Five years ago, on a typical cold day in December, I created my little blog. The whole idea of a Persian food blog- its name and format swept over me like a Fall breeze and snowballed into a heightened sense of urgency and passion and that's when "Turmeric and Saffron" was born. I began my new blog with borani esfenaj, a favorite of mine, followed by other amazing Persian recipes such as ash reshteh, loobia polow, and ghormeh sabzi, in that month alone. All I wanted to do was write my mother's recipes and about my memories of growing up in Iran. Now, five years later, my blog has an archive of more than one hundred and seventy Persian recipes that are not only my mother's but from all over the country. I am utterly surprised and deeply grateful that I have continued blogging this far. I am grateful that through blogging I found solace and was able to hone my cooking skills in the kitchen and through this experience I have developed my own culinary style. I came to appreciate Persian cuisine more than I ever have and I have become a firm believer that the true and authentic Persian cuisine must be preserved and remain as intact as possible. Now, I am an enthusiastic cook who has discovered the joy of photography as well. Throughout this process I have also had the great pleasure of getting to know many wonderful and supportive blog readers and fellow bloggers.
I write so much about my mother and so in order to balance the attention I give to the memories of my parents on this blog I am going to share one of my favorite photos of Baba. The image below is of his bicycle license that was issued in the city of Abadan, Iran more than seventy years ago. I remember him saying that one of the tests required him to ride his bike over a large figure 8 that was drawn on the ground without getting out of line!
To celebrate my fifth year of blogging I chose to make دسر کدو حلوایی - butternut squash dessert, which is great to make while they are still in season. For this dessert you'll need to buy butternut squash with a long neck. I have grown to know this recipe as a dessert from Hamedan which is where my mother was from. However, she lived most of her adult life in Khuzestan and I am not certain which culinary experience was more dominant in her cooking or if both had influenced her equally. While I too have moved away from my birthplace, my roots remain where I was born. I traveled, moved to a different continent, went about my life and started my own family but my roots remain intact and have reached the water level in the dried lands of Khuzestan where it was planted.
For an added flavor and a southern touch you may make this dessert with شیره خرما - date syrup or for a Hamedani-style pumpkin dessert you may use شیره انگور - grape syrup as sweetener instead of using the regular sugar.
Saffron Butternut Squash Dessert
1 large butternut squash with long-neck, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick (will yield approximately 15 slices)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar (adjust to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tablespoon pistachios, slivered or chopped
2 tablespoons walnut halves or crushed
- In a large frying pan, heat butter and oil, over medium heat. Add the butternut squash slices to the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until just tender.
- In a small pot, over medium heat combine sugar and a cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Arrange the butternut squash slices in a large pan, pour the syrup and saffron evenly over them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, leave lid ajar and cook 20-30 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender and all syrup is absorbed.
Serve on the platter and garnish with walnuts and pistachios.