Before I describe my experience with Persian cooking, let me tell you about two things I learned.
1. One person's difficult/hard recipe is another person's easy recipe.
2. Dehydrated herbs, in quantity, are to be avoided.
Now, on with the story.
When I learned that we were traveling to Iran this week, I contacted my neighbor, who is also my excess-baked-goods recipient. I knew that one of her friends came from the central Asia region, so I decided to find out which country it was, hopes high. Much to my pleasure, she told me that F was indeed from Iran and would be more than willing to share some recipes with me. So, F and I met at a local coffee shop and she showered me with 4 recipes, instructions, and some dried whole lemons.
She also referred me to a local shop that might have some of the less common ingredients. Her generosity was amazing.
After we parted, I went straight to the shop, and found the three ingredients in question. F had suggested that for one dish, using the dried herbs would be much quicker than washing and chopping all the fresh ones, so based on her recommendation, I bought this:
Combining the recipe on the can and F's recipe, I prepared Gormeh Sabzi. On one level, it was a delicious, lemony meal, but oh, those dehydrated herbs! They just never lost that grassy taste, even after soaking, sauteeing, and cooking. I will have to remake this dish using the fresh ingredients, for I am sure it will be ten times better that way. I really don't recommend using them if you ever make this. Also, I did substitute beef for lamb, which F does as well, since she doesn't like the taste of lamb.
Since F gave me four recipes, I now have three left to try. I will only use fresh ingredients, because, for me, it is not a burden to wash and chop. I will be sure to write a post about them as they are each different from one another: Fesenjan, Dizi, and Tah Chin. (When I re-post the remake for Gormeh Sabzi, I will include the recipe.)
Thanks to Elra for taking us to Iran this week, to Lauren for hosting, and to Susan for having a vision.