Friday, May 26, 2017

Bulgur, Garbanzo, and Green Bean and Salad

Christine Datian offers us her Bulgur, Garbanzo, and Green Bean Salad for a healthy, fiber-rich dish. It’s a great addition to a pot-luck meal, or as an accompaniment for a barbecue.
  
With this being Memorial Day weekend, the grand kick-off to summertime, why not include this to your holiday weekend menu?

While you, your families, and friends gather together this weekend for food and fun, please keep in mind the true meaning of Memorial Day, and honor those who have fought – and sacrificed their lives - for our country’s freedom.

Christine Datian's Bulgur, Garbanzo, and Green Bean Salad (This recipe and photo also appear in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator.)

Bulgur, Garbanzo, and Green Bean Salad     
Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup medium bulgur
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned or cooked garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup canned or cooked green beans, drained
1 medium red or white onion, chopped
1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 English cucumber, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons fresh mint or 2 tsp. dried mint
Olive oil and fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest (from one lemon)
Seasonings: Kosher or sea salt, black pepper, dried or fresh oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper, or paprika to taste

Garnishing options: Chopped parsley, green onions, mint; Armenian or Kalamata olives; or crumbled Feta cheese

Preparation:
Place the bulgur in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 20-30 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.  Drain any excess liquid and set bulgur aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, garbanzo beans, green beans, onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and jalapeno pepper and toss; add the bulgur, parsley, celery, and mint, and toss together with olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest to taste.   Add salt, pepper, and seasonings, and toss again, checking to see if salad requires more olive oil or lemon juice.  Cover and chill for one hour or overnight for best results. 


Transfer salad to a large serving bowl and top with choice of garnish.  Drizzle with olive oil or lemon juice, if desired.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

My Armenian cookbook collection and the film 'The Promise'

My first Armenian cookbook!
I have a passion for collecting cookbooks – Armenian cookbooks, that is. The first Armenian cookbook I ever received was given to Doug and me by our Aunt Arpie and Uncle Walter for our first wedding anniversary in 1978. That cookbook, ‘Armenian Cooking Today’ by Alice Antreassian, is one I still refer to after all these years. As of this writing, I have at least 20 Armenian cookbooks on my shelf!



If you have seen the movie, ‘The Promise’ recently, you may recall scenes near the end depicting the survival and escape of thousands of Armenians from Musa Dagh (Musa Ler, in Armenian).

French rescue boat (Photo from the Magzanian's updated cookbook)
Those courageous Armenians scaled down the mountainside to be saved by French Vice-Admiral Fournet and his men on their ship stationed in the Mediterranean Sea. My maternal grandmother was one who was saved – she was 16 years old at the time. I was moved to tears watching this film and counted my blessings for having such brave and determined ancestors who lost so much to start life anew.

What do Armenian cookbooks have to do with ‘The Promise’?

Three of the cookbooks I own were written by dear family friends whose roots also stem from Musa Dagh – ‘Secrets from an Armenian Kitchen’, by the late Jack Hachigian, and 2 editions of ‘The Recipes of Musa Dagh’, written by sisters Alberta, Anna, and Louisa Magzanian. Our relatives all hailed from Musa Dagh, and ended up living near each other in the New Jersey towns of Paterson and Clifton.


'Secrets from and Armenian Kitchen' by the late Jack Hachigian
The Magzanian sisters' cookbooks - 'The Recipes of Musa Dagh' (the original version on the left; the updated version on the right)
My mother gifted me Jack Hachigian’s cookbook and the first edition of the Magzanian sisters’ book. Louisa Magzanian contacted me to let me know a second edition of their cookbook had been published in 2015 is available for purchase. Since Jack’s passing, I don’t know if his cookbook is still available.

These cookbooks mean the world to me, as the recipes within them remind me of the strength of my maternal ancestors and the sacrifices they made to ensure a bright future for generations to come. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Remembering Nanny, Mom, and Aunt Arpie - and - a recipe for Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Za'atar

(Left to Right): Uncle Vartan (Walter) Vartanesian, his wife Arpie; my mom, Mary Dabbakian; maternal grandparents, Yeranuhe and Oskan Vartanesian (Photo circa early 1950s)
1950's

When we were very young, my sister and I would accompany our mother, grandmother, and aunt to the farmer’s market in Paterson, NJ. When the NJ harvest was at its peak, farmers would exhibit their crops in bushels alongside the railroad track. Mom, Aunt Arpie, and Nanny would walk up and down, examining the produce in every stall until they found just the right vegetables – at the right price. We’d bring home baskets brimming with red peppers and tomatoes. Nanny would begin the process of making pastes out of the tomatoes and red peppers - cutting, cooking, sun-drying, grinding, and finally storing the end result in tightly sealed jars with a pool of olive oil on top of the pastes. She'd store them in the freezer so they would last until the next harvest.

Fast forward to 2017:

Since it’s still tomato growing season in my corner of the world, markets are offering locally grown tomatoes of every shape and size at very affordable prices. 

Unlike my mother, aunt, and grandmother, I don't buy produce by the basket or bushel, but I do tend to buy more than I need– especially grape or cherry tomatoes. They’re just so cute and sweet, I like to pop one (or more) in my mouth as an afternoon treat!

I overdid the grape tomato purchase, as I knew I would, so I decided to roast a tray-full because I know they’ll last longer, and can be used in a variety of recipes. (Oven-roasting is a lot easier and quicker than the exhausting method used by my grandmother back in her day.) 

Salt, pepper and olive oil are all that’s needed to boost the tomato’s flavor – and a sprinkle of za’atar provides that extra-special flair.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Za'atar
Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Za’atar

Ingredients:

1 (or 2) pint(s) grape tomatoes – or – cherry tomatoes
2 – 4 Tbsp. olive oil (depending on the amount of tomatoes used)
½ to 1 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 to 4 Tbsp. za’atar, or to taste

NOTE: Za’atar is sold in Middle Eastern stores, or you can make your own!

Directions:
Washed tomatoes...
1. Rinse tomatoes; pat dry with paper towels.
Dried on paper towels...
Grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise...
Seasoned...
2. Slice tomatoes in half and place in a medium to large mixing bowl, depending on the amount being made. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and za’atar; toss gently to coat.
Ready to bake...
3. Line one or two baking pans with 1” sides with parchment paper. Evenly spread tomatoes in the pan(s), cut-side-up, in a single layer.
After 2 hours of baking at 275°F
3. If making one tray, set the oven rack to center position and turn oven to 275°F. (There’s no need to preheat the oven for this recipe.) Roast for 2 to 3 hours. Tomatoes are done when they’re soft, start to shrivel, and begin to caramelize.

NOTE: If roasting 2 pans of tomatoes at once, place the oven racks as close to the center of the oven as possible. Halfway way through baking, switch the top pan to the lower rack and the lower pan to the top rack.

Serving suggestions: Eat them as they are - warm from the oven or at room temperature, or as a topping for toasted bread, or grilled meat, fish or poultry; tossed in salad; added to sandwiches, soups or stews; topped with plain, thick yogurt; mashed into a paste and use as a spread; mixed with pasta – or whatever else you like!

To store: Place tomatoes in an airtight container, drizzled with olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. This should keep for about a week- if it lasts that long!




Friday, May 5, 2017

Christine Datian’s Roasted Eggplant and Lamb Omelet

Every Armenian knows that eggplant and lamb go hand-in-hand. When combined, these two ingredients create countless recipes.
Christine Datian whipped together eggplant and lamb in omelet-form for a non-traditional, unique dish. If you prepare the eggplant in advance, you’ll have the omelet on the table in a jiffy!
 
Roasted Eggplant and Lamb Omelet
Christine Datian’s Roasted Eggplant and Lamb Omelet
Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium eggplant (see preparation below)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green or red bell pepper, seed and finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
A few tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 pound ground lamb
3 (to 4) eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk
Kosher or sea salt, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, cayenne pepper

Garnish with your choice of chopped fresh green onions, parsley, mint, or walnuts
Serve with Armenian or Greek yogurt, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers

PREPARATION:

~Grill or roast** the eggplant until the skin is charred and the flesh has softened. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and then peel off the charred skin. Chop eggplant and set aside in a bowl.

** To roast the eggplant - pierce the eggplant skin in several places on all sides.  Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the eggplant halfway through. The eggplant skin should turn black and the flesh should be soft but not mushy.  Allow eggplant to cool. Remove the stem and skin, scraping off any flesh that might adhere to skin. Discard as many seeds as possible. (Note: this step may be done a day or two in advance. Cover and refrigerate cooked eggplant until ready to use.)

~In a large pan, sauté the onions and bell pepper with the garlic in a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil until onions are softened; add the lamb, stir, and cook until lamb is browned. Drain any excess grease from the lamb.

~Add a tablespoon or two of unsalted butter at this point, if desired. Add the eggplant to the pan and toss with the meat mixture; add the beaten eggs. Mix, and cook slowly on medium heat until the bottom of the omelet is firm; flip the omelet over. Cover pan for a few minutes so steam can continue to set the omelet.

~Slide the cooked omelet onto a platter and garnish with your of choice of chopped green onions, parsley, mint, and/or walnuts.

~Serve with sliced fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and yogurt on the side.

*Christine's recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee Newspaper, Sunset and
Cooking Light Magazines and at thearmeniankitchen.com
Go to: <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian>
http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian or 
<http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/> http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Vegetable Gouvedge - an Armenian comfort food!


Doug and I are just back from a 14-day transatlantic cruise. We left from Fort Lauderdale, FL’s Port Everglades (a short 40-minute drive from our home) aboard the Crown Princess. We sailed the high-seas, with over 3,000 other passengers, for seven days before reaching our first port – Azores Islands (Portugal). Seven days later we reached our final destination – Southampton, England, after having visited Lisbon, Portugal; Bilbao, Spain; and Le Havre, France. Three additional days were spent in London after the cruise.

We were looking forward to our stay in London – except that Doug contracted the flu while on board ship creating some tense moments. Our time in London turned into a recovery period for him - our play tickets were forfeited, an out-of-London excursion and a planned visit to see a friend in London were cancelled. The good news is, Doug had a chance to rest for the journey home.

Flying back to the US (via JFK airport) wasn’t too bad, but getting through customs and trying to make it to our connecting flight home was more challenging than expected. We decided then and there that we didn’t need to take this kind of trip ever again. 
Don't get me wrong, we did enjoy most of our trip. Next time, however, it will be shorter and keep us closer to home. 

The lesson we learned? Start and end a cruise from Port Everglades, FL – which, for us, would mean no flying at all!

What we missed most during those 17 days was Armenian food. While in London we managed to track down a Middle Eastern restaurant one block from our hotel. As soon as Doug felt up to it, we wandered over to this hole-in-the-wall establishment and had a delightful lunch – the first meal he was able to eat in days.
Our Yalanchi Appetizer 
Doug's Bamya (okra) with Lamb
My Lule Kebab Platter
Once home, I went to our farmer’s market and gathered as many locally grown veggies as I could carry, and made a huge tray of Vegetable Gouvedge - one of our family’s Dikranagerdtsi recipes, but without the traditional lamb.
Our homemade Vegetable Gouvedge

We found it very comforting – eating homemade Armenian food in our own dining room – just the two of us.

Vegetable Gouvedge
Yields about 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized eggplants, medium dice
2 medium-sized zucchini, medium dice
1 small orange pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomato with its juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 to 3 Tbsp. red pepper paste (available in Middle Eastern stores) NOTE: If unavailable, use 2 to 3 Tbsp. tomato paste mixed with 1 tsp. paprika 
1 tsp. dried oregano (dried mint and/or basil can also be added.)
Salt, black pepper, and Aleppo red pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Lightly spray a 13”x9” baking pan with vegetable spray.
3. Place all of the cut vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
4. In a smaller bowl, mix together the diced tomatoes and juice, red pepper paste, oil, and seasonings. Stir until blended. Pour mixture over the vegetables, tossing to coat all of the vegetables.
5. Spread the vegetables evenly in the prepared baking pan. Cover the pan with foil, and bake in the preheated oven for one hour.
6. Uncover, and bake 30 minutes more.
7. This can be served hot or at room temperature.

Note: This recipe can be made up to 2 days in advance. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What makes coffee Armenian? We do, just by drinking it.

Our YouTube video showing How to Make Armenian Coffee is approaching 50,000 views, and the comments keep coming.

Most have been enthusiastic but some have been downright nasty, and others genuinely obscene. This sure contradicts the idea that there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to bring people together.

The complainers just can’t swallow the idea of Armenian coffee, which is simply the coffee Armenians drink.

As our video makes clear, all cultures of the Near and Middle East consume remarkably similar versions of the same finely ground coffee heated to a frothy finish in a copper pot.

When Greeks make it, it’s Greek coffee. When Turks make it, it’s Turkish coffee. We should probably all call it Ethiopian coffee, given the likely origin of the venerable bean.

I don’t really care whose flag is stenciled on the wrapper, but I do care what’s inside. Despite its popularity around the world, good Armenian-style coffee isn’t easy to find in much of this country.

Even at a Middle Eastern specialty store, you risk getting something that’s been on the shelf since the fall of Troy.

I was grumbling about this dilemma a few weeks ago after finding the cupboard bare at afternoon coffee time. Forays to local shops turned up a couple of choices that were no more than passable. Then an mail popped up from Hrag Kalebjian, “co-owner of Henry's House Of Coffee, and third generation coffee roaster in San Francisco.”

He’d seen our website as well as our YouTube video and offered to send us some fresh-roasted Armenian coffee. It was if he’d somehow sensed that a fellow Armenian on the other side of the continent was thirsty! How could I refuse?

Hrag was in fact kind enough to send three varieties of Armenian coffee: light, dark and half-and-half. We agreed to give each a taste test and relay the results to both him and to you, our readers.

I’m delighted to report that all three were excellent: remarkably smooth with no bitterness—and absolutely no trace of lingering acidity that can be hauntingly familiar to patrons of certain American coffee chains.

We all have our own frames of reference, but here’s mine: Henry’s Armenian Coffee compares to the tin-can grocery store variety as a good 12-year-old single malt compares to no-name bar Scotch.

Robyn doesn’t drink Scotch, so her verdict was more direct: “Wow. This is excellent.” We both agreed that our favorite was the dark roast, with the half-and-half a close second. I liked the depth of both better than the light version.

Your preference might well differ. Hrag says the darker coffee is generally favored by Lebanese Armenians, and the light by Armenians from Iran—but we all have definite opinions. (Surprise!)

Interestingly, there’s no difference in caffeine content among the three varieties although many who try the light version think it’s super-charged because the density of the roast allows more coffee in each scoop.

You can learn more about the subtleties and skill that go into a good cup of soorj by checking out the Henry’s House of Coffee web site. You’ll also find ordering information as well as pricing.

As for what distinguishes Armenian coffee from any other, Hrag offers this answer: “In general, Armenian Coffee refers to the actual grind size (powder sugar consistency) and not necessarily the country of origin, or even the type of coffee."

Henry's dark roast, for example, is made from a blend of beans from Central and South America. "You could technically take any type of coffee, grind it extra fine, and call it Armenian Coffee,” he said.

I guess you could do that. But I think it's better when an Armenian does the grinding—and best of all, when this Armenian does the sipping!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Christine Datian's 'Armenian Tomato and Bulgur Soup' is sure to please!

Christine Datian's Armenian Tomato and Bulgur Soup
Ready for another special recipe by Christine Datian? This time, she’s whipped-up a pot of tantalizing tomato-bulgur soup – Armenian style. (Anything with bulgur in it makes it Armenian, as far as we’re concerned!)

Chris notes that this recipe is great for vegetarians and/or Lent by using vegetable broth or water as the base in place of chicken broth.

Thanks, Chris, for sharing your recipe with us!

Armenian Tomato and Bulgur Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:
6-7 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 cup fine grain bulgur
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large lemon

Garnishing options: Paprika or Aleppo pepper, fresh chopped tomatoes, parsley and mint, and a drizzle of Olive oil

 Preparation:

 Bring broth (or water) to a full boil over moderate heat in a large pot.

 Meanwhile, in a small pan, sauté the onions and bell pepper in olive oil for 5-8 minutes until the onions are golden brown.  Set aside.

 Add the tomato paste to the boiling broth.  Stir until tomato paste is distributed evenly before adding the bulgur, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine, then add the cooked onions and bell pepper.

 Cover pot, lower heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times before serving.  Serve hot soup with a little lemon juice, and top with paprika or Aleppo pepper; garnish with chopped tomatoes, parsley and mint.  Drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

 *Christine's recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee Newspaper, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at thearmeniankitchen.com
 Go to: http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian or http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/



Friday, April 7, 2017

Apricot Almond Cookie Bites

With the Lenten season coming to an end, I’ve set my sights on finding a dessert recipe that would have just enough sweetness to top off anyone’s Easter meal.

Christine Coyle, blogger of Hye Thyme Café, posted a recipe for Apricot Almond Bar Cookies which sounded pretty close to what I had in mind, so I decided to try it. I tweaked it a bit to suit our taste buds and came up with a mighty-fine two-bite dessert  that’s a little sweet with a hint of tart – perfect with a cup of coffee or tea! 
Apricot Almond Cookie Bites

Apricot Almond Cookie Bites
adapted from Chris Coyle’s recipe at Hye Thyme Café

Yield: about 32 - 1 ½ inch squares

Ingredients:

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick, plus 2 Tbsp.)
2 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove saucepan from heat to cool.

Once butter-sugar mixture is cool, stir in the vanilla extract and beaten eggs until well-combined. Transfer the butter mixture to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour into the butter mixture, beating after each addition. The batter will be quite thick.

Apricot bits coated in flour
Coat the chopped apricots with 1 Tbsp. flour to help keep the pieces from clumping together.
Finished cookie batter

Fold the apricots and chopped almonds into the batter until evenly distributed.

Skillet-toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9”x 12” baking pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly into the baking pan.
Batter evenly spread in baking pan

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
Place the baking pan on a cooling rack. Cool completely before cutting into 1 ½-inch squares.

For an attractive presentation, place each square in a mini muffin paper liner and arrange on a platter.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Christine Vartanian Datian serves-up 'Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mint, Browned Onion and Yogurt Garnish'

As we are still in the season of Lent, I would like to pass along, with Christine Datian’s permission, her most recent recipe found in TheArmenian Mirror-Spectator - ‘Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mint, Browned Onion and Yogurt Garnish’ – suitable for Lent - minus the use of chicken broth or yogurt garnish, of course!
Christine Datian's 'Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mint, Browned onions, and Yogurt Garnish'

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Mint, Browned Onion and Yogurt Garnish
By Christine Vartanian Datian
Yield: approx. 4 to 6 serving
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups dried split yellow peas, picked over and rinsed
6-8 cups water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried mint, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced or diced
2 stalks celery (and top greens), diced
Extra water or broth, if needed
Kosher or sea salt and white or black pepper to taste
Aleppo pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes to taste
 Directions:
1.  In a large pot, sauté the onions, garlic, carrot, celery, and a dash of salt for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until onions are browned and vegetables are tender; stir so garlic does not burn.  Add the water or broth and the split peas to the pot and stir.
2.   Bring ingredients to a full boil, reduce heat, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until split peas are tender.  Stir again, adding more liquid if soup becomes too thick.  Season with salt, pepper, mint, and choice of seasonings to taste.
3. Using a ladle, place small batches of soup in a blender.  Puree each batch then place in a bowl.  Continue until all the soup has been pureed.  If you prefer the soup with more texture, puree only half of the soup.
4. Serve with Yogurt Garnish and additional toppings on the side (see below). 
While the soup is cooking, prepare the Yogurt Garnish.
Yogurt Garnish:
1 cup plain white or Greek-style yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried mint, crushed
Dash of sea or Kosher salt
Juice of 1/2 large lemon and 1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine the yogurt, garlic, mint, salt, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.  Cover and chill garnish until ready to serve.

Additional toppings:
 Minced flat-leaf parsley
Olive oil for drizzling
Chopped Kalamata or black olives and chopped Roma tomatoes


Friday, March 24, 2017

Green House Bazaar, 5100 10th Avenue North, Greenacres, FL - A Hidden Gem Found!


When a Middle Eastern grocery store opened in our hometown of Boynton Beach a few years ago, Doug and I couldn’t have been more pleased. We were able to purchase the  must-have Armenian ingredients in order to make our cherished family recipes. The store’s owner, ‘Ken’ had a meat counter, some fresh produce, frozen items, housewares – you name it. He was even planning to have a bakery oven installed for daily-baked pitas, and eventually, a kitchen for freshly prepared food.  Sadly, things didn’t turn out as Ken expected and the business came and went after a short two-year run.

With the arrival of more ethnicities requiring the same cooking ingredients as we use, we’re puzzled by the severe shortage of Middle Eastern specialty shops in this area.

Several years ago, Doug and I stumbled upon a place called Green House Bazaar in Greenacres, a suburb of West Palm Beach, and not far from our home. At the time it was a partially open-air produce stand with a sprinkling of Middle Eastern items on their meagerly stocked shelves, and a kebab counter that didn’t seem to have anyone running it. The place was ok, but we never bothered to return ... until …

… our friend, Adele Abbott, alerted us to the fact that the Persian-owned Green House Bazaar had been enclosed, still had fresh produce, housed numerous shelves of ‘interesting food items’, a refrigerated and frozen food section including phyllo dough, kadaif dough, etc. – and best of all – the kebab café, which she claimed was very good!



This is the only made-in-Armenia product we found.
Doug and I swung by one afternoon to check it out. We were delighted to find lavash, basturma, paklava, and a myriad of ingredients that would be useful in The Armenian Kitchen. They were, however, lacking in products imported from Armenia (we found only one) and items such as prepared lahmajoun and Armenian string cheese.

Our take-out combo plate


Salmon kebab take-out dinner with green rice

While there, we decided to buy two kebab meals-to-go for dinner that night, and are we glad we did!  We chose the combo platter with chicken kebab and beef lule kebab, and the second with salmon kebab. Both meals contained salad, rice – white, or green rice, which was studded with fava beans and lots of dill (we got one of each), grilled tomatoes and red peppers, a piece of freshly made lavash, and a side of a garlic-dill sauce. The salads and veggies were particularly fresh –as the produce stand is just steps away from the kitchen!
Lavash is made right on the premises

Would we return? You bet, but I plan to have a chat with the owner to see about stocking some more of our personal favorites!