Through the magic of FaceBook, I reconnected with a person I knew growing up, Elaine Cherekjian (now Wolfe). She was probably a teenager the last time we saw each other; I would have been somewhere in my 20’s. Although she was related to my late aunt, Arpie Vartanesian, Elaine and I weren’t related to each other.
In her first FB message to me, Elaine mentioned that her paternal grandmother, Rose Boyajian Cherekjian, was a wonderful cook, but none of her recipes were written down; they were all stored in her head, and all measurements were either a pinch, dash, or eye-balled (achkee chop). Sound familiar?
I told Elaine she wasn’t alone. Most of our grandmothers’ recipes weren’t written down.
In her latest communication, Elaine wrote:
“I was making this Armenian rice dish and decided to write the recipe down. This recipe came from my Grandma Rose. She would make shallaboor in the summer time and serve it cold. She would buy beets with their greens, cut off the beets and make a wonderful beet salad. The tops of the beets were then used to make this delicious rice dish called Shallaboor. These two recipes were always made together so I included both recipes.”
A sincere 'Thank You' goes out to Elaine (and her grandmother), for sharing these recipes with us!
|Two Cherekjian family recipes: Shallaboor, left and Beet Salad, right (Photos courtesy of Elaine Cherekjian-Wolfe)|
Shallaboor - A rice and beet greens recipe
Beet tops roughly chopped about 1 1/2 inch squares
1/2 cup chopped onions
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove of garlic chopped
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1/3 cup of tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
Salt to taste
Mix everything together. Add the water last. Cook on high and then lower quickly when the pot gets hot (must watch the pot or else it will scorch the bottom of the pot). Simmer on low until rice is done about 20-30 minutes. Stir once about 10 minutes into cooking...it sometimes sticks to the bottom. Serve warm or cold.
Elaine stated that her grandmother used to add the garlic after the rice mixture was cooked. Since Elaine likes her garlic a little more subtle, she cooks it.
3-4 beets cooked (see directions below) until done...peeled; slice into quarters and then into 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Mix all ingredients together. That’s it!
How to boil fresh beets:
(Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchens)
1 1/2 pounds beets, trimmed
2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
Place the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover and the lemon juice or vinegar. This will help to keep the beets from bleeding. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place pot under running cold water; rinse until beets can be handled. The skins can now be easily peeled off the beets.