Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes

Monday, September 1, 2014

Calling all Kharpertsis – or anyone else who might know …

Dried Chickpea Snack (Photo from blog.fatfreevegan.com)

Roxanne, a reader from Connecticut, sent me an urgent request:
She wrote, “My mom is desperate to find a recipe to make tatchoun - a powder she says that my grandmother (from Kharpert) made from lablaboo and then sprinkled on cracker bread - do you know what this could be?”

This request made me smile because I hadn’t thought about ‘lablaboo’ for a long time. It’s one of those treats that Armenian grandparents keep handy for an anytime snack. 

I know, your curiosity is piquing. Lablaboo is a dried but chewable chickpea. It’s probably processed somehow so as not to break one’s teeth. All I know is that my grandmother always had it available – either plain, or candy-coated in pastel colors.( As a kid, I liked those best!)
Candy-coated Lablaboo!

As for Roxanne’s request, however, I haven’t been able to find an answer.
So, I’m turning to you, dear readers, for help.

If anyone knows what ‘tatchoun’ is and/or how to make it, please leave a comment at the end of this post, or email me: robyn@thearmeniankitchen.com.

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homemade Apricot Leather

Apricot leather is one of my daughter's favorite treats, so whenever I'm in a Middle Eastern store, I always pick up a package for her. 

When my cousin Judy from California contacted me in search of an Apricot Fruit Leather recipe for our mutual cousin Wayne, I thought it 'HYE' time to make some from scratch. There are very few ingredients, and it's really easy to do - it just takes a bit of time.

Judy said Wayne's friend  had some apricot leather made by someone in Fresno a long time ago and now he wants to know how to make it.
Well, Judy and Wayne, here’s a pretty simple recipe using dried apricots. Hope you'll like it.
After all, there's nothing better than homemade!

Homemade Apricot Leather

Apricot Leather 
Approximate yield: 40 rolled pieces.

    8 ounces dried apricots
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    Confectioners' sugar


 1.  Place apricots in a medium saucepan; add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and cool slightly.
Cooked apricots
 2. Place drained apricots in a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal “S” blade; add granulated sugar. Cover and process until smooth. Add lemon juice and process until blended.
Processed apricots.
3.  Preheat oven to 175°F (or up to 200°F since oven temps. vary).

4. Line two rimmed baking pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Spoon half of the apricot mixture onto each baking mat or parchment-lined pan. Thinly and evenly spread apricot mixture into a 12 x 8-in. rectangle; repeat with remaining fruit.
Apricot mixture spread thinly and evenly on parchment paper.

5.  Bake 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until almost dry to the touch. Leaving the fruit leather on the mats or parchment paper, cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Carefully remove the leather from the silicone mat – or – cautiously tear away the parchment paper. Transfer each apricot leather rectangle to a cutting board, which has been lightly sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.  Lightly dust the top of the leather with confectioner’s sugar, too.

7. Cut into ½ x 8-in. strips using a pastry wheel, pizza wheel or knife. If the fruit leather sticks to the cutting tool, air dry for about 15 more minutes then slice and roll.
Slicing and rolling
 8. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. If stored properly, fruit leather should keep for about 1 month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jerusalem Garden Cafe, Asheville, NC - a real find for foodies

Spinach Pie and Fattoush Salad at the Jerusalem Garden Cafe, Asheville, NC

In case you've been wondering where we've been, here's the scoop. Since late July, we've been visiting family and friends in NJ, NY, CT, RI, ME, and now NC. While here in North Carolina, we've taken up residence (briefly) in a cabin overlooking lush greenery set in a resort community offering loads of recreational opportunities.

On our exploration of surrounding communities, we found comfort in the dining opportunities offered in Asheville, a hip, artsy town on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western NC.

One stand-out restaurant is Jerusalem Garden Cafe. I guess we were drawn to it because of the menu which offers some usual fare, such as stuffed grape leaves, spinach pie (the dough is infused with rosemary!), tabbuleh, hummus, and mutabal (baba ghanoush). Remember, this is western NC I'm talking about!

The menu also offers some culinary surprises too ...

Mujaddara (rice and lentils topped with caramelized onions).
Pistachio encrusted lamb chops, topped with pomegranate molasses.
Jerusalem burger with lamb made with local, grass-fed beef topped with shaved, slow-cooked lamb, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a choice of Tzatziki or cilantro-parsley harra sauce.
NOTE: harra sauce is described as a mixture of cilantro, garlic, walnuts, red chili pepper flakes, lemon juice, tahini, salt, water and olive oil.
Then there's thinly shaved roasted leg of lamb cooked in red wine, lamb demi glaze, baharat seasoning - topped with feta and caramelized onions. (They serve this as a sandwich as well, and it is divine!)
NOTE: baharat seasoning blend may include allspice, black pepper, cardamom, ground coriander, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, dried chili peppers, or paprika.
Awesome lamb sandwich and Bastilla of the day stuffed with couscous, raisins, and other goodies, served with hummus, pita, and organic yogurt.

The Jerusalem Garden Cafe also serves brunch on weekends. Get this, their 'standard' breakfast includes 2 eggs (fried or scrambled), local Hickory Nut Gap bacon or grass-fed kafta meatballs, harra-fried potatoes or biscuits (after all, this IS the south!). The last item I'll mention, which is certainly not the least, is lamb and eggs with grilled onions, hummus, and pita.

We 're amazed that this menu is available in western North Carolina!
Can anyone explain why there isn't a restaurant like this where we live?