Friday, December 31, 2010

Please vote for TheArmenianKitchen.com!

Happy New Year everyone!

We're always excited and humbled when our blog gets recognition. We just received an email from Robyn Aitken, web producer at
www.FineCooking.com:

"Dear Robyn (Kalajian, that is),

We'd love to include your blog in Fine Cooking's Best of the Blogs 2010 - category of "the best of armchair travel blog of 2010!"
Thanks very much. And congrats on being selected as one of the best of the best blogs on the Web!"

To vote for The Armenian Kitchen.com, please click on the following link:
http://www.finecooking.com/item/27428/best-of-blogs-2010-armchair-traveler.

Thanks, and wish us luck!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reader Cookie Requests

It’s been a while since I received the following recipe requests. Since I’m still taking care of my hubby, I’m going to ask for suggestions from you, dear readers, in helping to secure the two cookie recipes mentioned below.



If the descriptions sent in by Leona and Linda sound familiar, please send your recipes to me: robyn@thearmeniankitchen.com, and I will gladly post them.


As always, thanks for your help - and- HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


Request #1:


Hi Robyn: I just found your blog and so enjoyed the memories that it brought flooding back of visiting with my grandparents in Tuckahoe, NY. Do you have the recipe for a nut- filled shortbread like cookie that was dusted with granulated sugar. Sorry I don't remember the name; I just remember loving them.


Thank you for your time and your blog,


Leona Bohjalian, Bristol CT


Request #2:


Hello! My name is Linda Kevorkian, I live in Kingman, AZ, but from the L.A. area. My aunt Ozzie (Osgoohie?) who recently passed away, used to make these delicious diamond-cut cookies, so I am assuming baked in a sheet pan. They are very buttery and dense, not real sweet, kind of like a shortbread cookie, I think. My mom said they are called Shakar Loukome, but maybe it's misspelled that's why I can't find it anywhere. Would you have any idea and a recipe? I am not even sure where her people come from, I am a Hye, and she married into the family. She was the only one in our family who made them, so I am hoping the recipe didn't go with her. Thank you, Linda

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spicy Olive-and-Okra Topped Hummus

I know you all know how to make hummus; it’s pretty darn easy. Even though making hummus isn’t that big a deal, sometimes it’s just easier to buy it ready-made. Go ahead, I won’t stop you.



To jazz up your New Year's Eve mezza, start with store - bought hummus or your favored hummus recipe, and top it with something special. Here’s a recipe I found in my favorite magazine, “Southern Living” this month. It sounded delicious - kind of Armenian, but with a southern flair with the addition of pickled okra.


Add this to your holiday recipe collection.


Spicy Olive - and - Okra - Topped Hummus


Ingredients:


1 tsp. lemon zest

1 small garlic clove, minced

½ tsp. dried crushed red pepper

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 cup mixed pitted olives, coarsely chopped (pitted Kalamata olives can be used, too)

4 pickled okra, sliced

1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
************************************
2 cups of your favorite hummus
************************************


Directions:


1. Sauté the first 3 ingredients in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add olives and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in okra and rosemary. Let stand 5 minutes.


2. Place hummus in a serving bowl. Top with warm olive-okra mixture. Serve with pita bread or chips.





Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry (non-Armenian) Christmas!

Being Armenian we get to celebrate Christmas twice - December 25th with most of the world, and January 6th. How fortunate we are!

With so much to be thankful for, Doug and I wish to share our Christmas Joy with all of you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kourabia Cookies - ala The Armenian Kitchen

After posting Sara Raymond’s family recipe for Kourabia, I thought it only fair to share my own recipe with you.

My recipe does not require the use of an  electric stand or hand mixer. Instead, I use the basic wooden spoon, mixing bowl - and God-given hands. Wrapping my hands around the dough  makes the preparation very personal.

Happy baking everyone!


Kourabia
Yield: Approx. 2 ½ dozen cookies


Ingredients:
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. Arak (or cognac, or whiskey)
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Dash salt
Sliced almonds
Powdered sugar for dusting, optional


Directions:


1. Using a wooden spoon, cream the softened butter until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar, mixing well.
2. Beat in egg yolk and Arak.
3. Stir the baking powder and salt into the flour. Gradually add the flour mixture into butter/sugar mixture. Stir with your hands until a soft dough is formed. (If dough feels too sticky, add a little more flour.)
4. With lightly floured hands, pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1- inch balls.
5. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly and press an almond slice in the center of each cookie.
6. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Koorabia - A Christmas Cookie Favorite

Reader Sara Raymond wrote recently when she noticed we didn’t have a Koorabia (Kourabia)  cookie recipe on our website. She noted that it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Kindly, she offered her family’s recipe for us to share with you. Thanks, Sara!

Note: This recipe was not tested in our kitchen, but I'm sure it will please the fussiest sweet-tooth.

Read Sara’s message, and give her family recipe a try. She says her mother ALWAYS uses Crisco instead of butter, and they turn out fine every time.  The cookies should not be chewy or tough; they should just melt in your mouth when you eat them. (Sorry, no photo at this time.)

“Hi Robyn --
I have been enjoying your blog quite a bit! I skimmed through it yesterday looking for a recipe for cheese boreg (which I found -- thank you!) and also for koorabia. I didn't see a koorabia recipe, so I thought I would share my family's recipe. It wouldn't be Christmas without these cookies, that's for sure!


KOORABIA
From Aunt Marina and Sophia Toroian (my maternal grandmother)


1 c sugar
1 c Crisco or butter (or half of each)
2.5 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 drops brandy
Garnish: candied cherries in red and green, cut in to quarters


1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Cream the sugar and Crisco/butter together. Take your time with this, as if you go too fast, the cookies will be tough.
3. Add flour and salt slowly, and the drops of brandy.
4. Roll the dough into long ropes, about the width of a finger.
5. Cut the ropes into lengths about 1 1/2 or 2 inches long. Pinch each end of the lengths and push towards the center, so that each length forms an "S" like shape.
6. Decorate each "S" with a slice of cherry.
7. Place in the oven to bake. Check cookies after 15 minutes. Depending on your oven, baking may take a bit longer. Cookies should not brown! Take them out of the oven when they become stiff to the touch.


Enjoy! These are so delicious! Santa loves them, too. They may even help your husband feel better, too.


Yours,
Sara Raymond (Castro Valley, CA)”









Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scones with an Armenian Twist

The best scones Doug and I ever ate were the ones we had in London about 10 years ago. For about 50 cents apiece, we were able to pig-out on these tender, slightly sweet, perfectly baked delights with freshly brewed tea. Heavenly!


As soon as we returned from that trip, I began making scones with whatever dried fruits and nuts I happened to have on hand.


Here’s a recipe that would be perfect on Christmas morning – or any other morning. Hope you’ll like it!


Apricot – Pistachio Scones
Yield: 8 substantial scones


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup light cream, divided

1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped pistachio nuts


Directions:


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut-in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, about the size of small peas. Chill in the refrigerator about 10 minutes.

3. Add ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. of the light cream, the apricots and pistachio nuts, stirring until dry ingredients are moist. Dough will be a bit crumbly.

4. Place dough on a clean work surface, patting it down into a circle about ½ inch thick. Cut into 8 pie-shaped wedges.

5. Place the wedges on a lightly greased baking sheet so they are not touching.

6. Lightly brush the tops with remaining cream. Sprinkle tops with a little extra sugar, if desired.

7. Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.





Friday, December 3, 2010

A Very Important Message

Dear Friends,


Due to a family medical emergency, we are temporarily placing our pots and pans on the back burner. We expect to return in full vigor once a complete recovery has been achieved.


Thanks for your complete understanding and constant support.


Please stay tuned...
The Kalajians