Isfahan in Pictures

2 July 2006


1. The hotel is beautiful. Just take a look at the room we ate breakfast in, and that isn’t even the prettiest part.

2. Bababozorg making decisions at the bazaar yesterday.

3. The details in old bathhouses is incredible. 4. As are the faucets.

5. This morning Bababozorg remembered his video camera. He took advantage of that to take pictures at Chehel Setoon. (40 columns, there are really only twenty, but there’s a reflection pool outside of it. The picture wouldn’t upload though.)

6. The inside of Masjed Jame (Friday Mosque.) The round columns are part of the original, which was built during the time of the Seljuks, but the square ones are much newer, replacing ones that were bombed during the Iran-Iraq war.

7. Magnificent detial on the outside of Majed Jame.

8. An Armenian Church. It’s really gorgeous on the inside, completly covered in paintings depicting stories, but you can’t take pictures in there.


30 June 2006


This morning Mamanzari, Bababozorg, Khalejoon Belgus, Ame Farideh, Ame Fereshteh, and I all went to the airport to catch a plane to Esfahan. The thing I love about Iran Air – they still feed you on one hour flights.

I’m on the computer at the hotel. I can get a little paper with a 30 minute allowance each day. Since we have two rooms, that means 1 hour. Unfortunately, the way they’re set up, I can’t do anything with my photos (including rotate them), so only the ones I took with VGA settings and landscape can be uploaded for your viewing. That ruled out most of the pictures I took today, including most of the photos of our gorgeous hotel. Though I did take one of the Ash-e Reshteh that I could upload.

The first two photos were taken at Naghshe-Jahaan Square, where Bababozorg and my Ames and I walked to. We also went inside Aali Ghapoo Palace, and I have quite a few pictures from in there (I actually took the second photo from there), but most of them are too large to upload.

The third picture is of the delicious Ash-e Reshteh that they serve in the courtyard tea house at the hotel. I think it was my dinner, considering I ate it close to eight, and ash is generally pretty heavy.

تولد مبارک

23 June 2006

تولد مبارک
It’s My Birthday!

Last night we celebrated my birthday, because it is the night of your birthday you celebrate. (I’ve been confused. I couldn’t figure out why last Thursday they kept saying it was Friday night. I thought they had their days of the week mixed up. But that’s just how it is.)

At Mamanzari and Bababozorg’s there was them, Amu Farhad, Zanamu Mina and Arezoo, Ame Farideh, Ame Fereshteh, Naghmeh, and Khalejoon Belgus.

I wasn’t expecting anything, so I didn’t look nice enough. I ran to Ame Fereshteh’s with her when she first got here to grab some stuff that I’d need for the party that Amu Farhad’s taking me tonight. But because I wasn’t prepared, this morning I found the jewelry that I brought to go with the shirt. I just didn’t realize how low cut it was until I was looking at the pictures just now. I knew there was a reason I wore it over a t-shirt last time I wore it.

Dinner was a feast in its own right. There was کشک باد مجان (which I just ate far too much of for lunch and will probably soon regret), ته چین (pronounced tacheen, its rice with yogurt that’s pie like made in a skillet with meat and adviyeh or saffron, the one Ame Farideh made had little red dried berries whose name escape me but I know and chicken it), baqala polow, chicken with carrots, a leg of lamb with lots of garlic (I had 4 garlic cloves!), tadik-e nan from the rice,ماست و خیار mast-e khiar (cucumber yogurt with mint, and sometimes grapes) that Ame Fereshteh drew a butterfly on, soup, and a salad (that nobody touched until lunch just now.) Ame Farideh also made gelatin that was three flavors and had fruit in it. It was strawberry, orange, and pineapple gelatin with watermelon, pineapple, melon, and banana chunks in it.

And then of course, there was cake. It was a gorgeous cake that they bought with a chocolate ganache (which threw me off since I’d never put candles of cut a cake like that before and the whipped cream layers had softened and it threw me off). It was decorated with flowers that were supposed to try to resemble foxgloves and butterflies.

After cake and presents, it was time to dance. They got Arezoo to show me how to dance, but my aunts were complaining about my music. I probably should get around to putting all the Persian music we have onto my computer, because I could only find one CD, and its called Dance Party, but apparently its not good for that. So Ame Farideh asked me to put on موزیک خارجِی which would translate to “foreign music.” So on came Shakira’s Ojos Asi, since its fun to dance to, and I would still be able to practice my رقس ایرانی (Iranian dancing). It was fun, and it made dinner feel less heavy, and kept me awake. I was up until almost two in the morning.

Then this morning, while I was writing in my notebook with the pen Bababozorg gave me, we were talking about when Mom and Dad would probably call me. I was saying right now was too late there for me to call them, and it was almost my birthday (this was at 8:25 this morning here) and when it was 7 o’clock there, I’d be on my way to Amu Farhad’s. While we were talking, the phone rang and it was Dad calling to tell me Happy Birthday since at this point it was 8:32, making it my birthday in Chicago (at 00:02 in the morning).

Shomal in Pictures

20 June 2006


Pictures are arranged in the order I took them, ranging from June 14th to June 18th.

1. During one of the World Cup games I was watching (I think it was Iran v. Portugal), they showed commercials for Damavand water during half time. Damavand water comes from a spring in Mount Damavand

2. Oranges aren't ripe for another couple of months. They have to start someway though.

3. Sun was setting after we finally for a hotel room at Narenjestan Hotel. (I had jokingly asked, is that where tangerines live? Turns out there used to be all orange and tangerine trees there at one time.)

4. Narenjestan Hotel. At the top, there is a restaraunt. The floor rotates.

5. I guess there were a lot of bugs…

6. I was in that car a lot. When you find a driver you like, you tend to stick with them. I don't mean hailing a taxi, I mean when you're calling for a car to go somewhere in specific.

7. There were a lot of spiderwebs in the garden. I walked into one and it stuck to my glasses.

8. Across the street from the garden were rice fields. I think Mamanzari said they're also theirs. Maybe I misunderstood.

9. The hotel was filled with ads on the walls. This was just one of them. There was one for french fries… I didn't really understand it.

 10. I actually stepped on sand, I saw the orange lying there next to all the seashells and I knew there was no way I could resist.

11. I was wondering around alone in the morning and had my camera, so I was looking for some interesting shots.

12. I still have a thing for daisies. Even if that means my name should be Marguerite. I guess I see how dad got confused.

13. Only 185 kilometers until we're back to Tehran.

14. The mountains are striped!


Mamanzari's Kitchen
Tehran: 11:27 _ Chicago: 2:57

Mamanzari's having me make makaroni for lunch. I've always liked her pasta. It is prepared kind of like lubia polow or something. She roughly told me what to do, so I wrote down what I think I did.

1 onion, chopped
7 cloves fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
5 button mushrooms, sliced
frozen hunk of ground beef size of about 1 to 1 1/2 bars of soap, thawed
1 green pepper, diced
2 table spoons tomato paste
200g pasta ( I used those ones that are like fat macaroni noodles. I'm not sure what they're called)

Put water on for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

While pasta cooks, saute garlic in deep skillet. (I guess that would be a pan… I'm not sure. I must learn their names). Add onions a minute later and continue cooking until onions are soft. Add green pepper and cook for another minute or two. Make a large well in the middle, exposing the pan. Put ground beef and sprinkle with black pepper and dried basil. Brown the meat and then stir in with the onion mixture. Cook, covered, for another few minutes. Add mushrooms and tomato paste.

Prepare pot for tadig of choice (which could include just oiling the pan and pouring the pasta in), pour in pasta, pour on beef mixture, and cook for a few minutes over high heat, and then continue cooking over low heat for about 30 minutes for tadig to set.

Albaloo Polow Recipe

13 June 2006

آلبالو پلو Albaloo Polow
400 mL rice
800 mL albaloo (sour cherries)
200 mL sugar
120g butter, divided
3 table spoons oil (about 45 mL), divided
1/2 tea spoon saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (optional)

Soak rice in water for at least an hour, and up to overnight.
Fill a large pot with water at least a few inches higher than rice would fill it, and bring to a boil.
Pour rice into boiling water and salt heavily. Let rice cook partially, until it is still a bit hard, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse rice.
While rice is cooking, put cherries in a deep skillet over medium-high heat with 100g butter, stirring.
After butter has completely melted and cherries are somewhat cooked, after about 5 minutes, add sugar and bring to a boil, cooking for another minute.

If making potato or bread tadig, prepare pot accordingly. Otherwise, coat bottom of large pot with 1-2 tablesppons of oil.
Place an inch thick layer of rice. Top with a third of cherries. Repeat with two more rice and cherry layers, reserving two tablespoons of clean rice. Top with clean rice, making sure not to get it mixed with the cherries.
Place pot over high heat for a few minutes, covering with lid.
Top rice with 20g butter and a spoonful of oil, replacing lid. If there is no steam when you lift the lid, add a few spoonfuls of water.
Cook over low to medium heat for 30-35 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked and tadig has formed.
Remove white rice from top of pot and place in a small bowl. Mix with saffron.

Pour the rice and cherries from the pot onto a plate. Garnish with saffron-colored rice and pistachios.


Kotlet Recipe

12 June 2006



Makes about 9 patties
3 small potatoes, cooked and peeled, shredded
1 onion, shredded and drained of excess water
100g ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoons cornmeal or finely ground breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon adviyeh spice (a mix of something to be determined, red pepper, cinamon, ground coriander, ground fennel, garlic powder, ground cumin, lavender, ground ginger, something to be determined, and salt)
oil for frying

Combine all ingredients, except for a 1/4 cup of cormeal, in a bowl and mix together with hands.
Heat oil in pan over high heat. Lower temperature as it heats up.
Put cornmeal in a plate. Wet hands and roll mixture into balls slightly larger than eggs and slightly smaller than a tangerine. Roll in cornmeal or breadcrums to coat, and flatten in hand to about 1/2 in. thick.
Fry in oil about 5-10 minutes a side, or until well browned.



باقالی پلو

(Baqali Polow)
Serves 2-4.
1 cup (200 mL) rice
2 cups (400 mL) water
2 cups (400 mL) fava beans
40 mL (approx. 3 U.S. tablespoons) dried dill weed
20 mL oil (1 U.S. tablespoon + teaspoon) oil

Combine rice, water, and beans in a 1.5 qt pot. Add salt to taste.
Let water come to a boil and remove the foam that rises to the surface of the water with a spoon.
Add the dill and oil to the pot, reduce heat and cover.
Cook until all water is absorbed, or approximately 10-15 minutes.

Making Leaves

12 June 2006

I was helping Ame Fereshteh make leaves for these little goody bag things she makes as part of some of the stuff she does when decorating for weddings. Here's how she taught me to make them.


Meet its new tallest building