September 08, 2005
"This shot was taken 4 miles inland from the beach in Biloxi..it was amazing..all of sudden, our truck comes to a quick stop and before us..it's the ocean on land!"As 9/11 approaches and memories of the pristine autumn weather on that fateful day, without a hint of the disaster to come, Katrina is on our minds. How could it be so beautiful here and so terrifying there? Brandon Jennings' slide show on flikr captures nature's fury on the ground.
September 07, 2005
Polo, chelo, and Iranian rice cookers
Brigitte read the Iranian rice cooker entry and responded by email:
After reading your blog, it seems that you'll be my first guest in my renovated apt. for "polo" or "chelo" (various types of Iranian rice dishes). In the meantime, here's a little more info about Iranian recipes: http://www.asiafood.org/persiancooking/rice.cfm
Here are some rice cookers: http://sadaf.com/store/product120.html
http://www.persiangiftshop.com/ricecooker.html These are huge (10 cups), but there are smaller (and cheaper) ones. Excellent birthday present!
Iranian rice cooker
Last year the big event and first entry on this blog was my high tech Japanese rice cooker. Rima turned me on to khichdi, so it was rice and lentils in the cooker (and sometimes in the cast iron pot) all through the winter, especially when there was no heat and the loft was freezing cold. This year I am working with Brigitte and she uses an Iranian rice cooker that she swears by. The presentation of the crusty rice, which she turns out in a perfect golden dome from the pan, is spectacular and delicious. I am totally ready to take the plunge.
I remember Persian rice from my year in Santa Monica and the Iranian restaurants there. I even made it from scratch--the long, fussy, hard way--with butter, fresh fenugreek, and other greens, washing the rice, parboiling and rinsing it, layering the ingredients, sealing it all with a wet towel and lid, and cooking it for hours over a very low flame. Then, one Thanksgiving Richard's Iranian colleage from Columbia University brought the rice in its pan and turned it out to dazzing effect. When I asked where he got the pan, he explained it was part of his Iranian rice cooker. What was that, I asked. He said that when Japan tried to address balance of trade issues--Iranians were not buying Japanese goods--they came up with the idea of adapting the Japanese rice cooker so it would cook Iranian rice, which means among other things, rice with a nice crispy bottom. At the time I checked out these cookers online but never pursued the matter. Now I will! As well as cooking all kinds of other Iranian dishes.
September 04, 2005
Joelle on purslane
Joelle is a wonderful cook with a lovely repertoire of Algerian Jewish specialities. We both love fresh fava in the pod and cardoon--and purslane! Here is her recent email.
Dear Barbara, I read your entry on purslane on your Forklore site, and enjoyed it very much. I do not remember when I encountered this plant for the first time; it might have been in a recipe mentioned years ago by a Sephardic informant. In the last few years, it has grown wild in our vegetable garden in Bloomington, and I have picked it and used it in salads with other greenery, as in a "mesclun" of sorts. It is very tasty, crunchy and tart. I will use the recipes that you mention in different websites. One farmer merchant sells "pourpier" at the Bloomington farmers' market in the summer, and told us that all she does is pick it as a weed in her garden.
I could not find purslane at the market this week, but I do love it and, oh, that omega-3!
Late summer dinner
Last night, Labor Day weekend, we had a lovely dinner here to celebrate the arrival of Joelle, Marshall, and Sarah to NYC for the year, and our dear friends from Australia (Paul and Peter) and New Zealand (Ian). We wanted everyone to meet Brigitte and Jeffrey and Stuart. We were the beneficiaries of flowers, wine, Jewish cookbooks, and Argentinian honey, straight from the source.
Since we just got back from Toronto--what with KlezKanada, working with Mayer, and a day after getting home flying right back to Toronto for a funeral--I've been away from my desk and email for almost two weeks, so rushed off to the laptop repair shop, Man and Machine, to pick up my computer and got to the Greenmarket late in the day with my great big shopping cart. The market was in full swing, with the last of the corn and peaches, and start of the roots. Inspired by Avinadav and defaulting to some of my own personal favorites, here is what we had:
- Corn and peach salad: Cut the kernels from the cob, then quickly boil them. Drain, cool, combine with ripe and intense peaches sliced into thin wedges, finely diced red onion, and dress with lots of lime and fresh chopped mint.
- Fava beans: Quickly boil frozen green favas (wish I could find nice fresh ones, in the shell), drain, cool, and dress with finely chopped preserved lemons, lots of lemon juice, salt and pepper, fresh thyme, and toss and top with thinly julienned red radish. Gorgeous on a bright yellow platter.
- Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes: Scrub potatoes and cut into chunks, toss in olive oil, and roast with a head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled, sprigs of fresh rosemary, coarsely ground salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven and turn periodically.
- Roasted white roots: Scrub and if necessary peel the roots (white carrots, parsnips, parsley root, turnips). Cut into chunks. The long thin tails on the roots are delicious, so don't throw them away, and you can leave a little of the green tops on the roots too, which looks nice. I added yellow carrots too and if I had them I would have included celery root and fennel bulb. Toss in olive oil, add whole garlic cloves, and fresh oregano. Roast in a hot oven and turn periodically.
- Roasted beets: Scrub medium sized beets, wrap three at a time in tin foil, place on a pan, and roast in a hot oven for about an hour. Let cool, peel, cut into 3/4 inch cubes, and toss with lemon, fresh dill, thinly sliced rings of white ciopollini onion, salt and pepper. Sometime I toss the beets with a little raspberry vinegar and fresh raspberries or with pomegranate molasses (and for a festive touch, pomegranate seeds), plus fresh mint or cilantro.
- Green salad: Red romaine lettuce and arugula, tossed with julienned carrots in five colors (orange, yellow, rose, purple, and white), and dressed with a simple olive oil and Italian red wine vinegar, coasely ground sea salt and pepper.
- Roasted red peppers: Got a bag of big meaty red peppers. Cut them in half, seeded them, and set them under the broiler to blacken the skin. Peel them and just serve as is. Wonderful flavor and texture.
- Tri-color tomatoes: It is the height of the tomato season, so I simply sliced big vine-ripened red field tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, and green tomatoes, layered them, and dressed them with nothing more than a few sprigs of opal basil.
- Dessert: Turkish delight with pistachios, Pete's chocolate-covered espresso beans, and ground cherries, which are not cherries at all, but delicious. They are also known as cape gooseberries and husk tomatoes. They are a member of the nightshade family (Physalis heterophylla). They are native to this area. There is also confusion about the names, some of which are also applied to the tomatillo, to which it is related.