Monday, March 23, 2009

Persian Cooking Class & Pi Day

I took the Flavors of Persia class at PCC (so did yasmin in an earlier class). It was taught by Omid Roustaei. If you are in the area and haven't taken a class taught by Omid, you should make an effort to do so. He is an awesome instructor. He also teaches The Main Course series, each of which are around 15 hours of learning the basics of cooking deconstructed. I want to take that class, but haven't had a chance to fit it into my schedule.

Back to Persian cooking. The class was really fun and filled with stories about Omid's experiences growing up and why each dish was important and when they would eat it. A food processor is definitely useful because there is a lot of fine chopping that needs to be done.

The food was like nothing I've had before, and I hope I have a chance to explore more Persian food in the future (because it is delicious).

Khoresh-e-Fesenjoon (left)(Pomegranate-Walnut Stew with Chicken Style Seitan)
Polo (Steamed Basmati Rice with Saffron)
Koresh-e-Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Fresh Herb Stew)

Amazing! The pomegranate stew was very tangy. The walnuts are ground very fine so that you don't know they are there. The herb stew earned it's name because it had a ton of fresh herbs in it. A good contrast to the pomegranate stew.
Havij Polo (Saffron Carrot Rice Pilaf with Roasted Tofu). The rice had orange marmalade in it so it had an interesting sweet flavor. As you can see, the tofu was roasted to perfection with a lot of spices.

Baghlavah (Persian Baklava). Persian baklava is different because it has a simple sugar syrup with rose water instead of honey (yay, no honey), cardamom instead of cinnamon, and almonds (or pistachios) instead of walnuts. In class he used coconut oil instead of butter.

The next week, I made 3 of the dishes at home because I knew Andy would love them.

Pomegranate stew with Polo. This tasted just like the stew Omid made in class. I should have ground up the walnuts more. It was surprisingly easy to make. This is not a dish that you can have a huge portion of because it is so sweet and sour and rich all at the same time, but it will definitely be a favorite that I will look forward to.

The classes that I have taken lately have made me reconsider hating saffron. When used correctly, it adds to a dish. Though I still don't like it super strong. Omid grinds his saffron so that it's flavor spreads through the dish better.

Baklava. I made a 1/2 batch. I greased up every sheet and I spread the nut filling between 4 layers rather than 2. It was very crispy when it came out of the oven and it stayed that way. It looks pale in the pic, but it wasn't in real life. Note to self: Do not make baklava if it's not going to be eaten by more than 2 people. Otherwise sugar overload will ensue.


Sorry for the super huge post, but I'm trying to catch up from my slacking without posting every day. 3/14/2009 was Pi Day, so Pizza Pi had their annual Pi weekend. Nerdy deliousness. I'm sure you're all getting sick of seeing pics of pizza, but I promise you I didn't order the same ol' same ol'.

Cheezy Breadsticks. We get these once in a while instead of the plain ones. There was also a caesar's salad, but I didn't take a pic.
I think this was called St. Patrick's Revenge. The sauce was some form of artichoke topped with green peppers, spinach and other green veggies/herbs that made for a pizza that I hope they keep on their menu. In honor of Pi Day, they also made stuffed crust pizza upon request.
Cheezeburger sandwich. This was good, but I like it in pizza version bestest. The sandwich wasn't open faced, I did it do you could see the inside.
Dessert Pizza. mmmmmm..... yogurt and fruit. I should have ordered it on a stuffed crust.


I saw this cat from a distance and wondered how tubs had gotten outside. Then I figured it out and took a very bad pic of the neighbor cat before he took off. He is HUGE!
Here is a slightly better pic of him heading back home. If you click on it to get a better view, you can see that it looks like one eye opens up more than the other.


Vegetation said...

Yum! I want cheezy breadsticks! And St. Patricks revenge stuffed crust pizza!!! And cheezeburger sandwich!!

Love the neighbours kitty. He's adorable :)

River said...

That must have been a fantastic class, all the food looks amazing. The grilled to perfection tofu is my favorite. I miss it!!

I can never get sick of seeing pics of pizza. The Cheezeburger sandwich and dessert pizza look so freakin' good!

Aww, what a cute kitty with his little eyes! He came to say hi to your kitties!

Mihl said...

I really had to laugh about the St. Patrick's revenge pizza!
I love your cooking class posts! Persian food alsways sounds and looks so delicious, I wish I had the chance to take such a class one day, too.

jd said...

This post is incredible! I obviously shouldn't have read it on an empty stomach :)

I'm really intrigued by that fruit pizza, and am incredibly envious of Pi Day!! What an awesome thing it must be to have a vegan pizza shop like that nearby...

Also, I think it's so cool that you're taking cooking classes! I have to admit that I don't know much about Persian cuisine, but everything that you made sounds delicious.

PS Thanks so much for the sweet comments that you left on my blog. I was so excited to read them - they really made my day :)

For the Love of Guava said...

harumph... I swear I commented on this post... hmmm... must have been too busy drooling to type! Hahaha... I actually LOVE saffron but am always to much of a cheapskate at the market... must try new spices...mmmm...

VeganView said...

Hi Bethany, thanks so much for the nice comment you left on my last post. I don't know how you could POSSIBLE know about food being boring though, your meals always look so creative and delicious :)

Jeni Treehugger said...

Woah! So many good foods AND a prowler ginger cat. I wonder if he gets on with your rabble or not?

Felicity said...

Please take me to Pizza Pi now.