Cookbook Club is a serious organization. We never have fun, do we?
February’s gathering featured the fragrant, tasty cuisine of Naz Deravian’s Bottom of the Pot. This title refers to the tastiest part of the dish: the crispy, saffron-drizzled tahdig at the bottom of a pot of Persian rice, as seen above, is one such example.
Naz describes in detail the technique involved in getting a batch of Persian rice (sometimes referred to as “Persian soul food”) just right, culminating in flipping the pot onto a serving dish so that the crunchy golden bottom makes a beautiful top crust. Our hostess, Jackie, prepared a perfect tahdig for us (ta-dah!), which made a great accompaniment for the rest of our spread.
This month’s recipes included some interesting uses of fruit, including baked feta with cranberry quince sauce, roasted squash with grapes, and a savory fruit soup; some familiar Mediterranean-style ingredients like grape leaves, yogurt and saffron, and two elegant desserts: Persian marzipan and a rice pudding with a variety of sweet and fruity toppings. Many of Bottom of the Pot’s recipes included ingredients unusual to our California palates, like roses, dried limes, verjuice (the juice of sour grapes), sumac and date molasses.
Along with the recipes, Bottom of the Pot includes essays about Naz’ family’s migration from Iran to Rome to North America in the wake of the 1979 revolution. She explores the idea of what it means to be home – and in a nutshell, home is where the comfort food is. As all of us migrate (whether literally or figuratively), we bring with us the flavors of home to share with others.
Looking forward to sharing more flavors with you in March when we celebrate Mollie Katzen!
Click here for photo gallery and recipes.