Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes

Friday, January 30, 2015

Easy St. Sarkis Day Halva

St. Sarkis Day, the Armenian “Valentine’s Day”, is one of those moveable celebrations. This year it falls on Saturday, January 31st - which happens to be tomorrow! 
This is a very special day for my husband Doug and me as it will mark the 39th anniversary of the day that we met!
Zee Sahakian's St. Sarkis Halva

To celebrate, try making an adapted version of Zarmine Sahakian's recipe for St. Sarkis Halva that I posted a few years back. Other recipes associated with St. Sarkis Day are Aghablit - salty wafers, and Kumba Cake.

Zarmine, "Zee", is the mother of Armand Sahakian, owner of Nory Locum in CA. Armand's locum products are terrific and can be ordered on-line. Delicious treats for Valentine's Day (February 14th), Easter, or anytime of the year!

Easy St. Sarkis Day Halva

1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. orange blossom water, optional
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 1/2 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
1 lb. toasted sesame seeds
Unsalted Pistachio nuts, shells removed, of course! (walnuts, pecans or almonds, coarsely chopped, may be substituted)

1. In a medium saucepan, boil water, sugar, orange blossom water, if using, and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved. Add marshmallow fluff and mix until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Place a large amount of sesame seeds on a large plate.
3. Take one tablespoon of the marshmallow mixture, at a time, and dip it completely in sesame seeds.
4. NOTE: This part will be a bit messy. Flatten with fingers shaping it into a long strip, about 3x9 inches. Place some pistachio pieces in the center lengthwise. Fold from the top to the center to cover the pistachios, then fold from the bottom - up to create a rectangle 1/3 the original size of the strip. Cut into 1 ½ to 2-inch pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve. Remove from freezer about 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

St. Mary Armenian Church Food and Music Festival, Cooper City, FL, Jan.31 and Feb. 1. 2015

Mark your calendars … St. Mary Armenian Church, Cooper City, FL (west of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood), will be hosting their 2-day Food and Music Festival, Saturday, January 31, and Sunday, February 1, 2015.

The festival committee does a remarkable job - especially with their food preparation – if you’re lucky, you might get to sample Father Vartan Joulfayan’s famous Lule Kebab!

Live music, dancing, children’s activities, and an assortment of vendor products round out the events of the weekend.

If you're in the area, stop by for a most enjoyable time!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reader Feature: Alice Vartanian’s Easy Manhattan Clam Chowder

You’ve heard me mention Alice Vartanian before; she is Christine Vartanian - Datian’s mother, and I KNOW you recognize Christine’s name.

This recipe was showcased in the Fresno Bee Central Valley Magazine as have other Vartanian-Datian recipes. OK, I know that Clam chowder is NOT an Armenian recipe, but hey, it’s a great soup – and it’s January, Soup Month!

The thing that struck me as odd was that the ‘Fresno Bee’ called this recipe ‘Easy New England Clam Chowder’ which is milk or cream-based, yet the photo clearly depicts a Manhattan-style (tomato-based) chowder. I asked Christine about it, and she confirmed that the newspaper made an error.

So, on with Alice Vartanian’s recipe for …

Easy Manhattan Clam Chowder 

Special Note:  Alice suggests adding your choice of shrimp, cod, halibut, flounder, or any favorite fish to this recipe, and making it at least one day in advance of serving for the flavors to meld.  You can also add more vegetables or broth as desired.

1 lb. red or white potatoes, peeled and diced
2 (8-oz.) bottles clam juice
4 cups low sodium chicken broth or water
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
1 (28-oz.) can solid-packed tomatoes, crushed
2-3 stalks celery (and tops), diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. each Kosher or sea salt, black pepper, dried thyme, oregano, cumin, marjoram, and crushed red pepper flakes
2 (6 1/2 oz.) cans chopped or whole clams
1 bay leaf
Garnish with fresh parsley, chopped

1. In a large soup pot, combine all of the ingredients except the clams.  Bring to a full boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring now and then.
2. Drain liquid from canned clams and add to soup. If using whole clams, chop them first and add to soup.
3. Simmer for about 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. 
4. Remove bay leaf. Serve soup in warm bowls. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley.  Serve with sliced garlic bread, or French or Italian bread slices.