Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes

Saturday, January 30, 2016

‘Kef Time Boca’ featuring Onnik Dinkjian, to be held at St. David Armenian Church, Boca Raton, FL on Saturday, February 6th!

Poon Paregentan, meaning ‘joyous living’, marks the day before Lent begins in Armenian Church. Paregentan festivities generally include food, dancing and drinking, thus allowing Armenians to kick-up their heels before Lent begins. This year, Armenian Lent begins on Monday, February 8th.

‘Kef Time Boca’, a pre-Lent dance, will take place on Saturday, February 6th beginning at 8 PM in St. David Church’s Mardigian Hall. The evening will feature the magical voice of Onnik Dinkjian, and the musical talents of John Berberian, Hachig Kazarian, Mike Gregian and John Arzigian.

If you’ve missed hearing Onnik perform live at recent dances from the Northeast to California, here’s another chance for you to be part of an incredible event.

The modest admission charge of $40. per person, includes mezza, a Viennese table, dancing, and the BEST singing and music around!

Don’t delay; tickets are by reservation only. Contact Judy Khachadourian at 561-776-8581 by Monday, January 31st. You won’t want to miss this joyous evening!

We have our tickets; hurry to get yours, too!

Friday, January 29, 2016

St. Mary Armenian Church (Hollywood, FL) - Food and Music Fest this weekend!

Looking for a delicious Armenian meal in south Florida this weekend? You’re in luck!

St. Mary Armenian Church, 4050 NW 100th Ave, Hollywood, FL is holding their annual Food and Music Festival.

The main attraction is always the delicious Armenian food, however, families can enjoy live music, arts and crafts, and so much more!

Saturday, January 30th, Noon to 10 PM
Sunday, January 31st, Noon to 6 PM

Hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is that really basturma? When you're hungry and out to sea, it's close enough!

We just got back from a Caribbean cruise. We had great fun despite a choppy sea,  a midnight fire alarm and an island tour of a place called Hell that seemed to have been appropriately named.

So what was the fun part? We enjoyed the shows and long strolls on the deck. Robyn luxuriated in the spa, while I nestled into our private balcony with a good book.
And, of course, we ate like mad.
Everybody eats too much on a cruise, and there’s no point denying it much less making excuses. Good food well-prepared is one of a cruise ship’s main attractions.
Fortunately, it is a well-established fact that nothing you eat on a cruise counts against normal dietary restrictions. I actually checked that with unimpeachable scientific sources before we left.
At least, I meant to.
Our ship, the Emerald Princess, had a menu as diverse as its multinational crew. We enjoyed an array of meats and seafood cooked in almost every ethnic style, from Asian to Latin to down-home American.
The notable exception was anything Middle Eastern, except a few Greek olives and a dollop of hummus on flatbread served with our wine.
We were resigned to this familiar-food drought until near the end of our journey, when we explored the late-night buffet for some cheese and fruit to cap the evening. That’s when my jaw (but luckily not my plate) dropped.

Just to the left of the Havarti, I spotted a platter of basturma!
Well, obviously it couldn’t be basturma but it sure looked real. I put a few slices on my plate and carried it back to the table where Robyn was waiting.
“Is this really what it looks like?” I asked.
Her answer was a conditional “no.” The condition was that I had to hurry back to get more because it was really good and it was just that close to the real thing: thinly sliced and supremely tender.

Even the basic seasoning was right. Nothing was missing except basturma’s thick, pungent coating of chaimen spices.

When I returned to the buffet, I spotted the label above the platter: bresaola. Any semi-sophisticated foodie would recognize that immediately. Of course, I had no clue. I did have my iPhone, but it would have cost as much as a year’s supply of basturma to get the answer at the high-seas Wi-Fi rates.

So I waited until we docked the next morning to Google-up the answer. Bresaola is Italian air-dried, salted beef fillet. Count it among the many basturma variations that have turned up wherever the peoples of the Near and Middle East have traveled, settled or conquered.

Thinking about this made me curious about where basturma came from. The short answer is that, like just about everything else on a Near Eastern table, you could wrestle up a powerful appetite while arguing about who had the idea first.

In Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore, Irina Petrosian and David Underwood offer two common tales of basturma’s origin.

In the first, Turkic warriors from Central Asia put slabs of beef under their saddles, allowing the pressure and the horse’s perspiration to cure the meat. That’s not very appetizing, but the authors say the story is favored by many food writers because it makes basturma sound exotic.

Greeks, however, say basturma evolved from a Byzantine salt-curing method called pastron that originated in what later became the city of Kayseri. Under Ottoman rule, the Greek pastron became Turkish pastirma.

“Armenian claims to basturma are based on the fact that they were known as the most skillful basturma-makers in the Middle East,” the authors write. “In Kayseri, the Mecca of basturma, Armenians had a monopoly on the basturma business. An Armenian family name, Basturmajian, is living proof of historical meat-processing skills.”

I can’t testify to any of this, as I have no meat-processing skill. But I do have considerable basturma-eating skill, and you can trust me on this: If you’re ever in a ship in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, head for the bresaola.

You won’t be disappointed.