Saturday, March 25, 2017

NoRooz Mobarak! Happy Persian New Year!


Happy Persian New Year! 

Hoorah!! It's officially springtime and that means it's also my favorite adopted holiday of the year! NoRooz is a very beautiful and ancient holiday that goes back to Zoroastrian times. NoRooz is celebrated at the vernal equinox - which right away makes me love it. I love the association with a natural/astronomical event. I also love that all the various celebrations and foods and traditions of NoRooz are ripe with meaning and symbolism and connection to the natural world. You can read a lot more about it on this wikipedia page. Technically these days of celebration go one for almost two weeks, so if you're feeling inspired, it's not too late to make a feast of your own! 


Each year I host a big gathering of friends and family for NoRooz. I love all the days of anticipation - scheming my menu and hunting down all the ingredients that I'll need. This year I made a special trip over to San Jose to go to a Persian Market -- oh my gosh, it felt so festive and merry to be in a shop full of people preparing for NoRooz! Everyone was shopping with baskets full of goodies and sprouts, and herbs and millions of other good things. I must remember to do this every year, just to build up the merry spirit of the holiday in my heart! 

This year's celebration was even bigger than usual because it was also my dad's 80th birthday the following day, and we combined the two celebrations into one -- and for such a special day a few extra people came. It was pretty great. Two of my besties came over and spent the whole afternoon helping me in the kitchen which was both super fun and also a total life-saver for helping me meet my ambitious culinary agenda! 

cheese and herb platter

For appetizers, we prepared two beautiful cheese and fresh herb platters. I made the homemade Cashew Chevre from Miyoko Schinner's book Artisan Vegan Cheese. This recipe takes a few days to age at room temperature, but otherwise it's nearly effortless and SO delicious. In fact, our two cheese platters were fully enjoyed by my non-vegan guests and there was hardly any cheese left at the end of the night. Great success!! It sure does make this vegan heart happy to see non-vegans digging and enjoying my vegan cheese!

The platters had fresh dill, chives, cilantro, mint, and parsley... along with walnuts, dates, and dolmas. The dates are my most favorite Black Gold Dates from Sam Cobb Farm down in Palm Springs, and they are so fantastic. Since we didn't go down to the desert this year, I ordered my dates online.  They have a rich, deep flavor and aren't super mooshy or super dry. Just perfect! The dolmas were straight outta cans from Trader Joes! ha ha. Sorry to disappoint!


Nan-e Barbari

I also made a double batch of Nan-e Barbari yeasted bread (I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour - it was my first time using this recipe and I was really happy with it!). I made the dough the night before and got a super enthusiastic first rise. Then I divided and shaped the dough into four small loaves and put it in the fridge. That made it pretty easy to bake the breads on the day of NoRooz. I used a mix of Nigella seeds, Poppy seeds, and Sesame seeds for the topping. As you can see, these turned out pretty much perfectly. I was so happy! 


We cut the breads up into little strips and put them out with the cheese platters. In this picture, you can a little bit see that they got a very nice crumb and texture: a good balance of density and airy-ness. 

happy nibbling and chatting and festivizing! 


huge platter of Kuku Sabzi

Kuku Sabzi is a traditional NoRooz food - an omelette packed full with minced fresh herbs, walnuts and barberries. Over the years I've tried many attempts at veganizing this recipe, and this is really my favorite -- it's based on the mini muffin-tin omelettes from Isa Does It, and then mixed up with lots of fresh herbs. I finally took the time to type up my recipe:

Kuku Sabzi Minis
(based on Muffin Pan Mini Omelets from Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
*you can easily double this recipe

ingredients:
2 1/2 Tbsp dried barberries
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup packed fresh dill
1/2 cup packed scallions (green parts only)
1 cup packed spinach
1/4 cup fresh fenugreek, or 2 Tbsp dried fenugreek (optional)
generous 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, plus extras for decorating
2 cloves garlic, peeled
14 ounces silken tofu
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 Tbsp arrowroot flour

instructions
Cover the barberries with warm water and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile combine the parsley, cilantro, dill, scallions, spinach, and optional fenugreek in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. You don't want it to turn into a paste, but you really, really want to chop those guys into oblivion. If you don't have a food processor, get a good knife and start chopping chopping chopping. Once the herbs are chopped, set them aside in a large bowl, and next use the food processor or knife to chop your walnuts. Add the walnuts to the herbs. Don't worry about cleaning out the food processor between steps. 

 Preheat your oven to 350F. Next, chop up the garlic in the food processor (or a blender). Add the silken tofu, water, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add in the chickpea flour and arrowroot and process more, until fully integrated. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the minced herbs and walnuts. Drain the barberries, discard the soaking water, and add the barberries to the batter. Stir well until fully incorporated. (note: at this point, you can refrigerate the batter to use it later or the next day)

Lightly oil a muffin tin and fill the muffin cups about halfway full with the batter. If you'd like, you can put a few chopped walnuts (or a whole walnut half) on each mini kuku sabzi. Bake the mini kuku sabzis for about 20-25 minutes, until they are lightly golden. Allow them to cool in the muffin pan for at least five minutes before you try to get them out.


Shirazi Salad

Shirazi Salad is a simple and delicious salad - and such a nice balance to the other flavors of the NoRooz feast. Light, fresh, crunchy, and simple -- it's a refreshing component with so many more robust dishes on the table. This year's salad was Persian cucumbers (the organic ones from Trader Joes are great!), cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, and olives... along with several small handfuls of fresh herbs: a combo of cilantro, parsley, dill, and mint. For a dressing, I ad-libbed a quick dressing with pomegranate paste, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Easy and delicious! 


i love this picture!

One of the features of a NoRooz celebration is a Haft Seen display, spread out on the sofreh. I use my mantle above the fireplace... mostly so our pets won't mess with it! The Haft Seen has seven ("haft") traditional items arranged on it that all begin with the letter "S" ("seen") in Farsi. The items seem to vary a bit from region to region, and there are also lots of lovely supplementary items you can put up. One of our annual traditions is that every year I stand up and go over all the items on the table, their name in Farsi, and their meaning/symbolism as part of the display. Mr VE&T got this great panorama picture of our whole gang (I love my brother playing with Footie in the bottom right corner!)
The main 7 items:
Sabzi - sprouts symbolizing growth and rebirth
Samanu - a sprouted wheat pudding, symbolizing wealth
Senjed - oleander seeds, symbolizing love
Seer - garlic, symbolizing medicine 
Seeb - apple, symbolizing health
Sumac - ground sumac, symbolizing the color of the sunrise
Serkeh - vinegar, symbolizing "old age and patience."

some of the other things include:
Sonbol - a hyacinth, symbolizing spring time
Sekkeh - coins, symbolizing weather and prosperity
Shirini- sweeties, for sweetness in the new year
A mirror - symbolizing reflection
A copies of poetry books Hafiz & Rumi, two great Persian poets
Candles
Eggs, symbolizing new birth (I use glass eggs)
A goldfish, symbolizing life (I use a cute plastic goldfish!)


Sabzi Polow

Sabzi Polow is another traditional NoRooz dish - parboiled basmati rice is mixed with yogurt, a mountain of fresh herbs, and then cooked/steamed in a pot. The Persian preparation of rice is so special and fantastic - the individual grains of rice are never clumpy or sticky, and there is a beautiful, crunchy golden crust on the exterior. This crunchy part is so good that it has it's own word "tahdig" -and it is definitely the best part. Every year I suffer some anxiety about how well my tahdig will turn out and this year I got a beautiful golden crust -- perfect, beautiful and delicious! I was so happy! 

Sabzi Polow
based on the Persian Rice recipe from Vegan Eats World, by Terry Hope Romero
*you can easily double this recipe, which is what I usually do 

ingredients
3/4 cup minced fresh dill
3/4  cup minced fresh cilantro
3/4  cup minced fresh scallions or leeks (green parts only)
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 2/3 cups white basmati rice
8 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened vegan yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil or melted vegan butter


instructions:
Wash and mince your fresh herbs thoroughly - either by hand or with a food processor. Remember, you really really want to mince those herbies finely.

Put the rice into a mesh strainer and rinse it well under cold water, to wash off excess starches. In a large pot, bring the 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add in the salt, then add the rice. Boil for 3-5 minutes. Take out a grain or two of rice and bite into it -- you want the outside to be soft and lightly cooked and the inside to still be hard. Drain the rice and rinse it again with cold water, and then put it in a large bowl.

To the rice, add the 1/4 tsp salt, vegan yogurt, and 2 Tbsp of the oil/butter, and mix well. Take out 1/2 cup of this mixture and set it aside. Now add the minced herbs to the big bowl and mix them to fully incorporate. 

Preheat a heavy, 2-quart pot no larger than 10 inches wide, with a tight-fitting lid, over medium-high heat. Add the remaining oil/butter and swirl it all around to coat the bottom and the first couple inches of the sides of your pot. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to spread the 1/2 cup of reserved rice across the bottom of the pan evenly. Now add in the remaining rice (with the herbs mixed in). Use the back of a measuring cup to gently but firmly press down the rice. 

Use a chopstick to poke several holes into the rice - an inch or two apart and a couple pokes in the center too. This helps the steam escape so the bottom can get good and crunchy! 


Next, take a clean, smooth-textured kitchen towel and put it over the top of the pan - then put the tight-fitting lid firmly onto the pot (so the dishtowel is between the rice and the bottom side of the lid.) Carefully fold the corners of your towel up on top of the lid, so that they don't hang down and catch fire on your burner - use a rubber band or a chip clip to secure them on top of the lid! The towel is important because it catches the steam and helps you get perfect Persian rice! 

Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 35-45 minutes. It's a good idea to rotate your pot a few times, for a more evenly golden crust. Check the rice by lifting the lid -- the rice should smell toasty (not burnt). Sometimes you can get a butter knife and carefully peek down the edges of the rice to see if you see a golden color developing. Cook another 10-15 minutes if needed (and you can also turn up the heat a little if it's not getting golden), to get a good golden crust. Keep an eye on the rice, and also don't forget about it -- you don't want it to burn!

Remove from the heat, and take off the lid and towel. Take your serving platter, and invert it over the pot. Carefully hold the edges of the serving platter and the handles of your pot, and flip it over! It takes courage! A perfect tahdig will make a little "floop" sound and land perfectly on your serving platter. Dig in! 


Amoli Rice Salad with Barberries & Orange Peel
from Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey, by Najmieh Batmanglij

OMG this dish is so beautiful and so perfect. I hadn't made it in a couple of years, but since we were having a bigger group this year I decided it would be good to have two kinds of rice. Yay! I'm so glad I made that choice, because this rice is really something special. This is a spin on "shirin polow" in Farsi ~ "shirin" means sweet, and "polow" means rice ~ this dish is a magical combination of sweet and savory flavors. Orange peel and grated carrots are boiled in a light syrup, and they are combined with barberries and raisins to bring sweetness to the dish. Then, the whole thing is served over chopped lettuce and tossed with a savory dressing of lime juice, garlic, salt & pepper, and fresh minced herbs. Such a winning combo. I made a 1.5 sized batch and it was pretty HUGE and there was a lot leftover, but I'm not complaining. It makes great leftovers straight out of the fridge!

By the way, Silk Road Cooking is such a beautiful and evocative book, I highly recommend it. Especially if you enjoy reading about food and cooking foods from around the world!


Ash-e Reshteh
with onion-turmeric-mint garnish

Ash-e Reshteh (find my recipe here) is a super traditional must-have at NoRooz! It's a wonderfully complex veggie soup with caramelized onions, turmeric, beans and lentils, fresh herbs galore, beets, and noodles. This year I made a double batch which was - ha ha - WAY TOO MUCH! At least I will have delicious soup forever! I froze a bunch of it in tupperwares, and I've been enjoying it ever since NoRooz... like most soups, it makes wonderful leftovers. Note to self though, one batch will be plenty next year! This soup is one of the dishes I look forward to every year with NoRooz -- I love the earthy beets, beans, lentils, and flavors... it feels grounding but not heavy. 

And I especially love the contribution of the garnish: onions cooked until golden, then with added ground turmeric and dried mint. It is amazing! I made a big batch of the garnish this year too because I like to have lots of it!!


Ghormeh Sabzi

Maybe you have noticed that several of these dishes have the word "sabzi" in their name -- "sabzi" means "vegetables," or in this case "herbs." The traditional dishes of NoRooz are filled with fresh, tender herbs to symbolize the growth and new life of spring time. It's usually a combo of parsley, cilantro, dill, scallions/chives, leeks, and baby spinach. If you can track down fresh fenugreek (or even dried fenugreek), it's also great to include some of that! Fenugreek is a strong flavor, so I usually use a little less of it compared to the other herbs. 


Ghormeh Sabzi is usually a meat & beans dish, but it's easy to veganize and is absolutely delicious. Rich, robust, earthy, but not heavy. You can find my recipe here, it's got mountains of herbs and spinach (of course!), kidney beans, onions, portobello mushrooms, turmeric, and more. Man, it's so good. I think it's one of my favorite NoRooz dishes... and honestly, there's no reason why I couldn't make it at other times during the year! 


Adasi Persian Lentils

I made this recipe a few years ago for NoRooz, and hadn't made it since. It's from a no-longer-active blog called Pomegranate Diaries (recipe here). When I was looking through my old NoRooz posts to plan my menu I saw these lentils and read "this was Mr. VE&T's favorite dish of the whole night." The sad truth is that Mr. VE&T doesn't always love Persian food (SAD.) In fact, I once had a vision of making a vegan Persian/NoRooz zine, but of course that would involve recipe testing and eating lots of Persian food. When I told him my big plan was when he finally admitted to me that he isn't actually such a fan. Alas. At least he tolerates my enthusiasm once a year, and he actually did enjoy several of the dishes this year... so maybe he's coming around. 

Nonetheless, I thought it would be nice to make something that I knew he'd love and, lo and behold, he loved these lentils again this year! I know they're not much to look at, but they are perfectly seasoned with cinnamon and angelica (a ground spice that I found on my trip to the Persian market, called "golpar" in Farsi.) They are deceptively delicious for such plain looking lentils! 


My dinner plate of glory

Such beautiful abundance! I just love the flavors and aromas of Persian food - they are complex, strong, and still often unexpected to my American palette. As you can see, I enjoyed a mountain of delicious food... and we haven't even talked about dessert yet! Mwahahaha! After two long days in the kitchen, it felt great to sit down and dig in. Of course it tasted great too!


Special Drinks: Dried Lime Tea, Mint Limeade, & Pomegranate Mint Spritzer

Persian cuisine has an amazing array of non-alcoholic drinks and there are many, many more that I would like to make and learn about. This year I made three party staples. First, a lightly sweetened Dried Lime Tea (recipe here) made from dried Persian limes (recipe here: If you have never had dried Persian limes, I suggest you look for them ... maybe even order some online? They are absolutely unlike anything else you've ever had! The author of the recipe I use says it perfectly: "slightly funky, a little bit sour, and very aromatic."

I also made Mint Limeade -- we cooked up a special lime syrup by making a simple syrup, adding fresh lime juice, and simmering it for a bit longer. We added that with some fresh lime juice, springs of fresh mint and sparkly water. I think next time, I will also boil some fresh mint with the syrup - so that flavor can come through a little more. Pretty much everyone loves limeade, so it's not surprising that this one was a hit! 

We also made a simple Pomegranate Spritzer -- fresh pomegranate juice from the farmer's market, a touch of simple syrup, sprigs of fresh mint, and sparkly water. After the even was over, there was a little limeade and a little pomegranate spritzer left over, and I just combined them into one pitcher. Note to self - it was good! 


NoRooz Sweets!
Saffron Almond Diamonds
Nan-e Nokhodchi (chickpea flour cookies)
Sohan As-Ali
Walnut Cardamom Cookies
Pomegranate and Pistachio Turkish Delight ~ store-bought and sooo good! 

Sweets are an important part of the NoRooz celebration! I guess sweets are an important part of lots of holidays, and NoRooz is no different. Whenever I go to the Persian market, they have these packaged trays of sweets - and they are just stunning. The sweets are always in lovely shapes and arranged just-so, and decorated with little ground pistachio garnishes... and they look perfect, and they usually aren't vegan (though, happily, a few are!). Anyhow, those packages of sweets are my inspiration every year.

This year I made lots of treats, and I even intended to make one MORE sweetie but I ran out of time and obviously it's just as well. There was no shortage of NoRooz sweeties.

Saffron Almond Diamonds (recipe from zozobaking). These beautiful yellow diamond candies are rose-scented marzipans, and they are extremely delicious and also extremely simple to make. They're also naturally vegan and gluten-free! Woop! I made these last year, and was a bit too skimpy with the saffron, so they turned out tasty but pale. This year I went big with the saffron, and got such a beautiful golden hue. Huzzah! Highly recommended recipe! 

Nan-e Nokhodchi / Chickpea Cookies (recipe from zozobaking) are a traditional NoRooz treat -- also naturally vegan & gluten-free, they use chickpea flour, powdered sugar, shortening, and cardamom... such simple ingredients and such a lovely little treat. They are traditionally in this clover shape (I also ordered my official nan-e nokhodchi cookie cutter from Zozo) - and they are delightfully tiny little morsels! I'm not sure if you can tell from my picture, but my cookies spread a little bit this year, and they should be a little more crumbly. Happily, they were still perfectly delicious, but I think next year I will try adding a bit more chickpea flour. I've noticed that different brands of chickpea flour can has radically different absorbency... so I think that might have been my issue. 

Sohan As-Ali (find my recipe here) are the almond brittle candies that you see, and they were the first Persian sweetie that I ever learned to make. Making candy can be a bit nerve-wracking and every year the Sohan making is the most thrilling part of our NoRooz culinary experience! This year was no different - with a mad rush to get all the candies onto the parchment paper and sprinkle them with chopped pistachios before they start to set and become firm. It's definitely a two-person job, and a rushed one at that. This year my pal Kendra even burned her hand with the liquid candy - ack! Hopefully it's feeling better by now. Even with the stress of candy-making, I still make these magical treats every year because they are absolutely amazing: the cooking brittle toasts the slivered almonds for a sweet and toasty flavor, along with a generous blast of saffron soaked in rose water, and the pistachios on top. They are sophisticated and gorgeous and tasty.

Nan-e Gerdui / Walnut Cardamom Cookies -- I saw several recipes online for these and figured that I could find a way to veganize them... the ingredients are basically walnuts, powdered sugar, egg, and cardamom. Then I thought of the wonderful "brutti ma buoni" cookies from Italy, which have a very similar ingredient list, only with hazelnuts.  I modified my own recipe and came up with these:

Nan-e Gerdui / Walnut Cardamom Cookies

ingredients:
2 Tbsp flax meal
3-4 tablespoons water
10 ounces walnuts
1.25 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2-1 tsp ground cardamom (to taste)

instructions:
Preheat your oven to 400F. 

Combine the flax meal and 3 tablespoons of the water in a medium bowl and whisk it vigorously until it starts to turn viscous. Set aside.

Put the walnuts, powdered sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and start pulsing until the nuts are coarsely chopped. You want some of the nuts to be ground up like coarse polenta, but you want some bits that are a little bigger than that.

Now, combine the hazelnut mixture, the flax goo, and 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom. Mix well until you have a thick dough, and there are no dry bits left. It might take a little stirring. If you feel like it's too dry, add the extra 1 tbsp of water. Taste your batter and see if you want more cardamom flavor. I like a lot, but it also depends how fresh your spices are, and how much you want that flavor to come through. 

Next, line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, and put tablespoon-sized blobs on the sheet, with about one inch in between them. The cookies will rise and spread a little, but not a whole lot. 

Bake the cookies for about 13-14 minutes, until they are slightly golden on the tops and lightly golden on the bottoms. I use a spatula to peek under the bottom and check on them. Let them cool on the sheet for at least a few minutes before transferring them to cooling racks, because they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the exterior will become more crispy and the inside will become more chewy. Yum! 


An Apple Pie for an 80-year old Birthday Boy! 

But wait! That's not all! NoRooz is always on the first day of spring, and so it's always on the day of my dad's birthday, or one day ahead. As I mentioned, this year was extra special, because my dad was turning 80!! Holy Moly! I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dessert this year, and he asked for an apple pie... and he got an apple pie! Ever since my friend Max made The World's Best Apple Pie, and it turned out to be Cosmo's Apple Pie from Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, that is my go-to apple pie recipe. I don't think you can tell from this picture, but this rustic beauty of a pie was a veritable mountain of appley wonder. It was a huge heaping mound of a pie... and also a super delicious pie! 


Happy birthday, Daddy! 
I only used 8 candles, one per decade... because, really now. Ha ha. 
But I did get him 80 daffodils - his favorite flower! <3 nbsp="" p="">


a peek inside!

You know how sometimes a fruit pie looks like a huge mountain, but when you cut into it, there's a big gap between the fruit and the top crust? That is always such a bummer, and I was afraid it might happen with this heaping pie... but no! Happily, it came out just perfect and absolutely packed with fruit. I love that! Some of the pie recipes I have from older cookbooks call for just a few cups of fruit (perhaps from a more frugal - or less gluttonous - era), but I just love a fruit pie that is abundant with fruit. The crust was perfectly thick and flaky, and basically the whole thing was a great success! I think my dad liked it too, which is the most important thing! 

If you've made it this far through this epic post, you deserve a pie of your own. Phew! NoRooz is probably my biggest culinary event of the year. Even at Thanksgiving and Xmas, the tasks are split up and everyone in the family cooks part of the meal. I love the festivity and ambitiousness of a big adventure in the kitchen... and I'm also happy when it's over and I get to sit back and eat leftover for days on end. 

I love so much that the foods of NoRooz are actually quite healthy (sweets aside, I suppose - but even those are small and simple). The ingredients are fresh, simple, and yet somehow they come together into complex and wonderful dishes. Everything beside the pie and the bread were gluten-free, too -- which makes it quite a friendly cuisine for our gf loved ones. 

I hope you enjoyed your own first few days of spring, and may the new season bring some fresh energy for growth and vitality! Happy NoRooz! Happy Springtime! 


The First Mess Cookbook Giveaway Winner! 
With the help of the Random Number Generator, I also picked out a winner 
for my giveaway of a copy of The First Mess Cookbook,
Congratulations to commenter #23: Kate Swelstand
Yay! 
Kate, send me your mailing address (ameyfm -at- yahoo -dot- com)
and I'll make sure your book arrives pronto! 



13 comments:

  1. Wow, what an amazing post! I'm so impressed by all you made. The food all looks beautiful and delicious!

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  2. So excited, I always look forward to the NoRooz posts! Your cheese and herb platters are just so beautiful. And good tip on the Sam Cobb dates; I didn't realize they had online ordering!! I had been thinking that it would be amazing if you did a Persian cookzine; that would be a great resource and lots of fun! I'm always trying to search through your blog for the norooz recipes when I have an overabundance of fresh herbs, since I know I will find many ideas.

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  3. Wow. I'm overwhelmed by this year's feast! I've made some of your recipes in the past (kuku sabzi, the soup and the rice with the golden crust), and this year might try the salad and the lentils. I can't believe you cooked so many things. Your filled plate is a thing of beauty.

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  4. What a great post! Even though I have already eaten dinner I am now quite hungry again, haha! I cannot imagine all the time, effort, and planning it took for you to make such an amazing meal. Wow! It must be great to pull it off, and then to be done, like you said. I bet the leftovers are much more enjoyable than Thanksgiving since they are so much healthier and lighter. Enjoy, Amey, and Happy Persian New Year to you!

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  5. I always look forward to this post every year, and as always, the food looks incredible! You deserve a pie of your own after all that effort!

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  6. I loved reading this. What an amazing feast! It all sounds gorgeous.

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  7. You host the best parties! Everyone looks like they're having a blast, I love your dad with the birthday pie. This makes me want to throw a party just cause <3 Two days in the kitchen no kidding, as I scrolled down the post it just kept coming. Do a Persian cook zine!! You have a wealth of knowledge to share from celebrating NoRooz. Happy NoRooz and Happy Spring!

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  8. I love love love your NoRooz posts! So much incredible looking food. I wanna dive into, eat, and also nap in the Nan-e Barbari. I don't care if that's weird.

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  9. Thanks for all the info! The little set up with the items made me remember a film I saw. The movie is called the White Balloon and it is about a girl who wanted a goldfish for a holiday. Her mother gave her the money to buy one but I think she ended up loosing the money? Or the fish, I can't remember which. It is really sweet. But reading your description she must of wanted the goldfish for NoRooz!

    Making candy can be scary. My sister said her daughters wanted to make it, but she would use molds. We grew up buttering our fingers and rolling the candy out by hand. Eek. I remember being pretty young too. Clearly my Mother has poor judgment lol.

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  10. As you know, Amey, I'm among those who look forward to your NoRuz post all year long… And, as always, it didn't disappoint! (understatement of the year) Your dinner plate of glory is, indeed, glorious! Thank you for sharing your festive fare, and for taking me back to Iran through this feast for the eyes.

    If ever you decide to go ahead with your Persian cookzine idea, please let me know: I'd be delighted to help test recipes. I'd be happy to share the burden (ha!) of dealing with tons of delicious Iranian leftovers from all the recipe testing! ;)

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  11. That is truly an incredible spread - I wish I got an invite to any NoRooz party if all that great food was waiting for me! And the sweets are so gorgeous. NoRooz Mobarak!

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  12. What a wonderful celebration of a New Year and your dad's birthday. I just recently started learning about Norooz myself and appreciate you explaining things about it so we can learn more =)
    Your spread is absolutely glorious!! That was nice of your friends to help you and I'm sure your dad super duper appreciated it - he looks pretty happy. Happy Belated Birthday to your day =)

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  13. Happy belated birthday to your dad and Happy Persian New Year, Amey! I hope to be invited to one of your epic parties someday. Your food spreads always look so incredible. I've never had most of the food you've posted, but I know my taste buds would be delighted to experience your beautiful creations.

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