Winter Pot Roast

A really good recipe to make during the cold winter months is a nice pot roast.  There are a lot of advantages to making pot roast: it’s easy to make, it can feed a lot of people and its delicious and hearty. It’s easy to impress people with this low-effort dish, especially when made in a crock pot. You just throw all the ingredients in and go!  If you don’t have a crock pot, follow this recipe below and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is making sure you bring your appetite.


chuck roast (1/2 lb. per person)

2 cups red wine

1 cup water or beef broth

3 tbs. oil

10 cloves of garlic

1 large onion

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. rosemary

1 or 2 chili peppers (optional)

dash of salt and pepper

vegetables of your choice cut into pieces (I used potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, okra, and tomatoes.)

1. Wash meat and pat dry. Coat with flour.

2. Fry beef in oil on all sides until brown

3. After the beef is done browning, add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot in order to release all of the flavor.

4.  Add  the remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for approximately 2 hours or until meat is to your desired texture, stirring occasionally.

5. Serve with bread.

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MY easy peasy dolmeh recipe

Being far away from family and “home”, I wanted to make something that could comfort me into knowing that I can have a piece of home whenever I want (although nothing will ever come close the the real thing!).  I came up with the idea of making dolmeh all on my own. I have only made a version of this once before, and that was under my mom’s directions, a very long time ago. This time I had to figure it out all on my own, and with very limited spices and herbs.  Regardless, it was quite easy to make.  I have to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing, but it just goes to show that cooking is an art and everyone has their own style, my style being quick and easy, without the frills.  Check out my quick and easy recipe below:


1 lb ground chicken, beef or lamb

3 medium sized tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

5 bell peppers and/or eggplant for shells

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

2 cups cooked rice

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp oil

1/4 cup dry or fresh mint

1 Tbsp tumeric

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp pepper


1.  Start by frying the onion in oil for a few minutes until translucent, then add meat.

2.  When the meat is slightly browned, add the tomato paste, tomatoes, water, tumeric, paprika, salt, pepper and mint and simmer for 15 minutes.  It should have the consistency of pasta sauce, so add water as necessary.

3. After simmering, pour most of the meat sauce in a big bowl with the chickpeas and rice and mix together, but leave some sauce in the pan. Set aside.

4. Cut out the stems of the bell peppers and eggplants, but save them to cap the peppers once they are stuffed.  Scoop out the seeds of the bell peppers and the inside flesh of the eggplant to form a shell.

5. Next, stuff the bell peppers and eggplants with the mixture, and place back into the pot with the remaining sauce.  Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, making sure to add water to the pot as necessary so it does not burn.

6. Serve, and enjoy 

Note: If you don’t like chickpeas, you can mix other vegetables instead like chopped okra, cabbage, green peas, etc. Check out the pictures, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

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Palda, the once every 7 years treat

“Palda” as we say in Turkish, or “Faloodeh” in Farsi is a cold dessert made from cornstarch, pussy willow extract and sugar.  It can only be found in its frozen form in stores here in California.  The only time I have ever had it fresh was in Iran, or when I visited my family in Canada many years ago.  I was lucky enough that my step-mom wanted to make it again!  Of course, I had to capture all the action this time around.  It is such an involved process but really worth it, if you ask me.

How it’s made:

First you start by mixing one part cornstarch with 2 parts water in a big pot over medium heat.  You keep stirring until the mixture becomes really thick and hard to stir.

Starts off very liquid

Starts off very liquid

Keep stirring until it becomes very thick

Keep stirring until it becomes very thick

Cover the pot with a cloth until the mixture becomes more clear and not as cloudy as the picture above

Next comes the fun part. You scoop the mixture into a special device designed to make palda.  It consists of a tin container with tiny holes at the bottom, and everything gets pushed through the holes to form noodles.  The noodles are then dropped into a bowl of ice cold water.  Cold water helps the noodles maintain their form, and keeps them from turning mushy.

The noodles are chilled and served in a bowl of water flavored with pussy willow extract, sugar and sometimes lime juice as seen below

 How can I describe the taste? First off, pussy willow extract??  I really cannot describe that taste. It is so unique and unlike anything I can compare it to.  One sip of this and it took me back to 16 years ago when I had my first bite.  If you want to try this on your own, you can buy it at any Persian grocery store, just ask for faloodeh. It will be in the frozen section and will most likely come in a white plastic container.  However, the one you find in stores will be flavored with rose water.  You will probably have to go to Iran to have the authentic and original form of palda. Overall, when it is nice and cold, and has a little bit of lime juice, it is such a refreshing snack.   I savored every bite because who knows when I’ll get to have this again!

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This next dish is great to make for a household or party of at least 4 or more.  It is a chicken and rice dish that is baked in the oven.  Chicken is sauteed separately with spices, barberries are optional.  In a separate bowl, cooked rice is mixed with yogurt, raw eggs and saffron.  The chicken is layered in between two layers of rice and placed in the oven until the outside is perfectly crispy. The end result is a cakey, saffron and butter flavored rice with delicious chicken in the center.  But the best part is the crunchy outer layer.  In order to get this crunchy outside layer, you must make sure to generously grease your oven dish.  Unfortunately it is the type of food that no matter how much you eat, you don’t get full! Either that or it’s just so good you don’t want to stop. After 4 servings, I coulda kept going…

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“Canadian” meatballs

Why is this dish called Canadian meatballs? I have no idea. But it’s what my brother and sister used to describe it and the name just stuck. Ever since I tried it a few years back, I’ve been asking for this every time I come to visit.  It is easy to make and so delicious! Try it for yourself 

What you’ll need:

1 lb. ground beef

1 large onion

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 cups of water

3 tbsp. oil

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. tumeric

½ tsp. paprika

½ tsp. black pepper

  1. In a large bowl, shred one onion and add beef, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper. Mix together until well blended.

  2. Add the oil to a frying pan. Form little 1 inch meatballs and lay them in the skillet. Cook over medium heat until slightly browned.

  3. In a second pot add 1 tbsp. of oil, tomato paste, and the rest of the spices and cook for a couple minutes. Add meatballs and 1 to 2 cups of water until all meatballs are covered. Cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat.

  4. Serve with rice.

Check out my pictures below!


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