Saturday, June 27, 2009

Menu 5: Partially Persian

Persian Meat Loaf
I take my own photos, usually immediately before we sit down to eat. They are not styled. This photo, in particular, doesn’t do justice to how delicious this meat loaf actually is. But it is the truth. What you see on this blog is very close to what you will get when you fix a dish.

1½ pounds ground lamb or beef or combination of the two
Note: It would also be possible to use ground turkey.
1 medium onion, grated in the food processor
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped celery leaves
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 slice white bread, milk or water
chopped parsley and sumac to garnish, optional

1. Soak the bread in water or milk while you do the next steps.
2. Use the food processor to grate the onion and then to chop the herbs. No need to wash out in between the two.
3. Put the meat in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients except the bread. Squeeze the bread dry in your hands and tear into pieces. Add to the meat mixture.
4. Mix the ingredients with your hands until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
5. Place in a loaf pan, or form into a round on a low-sided pan and bake for 1 hour in a 350ºF oven. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and sumac before serving.
Some people I know and love eat this with ketchup or barbeque sauce. Others enjoy it with yogurt.

4 servings
Adapted from Maideh Mazda’s In a Persian Kitchen

Roasted Potatoes

2 pounds small thin-skinned potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil or smoked olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Cut your potatoes into bite-sized pieces. You might cut them in half or in quarters.
2. Place on a low-sided baking sheet or gratin dish in one layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt. Mix together with your hands or a large spoon.
3. Turn on the oven to 400ºF and put the potatoes in the oven. No preheating is necessary.
4. Roast until the potatoes are golden brown, 30-45 minutes depending on their size and how cold they are. Stir or shake them once or twice while baking.
5. Serve at once.

If you are making these with the meat loaf, put them in the oven at 350ºF along with the meat loaf and cook until done. They will take a little longer because of the lower temperature. If they finish before the meat loaf, remove them from the oven. Reheat before serving.
Variations: Add 1 or 2 heads of garlic, broken into cloves, unpeeled, to the potatoes after about 15-20 minutes of baking. Or stir in some chopped rosemary at about the same time. Devise your own variations.

4 servings
My own devising, but not original to me

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Corn Salad with Basil
You can vary the amounts of these ingredients according to your taste and what you have on hand.

24 (8 ounces) bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls), drained
2 tablespoons O Meyer Lemon Oil
2 tablespoons olive oil and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt
Crushed red pepper flakes or smoky hot paprika
Freshly ground pepper
A small amount of fresh lemon juice, optional
1 (10-ounce) basket small cherry tomatoes, preferably in a mixture of colors
1 cup sweet corn kernels, cut and scraped from 1-2 medium ears
About 12 large fresh basil leaves

1. In a large bowl, toss the bocconcini with the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper or smoky hot paprika (or to your taste if you like it spicy). Cover and marinate overnight. If you are pressed for time, as I often am, skip the overnight part and proceed with the recipe.
2. Bring the bocconcini to room temperature. Cut the tomatoes in half if they are too large. Gently stir in the tomatoes and corn and adjust the seasoning, adding the lemon juice if you want. The salad can be prepared to this point up to 1 hour ahead.
3. Stack the basil leaves, roll them, cut them into thin strips and scatter the chiffonade over the salad just before serving.

6 servings
Adapted from Carrie Brown’s The Jimtown Store Cookbook

1 comment:

Amita said...

Hi Kath -- Katherine alerted me to your blog and I am so loving it!

This section on Persian food is great and so timely in many ways. We are journeying down the ancient Silk Road this summer -- in spirit at least as I cook meals for the family from different cultures along the Road. Such fun! Can't wait to try these.

Lots of love -- Amita