Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category


I love experimenting with food. There is a part of me that is very traditional about certain aspects of cooking and remaining true to the traditional Persian and Italian recipes. Yet, there is the rebellious side of me who likes to experiment. I am slightly schizophrenic when it comes to this though because you never know which recipes I am not willing to deviate from in any shape, way, or form.  One thing is sure though, it is mostly the traditional Persian recipes that I can’t deal with changing.

I had a rebellious thought a couple of weeks ago and decided to act on it. I was craving rice and didn’t have anything around for a traditional dish. But truth be told I needed to be creative in order to refocus from my writing projects. I had some mushrooms in the fridge so I decided to seriously experiment. What I mean by seriously is using my rice cooker in ways that I had not before.  I thought the results were good and most definitely worthy sharing.

If you are Persian, you will likely be horrified because that’s not how we are taught to use our rice cookers. But please trust me, it worked.

I welcome, and encourage,  you to leave a comment if you choose to make this recipe or have done something similar. I would love to know how others experiment.


4 cups of rice

12 oz package of crimini mushrooms sliced

1 onion diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 tbls of advieh

canola oil

salt & pepper

A Persian rice cooker (this will not work in a regular rice cooker)

Sauté onion and garlic until onion is golden. Add 1/2 tbls of advieh.

Wash rice and place in the rice cooker with 4 cups of water. Add a generous amount of oil (1 1/2 tbls)  and salt (2 tsp) and give it a little stir.  Add the sliced mushrooms on top. Turn on rice cooker. Trust me….

In about 15-20 minutes or so the water will start absorbing. When you noticed that most of the water has been absorbed, and all you can see is bubbles, take out  the mushrooms and place them in a bowl. Then scoop out the rice as well only leaving a thin layer at the bottom of the rice cooker. I know…you don’t take the rice out of the rice cooker, but hang on to your panties, it works, I promise!

In the bowl mix rice, mushrooms, onion mix, and the remaining advieh. Taste for seasoning and if needed add more salt, pepper, or advieh.

Place rice mixture back in the rice cooker.  Place a kitchen towel around the lid and cover.  You say: “but you are not supposed to cover the rice cooker’s lid with a towel.” I say: “I have experimented enough to know that it works better this way!”

Now, all this new found method is likely to mess up the timing on the rice cooker.  So cook for about 45-50 minutes and then turn off the rice cooker.

Flip the rice onto a dish and the results should, hopefully, look just like the picture above!

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Bean Soup


The weather has been rather cold in LA so I have been making soups a lot in the past few weeks. I tried something new recently: bean soup.  I made soup with both cannellini and black beans. Both results were delicious and here is the recipe for you all to try.


2 cups of beans (cannellini or black) soaked overnight

1 diced onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 diced carrot

1 diced celery stem

1 tbls of olive oil

1 jalapeño (seeds removed if you don’t like it too hot)

1 tsp of cumin

1/2 cup of dry  sherry wine

2 bay leaves

salt & pepper


1 avocado cut into wedges

Cilantro for garnish

In a Dutch oven sauté onion, garlic, carrots, and celery with olive oil for about 10 minutes or until onion becomes translucent.  Add cumin and give it a stir allowing for the flavor to release.  Now stick your nose in there because it should totally smell good!

Add wine and let reduce for a couple of minutes. Add beans, 6 cups of water, the jalapeño (with or without seeds, totally up to you)  bay leaves and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Season to taste and let cook for another 1/2 hour.

Use a hand blender to blend the ingredients inside the Dutch oven. Ladle in a soup bowl and garnish with avocado wedges and cilantro.

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It is been a while since I have posted a recipe. I felt like making soup a couple of weeks ago and consulted our The Soup Bible cookbook.  The cream of mushroom just sounded so delicious and easy to make. Of course I changed the recipe around a little bit and the results were delicious.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

16 oz of cremini mushrooms rough chopped (the package from Costco is perfect)

2 tbls of olive oil

1 medium onion diced

4 cloves of garlic finly chopped

1/2 cup of Dry Sherry wine

4 cups of broth (either chicken or veggie)

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup of flour

1 bunch of tarragon (reserve a couple of leaves, the rest rough chop)

salt & pepper

Sauté onion and garlic until translucent in a Dutch oven.  Add wine and let reduce for a couple of minutes.  Add mushrooms, cover and let sweat for about 15 minutes occasionally stirring the veggies inside the Dutch oven.  Add broth and adjust seasoning. Let cook covered for about half hour. Place some of the liquid from the Dutch oven into a small bowl and add the flour to it. Mix well so that there aren’t any lumps. Add the mixture to the soup and stir constantly. The soup should begin to thicken.  Add the tarragon.  Use a hand blender to blend the ingredients inside the Dutch oven.   Slowly add the cream and let cook for about 20 minutes while stirring frequently. Taste for seasoning. Serve in soup bowl and garnish with tarragon leaves.

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It has been a while since I have posted a recipe. I have been cooking but I have been really bad about keeping up with my blog for the exception of Indi Friday.

Tonight we are going to our friends’ “Movie Night” in El Segundo. For the happy occasion I decided to make the above salad which I have named “Happiness Salad” because it is so colorful and happy looking. I pretty much used stuff I had at home, it is fairly simple to make and it transports well.

2 15oz cans of white kiney beans

1 15oz can of black beans

1 red pepper diced

1 yellow pepper diced

1/2 red onion diced

2 corns on the cob

1/2 bunch of parsley

2 cloves of garlic

4-5 tbls of olive oil

salt & pepper

Wash and drain the beans in a colander.  Either on a BBQ or on your stove roast the corn for a few minutes on each side making sure that it doesn’t burn.  The corn must be crunchy and not cooked all the way through and mushy. Smash the garlic with a knife and place in oil and infuse on the stove until slightly golden. Dekernel the corn with a knife and let it cool.  Mix the onion, peppers, beans, and the corn together.

For the dressing place parsley leaves in a food processor along with the garlic used for unfusing the oil, salt and pepper. Create a pesto like dressing while adding the infused oil little by little. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours to allow flavors to develop.

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Oh how excited am I that Taste Spotting is back! I am back viewing it on a regular basis and getting my daily fix of food porn! Thank you Internet Gods for giving us back such a wonderful site!

In honor of such event I am posting a salad that I made the other day with butter lettuce. About 20 years ago I went to a sheeshee foofoo restaurant in Beverly Hills which served entrecôte. The food was delicious and the presentation of their starter salad made an ever lasting impression on me. It was made with butter lettuce and the leaves were left attached and therefore presented like an open flower. It was a simple salad, only adorned with walnuts and a fabulous dressing.

I tried to make something similar, I had some Brie cheese and decided to experiment. I sauted the walnuts in a pan with some sugar and salt, for a sweet and salty flavor. Made a salad dressing with diced red onion, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then arranged the walnuts and cheese on the salad and poured the dressing over it. It was simple, different form a regular salad, and delicious.

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Oh how I LOVE homemade burgers, they are just so good. I had some left over ground beef, pesto, and mozzarella, and decided to make homemade burgers. What makes these burgers the ultimate burgers you ask? There is a little surprise in the middle. I mixed the ground beef with some fresh diced red onions, garlic, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The surprise part was shredded mozzarella cheese mixed with the pesto which I put in the middle of each burger. Then I grilled them on Georgie. YUUUMMMYYYY! Yet another fast and delicious meal on Georgie!

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I was addicted the first time I came across the website Taste Spotting. To my horror it is now gone. There is only a note on the website saying that because of legal matters the site has been shut down. Tragedy….where are we all gonna go for some food porn now????

Anyway, while surfing the other day on Taste Spotting I was inspired by a post and I wanted to create my own version. I had an eggplant in my fridge which needed to be eaten so I went to work and created the master piece above:

Eggplant, Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Sauce Stack

I sliced and placed the eggplant in water and salt for about an hour. J marinated the eggplant in oil, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary over night.

This morning I started with the Basil Sauce which is basically a pesto without the pine nuts. I grilled the eggplants on Georgie and in the mean time sliced the mozzarella and tomatoes.

Once the eggplants were ready I spread some of the Basil Sauce on the plate, placed a slice of eggplant, built up with the mozzarella and tomatoes. I added some of the Basil sauce between each layer. I finished by placing some fresh basil on top of the stack and around the plate.

Note that I didn’t not season the layers as I was building them because my Basil sauce was on the salty side since I added a bit more salt than needed and combined with the Parmesan cheese it was more salty than I wanted it to be. Anyway, the results were very very yummy!!!

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J made an amazing brunch one day for us. I was seriously impressed and to say it was delicious is not enough. All I know is that he went into the kitchen, closed the door behind him, and emerged an hour or so later with the yumminess above. By that time I was starving. I will be honest, I was wondering what the heck was going on as I was under the impression that he was just going to make us some eggs. You can just imagine my surprise when I saw the plate above. 🙂

Every so often J makes carnitas. About a couple of years ago we decided to try to make carnitas in our crock pot. The results were really good as once the meat is done the pieces just fall apart. Then he puts the meat in the oven for the juices to evaporate and for the meat to get a little crunchy. SO GOOD!

For this fine breakfast he went all out and made homemade salsa and his famous black beans. I personally love his beans, he adds some bacon to them and the results are delicious. So anyway (note to self: stay focused!) he warmed up a couple of corn tortillas, and a built a few layers on top. He started with some black beans, added some left over carnitas, made sunny side up eggs and placed them on top of the carnitas, sprinkled some English white cheddar cheese on top and placed some salsa and sour cream on the sides.

It was a pretty big meal and neither one of us was hungry until dinner time.

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A few years ago I came across a very yummy looking dessert recipe on Epicurious. So I made it and the results were amazing. I have been making these petits pains au chocolat and every time people LOVE them. I have altered the recipe a little, surprise surprise! I had some ground almonds on hand and added them to the chocolate in the middle and sprinkled some sugar on top. The result was fantastic and ever since I have been making them the same way.

So next time you are going to a party or want to make a super easy dessert, these are a very good choice!


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The other night I was feeling rather creative and wanted to make something different. I had some chicken breast at hand so I went to work! I cut the chicken into long strips, as you would for chicken satay, and marinated it for about 3 hours with this really awesome Persian seasoning for kebab. You can find this seasoning in local Persian grocery stores or other middle eastern stores. Anyway, I added some red onions as well as they taste really good grilled. I suggest adding olive oil to the mix. You can also opt to add yogurt to the marinate and it is DELICIOUS! Unfortunately, I did not have any on hand, nevertheless, the results were really good!

Once I was ready to grill the chicken I put them on skewers. Since I was too lazy to take the BBQ out, I simply reach for my beloved “Georgie” aka George Foreman Grill. The results were awesome. We had the kebabs with some salad. A very easy and quick dinner!

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