Shami (pronounced shah-MEE) is a tasty Persian finger food. It is traditionally made with split peas, but I use red lentils instead because they cook quicker. Enjoy!

3/4 c. dried red lentils
1 small potato, peeled and quartered
1 pound ground beef
3/4 t. salt
1 egg
1 small onion, grated
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 t. advieh spice* (if you don’t have this, use a pinch of saffron + a pinch of tumeric)
1/4 c. flour
2 T. oil

*Advieh is a Persian spice that is a blend of various spices: cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, rose petals, saffron, and ginger.

1. Boil the red lentils and potato together until cooked through. Drain.

2. Combine all ingredients and mix well until fully combined.

3. Take a golf ball sized amount of the mixture and gently roll in flour. Press the ball into a patty. Over medium heat, fry the patty in oil until brown and crispy on both sides.


Serve with raw sliced onion and sumac.


Roasted Butternut and Acorn Squash Medley

One of my favorite fall/winter foods is butternut squash; I also recently discovered acorn squash, which is also delicious. This dish celebrates both of those and lets their flavors shine. Again, this is a recipe that can be adjusted to your tastes. Here is what I threw together:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
2 acorn squash, washed, seeded, cubed
1/4 c. barley
1/4 c. wild rice
1 c. chicken broth
1.5 c. chickpeas, cooked
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. fresh thyme
1 c. coarsely chopped nuts of choice (toasted walnuts, macadamia nuts, or hazelnuts work great)
1/2 c. gruyere cheese, cubed (optional)
olive oil

1. Lay the squash pieces on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash in a 400 degree oven for approximately one hour, or until tender and starting to slightly brown.


2. Meanwhile, cook the barley and wild rice in the chicken broth until tender, approximately 1 hour.

3. In a large bowl or serving dish, gently mix together all of the ingredients: nuts, thyme, parsley, chickpeas, barley, wild rice, and squash.