Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tahini Breakfast Cookies

My family’s relationship with the Pinajian-Dorian family spans decades. We’ve shared many delicious Armenian meals together in that time. Dian Dorian, one of my bridesmaids back in 1977 (she was just a kid then), embraces a vegetarian lifestyle these days, and couldn’t be happier.

Dian’s mom, Barbara, recently made one of Dian’s favorite breakfast treats – Tahini Breakfast Cookies - and asked me to sample a few. How could I refuse? One bite, and I was hooked! These are nutritious, chewy, and extremely quick and easy to make. It’s also appropriate for Lent!

The origin of this recipe is unknown, but Barbara said that when Dian finds a recipe that sounds interesting, she tweaks it to suit her taste. I, in turn, made an addition to her recipe to suit my own.
Tahini Breakfast Cookies
Tahini Breakfast Cookies from Dian Dorian
Yield: about 20 cookies, depending on the size

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
6 tablespoons tahini, well-mixed
1/2 cup honey or (real) maple syrup (or a combination of the two to equal ½ cup)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon - or - 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Optional: Add chopped pistachios or chopped walnuts.     

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in bowl and roll into balls which you flatten onto an oiled cookie sheet.
Tahini cookies ready to bake
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet before removing because these have a tendency to crumble.

  •        I used a bit less honey so it wouldn’t be as sweet, and added 1 Tbsp. of toasted sesame seeds to bolster its earthy flavor. I used 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a sprinkle of freshly ground cardamom.
  •        If tahini is unavailable, you can substitute creamy peanut butter or any other nut-butter.
  •        Other optional add-ins: raisins, chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, etc.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sonia Tashjian’s QEMENE BRTUJ - Kololak with Potato - a Lenten Recipe

Just in time for Lent, Sonia Tashjian sent me several recipes which I will post from time to time, so please keep checking back.

The first is her recipe for QEMENE BRTUJ - Kololak (or kufteh) with Potato.

As Sonia explains, “This kololak recipe is specific for Musa Ler’s (Musa Dagh) traditional cuisine. They call it “brtuj” which means a bite or a chunk.  It is a very simple, everyday food – and- it is very suitable for Lent.”

Sonia continued by saying, “In various Armenian regions, there are several words referring to ‘KUFTEH’, or the shape of the food: klor=kleyor(Zeytun); klulik = klur (Musa Ler); klorchik (Mush); kleo'r (Kessab), etc.”

I present ...
Photo courtesy of Sonia Tashjian

Sonia Tashjian’s QEMENE BRTUJ - Kololak with Potato

 2 medium potatoes
 1 cup fine (#1) bulghur
 1 medium onion, finely chopped
 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
 ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
 2 to 3 Tbsp. oil
 cumin, pepper, salt to taste


 -Cook & mash the potatoes; combine the bulghur & knead while the potato is hot; wet your hands, if needed.

 NOTE: If you desire, you can fry the onion before adding it to the next step. Some people also use chopped green onions (scallions).

  -When the bulghur is already softened, add the finely chopped vegetables, seasonings, and oil. Continue to knead, then shape them with your palm to resemble small sausages.

 NOTE: In wintertime, instead of fresh tomato & pepper, tomato paste and red pepper paste are used.

 -Serve with pickled vegetables (tourshi), radish & cabbage salad. Tahn is also delicious with it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Armenian Aubergine (aka Eggplant) and Pomegranate Salad

Doug and I met Rubina Sevadjian Kingwell last April at the London Book Fair. Rubina is the author of the exciting novel “In the Shadow of the Sultan”. Her book, and Doug’s Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me”, were featured at the event’s Armenian Pavilion along with many other selections. Since then Rubina and I have become good friends via Facebook.
Doug and Rubina hold each other's books at the London Book Fair 2015
When Rubina posted a salad recipe featuring eggplant and pomegranate seeds, I asked if I might share it on The Armenian Kitchen
Rubina agreed, as long as I mentioned that the recipe was given to her by a friend.

Since our Lenten season has begun, this is an appropriate and delicious recipe to serve!
Aubergine and Pomegranate Salad

Armenian Aubergine and Pomegranate Salad 

1 cup fine (#1) bulgur
1 cucumber, cut into a neat dice
1 large aubergine (eggplant), cut into small cubes
1 red pepper, cut into small cubes
5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried mint
1 Tbsp. parsley (or more)
1 Tbsp. paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pomegranate, seeded (if available)

1 lemon - juiced
1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
2 to 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Soak the bulgur in 2 cups of salted boiling water until all the water is absorbed. Allow bulgur to cool. When bulgur is cool, mix in the diced cucumber, spices and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fry the aubergine over a low heat in olive oil until golden then add the pepper and cook until well done. Leave to cool.
When cooled add the aubergines, pepper, and pomegranate seeds to the bulgur mixture.
Prepare the dressing and pour over the salad. Gently mix until combined.
Store the salad in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.