Feast of Norouz
March 25, 2007
Fertility festivals around the world do not compare to the sumptuous delights of the Persian New Year called Norouz. Norouz is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox (start of spring in northern hemisphere), which usually occurs on the March 21st or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.
I had the honor of attending a Norouz feast at my boyfriend's parents' house. I was treated to a delicious spread traditionally referred to as the Haft Seen table, or the Seven S's table. The table includes seven items starting with the letter S pronounced "seen" in Persian. The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. Originally called Haft Chin, the Haft Seen has evolved over time, but has kept its symbolism. Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Seen table as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Norouzi visitations and is a reflection of their good taste.
The Haft Sin items are:
sabzeh - wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolizing affluence
senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love
sîr - garlic - symbolizing medicine
sîb - apples - symbolizing beauty and health
somaq - sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
serkeh - vinegar - symbolizing age and patience
Other items on the table may include:
Sonbol - Hyacinth (flower)
Sekkeh - Coins - representative of wealth
traditional Iranian pastries such as baghlava, toot, naan-nokhodchi
dried nuts, berries and raisins (Aajeel)
lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
The food I ate at this lovely festival included a traditional rice dish made with basmati rice, fresh chopped dill, fava beans, and some safron turned rice. Lucky for me, I have left overs.
So Happy Norouz, eat well, be merry.
The Woefully Neglected Food Blog
March 04, 2007
I decided that the recipe for tart crusts was just too much - too much work, too much butter, and too much time to bake. Basically, during the week, I want something I can roll out, bake and eat in an hour tops. So I fiddled around with an excellent recipe given to my by the Baking Fool, and it is to her I owe this modification.
This recipe is really the roasted zucchini and tomato tart, with a little less of everything, and light on labor. Instead of making a tart crust, I used the gallette dough recipe from Baking Fool's site and made a savory rather than a sweet dish out of it. The result: a beautifully executed gallette with less butter and less labor.
Step One: Prepare the recipe for gallette dough here. Make the full dough recipe and you will have two gallette balls ready to use anytime.
You will need:
- 3 sliced roma tomatoes
- handful of chopped basil
- 1/3 c grated parmesan cheese (fresh)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp cream or sour cream
- salt & pepper
- one ball of gallette dough
Step Two: Slice 3 roma tomatoes into small circles and drain in a colander for 20 minutes. Sprinkle salt on the tomatoes.
Step Three: Mix shredded or grated parmesan (fresh!) with a handful of chopped frash basil. Whisk in 2 eggs and 3 tbsp of cream or sour cream, and fresh salt & pepper to taste.
Step Four: Roll out one gallette ball and arrange your tomatoes in a tight sircular pattern. Close the edges of the dough around it so it looks like Baking Fool's picture here. Then slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the tomatoes so it just covers them. If eggs are spilling out of your dough - you didn't pinch all of it together tightly enough.
Step Five: Bake this sucker on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Don't worry if the egg spills out a little bit while baking, it happens. Serve this in pie sections and enjoy.