STUFFED ZUCCHINI

Ingredients:

4 zucchini

1/2 lb of ground beef

1/4 cup of tomato puree

2 garlic gloves

2 tsp dried parsley

fresh parsley and basil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tbs of olive oil

Process:

Put the burner on high, add your ground beef, chop it up as it cooks. One the meat is chopped up, fully brown, and all the fat and juices have been extracted, strain the meat to remove all of the juices & fat.

Add the meat back into the pan, add garlic, salt, pepper, parsley (dry & fresh) and basil. Add the tomato puree and add a little more sat and pepper. Cover and let simmer on low.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Wash your zucchini, cut both ends off and slice right down the middle (the long way). Once they are halved, core our the middle with a spoon. Be careful, if you push to hard will end up breaking the zucchini.

Save the zucchini insides from one of the zucchini. Chop this up and throw it in the sauce. Stir.

Repeat the same process to the rest of the zucchini. Once they are all halved and cored, place them on a tin foil covered cookie sheet/pan. Brush 1 tbs of olive oil on the inside of the zucchini. Add salt to them.

Put the zucchini in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft.

Once the zucchini are soft, test the sauce to make sure it’s tasty, and fill the zucchini with the meat stuffing. Grate cheese of your choice on top (I used cheddar because that’s what I had). Put back in the oven for 5 minutes on high (450 – broil), so the cheese melts. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

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GREEN RICE WITH SAFFRON (SABZI POLO)

This is another classic Persian dish that’s usually served with fish. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of dill

1 bunch of cilantro

1 bunch of green onions

2 cups of basmati rice (serves 4)

tbs of canola oil

Saffron powder

Process:

If you have the time, soak your rice in salted water 2-3 hours before boiling.

Wash all of your herbs prior to using and let them dry.

Chop the parsley, cilantro and dill using a blender or food processor so they’re finely diced. You can also do this by hand. Dice the green onion by hand. Put all of the herbs and the green onion in one bowl and mix them together.

Boil water in a circular teflon pot, once boiling, strain your rice and add to the water. Let boil for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes strain the rice. In the same pot, add a little water to the bottom and a little saffron. Shake the pot around, so the saffron reaches all areas.

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Take spoonfuls of the rice and plop them in the pot. Keep layering the rice, but with each layer add in your green and lightly mix with your spoon so there are not white large white spots. You don’t have to smooth the rice so it’s flat, just let it fall in naturally.

Once you’ve added all your rice back into the pot, drizzle a tbs of canola oil on top of the rice in a circular motion.

Put a paper towel on top of the pot and then place the lid on top of the paper towels.

Put the burner on high heat for one minute, then turn on low and let steam for 1/2 hour.

Once your rice is done steaming, take the lid and paper towel off. Place a plate on top of the pot and flip the entire pot over so the bottom of the is now on top. Place the plate down and remove the pot.

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If you have left over herbs, you can make Herb Fratata (Kuku)

TABBOULEH (TABOULI)

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup of bulgar (simply soaked overnight)

1 tomato

1/2 small white onion

1 cup of parsley

2 limes

Tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Process: 

Soak the bulgar in water for 2-3 hours (if you’re in a rush) or overnight. Sometimes I prefer soaking the bulgar for 2-3 hours because I like when the pieces are more defined vs softer. If you’re really in a rush you can add the bulgar to boiling water and let cook it for 10 minutes. Strain well.

Finely dice the onion, tomato, and parsley. Add to the bulgar. Also add the juice of two limes, 1 tbs of olive oil, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well. Let cool in the refrigerator before serving.

FOUR HERB PESTO

Ingredients: 

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 fresh parsley leaves

10 leaves of fresh oregano (1 tsp if dried)

1 tbs of parmesan

1 tbs of pumpkin (or pepitas) seeds

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove (cored – cut the glove in half and remove the heart, this prevents it from having a bitter taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Process: 

Blend all ingredients with a food processor until they become one.  Cook dried pasta (of your choice), strain the pasta almost completely, but keep a small amount of the salted pasta water (just enough so the pasta is not dry). Thoroughly mix the pesto sauce in with your pasta. If you have extra, don’t fret. I always use the left over as a salad dressing (I mix the pesto sauce with a little bit of vinegar and toss it with mixed greens).

Enjoy!