.

Salted chocolate halva

Ingredients:

Nonstick oil spray
1 1/2 cups tahini
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate
Sea salt, for sprinkling

1.Lightly coat an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2″ overhang on both of the long sides. Mix tahini, salt, and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a large bowl to combine; set tahini mixture aside.

2. Cook sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook syrup, brushing down sides as needed to dissolve any crystals that form, about 7–10 minutes. Immediately remove syrup from heat and gradually stream into reserved tahini, mixing constantly with spatula. Continue to mix just until halva comes together in a smooth mass and starts to pull away from the sides of bowl (less than a minute). Be careful not to overmix or halva will crumble. Working quickly, scrape into prepared pan and let cool.

3. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch water), stirring often. Remove from heat. Invert halva onto a wire rack set inside a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; peel away and discard parchment. Pour chocolate over halva and sprinkle top with sea salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. Let sit until chocolate is set before serving, about 1 hour.

Egg and Lamb Sausage Wraps

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When I was a kid I used to take lavash bread, stuff it with leftovers like kababs or goosht koobideh, add some Iranian pickles and Tapatio to the wrap and call it an Iranian burrito. I am, after all, a hyphenated Californian-Iranian.

This wrap is the grown up version: a griddled whole wheat tortilla takes the place of lavash, a garlicy yogurt sauce replaces the tapatio, and the filling is all sabzi khordan, egg, and sausage. They’re easy to make and even easier to eat.

Egg and lamb sausage wraps

Ingredients:

8 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, grated
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lamb sausage, preferably merguez, casings removed
4 large whole-wheat flour tortillas
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
8 Iranian pickled cucumbers, thinly sliced crosswise on the diagonal
3 cups basil and/or mint leaves

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add eggs and cook 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon; let cool. Peel eggs, then slice each crosswise into 4 pieces.

2. In the meantime, mix yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl; season with salt.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage and press down on it with a wooden spoon to flatten; cook, undisturbed, until browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn sausage over; break into smaller pieces with spoon. Cook until cooked through and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a bowl. Reserve skillet.

4. Lay out tortilla on a work surface. Spread 1/4 cup yogurt sauce over each, leaving a border. Top with sausage, dividing evenly. Top each with 8 egg slices in a single layer, then with red onion, pickles, and mint. Fold in 2 sides of tortilla and starting at an unfolded edge, roll up tightly.

5. Set reserved skillet over medium heat and cook 2 wraps until golden brown and starting to crisp underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook until golden brown on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board. Repeat with remaining wraps. Cut wraps in half crosswise and serve.

Trout Toast with Scrambled Eggs

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My scrambled eggs have always been rubbery. Scratch that — rubbery and bland.

Until I tried this revelation of a recipe. Adapted from Bon Appetit, these eggs are rich and oh-so-creamy. The secret ingredient? Creme fraiche. Paired along lightly smoked trout and an acidic arugula salad, this makes a perfect decadent brunch or dinner. This, my friends, is California cuisine at its finest.

Trout toast with soft scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

8 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
6 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
4 slices sourdough bread
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 skin-on, boneless smoked trout fillet (about 5 ounces), skin removed, flesh broken into small pieces
1 lemon, halved
Pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped dill
5 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Crack eggs into a bowl and add salt, whisking until no streaks remain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium. As soon as foaming subsides, add 2 slices of bread and cook until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plates, cooked side up. Repeat with another tablespoons butter and remaining 2 slices of bread.

3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in reserved skillet over medium-low. Once butter is foaming, cook egg mixture, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula in broad sweeping motions, until some curds begin to form but eggs are still runny, about 2 minutes. Stir in creme fraiche and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are barely set, about 2 minutes.

4. Spoon eggs over toast and top with trout. Finely grate lemon zest from one of the lemon halves over trout, then squeeze juice over toast. Season with pepper; scatter green onions and dill on top.

5. Squeeze juice from remaining lemon half into a bowl. Add arugula and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Serve alongside toasts.