Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A New Home for Dad's Shish Kebab Machine

Please forgive our delay in posting. Doug and I have been on our summer mission -driving from Florida to upstate NY in preparation of our daughter’s wedding next month – and – to deliver our family’s shish kebab machine to the future Mr. and Mrs.

After driving through 7 states, we finally settled into our summer rental at the base of Windham Mountain where bear-sightings are commonplace. 
A young bear casually strolls down the road in Ron and Mandy's neighborhood.
The surroundings are absolutely stunning! In Florida we live at sea level - near sand and sea. Here the mountainous air is clean, crisp, and a bit thin with an altitude of over 1600 feet.

As lovely as the area is, we have noticed a severe lack of Armenian- Middle Eastern grocers. The nearest one is over an hour away - just outside of Albany.
Michael's Diner, Windham, NY
Fortunately, Windham’s charming downtown has a rather decent Greek diner called Michael’s, serving spanakopita (spinach pie), chicken souvlaki, and roasted lamb – locally raised I might add. Nick, the owner, said he purchases and cooks the whole lamb, then breaks it down into serving portions. To prove his point, he brought to our table a roasted lamb ‘appetizer’ larger than most entrees. It was tender, tasty, and fall-off-the-bone delicious!

As a bonus, the local Greek Church (that’s right, there’s one at the top of a hill on the edge of town) will be having their food festival from August 12 -15. You know we’ll be stopping by!

Before leaving Florida, Doug disassembled our shish kebab machine (built by my dad almost 40 years ago) so it would fit in the trunk of our car. 

To prepare for the pre-wedding festivities, Doug and future son-in-law, Ron, worked feverishly to re-assemble and restore the machine for our ‘kebab night’ get-together before the BIG day.

After years of service on our Florida patio, Dad’s mechanical masterpiece has officially reached its new-generation destination.

Use it in good health, Mandy and Ron!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cucumber- Avocado- Yogurt Soup

About six years ago Christine Datian had her yummy Cucumber-Avocado-Yogurt Soup recipe published in the online edition of Sunset magazine. She asked if I would post it here so you could ‘beat the heat’ of summer with this easy, no-cook dish. 
Enjoy this variation of traditional Armenian Jajik (chilled yogurt-cucumber soup)!
Christine Datian's Cucumber-Avocado-Yogurt Soup (Photo: Jennifer Martine, Sunset) 

Cucumber Avocado Yogurt Soup
Serves 4
Total time: 20 Minutes

4 cups plain low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 medium avocado, cut into 1/2-in. diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, salt, spices, and two cups of cold water in a large bowl.  Add the cucumber, avocado, mint, and dill, stirring gently to combine.  Drizzle each serving with one teaspoon of olive oil.   Add more yogurt or cold water, if desired.

Christine Datian, Las Vegas, NV,
JUNE 2010

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

There's nothing ratty about letting the world know you're Armenian

Some people don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in Armenian coincidences. We’re all connected, especially on the Internet.

I was Googling just recently for interesting shirts to wear on our summer sojourn when I came across the cleverly named Ara The Rat line of Armenian-theme tees. They caught my eye because they’re not quickie adaptations of generic ethnic slogans you can find at the mall. (For example: Kiss Me I’m Irish becomes Kiss Me I’m Hye.)

The Rat packs an artistic mix of tributes to famous Armenians, some mythical (David of Sasun), some real (Gomidas),  and some just plain famous (Kim Kardashian). There’s also plenty of Armenian humor, such as the combined Zoravor salute to Armenian weight lifters and our beloved watermelons.

I started making mental notes about my favorites tee shirts but got distracted by my long to-do list. Then Robyn shared a Facebook message from the human behind the sartorial rat, Kegham Shamlian. He’d been doing some web searching of his own and came across our recent post about the family shish kebab machine.

He wanted permission to reproduce the photo of Robyn’s father for a Father’s Day promotion. Of course, we were happy to oblige—so happy, we decided to share the link to his post. 

Now that writing this item has been checked off my to-do list, I'm going to see a Rat about a shirt - or two!