Saffron Recipes

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Ash Reshteh Soup Recipe (Persian Soup) Recipe

Ash reshteh is one of my husband Lulu's favorite soups. Lulu is a vegetarian, and this Persian noodle soup totally fits the bill. The combination of egg noodles (called "reshteh") and various beans and lentils makes a well-balanced meal for a vegetarian diet. I think the key to making this dish flavorful is the addition of crispy, caramelized onions, which give an amazing fragrance to the soup. The saffron and mint yogurt sauce also contributes a fair share of creaminess and complexity to the dish as well.

If you are a meat eater, you can add beef or lamb to the soup. I have had it with and without meat, and it tastes wonderful either way.


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Cream of Asparagus Soup Recipe Recipe

Cream of Asparagus Soup Recipe

12.16.10 by Jackie

Cream of asparagus soup is a dish I recently served for a dinner party as a first course. The soup is packed with asparagus flavor. This is because I made the vegetable stock with the roots from the asparagus, then I blended in the asparagus that I roasted for a few minutes. The usual roux helps thicken the soup to which I then added St Félicien cheese, -one of my husband Lulu's favorite cheeses-, for extra creaminess.

This step is optional but if you want to be met with a round of "oohs" and "ahs" when the bowls of soup are brought to the dinner table, I suggest that you cover the bowl of soup with puff pastry. For decoration, top with a little saffron cream and an asparagus spear. It's a truly seductive way to start a meal.


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Trenne Pasta with Napa Cabbage and Chorizo (Pasta Con Verza Recipe) Recipe

Chorizo, cabbage and sage may not be an obvious combination, but they work incredibly well together. The vegetarian chorizo, or "soyrizo", adds a ton of spice and the Vitamin A-packed Napa cabbage imparts a subtle sweetness to any meal.

I just made a batch of vegetarian chorizo today, which is what inspired me to make this dish. There are many good reasons for making your own, but the main reason is that it's much healthier (no cholesterol) than the meat version, without sacrificing flavor.

I paired the chorizo and cabbage mixture with triangle-shaped trenne pasta because it's much more fun for children than "boring" penne pasta. It's also a great way to get fussy kids to eat their cabbage. For all those people out there who think that healthy has to be tasteless, you need to try this dish. It's bursting with flavor without packing on the calories.


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Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets) Recipe

Gulab Jamun (Indian Sweets)

03.26.10 by Jackie

Gulab jamun is my husband Lulu's favorite Indian dessert. The sweets are deep-fried balls of dough, bathed in rose (gulab) and cardamom syrup. The texture resembles the liquor syrup-saturated French cake Baba au Rhum.

I've just experienced making my own for the first time and it tasted pretty similar to the ones I've had in the past. I added a few saffron threads to impart a brighter yellow color to the syrup and I didn't add finely crushed pistachios as Lulu's great-aunt does, because of my little sister-in-law's nut allergy.

You can eat them cold, but our favorite way to enjoy gulab jamun is to warm them a bit before serving. It adds another dimension to the dish. Gulab jamun is a bit too rich to eat on a regular basis, but it's perfect for special occasions when you want something more exotic than cake.


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Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


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