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Persian Stuffed Peppers (Dolmeh)

Persian Stuffed Peppers (Dolmeh)

The term “Dolmeh” can be traced back thousands of years in the form of various stuffed vegetables and was popular all over ranging from the Middle East, to Central Asia, and surrounding areas. The vegetables stuffed could include tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, and eggplant.  Stuffed grape and cabbage leaves were also part of this tradition and can be traced back even further in culinary history. One explanation for etymology of the word dolmeh is from the Turkish verbal noun  dolmak,  which means “to be stuffed.” Makes sense.

In the Persian Empire, references of dolmeh are traced back to the 17th century and the courts of the Shah (king). According to Wikipedia, Alī-Akbar Khan Āšpaz-bāšī,  chef to the court of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, recorded dolmeh as a special category of Persian cuisine and gave recipes for stuffing grape leaves, cabbage leaves, cucumbers, eggplants, apples, and quinces.

My beloved late Grandmother made dolmeh combining green stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage leaves in a large pot. She used tomato sauce and the end result was delicious! This is a picture of the dolmeh she made for us when my mom and I visited her in 2009. Those beautiful hands made many lovely dishes for us on that trip. And they all had the common ingredient of love incorporated. Many of my cooking inspirations are connected to that trip. Since my family immigrated from Iran when I was a child, this was the only time I cooked with her as an adult and I cherished every moment.

It seems the popularity and timelessness of this dish, is due to it’s simplicity. Stuff any vegetable with other vegetables, herbs and/or meat and you have a rich dish that satiates any palette.

I made my version of dolmeh for Nowruz (the Persian New Year) and they were a hit! The only dish with no leftovers and that says a lot for any meal in an Iranian home where abundance is the key ingredient to any feast.

It is a relatively easy recipe and quite healthy. You can make it meat-less by eliminating the ground turkey or chicken for a vegetarian option, nothing will be lost. The fresh herbs add such great flavor and aroma! Serve it up as a main or side dish and enjoy!

 

 

Mint & Cannellini Bean Tuna Salad

Mint & Cannellini Bean Tuna Salad

We all have busy schedules and not having the time to prepare satisfying meals on the fly can be challenging. That’s why I’m a fan of utilizing beans, veggies and herbs along with basic pantry products to make a nutritious, colorful and tasty meal!

This filling and fancy tuna salad will do exactly that. And surprisingly, hummus is a great alternative to mayo!

 

 

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My Little Scarborough Fair

My Little Scarborough Fair

Many of the dishes and cocktails of the summer are inspired by what’s in bloom in my herb garden. Once upon a time my Father built a beautiful bed with nutrient rich soil to plant herbs + veggies in. I’ve continued that tradition and every spring I plant the staples; parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme… and mint and cilantro and chives and sweet basil. These aromatic but humble herbs elevate pretty much every breakfast, lunch and dinner compilation.

They’re easy to grow. I buy the spriglings in Home Depot and just add water and sunlight. There is something very satisfying in always having these items available to enhance the flavors of any meal. If you don’t have a garden, you can use planters and any window with sunlight will do!

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;

Remember me to the one who lives there,

For once she was a true love of mine

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