kookoo {vegetarian herb omelette or frittata}


we’ve been enjoying kookoo (i know, bit of a funny name) or the persian version of  a frittata-omelette-quiche in my family ever since I can remember. when i say we, i have to admit that for years I only observed it being made (there are all kinds of variations of kookoo) and eaten by others. starting off in life as a bit of a picky eater, i eventually learned to appreciate a good kookoo (among other things) as i discovered what (real  food) eating was all about. i can still see my grandma’s skillful hands meticulously chopping the herbs, then ever so care carefully pouring the green “batter” in to the pan. herb (green) kookoo is best in the spring when all the fresh herbs it calls for are in  abundance. as i prepare my shopping list for our upcoming (persian) new year’s celebration (no rouz -spring equinox), it becomes clear that herb kookoo contains a  perfectly healthy and good for you combination of ingredients-a rarity for such deliciousness! it is a great vegetarian option, and can be served warm as a side (such as during no rouz where it is served alongside the traditional herbed rice & fish dish, sabzi polo mahi), or as an appetizer (at room temperature) served with yogurt and flat bread. i left this beautiful one whole, and served it sliced like a pie with a yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce.  it was a big hit.


kookoo recipe: 

finely clean and chop (herbs should be chopped finely so that they can mix well with the other ingredients) one large organic bunch (1 cup chopped) each of: 

– cilantro, flat leaf parsley, and spinach (about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cup each chopped)

– 2 bunches sliced green onions or chives.

     combine the herbs in a bowl with:

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3-4 organic eggs
  • 2-3 tbs flour  
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • a touch of cinnamon-about 1 tsp (if you like it)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbs barberries (optional)

1. heat 2-3 tbs vegetable oil in a deep skillet, then carefully pour in the egg mixture and pat it down tightly with a spatula and allow  it cook on one side on med/low heat for about 20-25 minutes (with the lid on).
2. carefully flip the kookoo with the help of a round platter (this can be tricky, but is doable-trust me), and cook the other side for another 20-25. flip the kookoo (it should be crisp on the outside) out on to a platter, and let it sit a few minutes prior to serving. you can also cut the kookoo  in to small sized squares and serve as an appetizer with a side of yogurt. 

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easing into spring: minty fresh taboule and a green bean salad with blood oranges

green bean salad with blood oranges and feta cheesei’ve been so obsessed with quinoa lately that i’ve neglected to make taboule the traditional way, with bulgur rather than substituting my favorite grain-seed (q-u-i-n-o-a}. at our house we really enjoy a good spicy quinoa-taboule (almost on a weekly basis), but there is something soothing and familiar and frankly more “substantial” about the original version-so, in planning the menu for a small gathering of friends last night i decided on a bowl of super fresh lemony taboule loaded with mint leaves (the way my lovely lebanese friend taught me way too many years ago in france) to go with my all time favorite chicken dish, adda’a morrocan chicken (which turned out better than ever i think- possibly because

minty fresh taboule

of the last minute addition of a cup of fresh orange juice). one of the best things about taboule is that the leftovers taste almost better the next day-which brings me to the most important factor in making a good one-the ingredients: they must be fresh and abundant (more fresh parsley, mint, and lemons than you think you need).

taboule ingredients

if you plan to make some, and you really should, because nothing makes you feel as spring(y) fresh as this dish-be ready to become pretty good friends with your favorite sharp knife….you’ll have to do some chopping, but it WILL be worth it. speaking of chopping, my green bean, feta, and walnut salad requires very little of it. it is so often my go to {delicious and easy} salad/side dish/almost-a-meal when i entertain-here i added the last blood oranges of the season for a citrusy punch and their beautiful color. it made the perfect side for the medium rare tri-tip roast i served with it. okay, now i’m hungry, and my mouth is literally watering. i’m hitting the fridge for a nice bowl of that leftover taboule~wish you could join me:-)

ingredients for 4-6 servings of bulgur (or substitute quinoa) taboule:

  • a bowl of mint fresh taboule2 large bunches of organic flat leaf parsley (about 1.5-2 cups) washed, allowed to dry, and finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch organic fresh mint leaves (1/2-1 cup), washed, allowed to dry and thinly sliced/chopped
  • 6-7 organic scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 ripe roma (or 3 medium ripe) tomatoes, finely cubed
  • 3/4 cup (i prefer less bulgur-adjust amount to your taste) cooked bulgur or quinoa (boil in lightly salted water for just a few minutes then drain excess water and allow it to cool)
  • 2 lemons, freshly juiced (adjust amount to taste-but keep in mind the bulgur soaks up the lemon juice and olive oil quite a bit)
  • 3-4 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste-red pepper flakes, optional for spicy

place all the ingredients other than olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl (leave ingredients in separate piles until ready to toss). if making ahead, cover and set aside until 30 minutes prior to serving, then dress (with lemon juice to taste, evoo, and salt & pepper) toss well. taste and adjust seasoning. enjoy every bite. {see below for green bean salad recipe}

for green bean salad with blood oranges:

blood oranges in salad

  • 2-3 cups organic green beans, cleaned and quickly boiled in lightly salted water until just tender-do not overcook them. drain in a collander and quickly place in an ice bath or rinse with cold water. drain well.
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled french feta cheese
  • 1-2 blood oranges (or you can use pomegranate seeds), peeled and sectioned into small pieces.
  • 1/4 cup of my shallot vinaigrette

combine ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss just before serving. simple as that.

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center


my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda's morrocan chicken)

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda’s morrocan chicken)


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yellowfin tuna tartare: get ready for an unforgettable flavor explosion {in your mouth}

spicy tuna tartare

i feel {sort of} bad raving about a dish prepared by myself-but the spicy tuna tartare i made last night was such a hit (i’m pretty sure my dad had at least half of it-which makes me so so happy because he’s so hard to please) that i could hardly take two or three bites before it disappeared! when my husband came home with the nice thick chunk of the freshest yellowfin tuna (sent by our dear Suzi-thank you!) i wasn’t quite sure how to prepare it, but hubby declared with a smile that Suzi was sure i’d know exactly how to cook it-really? not being a big fan of seared tuna (besides this fish was simply too good and fresh to cook), i got to thinking about other possibilities when one of my favorite dishes (served at a local restaurant) came magically to mind-a tuna tartare of sorts served over crispy quinoa with fried wontons. before i knew it i was thinly slicing, then finely mincing the beautifully pinkish fish for a spicy tartare to be served as an appetizer. as long as you don’t mind chopping and slicing (can be quite relaxing) this is an incredibly easy (no cook) dish to prepare if (and only if) you have a really nice piece of FRESH sushi grade tuna AND a good knife available. one more thing: make plenty more than you think you should…i know i wished i had-craving more already! maybe i’ll give Suzi a call? :-)

photo 1

  • 1 pound fresh sushi grade yellowfin tuna
  • 1-2 lemons, freshly squeezed (i used 1 and 1/2 plus all the zest-using a microplane grater)
  • a nice chunk of fresh ginger, finely grated (use microplane)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (or about 2 tbs)
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish (or 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely minced)
  • 3-4 tablespoons avocado (vegetable) oil
  • 1-2 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • a small bunch of fresh organic cilantro, finely chopped
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 small tomato, finely minced
  • 2 tbs (more or less) toasted sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (for spicy)spicy tuna tartare
  1. with a very sharp knife, slice the tuna and cut into 1/8-inch dice. in a large bowl, combine the tuna with oil, ginger, most of the cilantro (set some aside), the horseradish or jalapeño, sesame seeds (set some aside), scallions, soy sauce, lemon zest, and lemon juice. mix gently, then season with salt and pepper. allow the tartare to stand refrigerated for about 30 minutes and up to an hour.
  2. sprinkle with remaining cilantro and sesame seeds and the chopped tomatoes. squeeze a few extra drops of lemon juice over the top and drizzle with a few drops of sesame oil before serving with good quality potato chips, endives, or fried wontons.
  3. for a more formal presentation: you can also serve the tartare by standing a 1 1/2 inch tall 2 1/4 inch round mold/ biscuit cutter in a plate, then filling the mold with the tartare and pressing gently before lifting the mold.
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a farewell to summer: minty watermelon & feta appetizer

watermelon & heirloom tomatoes with feta cheese

watermelon appetizer

i’ve finally accepted the fact that my beloved summer is “officially” over, but it’s hotter than (the actual) summer (which was rather cool) right now, and there’s still plenty of good juicy watermelons all over the local markets. in fact, if i ignore the calendar, the shorter days, the slight chill to the morning air, and the schools in session all over the place, i can totally pretend we’re still in the middle of july or august. that’s why i served this cool, light, and colorful (let’s face it, summery) dish as an appetizer a few nights ago. it’s a new take on one of my favorite salads, minus the cucumbers, and reconstructed. deeeelicious!! better make some before our pretend summer is over!

  • watermelon, sliced and cut into the same sized squares
  • lots of fresh mint
  • heirloom tomatoes, sliced to the same thickness as the watermelon
  • french feta cheese
  • drizzle with (right before serving): extra virgin olive oil, fresh squeeze of lemon juice, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, 1/2 tsp raw honey (whisked together).

could this be any easier??

watermelon and feta cheese

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