Norooz Dinner at Zahav in Food and Wine

by Louisa on April 1, 2014

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At the start of this year’s Norooz holiday, I went back to my home town to cook a dinner with the wonderful folks at Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. Lots of special people were there, including high school friends and family members. There were Iranians and Iranian Americans, “halfsies” like me, and people who knew nothing about Norooz, but came because the dinner sounded fun.

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Food and Wine magazine posted a slide show of beautiful images from our Norooz celebration. You can watch it, and learn more about Norooz, here.

IMG_1628It was a great night not only because of the guests, but the awesome staff at Zahav. These people take food really seriously, but they also know how to have a good time, not least of all Chef Mike Solomonov.

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It seemed strange at first to some people that we were celebrating an Iranian holiday at an Israeli restaurant. But Chef Mike uses Persian flavors and techniques (like tahdig, above) on his menu often, influenced by the many Iranian Jews who’ve immigrated to Israel, whose cooking traditions have become a part of the colorful tapestry of Israeli food. I think by celebrating Norooz at Zahav, we helped to shed light on the long history of Jews in Iran. But also, to show people that there’s more to Iran than what you read about in news headlines.

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Norooz lasts for thirteen days, and today is the last day. It’s customary to spend this day outside, picnicking. You’re supposed to throw out the sprouts that you grew for the Norooz sofreh in moving water, and bid adieu to any bad energy lingering from the old year. Luckily we’re having a gorgeous day here in NYC, so I’m about to head back outside. May your New Year and your spring be happy and prosperous!

Photos by Felicia D’Ambrosio!

 

 

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Persian Raisin and Saffron Cookies for Norooz

by Louisa on March 13, 2014

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The Persian New Year, Norooz, is coming up on March 20, and it’s time to get baking sweet treats in order to conjure sweetness in the new year. You can hear me talking in depth about Norooz and food traditions on KCRW’s Good Food with Evan Kleiman on last weekend’s show. This year I made nan-e keshmeshi, raisin cookies, a traditional recipe that, like all others, has a different twist depending on who’s doing the baking. [click to continue…]

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Food52 Piglet, Norooz in Philly

March 2, 2014
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Hey Folks, I’m very excited that The New Persian Kitchen has made it to the final round of Food52′s Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. (Update: The New Persian Kitchen took the top prize! Read about the decision, and check out all of the other wonderful contender cookbooks, on Food52.)

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Café Nadery in The New Yorker

January 27, 2014
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Last week I was on the phone with my cousin chatting about her recent trip to Iran. She spent the whole time in Tehran, visiting family. One day, she told me, she took the metro–yes, there is a metro in Tehran, I didn’t know either!–from the Northern end of the city to the center. She [...]

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Passport to Iran: How (and Why) I Struggled to Get My Iranian Citizenship

January 9, 2014
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Last month, the Islamic Republic of Iran granted me an Iranian passport, bringing to an end a trying application process that lasted almost exactly two years. As I imagine must be the case when applying for citizenship anywhere in the world, the procedure was frustrating, humbling, and seemingly illogical, to the point where it was [...]

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One Simple Change, and Winnie Abramson’s Recipe for Homemade Yogurt

December 19, 2013
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I’ve got a holiday present for you! One of my favorite bloggers, Winnie Abramson, ND, has written the excellent book One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life. Winnie is the writer behind Healthy Green Kitchen, and the book expands on the inspiring ideas for healthy living that Winnie writes about online. I like it [...]

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A Persian Hanukkah Meal in Bon Appétit

November 27, 2013
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Do you still need inspiration for your Hanukkah—or Thanksgiving—feast? Check out the menu and slideshow for my Persian Hanukkah dinner at Porsena restaurant coming up on December 5. The folks from Bon Appétit came by Porsena one day last week, and Chef Sara Jenkins and I cooked up a preview of next week’s dinner. They [...]

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New Persian Kitchen Gift Box at Oaktown Spice Shop!

October 31, 2013
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Last week I visited the wonderful Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland, across from Lake Merritt. I was not planning to do any book events in the Bay Area, I was just going to enjoy hanging out, but Oaktown co-owner John Beaver and I got into a prolonged twitter discussion about Persian spices, particularly the seasoning [...]

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New York Sour: Tart, Tangy Flavors Rule the Foodscape

October 9, 2013
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Sour flavors are coming to NYC, and this week’s New York magazine has the story. This topic is dear to my heart, as tart, tangy flavors are one of the most distinct and noteworthy traits of Persian cooking. I have a quote in here about the Persian passion for all things sour. The article includes [...]

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Healthy Coconut Recipes in Bon Appetit

September 26, 2013
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You may have noticed that in recent years, coconut milk and coconut oil have gone from being forbidden foods to health world darlings. I write about the transformation in the October issue of Bon Appetit (on newsstands now). Read about why coconuts are healthy, and get my recipes for Coconut Quinoa, Collard Greens with Toasted [...]

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