Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Eats

This year Christmas had a more Eastern flavor.

Christmas Eve dinner was celebrated with friends, and shockingly! at a restaurant. The most appetizing restaurant open that night on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn was Zaytoons, a warm, remarkably inexpensive, Middle Eastern place. The pita comes directly from a hot brick oven, the management was generous with free goodies (if there had been a delay with our order to merit them, I hadn't noticed), and the four of us left happy and fed for under $30, before tip. A minor miracle.

On Christmas Day, my honey and I made one of my favorite Iranian recipes: Adas Polow, or "Rice with Lentils." Doesn't sound like much when you describe it that way, I suppose, but that title leaves out most of the ingredients: meat, dates, raisins, blanched orange peel, onions, garlic--and of course saffron, tumeric, cinnamon, rose petals, and cumin. This recipe provides a barebones outline for the dish, but we've tended to use the more elaborate version from A Taste of Persia. Just in this photo you can see some of the ingredients and steps the Farsinet recipe leaves out: the empty bottle of ghee used as oil, and the ziploc baggie of advieh, or "spice mix" (I think). Also, in the elaborate version of Adas Polow, it's pretty important to cook the ingredients separately, and then pile them in short layers on top of each other for a long steaming. That's the step you see in the photo.

I'm very sorry that I have to report that, once again, my rice failed to upend into a perfectly formed "golden cake"-style tah dig. I'm well on my way toward getting a complex about this.


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