Community Food Iran & the World: Conflict Kitchen Food Kubideh Kitchen Pittsburgh Politics
by Pars Arts
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Kubideh Kitchen is an Iranian take-out restaurant that serves kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil. Developed in collaboration with members of the Pittsburgh Iranian community, the sandwich is packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Iranians both in Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects ranging from Iranian food and poetry to the current political turmoil.
Food Internet: Food Interviews Mariam Hosseini Yogurtsoda
by Pars Arts
1. You’ve blogged regularly for quite a while on Distant Voices. Why did you decide to spin out food/travel posts to Yogurtsoda?
I’d been planning on blogging on my own domain for years, but had never really gotten around to it. www.distant-voices.com is actually my sister’s domain and she had hosted (re)definition for me there since the beginning.
Yogurtsoda is still in transition – not everything is properly formatted and archived yet. But hey, I love doogh, and www.yogurtsoda.com is a reflection of two things close to my heart: food and Iranian culture. For better or worse, I’m really shekamoo.
2. How did you become interested in cooking?
When I was five years old, my favorite television show was Yan Can Cook. I used to watch him and imitate what he did by “playing chef.” I had my own pretend live studio audience and everything in my head, embarassingly enough. He’s the original celebrity chef in my eyes.
I also grew up in a household where home cooking and healthy food was valued, so being exposed to that from a young age led to my curiosity in the kitchen. I still remember the first meal I cooked for my family as a kid: A huge pot of instant ramen noodles, refried beans, and some boiled peach atrocity of a “beverage.” Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then.
3. You work quite a bit at your day job in the non-profit world; how do you make the time to cook?
I’ve definitely had to scale down in the past couple of years. I’m too busy to crank out my homemade pasta maker or to tackle multi-course meals, so I stick to simpler recipes that maintain the integrity of the ingredients but still work with a busy schedule. It also helps if I prep as much as I can ahead of time. My kitchen is pretty small too, so I’m limited not only by time but also space.
4. What’s the best Bay Area Persian food? What’s the best Persian restaurant you’ve been to anywhere?
My parents’ kitchen. I don’t know what it is, but I much prefer Iranian homecooking to the restaurant variety. That being said, Shalizaar in Belmont is probably the best Persian food in the Bay Area, but I haven’t tried them all to be able to give a fair assessment. Any of the Moby Dick restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area are the best I’ve had in the U.S – their kabab koobideh is really good.
5. Which food-related blogs do you read?
I read Serious Eats; it’s such a great resource and an entertaining read. I also love The Girl Who Ate Everything, Writing with My Mouth Full and Michael Ruhlman’s blog.
6. What do you always have on hand in the kitchen?
Equipment: A chef’s knife, a wok and a couple of thick-bottomed pans.
Ingredients: Garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, Parmesan cheese, vinegar (balsamic and rice wine), eggs, dried mushrooms, chicken stock, rice and at least one kind of pasta.
7. Which recipe on Yogurtsoda is a good one for readers with beginner cooking skills to try?
Most of the recipes I post are pretty easy, but some of my favorites for beginner cooks are Lentil Salad with Browned Sausages, Hearts of Palm Salad with Shrimp and Avocado, and Pumpkin Spiced Muffins.
It’s Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa! Time for lots of sweets, and over on All Kinds of Yum, Iranian American food blogger Tannaz has posted her recipe for zoulbia, which looks delicious and includes this clever trick:
You can buy plastic squeeze bottles from restaurant supply stores, or even from stores like Target, but in a pinch, an empty plastic shampoo, dish soap, or ketchup bottle with a narrow opening, thoroughly cleaned, works fine.