April 21, 2013 – April 27, 2013

Green Herb and Kidney Bean Stew (Ghormeh Sabzi) from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Herb stew sounds like one of those "recipes" I'd come up with as a kid poking around in the garden for kitchen experiments. After all, in western cuisine, fresh herbs are usually added at the end of cooking for a burst of greenery and bright flavor. But according to Lousia Shafia, author of The New Persian Kitchen, herb filled stews are some of the most famous in Iran. Her version is a lighter, vegetarian take on the green stew, filled with cubes of turmeric-laced tofu and fat red kidney beans. But the bulk of the stew is, indeed, chopped parsley, cilantro, and scallions (bulked up with a bit of spinach); and the mixture is surprisingly delicious. The grassy greens cook down and mellow, turning into a fragrant, earthy melange excellent atop fluffy rice or stuffed into a pita. More

Rhubarb and Roses

Rhubarb is a noted ingredient in the Italian aperitif Aperol. Pairing Aperol with the rhubarb shrub really highlights this flavor note and lets the more savory side of rhubarb shine. More

Upgraded Lemon Drop

The Lemon Drop was one of the most popular cocktails in the US in the later part of the 20th century. It should follow a simple formula of spirit, lemon, and sweetener, but sadly, in many bars the drink disintegrated into a candied mess. It's time to give the Lemon Drop the glory it deserves. More

Jeweled Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa (Morassa Polo) from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Jeweled rice is a magnificent dish. Adorned with dried fruit, toasted nuts, rose petals, and pomegranate seeds, it is a panoply of flavors and colors. In Lousia Shafia's The New Persian Kitchen, the jeweled rice is made even more compelling with a combination of grains included. The mixture of quinoa and brown basmati rice adds an earthy complexity to the dish that counters the sweet and rich flavors from the toppings. More

Salmagundi

Salmagundi is more of a concept than a recipe. Essentially, it is a large composed salad that incorporates meat, seafood, cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts and is arranged in an elaborate way. Think of it as the British answer to Salad Niçoise. More

Mole Verde

Mole verde retains a rich complexity, but trades the deep and earthy flavors of mole poblano for a bright and fresh profile and can be put together in about an hour. More

Roasted Stuffed Artichokes with Mint Oil from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

It took me a long time to come around to the prickly artichoke. For the longest time, this vegetable seemed like too much work for too little food--there's peeling, scraping, poking, and snipping involved in most preparations. But in the last few years, I've come to appreciate the slow process as well as the slight grassy sweetness of the heart and the meditative undertaking of eating the flesh off the tiny leaves. Louisa Shafia's stuffed artichokes recipe in The New Persian Kitchen adds another couple layers of greatness to the humble artichoke. To the center she adds a subtly fragrant and fluffy ricotta, egg, and saffron filling that puffs and browns over a long slow roasting time. Drizzled atop is a brilliant mixture of lemon juice, dried mint, and grape seed oil that permeates the delicate leaves a reduced sauce in the pan perfect for greedy dipping and slurping. More

Garlicky Eggplant and Tomato Spread (Mirza Ghasemi) from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Eggplants and tomatoes are far from culinary strangers. Whether baked gently in a ratatouille or simmered in a rich pasta sauce a la Norma, these friendly nightshades blend seamlessly in many cuisines. This super garlicky eggplant and tomato dip in Louisa Shafia's cookbook The New Persian Kitchen is no exception. Adding a new layer of complexity, however, is the inclusion of a couple of eggs, which thicken and bulk up what would otherwise be a glorified tomato sauce. The eggs transform the vegetables into a spread equally at home on a crudite platter, in a pita sandwich, or dolloped atop a warm bowl of rice. More