Chicken Koobideh & Persian Cucumber Salad

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There are few smells that remind me of being a kid and visiting family than saffron. I remember driving to Iowa City to see my uncle and cousins and upon stepping inside their home being hit with the warming scent of saffron and rice. Then it was a tortuous waiting game until lunch was served.

If you’ve followed by blog for a while you’ll already know I’m half Iranian.Ā Growing up Iranian food wasn’t a regular thing at home, so going to my uncle’s place where they’d expertly prepare it, was always a treat. At lunch the table was jammed packed with food. Usually the spread was two entrees like kabab and joojeh kabab, rice (duh!), relishes like torshi and radishes, tadig, yogurt, and salad. We’d spend a couple hours leisurely eating and catching up on each others lives.

Now as an adult I want those memories to live on through the food. Also, I was just really craving it šŸ™‚ This recipe is not exactly how my family would make this meal. Their koobideh is typically made with beef, and they would serve this with rice as well. I thought I would lighten it up for summer by substituting chicken for beef and pita bread for rice.

Koobideh

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Ingredients for the Koobideh:

  • 2lbs ground chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion grated
  • 2 tbsp liquid saffron*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium lime juiced

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 1 large cucumber diced and core removed
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 container of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 large lime juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for yogurt dip:

  • 1 pint greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sumac

Directions

Combine all the koobideh ingredients besides the lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Mix until the ingredients are equally distributed. Cover, and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. In a separate small bowl stir together the olive oil and lime juice, set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and mold the ground chicken into 1″ inch thick, 1″ inch wide, 5-6″ inch long pieces. Brush the lime juice and olive oil mixture onto the koobideh. If you have left over liquid saffron you can brush that on as well to give the chicken extra color. Be careful though since saffron can stain your brush bristles. Using a spoon press into koobideh pieces to make indentations. Bake for 20 minutes, remove and reapply the olive juice lime mixture, and bake on the other side for 18Ā minutes.

To really get that char look of a grill I sear the koobideh, indentation side down, in a cast iron skillet for a couple of minutes. This is optional, but really enhances the presentation and give a nice slight char taste- if you’re into that!

To make the cucumber salad and yogurt dip mix their respective ingredients until combined. Serve with warm pita or white basmati rice.

Enjoy!

*Liquid saffron: a pinch of saffron strands soaked in 3 tbsp boiling water. Allow strands to soak for 10-15minutes.

Verde Bloody Mary

Summer is well underway and we are in the height of brunch season. And what does every good brunch menu have? A bloody mary! But this bloody mary has a twist. Instead of the traditional tomato, we’re using its zingy cousin– the tomatillo. You can make this with a shot of vodka or you can really get crazy and make a bloody beer, which you may remember from last summer.

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Ingredients:

  • 4-5 tomatillos
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno, stem removed
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tbs pickle juice
  • 10 dashes green hot sauce
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt

Using a juicer juice the tomatillos, cucumber, and jalapeƱo. If you don’t have a juicer use a blender, but strain the mixture afterwards. Now you have the base. Put the base into a shaker and add the juice of 1 lime. I don’t put the lime through the blender or juicer since you’ll get the pith which is bitter. Combine the rest of the ingredients to the shaker and add ice. Shake for 20 seconds. Strain and pour into two 12 oz glasses. Last, add either a shot of vodka or 1/3 of a beer. Serving size is 2 for bloody marys or 3 bloody beers.

Cheers!

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Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream

Summer is officially here and I’m combining two of my favorite things– lemon and ice cream! Honestly, I am seriously obsessed with lemon desserts. I will take a lemon bar, lemon chess pie, or a lemon granita any day, and with multiple servings! There’s something about marrying the tartness of lemons with the sweetness that dessert brings, which is so mouthwatering.

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This recipe will make your mouth water also. I’m not going lie, this is a very lemon forward dessert, but it’s nothing to shy away from, since it’s incredibly refreshing. There’s just a little bit of prep, mostly zesting and juicing the lemons, before popping it into the ice cream maker, and then you’re set!

Ingredients

  • 3 large lemons
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces sour cream
  • Splash of vanilla
  • 1 tsp poppyseed

Directions

Rinse and dry the lemons. Press or roll them on a cutting board to loosen the juice. Using a zester grate the skin from the lemon careful to only get the yellow peel and not the white pith- which is bitter. Put the lemon zest in a bowl and place a strainer on top. Strain the lemon juice from all the lemons into the bowl.

Add the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and vanilla to the bowl with the lemon zest and juice and mix until combined. Put into the ice cream maker and churn for 12-15 minutes. The ice cream should be pulling away from the sides and more of a soft serve consistency. Add the poppyseed and churn for 1-2 minutes more.

I moved the ice cream into another container since it’s easier to scoop that way, but you can leave it in the ice cream maker if you want. Cover the container with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn. Then place it in the freezer for 2-3 hrs up to overnight.

Remove and serve!

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