International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated March 8 every year.
In Canada, Women’s Day wasn’t observed as a popular event until 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. It’s a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements.
Eastern socialist countries were well ahead of the West in formally declaring a holiday in 1917 in respect of women’s contributions. In the West, the earliest celebration was held as a Socialist political event in 1909 in New York City, but nothing came of it until 1977. Malcolm X said, “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he (she) has his freedom.”
I believe this day is a declaration toward peace by recognizing the value of half of humanity, but let’s not fool ourselves: women in many countries have no freedom, except the minimum men will allow. There is still much work to be done. Since this is an international day, my recipes reflect that. The first has chicken, onions, finely processed walnuts, and pomegranate juice simmered to perfection. The second, a salad is easy peasy; enjoy.
Pomegranate Stew with Chicken (Khoresh Fesenjan)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken legs, cut up
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound walnuts, toasted and finely ground in a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Place chicken and onions in skillet, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mix in puréed walnuts, salt, pomegranate juice and cardamom. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in 1/4 cup warm water.) Mix in sugar, adjust seasoning, and simmer 30 minutes more. The sauce should be as thick as a good chili. Serve with saffron steamed basmati rice.
Persian-Style Tomato Avocado Salad
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 Hass avocados, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chopped red onion
6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
Combine the tomatoes, avocados, garlic, onion and cilantro in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish salad with thin lime slices.