Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food adventure: Persia (and other items of note)

The one thing about delaying a blog post is, if I wait too long to write it, it might be overshadowed by other news. For starters, did you see that Pat Summitt will no longer be head coach of UT's Lady Vols basketball team? And did you hear that Dick Clark died? Holy news day! Oh, to be in a newsroom on a day like this!

Now that I've got that out of my system, I'll press on to the main topic of today's post (ahem, which I should have written yesterday but ran out of time doing other fun things and hanging out with cool people.)

Yesterday was UT's penultimate Ready for the World cafe for the spring semester. The adventure took us to Persia, which is modern-day Iran. At my table was Omid, a UT student who was born and raised in Iran. (He came with his friend Virginia who is from Uruguay.) I was glad we had an expert with us to authenticate the meal.

The first course was hummus served with pita. This one was tomato-based and had garlic, lemon, tahini, cucumber, onions and parsley. Interestingly, Omid said hummus is actually not really popular in Iran like it is in Arabic countries.

I take it the students in the lab class were going more for a broad Middle Eastern flair. It was still pretty tasty.

The second course was more on point, according to Omid. The shirazi salad consisted of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, mint and a light vinaigrette. Omid noted that the traditional Iranian dish typically doesn't come with lettuce. It also is served on the same plate as the main course, not as a separate dish.

The main entree, khoresht-e-bademjan, was a delicious eggplant and lamb stew served over rice and potatoes -- except without the eggplant. There was an eggplant mishap in the kitchen so the students opted to leave it out of the meal. Doing so, however, removed what made the dish traditionally Iranian, according to Omid.

I actually didn't mind because I'm not a big fan of eggplant. I thought the entree was perfectly tasty without it :)

Dessert was a rice pudding served with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and hazelnut pieces. Yum! - and also very Americanized. Omid said rice pudding is typically sprinkled with cinnamon and eaten for breakfast.

The fun thing about the cafe is it's a lab class and the students have the freedom to experiment. That they did.

One more item of note from yesterday: seven former News Sentinel colleagues came out to the cafe. I loved seeing them!

1 comment:

  1. How fun your old colleagues showed up! And yes, today is a huge news day for Knoxville, really all of UT. And I love you had an expert at your table - and I'm with you, no eggplant is no real loss :).