“Must o’ Khiar”, Shirazee Salad and mint with Farah in the garden

Summer is near and hot weather requires simple food. Some of the simple dishes in my kitchen include:

“Must o’ Khiar”: Plain whole milk yogurt: add chopped garden mint, chopped garden cucumbers with a bit of salt and pepper is tasty and satisfy the hunger. Often eaten with a small slice of homemade bread or crackers. (Making yogurt at home is better than the store bought.) 

Shirazee Salad: Chop small sizes of cucumber, tomatoes, garden mint, garlic, cilantro, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, and a small amount of apple cider or balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  

Garden mint is good for making tea, for settling an upset stomach, and refreshing aroma. Some cultures use it to remedy stomachaches. Three words come to mind when I think of my mint plant: Flavor. Versatile. Hardy.

Words shared by Farah:

Simply put, for the beauty created in the garden, it surpasses all beauty.  The season changes as do blossoms.  Each has its turn.  As the gloom of the winter brown color is suddenly lit by daffodils, followed by the blossoms on the cherry and plum trees, suddenly the other trees begin to blossom, and spring becomes alive with color and delight.  How can one not notice the beauty of the changing seasons; each is created for us to enjoy and feed our souls with wonders.

I think the Persian, Indian and Chinese cultures have extra ordinary resource that goes back over 1000 years for curing certain disease and conditions that ailing humans. One of the conditions we need to recognize is that humans are in need of physical and spiritual sustenance. One without the other imbalances the person. One must spend time to rest, to meditate and eat good nutritious balanced foods. I would highly recommend viewing the balance of foods and study of spiritual practices of each culture.

In closing, the survival of human beings is in the plants. When my children were little, I would tell them that if they were ever in a plane crash, observe which vegetation is eaten by the local animals. Those edibles will keep you alive. You will not starve, you will survive. My best to each gardener and for the noble work on this project.

Read Farah’s interview here.

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Thank you, Farah, for sharing your garden and cooking. I have a question — do you use garlic with the mint and cucumber in yoghurt? I enjoy it that way! Also, I grow rose scented geranium to make syrups to use in fruit salad and in hot and cold drinks. Does your plant winter over or do you have to bring it indoors? I’d love to plant it out in the garden rather than keeping it in a pot, but I’m afraid to lose it. My cousin sent me the cuttings from California where it doesn’t ever freeze. Good luck to you and your family.

A response from Farah:
Dear Kathleen, Fresh garlic is great with the salad. It should be grated really fine to bring out the aroma. The rose scented geranium is my favorite for using in hot tea and even coffee. It gives it a fresh bergamot flavor. I will also try your creative use by making syrup…I am sure it is fantastic! Here in our cold climate geraniums don’t do well. Unless you wrap them in burlap during the snow/freeze climate. It is the harsh cold wind that causes the plants to shrivel. But it may survive if you have it indoors.
Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts.

Of course, yogurt and cucumber with dried mint is something else and has a heavenly taste.
Thank you to Farah for introducing this delicious Iranian dessert.

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