Count Broccula's veg-head ramblings

My home experiments with vegetarian cooking. Focused on seasonal produce with some vegan stuff thrown in for good measure. I may include random other food-related stuff as I please.

Monday, February 14, 2005

My Big Fat Persian Dinner

I decided to make Gormeh Sabzi, Khoresh Gheymeh, and a big pot of rice, as well as the traditional pita bread with feta, mint and basil to start. I might post the recipes later, but I'd like to simply describe the debacle first.

How I screwed up the Gormeh Sabzi: I usually buy bagged spinach at the store, but I happened to be at the natural food store, so I bought bunches of spinach. I started the onions and fake meat cooking, thinking I could chop the greens (spinach, green onions, parsley and dill) later. Yeah, it's been a LONG time since I bought bunched spinach. I forgot that it basically comes packed in mud, and that you could rinse it under the faucet in a strainer for ten years, then pull it out and still find big chunks of mud. You have two options -- fill a sink with cold water and wash it that way, or wash every damned leaf individually under running water. I had forgotten how indredibly long that took. Ultimately, it didn't affect the dish too badly (I think this was the best of the things I made), but it was a terrible pain in the butt and really took a lot of my time, which leads to . . .

How I screwed up the rice: To make Iranian rice, you actually boil it like pasta just until it is al dente, then drain it and put it back in the pot (with a bunch of melted butter) and steam it for a while until it develops a crust on the bottom. I, however, was so preoccupied that I completely ignored the rice, and it bypassed the "al dente" stage. It bypassed the "done" stage. It bypassed the "a little overdone" stage and turned into a big pot of rice paste. I threw it out and turned on the rice cooker.

How I screwed up the Khoresh Gheymeh: This one probably owes some of the problems to the recipe, which measures the yellow split peas in pounds. I don't have a kitchen scale, so I estimated. I figured 1/4 lb was about one cup. I must have been WAY off, because I cooked it with the water and tomato juice (1 cup each) for just a few minutes before the split peas had soaked up every trace of liquid and the legumes were still hard as rocks. Ultimately I ended up adding at least 2 1/2 more cups of liquid before I called the dish done, and even then the peas probably could have stood a tiny bit more cooking.

I did not screw up the pita bread, cheese, mint and basil (although I did forget to put out sliced red onion, my sweetie's favorite). To be honest, it wasn't bad, it just didn't go nearly as well as I'd hoped. Next time I try, I will either buy bagged spinach or the dried "sabzi" greens that you can find in Persian markets. I will vow to watch the rice better. And I will do a better job at estimating one pound, or just go ahead and take the recipe to the store and use the little scales by the bulk bins.


Blogger piggs said...

It was good, especially after you threw out the rice and started over...

Thank you for working so hard on it, it was really yummy.

February 14, 2005 at 9:26:00 PM PST  

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