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!


Friday, March 17, 2017

CARROT (or APPLE) LENTEN CAKE from Sonia Tashjian

Sonia Tashjian's Carrot Lenten Cake

Periodically, Sonia Tashjian posts a special recipe from her vast repertoire on The Armenian Kitchen. With the Lenten season in full swing, she recently added her recipe for a carrot cake which is suitable for those choosing to follow a strict Lenten diet - or anyone at all!

Without further ado, here is Sonia’s preparation for Carrot Lenten Cake. In parentheses, I have noted that appple juice and applesauce may be substituted for the carrot juice and puree.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lemon Yogurt Hummus by Christine Datian

Christine Datian's Lemon Yogurt Hummus

Christine Datian has come to my rescue!

Little did she know, but I’ve been swamped this week helping with an upcoming event at our church. In fact, I’ve been taking reservations along with my side-kick, Linda Aginian, and it’s been keeping us on our toes.

How did Chris rescue me? By providing me with her latest recipe, Lemon Yogurt Hummus currently appearing in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator(pg. 15), to post for my readers.  
The recipe is quick, simple, and lip-smacking delicious!

I'll be back in 'The Kitchen' soon!

Lemon Yogurt Hummus
by Christine Datian

Ingredients:
1- 16 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained except for 1/4 cup of the liquid (use this liquid)
1 1/2 cups plain white Greek yogurt (more to taste)
Juice of one large lemon (more lemon juice to taste)
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2-3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt and dash of black pepper
3-4 tablespoons olive oil (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Aleppo pepper (more to taste)
Fresh lemon wedges, olive oil, minced parsley, chopped tomatoes, paprika and fresh mint as garnish

Preparation:
Place the ingredients, remaining liquid, and spices in a blender, cover, and process until smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.   Place hummus on a platter or in a bowl and serve with sliced vegetables, cracker bread, pita bread, and pita chips.

Garnish with choice of fresh lemon wedges, olive oil, parsley, chopped tomatoes, paprika and mint.

 Note: *This hummus recipe may easily be doubled for more servings.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to: <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian>

Friday, March 3, 2017

Zucchini Yogurt Tahini Dip

Zucchini Yogurt Tahini Dip 
It’s the height of vegetable-growing in south Florida. Locally-grown tomatoes, strawberries and zucchini are at their peak right now. The best part is that the prices for these are at their lowest, so we stock-up on as much as we can consume without having any of it go to waste.

In the past we’ve posted numerous recipes featuring zucchini (see list below), but here is a very tasty appetizer utilizing our locally-grown zucchini, plain yogurt, and tahini. Add some special seasonings and garnish with pomegranate seeds, and you’ve got yourself an eye-appealing, tasty mezze!

Friday, February 24, 2017

White Bean, Spinach and Garlic Soup from Christine Datian



My version of Christine Datian's soup
I don’t know how cold it gets where you live during the winter, but it never gets very cold in south Florida. That’s a fact, not a complaint!


Regardless of the outside temperature, soup is a regular part of our menu.

Christine Datian’s recipe for 'White Bean, Spinach, and Garlic Soup' recently appeared on page 15 in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, and she’s asked me to share it with you. Before posting it, I made the soup, tweaking it according to the ingredients I had on hand. (See below)

I’m sure you’ll appreciate the comforting effects of her stick-to-your-ribs, heartwarming soup as much as we did!

Just click the 'Read More' link for the recipe.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Muhammara made with red pepper paste – a really easy version!

The Armenian Kitchen's Muhammara  
I’m always amazed when I get an Armenian Kitchen email from someone I knew from my childhood. One such email reached me recently from John, an old family-friend. I really knew his two older sisters better, as they were closer to my age.

John asked me for some advice on making muhammara using commercially prepared red pepper paste which is sold in most Middle Eastern stores.
John’s request:
“I'm currently attempting to make Muhammara from jarred pepper paste.  I definitely want to use your recipe, and was wondering how to equate the 2 eight ounce jars of roasted red peppers in your recipe to prepared pepper paste.  I was going to make an educated guess, but then thought it would be better to check with you.”

My Response:
“I see no reason why you couldn't make it using red pepper paste. I would suggest experimenting a bit.
The paste would have to be thinned-out with some water to a spreadable, rather than a pourable consistency. Since the paste is generally made with only red peppers and salt (unless it's the hot version), combine the thinned paste with the rest of the ingredients that are listed in the recipe. It's best made in advance so the flavors can blend.”


Friday, February 10, 2017

Spiced Red Lentil Dip-or-Spread

Doug and I were invited to a 'Super Bowl' dinner last Sunday, even though we never actually planned to watch or discuss the game. It was just an excuse to get together.


Spicy Red Lentil Dip


I offered to bring any appetizer our hostess wished. She left the choice up to me, stating that I should bring whatever I’d be cooking for The Armenian Kitchen.

I’d thought about making hummus, but I'd made it numerous times, and decided it’s become too ‘ordinary’, despite its variations. 


Instead, I opted to make 'Spiced Red Lentil Dip - or Spread'. When one thinks of red lentils, they usually associate it with soup or, if you’re Armenian, vospov kufteh.

Friday, February 3, 2017

My (Second) Manti Experiment

I enjoy a steaming bowl of well-made Manti in chicken broth topped with plain yogurt.

If you’re not familiar with Manti, they are tiny squares of dough stuffed with a small ball of seasoned ground meat that are shaped into ‘boats’. Traditionally the Manti is baked, then served in broth.

My first attempt at making Manti using wonton wrappers as the dough wasn’t exactly a success – and I admit it. I said I’d make it again – from scratch, but never did.

Market Basket table at St. David Armenian Church
My church has a ‘Market Basket’ table in the fellowship hall most Sundays after services selling lavash, choreg, soujuk, and so much more. It’s almost like having our own Armenian grocery store on the premises.

From time to time, the Market Basket also sells the Ohanyan brand of commercially prepared frozen Manti. I was excited to try it, as the thought of making it from scratch without anyone to help seemed tiring.

My friend, Linda Aginian and I both bought packages. She made hers first, following the package instructions which read: “Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large saucepan. Add salt or 2 cubes of bouillon. Add Manti, stirring occasionally. Boil 10-15 minutes. Pour your choice of sauce over cooked Manti. Serve hot.”

Friday, January 27, 2017

Balsamic Eggplant and Pepper Salad with Golden Raisins

Christine Datian continues to wow people with her culinary creativity. Another of her creations can be found on the California Raisin website – and – right here on The Armenian Kitchen!

Try her latest tasty treat … a salad featuring roasted eggplant and California golden raisins.
California Golden Raisins

Balsamic Eggplant and Pepper Salad with Golden Raisins
by Christine Vartanian Datian

 INGREDIENTS:

 6 medium Japanese eggplants
1 each red and green bell pepper, sliced or diced
1 medium red onion, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1/4 cup California golden raisins
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil, loosely packed
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 lemons, juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Cayenne or Aleppo pepper to taste

Garnish: Chopped roasted walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Puncture eggplants with a fork and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 1 hour or until soft, turning occasionally. 
Cool eggplant, peel, and scoop into a medium bowl.
In another bowl, toss together the bell peppers, onions, mint, raisins, garlic, balsamic vinegar, sugar, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and the olive oil.  Add the jalapeno pepper and cayenne or Aleppo pepper, and toss.  Pour this mixture over the eggplant, and toss to coat well. 

Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight before serving.  Add more lemon juice or olive oil, if desired.  Garnish with chopped roasted walnuts before serving.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks by Christine Datian

While Doug and I are entertaining out-of-town family, Christine Datian has kindly offered to share several of her recipes which are regularly featured in the ‘Recipe Corner’ of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. 
The first recipe we posted was her ‘Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables’. Today we’re sharing her recipe for ‘Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks’, a hearty dish with complex flavors – a real crowd-pleaser!

We hope you’ll enjoy this, while we enjoy our family! See you soon!

Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks

Christine Datian’s Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

6 -8 large lamb shanks (fat trimmed)
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery and tops, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 leek (white and light-green parts only), diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups red wine or dry white wine (like cabernet or chardonnay)
1 cup low-sodium beef, lamb or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons each tomato paste and honey
1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, peppercorns, paprika, and dried thyme
1 small orange, peeled, cut in quarters and 1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Kosher or sea salt, Aleppo pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and black pepper (to taste)
2 bay leaves
Pinch of ground cinnamon or allspice
 Olive or canola oil as needed
All-purpose flour

Garnishes: Pomegranate seeds, chopped mint, diced dried apricots and roasted walnuts

 Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Toss the lamb shanks in flour and lightly season with salt and pepper to coat on all sides.   In a large Dutch oven, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil and brown lamb shanks on all sides; drain lamb shanks and set aside on a plate or tray.

Add the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, leeks, and bell pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes; return the lamb shanks to the Dutch oven and add the wine, broth,  tomatoes, pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, and honey, and bring to a boil, stirring until all ingredients are combined.

Season with choice of salt, Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; add Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, peppercorns, paprika, thyme, orange quarters, orange zest, and rosemary; scatter bay leaves and cinnamon or allspice over lamb shanks, cover, and bake for 2½ hours or until lamb shanks are fork tender.  Check lamb shanks occasionally and baste with the sauce; add extra wine, if necessary.

Remove pan from oven, discard bay leaves, and skim extra fat from the top of the pan.  

Serve lamb shanks and vegetables in deep bowls on a bed of hot egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf, and top with extra sauce.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds, mint, diced dried apricots and roasted walnuts to taste.

Note: Pomegranate molasses may be found at most Middle Eastern stores and markets.
*Christine's recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/


*For Christine's recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to:  http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables by Christine Vartanian Datian

And now for something completely different, Christine Datian offers us her Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables entrée which appeared in the December 24, 2016 edition of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator newspaper, pg. 16. Christine is always thinking of new and exciting ways to combine everyday ingredients into scrumptious meals.

This is definitely worth a try!
Christine Datian's Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables

Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables
by Christine Vartanian Datian
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into medium pieces
1 large white onion, roughly sliced or diced
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks celery and top greens, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
1/4 cup black or Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans Italian-style crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, thyme and marjoram, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
Dash of nutmeg
Olive oil, unsalted butter
Fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, about 1/3 cup
1 cup dry white wine
*****
 1 lb. packaged or fresh rigatoni, penne or angel hair pasta (or pasta of choice), cooked and drained

Topping Options: Fresh grated Pecorino, Romano or Parmesan cheese, Fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, toasted bread crumbs and pine nuts

Preparation:

Lightly salt and pepper the pork pieces.  In a large pot, brown the pork in olive oil with the garlic; remove pork and the garlic from pot and set aside.  Add the onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and peas to the pot with remaining olive oil and butter, toss, and cook until the onions are caramelized.

Add the pork and garlic back to the pot with the cooked vegetables; add the remaining ingredients (except the parsley and wine) and stir; bring the sauce to a full boil, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for about 1 hour, stirring to ensure the sauce does not stick or burn.  Add the parsley and wine about 15 minutes before serving, and adjust seasonings; continue to cook uncovered for the remaining time.  Remove the bay leaf.

Boil the pasta to taste and drain. 

Serve pasta in bowls and top with the sauce and choice of cheese, basil, red pepper flakes and toasted bread crumbs and pine nuts, if desired.

Note:  This recipe may be made in a large crock pot for all-day cooking.  Repeat steps 1 and 2, brown the pork with the garlic in olive oil, drain and set aside.  Add the vegetables and cook until onions are caramelized; add remaining ingredients (except the parsley and wine) to the crock pot and cook on low heat for 6 hours; stir occasionally until pork and vegetables are tender; add the parsley and wine 30 minutes before serving and adjust seasonings.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and
Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking
Light Magazines, go to:   <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian>
http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Kale and Pearl Barley Soup

Winter came and went in one day in South Florida. It happened on Friday, December 30, 2016, when the temperature barely climbed into the mid - 60’s during the day and dipped into the low 50’s at night
I hear what you’re saying …”She calls THAT winter?!?” Well, that’s how  our winters are. Believe me, I’ve shoveled enough snow during my years in New Jersey, so I delight in the south’s version of this season!

This ‘cold spell’ prompted me to bring out the big pot and make some stick-to-your-ribs soup. I prepared Kale and Pearl Barley Soup to satisfy our tummies and our souls.
Kale and Pearled Barley Soup topped with Crumbled Feta Cheese


Click the Read More link for the recipe

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy 2017 and Merry Armenian Christmas!

Another year has begun. May it bring
 Peace and Joy into your Hearts and Homes.

Happy New Year and Merry Armenian
Christmas from ...

The
Armenian Kitchen!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

TSAL – TSUL: A New Year Recipe from Sonia Tashjian

First, The Armenian Kitchen wishes everyone a truly Happy, Peace-filled 2017!

Second, To help ring-in the New Year, my dear friend, Sonia Tashjian, has sent in a very special Armenian treat to help you and your loved-ones celebrate the coming year.
Sonia Tashjian's 'Tsal-Tsul' New Year Dessert!
Sonia stated: “One of the most subtle recipes of Armenian New Year is TSAL – TSUL, which is the old Armenian name for pakhlava. Tsal-tsul is easier to make than traditional pakhlava making it a pleasure to serve during the holidays.” Sonia explained that ‘Armenian cuisine has a ritual cake, gata or kata, and then, of course, there is pakhlava, two very unique sweets. Because both the classic gata and pakhlava are harder to prepare, people invented an easier version – TSAL-TSUL.'

So, I understand this to mean that tsal-tsul is a cross between the gata and pakhlava.

Here is Sonia’s recipe …

Ingredients for the dough:
3 yolks
1 cup sour cream
14 (yes, fourteen!) Tbsp. of butter
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
Flour (as Sonia puts it: ‘There is an Armenian expression, enough flour that is needed to make a dough.’)

Ingredients for the filling:
5 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 cups of chopped walnuts

Egg wash: 2 beaten yolks for brushing

Syrup: 1 cup of honey mixed with 1/2 cup of water to pour on it after baking

Instructions:

1. To prepare the dough: In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks and sour cream; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups of flour and the baking powder. Cut-in the butter until it is resembles small peas. Mix in the yolk-sour cream mixture. Add enough flour, a little at a time, to create a workable dough. Knead the dough; divide it into 3 equal parts, let it stand for 15 minutes. Roll each section, one at a time, with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape to fit into a 9”x13” pan.

2. Prepare the filling: whisk together the egg whites and sugar until light and fluffy, then gently add the cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
3. Place the first rectangular layer of dough in the tray; spread half of the filling mixture, then place the second layer of dough & the rest of the filling, then top it with the 3rd layer of dough. Carefully flatten the surface with fingers.

4. Glaze: Whisk the 2 yolks, brush the surface, cut into squares or diamond shapes and bake in a preheated 350 to 375°F oven until golden.


 5. After taking the pan out of the oven, pour the honey syrup over the top, let it cool & absorb the liquid.

Sunday, December 25, 2016