Vegan followers don’t be offended! And meat-enthusiasts don’t run away! (Or do-what are you doing here? I joke I joke). Last night I had the most delicious vegan dinner prepared by my dear sister and yoga sensei Akiko Tanabe. And after, I almost hit a deer. These animals are taking over.
Eggplant and green-bean tomato medley
Cucumber tomato and mint quinoa salad
Carrot ribbon, walnut, raisin and soft-dried apple salad
Lettuce, dried figs, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds green salad
Cake by the mountain. Amongst other things. Like little hands and big hearts. And Homemade pizza (Anthony I’m thinking of you!) and delicious soups and fresh salads (not pictured) and organic dates from the holiest of Holy Lands (Israel).
Before I begin, some context:
Naw-Rúz (literally, new day) is the first day of the Bahá’í calendar year and one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá’í Faith. It occurs on the vernal equinox, on or near March 21. Historically and in contemporary times, Naw-Ruz is also the celebration of the traditional Iranian New Year holiday and is celebrated throughout the countries of the Middle East and Central Asia such as in Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Afghanistan, Syria, and Tajikistan. Thanks Wikipedia.
This morning, I was surprised by my dear dear Israeli friend, Lifa and his gorgeous wife and sweet son with an absolutely mouthwatering plate of baklava! Posted by Lifa’s mother all the way from Haifa, especially for moi! Amazing. Here in rural Japan, is an Israeli, the nationality I was taught to hate (from the mere age of 7!) by my Iranian school and teachers, surprising me on a Bahá’í and Iranian holiday. Wishing me a joyful New Year. Making sure I am okay, happy and well so far from my family and friends. Love is everything. “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”
I am so utterly grateful. I will forever remember this day.
Last night we ate Middle Eastern food. I made (anticlockwise), Persian stuffed peppers, curried couscous salad, hummus, babaganoush, and a garden salad with avocado and artichoke. Chips. Artichoke chips, sliced thin, rubbed between paper towels to drain excess liquid and baked, on high (no oil no seasoning just as is) in my toaster oven. So delicious! The small orange bowl is Indian-style pickled/chutnied yuzu (a Japanese citrus) made by Shogo-san.
Also, Lifa, my Israeli friend said my hummus was world-class which means I don’t need any more compliments for at least a year. Okay, go ahead, one more won’t hurt. For dessert, we had Persian Wife Cake. Which is basically a baklavaesque cake that I assigned a silly name.
The original Persian dolmeh is made by stuffing grape leaves but we also make them by filling eggplants, tomatoes, pumpkins and bell peppers. Dolmeh is delicious because it’s packed with so much flavor. As in literally. Packed to the rim with herbs and spices. Here is the recipe I used. If you’re vegetarian or vegan all you have to do is swap the mince for lentils and you’re all set. Enjoy!
We had a small surprise party for Hiromi’s birthday this morning. I made my shakshuka recipe (here) and replaced the eggplants with capsicum which the Japanese people call paprika and the American’s I’ve met here call bell pepper. It was a good choice because Hiromi’s French husband, Olivier is an amazing baker (Hugo et Leo). So, with the abundance of bread present, dipping, eating with hands and plate-cleaning via bread piece were all mandatory.
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (if you can’t be stuffed cooking some up, use the 100% natural ones from a can)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
5-6 halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 avocado (apparently you’re only supposed to eat 1/4 of an avocado per day but meh)
2 heaped tbsp all natural tahini
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1.Mix the rice, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and cherry tomatoes together in a small bowl.
2.Strategically, and most importantly aesthetically (as you’re sure to instagram it), place the avocado half and olives on top of assembled goodness.
3.Place all dressing ingredients in a small jar and do the T Swift (shake shake shake it off) until smooth and creamy.
4.Drizzle mouthwatering deliciousness (dressing) beautifully over salad.
6.Lastly, using a fork, vigorously mix entire salad/lunch in order to coat each and every ingredient in delicious creamy dressing (note: this may will cause all aesthetically to diminish. However; by this stage you’re sitting on 10 likes/hearts and of course, that’s really all that matters).
*vital – especially if hoping to survive in this media age or life as we know it.