March 28, 2015

Happy Easter - With Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

by Anja
 

Spring is here - finally. The Persian New Year started and as we still try to cope with the sudden and tragic loss of our friend Puya we prepare for Easter.




I have to say that I was never really excited about this holiday and never went out of my way to decorate the house, make any special meals or prepare Easter eggs. But now I have two girls at home who cannot wait for the day the Easter bunny visits and they can go for their egg hunt. And I guess it's a nice occasion to come together with family and spend some time over a nice Easter brunch. So, this year I am actually dyeing Easter eggs and already think about what to serve for Easter brunch. I looked into many different ways how to dye my eggs and felt really drawn to a natural way of doing this. So, here is how it goes:
All you need are some fresh organic, free-range eggs (both, white and brown work), onion skin (about 4-5 cups at least), some nicely shaped leaves/herbs (cilantro, parsley, or dill work well, but get creative) and old nylon stockings.



Fill a medium-sized pot with onion skins (the more you add, the richer the color will be). Add about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
In the meantime, place one or two leaves on each egg and tightly wrap with a piece of nylon (about 10cm/4-5'' long). Use a string to bind together or simply knot together the ends of the nylon.

Once the water boils, carefully put the eggs into the pot, making sure they are compeletly covered with water. You can add a splash of vinegar for the eggs to better absorb the color (optional). Boil for 10 minutes, then remove. Let cool, then remove nylons and leaves. If you wish you can apply some coconut oil for  a nice shine. Easy, isn't it. And all natural.

Onion skins will give you a nice brown color. You can play with other ingredients for other colors. Beetroot for red eggs, spinach for green ones, turmeric for yellow ones, red cabbage for blue ones. I tried beetroots, but wasn't too happy with the results. I used one beet for 4 cups water, and got a very pale orangy color. So, if you opt for beetroot, use at least two or three I would suggest.

Let the egg hunt start soon!
Happy Easter everyone!

And if you're not into celebrating this holiday, have a wonderful Spring! May it be warm, sunny and happy wherever you are.

March 14, 2015

Nature Boy

by Marjan 

As the Persian New Year approaches and nature prepares to welcome spring and it's boundless beauty of blossoms, fragrant enchanting scents of hyacinths, endless crisp blue skies, showers and radiant sun, with birds illuminating hope from the harmonies they sing as they perch from one branch to another, I would like to share with you a story of my beloved Puya- 'the seeker'.

Puya is our Nature Boy. All of us at Savorychicks have enjoyed Puya's spirit as he blessed us for a very short time here on earth. Therefore, he is and will forever be a part of our Savorychicks family.
 

I met Puya shortly after we started our blog in 2009. With the temptation of food, he enticed me to initially meet him for sushi.  On our first date, I was impressed with his passion for flavors which naturally complimented mine. His eyes would sparkle whenever his taste buds awakened. Puya was a fan of our site and also personally helped me explore new restaurants locally and around the world- some of which I wrote about: San Shi Go (his favorite Sushi restaurant in which we had our first date), House of Nanking and many more.

Some of my most memorable trips were taken with Puya, few of which I posted on this blog. He loved to travel and explore unique natural destinations such as Belize, or exquisite breath taking corners of the world such as the Amalfi Coast. He made every trip more adventurous, fun, and full of thrills. He was fearless in his travels and loved the blue sky, nature, people, and any body of water.  If there was a dark, uncharted river cave or deep blue hole in the crystal clear waters of  Belize, he enthusiastically explored it. Puya's exhilaration for sharing with me his experiences made me feel as if I had explored along with him. I could listen to him forever and be inspired with his dauntless spirit. Yet even simple walks on the beach, savoring coffee at our favorite locations, relishing a simple meal or walking any corner of the world while holding hands was an equally enriching experience for our souls.

My admiration for Puya was for his love of family and friends, nature, the 'underdog', and of course food.  We enjoyed cooking and eating together.  He always called himself my 'sues chef' as he loved my recipes and found exuberance helping me make them, such as: tomatillo salsa, guacamole, tuna sandwich, eshkene , tamarind and tofu soup, dahl addass, and so many more. His sweet spirit in the kitchen with me made it a delight to cook together. Every second was a labor of love for both of us. My memories are vivid and clear, because his energy around me was immensely filled with jovial love. His passion for food was nurtured by his mother, Mahnaz, who found deep joy cooking for Puya all of his favorite foods.  He often asked her to make some of our favorite Persian dishes, such as tahcheen, kotlett, and ghormeh sabzee. To this day, I firmly believe Mahnaz makes these three dishes better than anyone I know! I love her cooking as much as Puya and know she inspired the origin of his fine palate. He used to tell me he loved my lasagna just as much as his mother's. Later on, I discovered we used the same recipe from the same cook book! One of our Savorychick's recipe's came from Mahnaz- pomegranate jello. The pictures were taken by Puya and he was thrilled that I was sharing her unique recipe with our readers.

Puya was my teacher in many ways.  From the first moment we met, I fell in love with his 'divine spirit'. As our precious time together evolved, he inspired me to seek and explore, to experience beyond my five senses, to understand that the truth requires removing filters, to be an advocate of the truth, and to allow my imagination to travel beyond the moon, stars, sun and galaxies. Since we met, sunsets have become more magnificent, the moon appears so much bigger and brighter, and the stars dazzle my soul with deep, profound mystery and meaning. Puya respected the laws of nature and had much regard for his Persian heritage. Therefore, as the first day of Spring approaches, a New Year begins, and thus a new life must unfold.

Thank you for allowing me to share my love and admiration of Puya with you. I find it difficult to grasp the right words to convey his essence and spirit for you. Puya was the coolest, most sincere, trusting, smartest, non-conformist, most passionate, adventurous, fun loving, enthusiastic, advocate of the less fortunate, gentle, loving man I have ever known. He made the world a better place by his presence. More importantly he loved! He opened my heart and allowed my feelings to soar to the highest mountain top and grow deep as the ocean waters that inhaled his last breath while surfing. Yes, he loved nature and always wished his last days on earth would be doing all the things that brought him joy such as skiing or surfing. He is my Nature Boy...one of my favorite songs from Nat King Cole:

There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far
Very far, over land and sea
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he
And then one day, a magic day
He passed my way, and while we spoke
Of many things, fools and kings
This he said to me
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return."


 Thank you, Puya, for planting the seeds of love in my heart as they will continue to bloom every Spring and be nurtured all the remaining days of the year. Every corner of my world reminds me of the fragrance of our love, every song tugs on my heart more deeply, all the colors of the rainbow remind me that my limitations of perception are a mere glance of the spectrum of hues perceived by the naked eye, and every meal will remind me of the enthusiasm we shared at the sacred moment of each bite!

Dear readers, may this spring and New Year fill your heart with all the joy, love, health, and natural wonders of our beautiful earth. I hope these words have inspired you to live yours to the fullest and love. May you be blessed with a soul as lovely as Puya in your life.

Surf the galaxies and beyond Silver Surfer!

Happy Norooz!
 

February 28, 2015

Tahcheen

by Marjan



‘Let them eat cake!' As long as it’s Tahcheen, I’ll have seconds!

This year, Anja traveled all the way from Switzerland to Los Angeles so that we can celebrate our birthdays together.  I thought it was appropriate for us to make Tahcheen together in the spirit of our savorychicks style - an elegant dish that looks and is baked like a cake, but it is actually served as a savory main course.

Tahcheen is a classic Persian rice cake dish immersed in saffron, eggs and yogurt. Embedded within the rice is a surprise of either chicken or lamb (yet there are variations of recipes using eggplants and spinach). A delight to the eyes, this golden dish is baked like a cake and is served to tantalize a savory palate. Traditionally Tahcheen is made with lamb and the best part is the outer crust of the cake which is golden crispy and full of flavor. The rice on the inside is moist, creamy and filled with chunks of lamb to satisfy your hunger. But one piece is never enough; one must have seconds! My mother always prepares this dish on special occasions. It is one of my favorite Persian dishes and of course, I can devour most of the cake all by myself. I love it when she garnishes the top of the Tahcheen with Zereshk (barberries).


So every time I have Tahcheen, it is like a little party inside my mouth! Minimal ingredients and royally pleasing to all senses, this cake is worth every bite! Happy Birthday to us!

More Savorychicks Posts