A Project That Became a Journey.

A few years ago, I had an idea for a project. Something that I thought would probably take me only a couple of days to complete.

I wanted to compile some of my favorites persian recipes from my mom. So, I started by determining what I needed to do to get this done. Find a software that makes online books, figure out a day that I can sit with her,  when I would type them up, and then, print it. No big deal I thought. This is a great side project and something I can complete soon. (I love to complete projects and I get pretty excited about just that fact alone and try to find the fastest way there…)

And so, I started. It was a Saturday morning and I told my mom that I wanted to write down some of her recipes in the next couple of days. Her face lit up. What else would any mom want than sitting with their daughter all weekend, reliving some memories of these persian recipes? So we started with one of my favorite recipes, Khoresht e Karavtz.

After a bit…

“And add a little bit of cardamom” she said.

“Well… how much is a ‘little bit’?” I asked.

“I don’t know, Shirin. We just throw it in there. When I watched my grandmother cook persian food, this is what she did. She also added some of this…and that…and this” on and on!

Sigh…what?! 

After that first recipe, I realized two things. This project was not going to be done in one day! And this is not a project but a journey. 

From that point on, I realized I wanted to actually listen the stories. I wanted to hear the details of each recipe. I wanted to take real pictures of my mom’s food when she cooked it. More importantly, I wanted to spend the time sitting with my mom, no distractions, just me, her and her recipes. 

I finished the recipe book about a year ago. It took a couple of years to finish, not a couple of days.

Once I accepted that this was a journey and not just a project, it didn’t stress me out as much. I didn’t over think it. I didn’t try to rush things.

Here it is…

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I try to remind myself of this in other aspects of life. If you don’t get to your end goal fast, then the journey just isn’t done.

 

 

5 Things to Bring to a Persian Summer Picnic

It’s August already and summer is in full force. I hate jumping ahead but since it is August and our summer weather is very precious, it is time to make sure you go on a picnic! That is a formal request from The Saffron Life to you!

Growing up, whether there was a special occasion or not, I would make an effort to head out with family and friends, sit by the beautiful Charles River, lay down a blanket, bring some bug spray, and basically EAT and HAVE FUN. But these were not just any type of picnics…they were Persian Picnics.

So, what makes a picnic more Persian?!

Here are the top 5 things you must bring with you to have a true Persian Summer Picnic.

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1. Dough. The drink of choice!

Anyone who knows me, knows how obsessed I am with Doogh. It isn’t even a joke or an exaggeration. There are times I crave it. Therefore, it is a must-have at a picnic at least for me. Refreshing, tasty, and it’s a very acquired taste so if you don’t like it, then I understand. Just try though!

2. Panir, Sabzi, Noon

Best. Snack. Ever. Having some “Panir”, typically a type of feta cheese with some ‘sabzi’ which is usually mint or basil and some “Noon”, warm, thin bread, is both comforting and tasty. Very light and refreshing and really great for anytime of the day.

3. Cutlets (my own recipe!)

These can be a bit labor intensive but well worth it, and can be served warm or cold, perfect for a picnic. They include a mix of beef, potatoes, and eggs and can be eaten with bread, mints, and tomatoes.

4. Musical Entertainment (on my current playlist)

It is not a Persian picnic without some Persian music. So… bring that iPod, speakers or boom box if you still live in the ‘80s and sing and dance. People might look at you funny, but it’s ok.

5. Lavashak (Kind of like fruit!)

One of my favorite snacks is Lavashak. Essentially, a Persian fruit roll. There are a variety of types such as sour cherry, plum, or barberry. You could find them at a Persian store or you could also order them online.

So grab your items, find a piece of grass, and enjoy your Persian Summer Picnic!

Persian Rugs – What’s In a Name?

PersianRugs.com – What’s In a Name?

“We acquired one of the oldest and most valuable domains in the industry, PersianRugs.com, registered in 1995. It is currently the world’s most valuable premium Iranian domain name after Iran.com. Persian Rugs are one of the largest exports of Iran. These rugs have attained an elite status as the best in the world. Some private appraisal services have evaluated the domain alone to be worth over $500,000 dollars.”

Excited to present this interview with Yashar Zhalehdoust, the owner of PersianRugs.com.

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1. What’s in a name?

Millions and billions! There are millions of dollars in an unestablished name and billions in an established one, which have become popular brands.

Can you have Vegan Ghormeh Sabzi?! Yes!

Excited to bring back one of our guest bloggers, Taji Mortazavi from We’re Talking About Food.

When she told me she has a Vegan version of Ghormeh Sabzi I was pretty surprised we could do that! Never say never… Below is her post. Enjoy the meal!

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Vegan Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herbed Stew with Beans)Ghormeh Sabzi

Ghormeh what?! Often one of the most marveled foods in Persian cuisine, ghormeh sabzi is by far my favorite Iranian dish. Traditionally, ghormeh sabzi is made with beef or chicken, and you can totally make it that way if you choose. I opted to a vegetarian/vegan version of ghormeh sabzi that packs all the flavor and nutrition of the herbs without a ton of saturated fat from the beef.

The Origins of Ghormeh Sabzi

I could easily write a book about Persian food (and probably will one day).

Delicious Summer Recipe…Salad Olivieh!

Thank you Taji Mortezavi and We’re Talking About Food for posting this recipe!

I just love the recipe so much, and even though we have posted it before, it is due to be shared again as summer approaches!

Let me know how this goes for you and I hope you enjoy it!!

Salad-e Olivieh

http://weretalkingaboutfood.com/recipe/salade-olivieh-how-to-make-a-persian-take-on-chicken-salad/

Check out her Facebook page!

 

3 Easy Persian Dishes That Taste Great AND Are Healthy

Hi everyone! I’m so happy that Shirin has invited me back to The Saffron Life! Despite having never met, she and I have become great contacts, and shall I say friends?! Shirin and I wanted to write about another healthy spin on Persian food, so today I’ve got three super healthy dishes anyone can indulge in. Whether you’re new to Persian cuisine or eat it on a regular basis, these sumptuous dishes have your name written all over it!

Mast-O-Khiar: Plain Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

Mast

I talked in my previous post about the wonderful health benefits of yogurt. Rich in probiotics, protein, and calcium, yogurt is definitely a food to incorporate in your diet.

Presenting Leyla Shams: A Story Of An Iranian-Preneur (11)

Whenever someone asks me if I speak Farsi, I wish I could say “100% yes!”. Unfortunately, I am not fluent in Farsi. I speak Azeri, which is obviously also cool, however, most Iranians speak Farsi.

And so, when I came across this company, Chai & Conversation, I was excited to see something that I could use. They are the only free online resource made exclusively for those wanting to learn conversational Persian via online podcasts. 

Happy to share my interview with Leyla Shams, the Founder of Chai & Conversation.

leyla shams

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1. What is your business – what do you offer?

Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation- it’s a podcast for learning conversational Persian.

“Alone in Iran – What Was I Thinking?” Guest Blogger (6)

I came across this post on “Heart My Backpack”  about Silvia Lawrence traveling to Iran for the first time. The apprehensions she heard from others before she went, compared to her own reactions when she got there could not be more different.Here is her story!
——————————————————–silviaI have never had people express so many opinions about my travels as when I decided to backpack through Iran for two weeks. Everyone seemed to have something to say about it, with responses ranging from “That is amazing, I would totally join you if I didn’t have a U.S. passport,”

2 weeks before Norouz…yup, Party Time!

March arrives and typically one thought comes to my mind: “It is almost time to PARTY!” Ok, that is not the only thought. Really its about Iranian New Year approaching and the hope of some weather in which I can actually breathe without feeling like the antarctic has entered my mouth.

But the next very close thought is that the Annual Iranian New Year celebration will be coming soon. Each year, the Iranian Association of Boston hosts this party at a local hotel in Boston, flies in a famous Iranian performer, as well as includes other dance performances throughout the night.

This however is not just a party.

Why is there “Grass” on your table?!

I have received this question more than once. Anytime I am either explaining the “Haft-seen” (our table set up for Iranian New Year) and I get to the part about the “grass looking object” I get blank stares and confused expressions. But that is all part of the fun. Confuse them… and then surprise them!

The “grass” looking object on our table during the time of Persian new year are sprouts that are grown out of Lentils and it is called “Sabzeh”. (They can also be ground out of wheat but we have always used Lentils)

Here are step by step instructions. Its simple and I have faith that you can do this!

1. Place the lentils into a bowl and soak them in water for about 2-3 days. Watch them carefully because if the water is absorbed, add more water.