I asked Fred to gift Fig & Quince with a guest post and he obliged with a very interesting and super appetizing Persianized hot dog recipe, dubbed The Arianne — as Fred is wont to name his recipes after his friends. (I’ll have to boast of getting a recipe named after yours truly as well — an intriguing melange of sausages, quince, anise pods, ginger, granny smith apples, clove and golden raisins — which, let me tell you, may have occasioned a delighted squeal.)
Now, for this Persian-cuisine-inspired hot dog, Fred used lamb sausages and a wonderful salad mixture of barberries, pistachios, slivered almonds, saffron and orange zest all snugly nestled inside a hot taftoon bread. Doesn’t that sound amazing? I’d definitely love to try it for myself and the recipe is below for y’all — who I know are drooling right now — and want to make one to gobble up for yourself as well.
But before we all run to our pantries and oven to recreate The Arianne, l decided to seize the opportunity to make this post do double duty as Part 2 of in the series of “Iranian People (Persians)” (part 1 here) and so I interviewed our intrepid guest host and asked him a question or two. In what I’ve come to recognize as his signature style, Fred answered the questions in a manner that is open, generous and genial.
How about a little intro? What is your story?
I was born in Tehran in 1957 to a Muslim dad and an Armenian mom. I have a younger sister that now lives in Los Angeles. Both my sister and I attended the Bahar e no (Ms.Mary) Elementary School and then Iranzamin -Tehran International School for high school. I graduated in 1975 and came to the USA for college. I attended Bucknell University and then Northeastern University and studied civil and structural engineering. I’m divorced and have two sons (Andrew-22 years old, and Philip-19 years old) both in college. The last time I was in Iran was the Summer of 1976 as both my parents lived in London and had become UK Citizens.
Hobbies: Food and Drinks. I like to try as many new and ethnic restaurants that I can. Enjoy movies, plays and cultural events. Big fan of alternate music. I like watching sports, football (Patriots) basketball (Celtics) tennis and a devout fan of the World Cup. I’m an avid reader of anything on the Web and enjoy the different social sites. I’m constantly amazed by technology and science. I currently live in Montclair, NJ and I work in NYC for JPMorganChase.
What inspired you to create Fred’s Dog House page? How long have you been doing it?
About 7-8 years ago I visited my cousin who resides near Wembley in London. We went to a small restaurant called “Gourmet Burger”. It took the basic hamburger and transformed it to a gourmet creation by offering customers a variety of unusual and fanciful toppings and side dishes. The line to the entrance was around the block and people would use their phones to order (this was way before apps became a common day practice). I was completely enamored with this restaurant and it turned out to be the inspiration behind “Fred’s Dog House”.
In 2008 I retired from my profession as a mortgage banker and decided to pursue other passions. I looked into opening a small restaurant near my residence in Mendham, NJ that will serve gourmet hot dogs, but I was faced with many bureaucratic and financial challenges, I decided to shelve the project. Coupled with the collapse of the financial markets, I decided to go back to my field of experience, but left the door open to revisit the restaurant at a future date. [Editor’s note: I predict a pop up Fred’s Hot Dogs restaurant!]
You demonstrate great creativity within a very focused concept which is no easy feat. Where do you get your ideas? How long does it usually take you from idea to execution?
I have been experimenting with a number of recipes for a while, but for the Facebook page, I usually think of one person to dedicate the recipes to and come up with a hotdog creation that fits their personality or taste. For example, my son Andrew has always liked spicy buffalo wings, so in honor of his birthday, I came up with a hotdog recipe that featured a spicy buffalo sauce. Once I have an idea ( normally doesn’t take more than 5 minutes), I do a little research on the internet and then come up with a finished recipe. The entire creation takes no more than 15 minutes.
Why hot dogs?
Why Hotdogs indeed?!!!
There is a butcher in Chester, NJ that makes his own hotdogs and sausages. They are a small family run meat market that is well known in the area. Every time I bought their hotdogs, I was astounded at how delicious and unusual they taste. With the “gourmet burger” concept in mind, I decided to apply it to these particular hotdogs to give it a different spin. The name of the page-proposed restaurant is based on my first name, my affection to dogs ( the animal kind) and of course, hotdogs and sausages in general. Plus, I love a good hotdog once a while.
Why do you keep it as a Facebook page and not a blog?
About a few months ago, FB changed its fan page requirements and made it easier for people to create and manage business or just for fun fan pages. On July 27, 2014, a particularly idle day, I decided to create the “Fred’s Dog House” page. My main focus was to have a fun outlet on the computer and to see if the concept will render positive results. I was happy to receive positive feedback from friends and family. In particular, I want to mention one friend, Dr. Nina Ansary, who from the first day’s of the page has been enormously supportive in sharing the posts. I will be remiss in my duties, if I don’t mention her name and express my deep gratitude for her continued support.
As far as the FB page vs a blog … This is an experiment at this stage and I most certainly will like to take it to another level by creating a proprietary website and start a regular blog with links to social sites.
I do not have a formal education in food preparation. I have neither attended a cooking school, nor worked in a restaurant in any capacity. My only “experience” has been cooking for family and friends, making many mistakes and learning from the Food Channel or various media presentations.
What’s your favorite thing to eat when not eating hot dogs?
I’m an Iranian-American, or is it American-Iranian? I am proud to be a citizen and I’m proud of my Persian Heritage and as such, my favorite food is … Persian! Except, dolmeh … I despise dolmeh 🙂 [Editor’s stunned note: even quince dolmeh? Can not compute!]
When not eating hotdogs, or Persian food, I like a good pizza. I’m a sucker for ice-cream, quite fond of Indian, Italian, Malaysian, Japanese, Chinese and French food.
What is your motto when it comes to cooking?
Food should explode in your mouth with a variety of flavors. It should look beautiful when presented, and must be easy to make.
What is your motto when it comes to eating?
Eat what you like, but develop an adventurous taste. Try as many ethnic cuisines as you can, it’s an eye opening to a country’s culture and people.
Indeed! And on this note, let’s hop and skip over to the recipe portion of our programming. Shall we?
Persian Cuisine Inspired Lamb Sausages with Barberries (Zereshk), Pistachios, Slivered Almonds, Saffron and Orange Zest Salad in a Taftoon Bread
- Lamb sausages
- 1/2 cup slivered dried orange peel, or the zest of 3 oranges
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup halved raw pistachios
- 1 cup julienne carrots, cut 1/8 inch thick
- 8 cups torn romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dried currants or small raisins
- 1/2 cup dried barberries
- 1/4 cup red wine salad dressing,
- Salt and pepper
Soak the orange peel in cold water for 2 hours and drain. Boil in fresh water for 5 minutes and drain. Repeat. Bring 1 cup water to boil, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves, then add the orange peels and boil until the water has completely evaporated. Set candied peels aside.
Stir saffron into 2 tablespoons of boiling water; set aside.
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the almonds and pistachios and saute for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and orange peel and saute until nuts are lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the saffron water and remove the pan from the heat. Cool the mixture to room temperature.
Arrange the lettuce and red cabbage in a serving bowl. Top with tomatoes, currants, barberries and the cooled nut mixture. Toss with the red wine salad dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grill Lamb Sausages until well done.
Heat Taftoon Bread in oven
Place Grilled Sausages in Taftoon bread, cover with “Salad” and fold taftoon bread like a wrap,
Enjoy with a great bottle of Pinot Noir.
Thank you dear Fred for a lovely guest post: creative recipe, beautiful photographs, and a frank, terrific interview. And you guys, be sure to visit and ‘like” Fred’s Dog House and check out all of his interesting culinary spins on hot dogs. You can also follow the delightful Mr. Parvaneh on Twitter as well.