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Author of Persian Food  from The Non-Persian Bride

Enjoy our chat with Reyna Simnegar – in addition to wonderful kosher Persian recipes, the cookbook includes other kosher Sephardic recipes.

reynasimnegarHave you always loved to cook?
Cooking is a pleasure. Growing up, I would cook with my grandmother and aunts in Venezuela.

How did you develop your recipes?
Most are from tradition, and are true to authentic Persian cuisine. I spent two weeks with my future mother-in-law to learn to cook the dishes my husband likes. I developed a love for Persian food and wanted to make my husband happy.  I took notes - she did not measure anything. So I measured before she put the ingredients into the pot (and sometimes after).

(For my personal version) I wanted to make recipes shorter but authentic.  Also, I make it with ingredients that you can get. I had  to be creative to achieve the Persian flair.

What are your favorite kitchen tools?
My Kitchenaid mixer, Bosch mixer (huge - I use it for large batches of dough that cannot be made in the Kitchenaid), tongs, and the mortar and pestle. In Venezuela, the mortar is used a lot in cooking - for corn, garlic, etc.

Please share your favorite kitchen tips/secrets with our readers:
It is important to plan ahead for your ingredients and, with five boy, I cannot always plan ahead to have margarine and eggs at room temperature when baking. So I microwave the margarine for 10-15 seconds and place the eggs in warm water to bring them to room temperature.

Are you planning on writing a second cookbook?
Yes, I started recipe research already. It is on hold at the moment because I am so busy touring with Persian Foods. So far, it is mostly South American recipes. Also, anecdotes of Jews living in Latin American countries.

I am also working on a TV show. The episodes will soon be available on my YouTube channel. We are working on finding a reliable TV channel to distribute them.

What is a little known fact about you that we can share with our readers?
I use to model in Venezuela – and did ads for toothpaste. I entered the Ms.Venezuela contest but was told I was too short.

March 13, 2011

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