Friday, June 15, 2018

Keep Dad COOL, this Father's Day with these recipes by Christine Datian!

Christine Vartanian-Datian lives in Las Vegas, I don't need to tell you how hot it can get there. She likes to keep things cool by preparing recipes that don't take long to make and/or won't heat up the kitchen. 
Here are two of her recipes which recently appeared in the Armenian Mirror Spectator, Chilled Summer Squash and Potato Soup, and Broccoli and Walnut, Grapes, and Feta Salad.


Have a COOL and Happy Day, Dads!!

Christine Datian's Chilled Summer Squash and Potato Soup

Chilled Summer Squash and Potato Soup   
Serves 4-6                                    

Ingredients:

6-7 medium zucchini, yellow crookneck or pattypan squash, sliced or diced (Choose your favorite, or combine a few.)
1 large onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cups potatoes, peeled, cubed or diced
2 medium stalks celery, diced (plus tops)
2 medium carrots, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
Pinch of dried thyme

Garnishes: Non-fat plain yogurt, chopped chives, basil, parsley, paprika or mint

Preparation:
In a large pot, sauté the squash you have chosen to use, onions, garlic, potatoes, celery and carrots in butter and olive oil for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender; toss occasionally.

Add the broth, lemon juice, salt, pepper and thyme, stir, and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, puree soup (in batches) until medium smooth, but there are traces of zucchini and carrots visible.

Place soup in a container, cover, and chill for 4-6 hours or overnight. Soup can be served at room temperature, if desired.

If desired, whisk in a little half-and-half or ricotta cheese and a little lemon juice before serving. 
Top with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle with choice of chives, basil, parsley, paprika or mint.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve lemon wedges on the side.


Christine's Broccoli Salad with Walnuts, Grapes, and Feta

Broccoli Salad with Walnuts, Grapes and Feta
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 large head broccoli, cleaned, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 red apple, peel on, cored and diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup celery (and tops), chopped
1/2 cup green onions (scallions), sliced or chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup red onions, minced
10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup green olives, chopped, optional
2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional
Juice and zest of one large lemon, optional
1 cup Italian or creamy salad dressing (to taste)

***
1 cup walnuts halves or slivered almonds
6-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt and black pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large glass bowl, combine all ingredients except the walnuts, cheese, salt and pepper, and toss with dressing.  Cover and chill for up to 8 hours, tossing occasionally.

To serve, toss with walnuts (or slivered almonds), Feta cheese, salt and pepper, and garnish with more walnuts or almonds, if desired.

Serve salad on a bed of fresh spinach, endive, arugula or lettuce with sliced avocados and tomatoes or fresh sliced fruit on the side.

Serve with extra dressing.

*This salad is best if made the night before serving, so that flavors can blend.

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



Friday, June 8, 2018

An Untimely Passing

Barely three weeks ago, the Armenian community watched with pride, as Anthony Bourdain's program featuring Armenia aired. 

Sadly, today, we mourn his passing.

Thank you, Mr. Bourdain, for sharing your culinary expertise and recent tour of Armenia with the world.


You will be missed.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Our South Carolina Home Blessing

It's official!

Our Home Blessing
Doug and I are now legal residents of South Carolina, and, we have been welcomed into the Armenian community in the Carolinas. What I mean by that is, on May 31st, our new home was blessed by Father Samuel Rith-Najarian of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Charlotte, NC.

We’ve been living in our home for almost 3 months now. We’re unpacked and enjoying our new surroundings. Our daughter, son-in-law, and our dear friend from Maine have already visited us in our new abode. My sister will join us here in a few weeks.

That said, Doug and still I felt a bit unsettled, that is, until Father Sam blessed our home as a few friends - new and old - witnessed this event.

Now that our home, we, and anyone who may ever pass through our doors, have been blessed, we are feeling quite content and happy. Thank you, Father Sam!
(L-R) Me, Father Samuel, and Doug in our dining room. Once the food was blessed, it was time to dine! 
(Photos by Andy Kabasakalian)
A home blessing isn’t complete (at least to me) unless a meal follows. Our celebration menu consisted of Lule Kebab, pita bread, Sarma Gurgood (aka Tabbouleh), tossed salad, yogurt-tahini sauce, marinated red onions with sumac, and for dessert, cheese kadaif, and fresh fruit.

I believe all in attendance enjoyed the event and sustenance, as much as Doug and I did.

It’s great to be HOME!

For more information on Home Blessings, please click here.