Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Remembering our martyrs

Each April 24, Armenians around the world mourn the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide.

During last year's centennial, we were privileged to offer our prayers in Armenia as those martyrs were canonized as saints by the Armenian Church. 

This year, as Armenians face new challenges, we pray for peace in their memory.

(For further thoughts on the Genocide and the challenges facing Armenia, please see Doug's blog.)







Monday, April 18, 2016

Crustless Zucchini Pie - Armenian Style! (aka Tutumov Boreg)

When my local farmer’s market advertised home-grown zucchini for $.19 a lb. this past week, I thought it was a misprint. Lo-and-behold, it was FACT! I sent my husband down to snatch-up a bunch. While he shopped, I thumbed through my recipe file.

With so many zucchini favorites, I couldn’t decide where to start, so I chose a dish some Armenians I know call ‘Tutumov Boreg’.

When I think of boreg, I envision a filling wrapped in Phyllo dough. So, I’m calling this Crustless Zucchini Pie - Armenian Style!

This can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or supper – just add a fruit salad or tossed salad, and some crusty bread and you're good to go!


Crustless Zucchini Pie  aka Tutumov Boreg
Crustless Zucchini Pie - Armenian Style
Serves about 6 to 8

Ingredients:

4 medium zucchini
4 eggs, beaten
½ c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (any mild cheese that melts well can be used)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. Aleppo pepper, optional

Directions:

Rinse and peel the zucchini zebra-style. 

Using a box grater or food processor, shred the zucchini. 

Place a colander in the sink and add the shredded zucchini; sprinkle a little salt over the zucchini and allow to sit for about 10 minutes to help draw moisture out. Using your hands, squeeze out as much of the zucchini’s liquid as possible. If necessary, place the zucchini in towels to squeeze out excess liquid.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well-mixed.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the mixture in a lightly greased 8”x 8” baking pan or 9-inch pie pan. Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes if using the 8-inch pan, or 30 -35 minutes if using the 9-inch pan. The top should be lightly olden brown and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean.
Crustless Zucchini Pie


Monday, April 11, 2016

Armenia's cultural profile is rising along with its bread thanks to a new international partnership

Watching village women bake lavash in a sunken tonir oven is a highlight of everyone’s visit to Armenia—everyone except me, of course.

I was held hostage by a nasty head cold during part of last year’s trip to the homeland, so Robyn trekked up a mountainside without me to observe the ancient bread-making ritual


I was sad to have missed it but I would have been a lot sadder if she hadn’t trekked back down with an armload of Armenia’s wonderful bread.

And it really is Armenia’s bread—our bread—recognized “as an integral part of Armenian cuisine” when it was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014.

Now lavash is getting even more attention, along with other aspects of Armenian cuisine and culture, thanks to a recently launched project by the Smithsonian Institution in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  
The project called My Armenia aims to boost tourism outside the capital by accenting different facets of Armenia’s cultural heritage, including food traditions and recipes that vary from village to village.

The effort will reach out to rural communities that are now far off most tour-guide maps in an effort to document and celebrate their most cherished cultural traditions. 

“People can have wonderful experiences all over the country, not just in Yerevan,” said Dr. Rebecca Wall of the Smithsonian’s’ office of international relations.

A historian specializing in food and cultural identity, she’s been to Armenia twice to  help get the project in motion. The next step is “to share stories of Armenian cultural heritage with international audiences so as to increase awareness of the great complexity and diversity of Armenian culture.”

Among her first steps was writing about lavash for the Smithsonian, and she was kind enough to ask us to share our thoughts about what lavash means to Armenians.

You can read it all right here.

This is an exciting project with real benefits for the diaspora as well as for Armenia. 

We’ve all experienced the frustration of searching for lost recipes that our grandmothers never wrote down because Armenian grandmothers never wrote anything down. 

This is a particularly painful experience for Armenians because it reflects the loss of our grandparents’ homeland and the distinctive culture of Western Armenia.

But it’s important to remember that many villages in present-day Armenia were settled by Genocide survivors who carried their traditions and recipes with them. As we learn more, we may gain a new appreciation for what Armenia has preserved.

We may even discover that some of those recipes weren’t lost after all.