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Having this blog has brought many blessing in my life in different forms and shapes. One of said blessing is a greater attention to all things relating to Persian cuisine and culture, two things for which my passion continuously growth stronger and deeper. The second thing is all the people that I have met along the way, and for that I feel very fortunate. As 2014 comes to an end I can’t help but think about all the events that have transcribed throughout the year. But before the year ends there is Shabeh Yalda, also known as Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year. I make a point of celebrating this day and post a related recipe.

This year Shabeh Yalda is even more meaningful to me because I have a group of fabulous Persian food bloggers to share this event with. At the end of this post you’ll find other members of our “Persian Food Bloggers” group’s Yalda related recipes.

But before we talk about what’s happening at the end of this post, let’s talk about the deliciousness in the middle! When thinking about what to create for this post, I strongly wanted to stay close to the culinary themes of this celebration: watermelon and pomegranate. I played around with some fancy ideas and combinations of food. I finally settled on some of our popular and beloved combinations. Specifically, flavors that are fresh and simple on their own yet incredible when paired together.

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I took some elements of our always crowd pleaser Sabzi & Feta Cheese Platter and combined it with slices of watermelon and delicious pomegranate seeds.

Saturday night my friend Reeta invited us to her house for a fabulous party which included some delicious Indian food and hours of incredible fun dancing to Indian dance songs. I took this platter with me; let me tell you people’s reactions to it were simply put delicious to watch.

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When I shared with people how to assemble little sandwiches with Lavash bread, Feta Cheese, herbs, walnuts, watermelon and pomegranates, initially I got strange looks.

Specifically, the conversation went something like this:

Guest: “You want me to put watermelon and pomegranate on top of the Feta Cheese????”
Me: “Yes!” BIG smile.
Guest: “…”
Me: “I promise you, it’s really good. I know it’s sounds strange but trust me!”
Guest: Takes a bite. “Oh my! This is delicious!”
Me: “Yes! I told you!!!” {happy internal dance}
Guest: “It’s so fresh and healthy. I can’t stop eating it!!!

This conversation happened over and over again. And every time the conversation was music to my years.

Here is the one thing that the guests didn’t necessarily know about this platter: the pomegranates that they were eating were very special.  In fact, they were gifted to me by Paradise Nursery from their trees’ harvest. These special pomegranates are known as Anar Saveh. The provence of Saveh in Iran is known as the region where the first pomegranate trees were discovered. Saveh Pomegranates are known to be the most delicious variety because of their well balanced sweet and sour flavor.

These pomegranates certainly lived up to their reputation as they are absolutely delicious!

It’s pretty easy to make this platter. The amount of ingredients is completely up to you and how many people you are making this platter for.

Ingredients

Feta Cheese
Walnuts
Cilantro
Mint
Lemon Basil
Tarragon
Seedless watermelon
Pomegranate arils
Ground Angelica
Lavash bread

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Simply strip the leaves of the herbs form the stems. Wash and dry. Cut Feta Cheese in slices. Remove rind from watermelon then slice in 1/4 inch thick bite size triangles or squares.  Arrange ingredients in a platter and serve with Lavash bread. As a finishing touch sprinkle some Ground Angelica on top of the pomegranates!

Shabeh Yalda-4Serve with some Shabeh Yalda Ajil and red wine…and watch the ingredients disappear!!

Wishing you all a very happy and delicious Shabeh Yalda!

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