Today is my first blogoversary! Food blogging has been a journey as well as a healing process for me while I've been chopping onions, frying eggplants, pickling garlic, steaming rice and grounding threads of saffron and the whole lot of other things that cooking entails. I started this blog exactly a year ago as a tribute to my late mother who had passed away six months before an illness.
This was my tribute to her amazing culinary capabilities, knowledge, and understanding of all the ingredients used in Persian cooking. She loved serving up delicious food with a welcoming attitude and the constant desire to feed and include everyone. Little did I know that through it all I would become a more passionate and enthusiastic foodie myself. I have grown to appreciate food more than ever. It is no longer about preparing meals for my loving family but becoming curious about food and nutrition and exploring other ethnic cuisines from around the world. From the very young age of eight or nine when my mother taught me how to saute onions, an essential in Iranian cooking, my love affair with food began. My mother loved talking about food as much as she enjoyed preparing and eating it. She'd tell you the benefits of every ingredient as she would feed you. She was not shy about giving strangers tips on how to cure their ailments by using herbs and spices. We'd grown up hearing stories about how she had helped cure our next-door neighbor's liver problems by sending over some sumac(somagh) to take as a medicine. Or, telling someone else that they should drink a glass of warm yogurt drink (doogh-e garm) before going to bed to help them with their insomnia!
The first few months of blogging was more about documenting what I had learned and remembered. I was frantically posting without enjoying it much. It was more of a chore I felt had to be done; that it would somehow make my mom happy to know that her legacy would be passed on. To my astonishment, I have grown to enjoy and love to write about my recipes, read other amazing food blogs and marvel at their food photography. What had started as a homage to my beloved mom has healed me through my writing about the kinds of food she'd serve us ever so graciously and lovingly.
کشک بادمجان Kashke-e Bademjan is the quintessential Persian appetizer. It may be not be considered a main dish, however, I feel once you serve kashk-e bademjan you don't need much of anything else on the table. Except, some warm lavash (flatbread), a fork and a tall glass of cool water. If you haven't tasted it yet, try it. You'll be surprised how tasty this combination of eggplants, whey (kashk), caramelized onion, and garlic can be. So simple and yet so tasty. This is also a perfect dish for those that say Persian cooking is too time-consuming.
Dried Whey (Kashk)
2 large eggplants
2 large eggplants
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon liquid saffron
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil or vegetable oil
1 cup liquid kashk (whey), it can be found at Iranian or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a knife make some cuts in the eggplant to let the steam out and place them onto the baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until softened for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool.
- Remove the skin, cut the eggplants into small cubes.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the sliced onions until golden, add the turmeric powder turmeric, stir. Add the garlic and the dried mint, saute for another 5 minutes.
- To the skillet add the chopped eggplant, saffron, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes over low heat.
- Pour the kashk (liquid whey) over the eggplant mixture. Stir, until well combined. Cook for about five minutes on low heat for the flavors to come together.
- Adjust the seasoning and serve on a platter, add extra kashk if you prefer.
- Garnish with fried onions and chopped walnuts.