Friday, June 26, 2020

Bitlis Tutoo (Sour Cabbage Stew) from 'Breaking Bread with William Saroyan'

The following recipe for Bitlis Tutoo (Sour Cabbage Stew) from 'Breaking Bread with William Saroyan' was posted in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator by Christine Vartanian Datian.
William Saroyan
A bit of background information:
Tutoo is an old recipe from the Bitlis and Mush (Mus) regions in Turkey. It is thought by historians to have been brought by the French Crusaders, who later married Armenian women and stayed in the Bitlis region. Tutoo means sour in Armenian, and the stew can live up to its name. It includes both fermented cabbage and the brine used to pickle the cabbage. Most Armenian cookbooks and on-line recipes call for at least a 10-day fermentation period.

The updated recipe below is courtesy of Queenie Dardarian, ‘A Hundred Years and Still Cooking’, the First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno (FAPC) Fidelis Women’s Society Centennial recipe collection.

Bitlis Tutoo (Sour Cabbage Stew)                                               
Serves 6

1 lb. lamb necks or stew meat (or a little more)
1-2 large onions, halved and sliced
8 cups fermented cabbage, with its own juice
3/4 cup dzedzads (shelled whole grain wheat - or gorghod), found in Middle Eastern stores
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
2-3 cups of water
Juice of 1 or 2 large lemons (add more for tart flavor)
Crushed dried basil and paprika or cayenne pepper, optional

Preparation to ferment cabbage:


3 large heads cabbage, chopped in 1-inch squares
Pickling salt, not iodized
1/4 cup dzedzads 
4 quarts water

For the fermenting: Have ready a large crock or 1-gallon glass jar for fermenting cabbage. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, adding salt to taste. Let it cool to tepid temperature. Rinse and add 1/4 cup dzedzads to the bottom of the crock or glass jar. Add cut cabbage to the container, and cover with water to cover top. Stir and cover container partially, leaving an opening for stirring. Loosely cap the jar. Retain 1 cup of brine to add to the jar during fermentation to keep the cabbage covered with liquid. Place jar on a plate (in case your fermentation bubbles over) and store out of direct sunlight in your kitchen. Stir thoroughly to help release gases caused by fermentation for once or twice a day for 10 to 21 days (or longer). After cabbage has fermented, refrigerate tutoo by transferring it to large glass jars or other covered containers.

Preparation for the stew: In a large kettle or a heavy enameled 7-quart pot, cover lamb meat with some cabbage water and cook for one hour. Skim off any impurities. After one hour, remove the bones. Rinse and add 3/4 cup dzedzads to the pot. Add onions, cabbage, tomato sauce, water, lemon juice, basil, paprika or cayenne pepper (if using), and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about two hours or until lamb is very tender.

'Breaking Bread with William Saroyan' By Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter, published by Heliograph Publishing.

To order today, call or contact:

Janice Stevens
Gallery II
1490 W. Shaw Ste G.
Fresno, CA 93711
(559) 222-4443


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Father’s Day Ice Cream Surprise

This year poses a different scenario for Father’s Day. Undoubtedly there will be barbecues, weather-permitting, and other ways to show love and appreciation to one’s dad, while, hopefully, keeping a safe distance.

Our daughter and son-in-law are in upstate NY. Clearly, we won’t be seeing them on Father’s Day. So, how do they plan to celebrate Dad from a distance? With an ice cream delivery, of course! (I was in on this secret gift because I had to be on the look-out for its delivery at our end.)

You might be asking how this could be done without ice cream melting in transit. That was our concern, too and hoped we weren’t in for a messy ice cream disaster. 

Fortunately, the ice cream company (Jeni’s) packed it so well in a cooler with dry-ice, that it was still solid-as-a-rock frozen when it arrived.

Doug was surprised and delighted with this early gift – now his biggest decision is … which flavor to try first!

Happy Father’s Day to Dads everywhere!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Zucchini-Pecan Muffins

It was as though I'd received a mystery food basket - you know, like the ones chefs receive on the Food Network show 'Chopped'. I searched through my freezer and refrigerator to see which ingredients needed to be used immediately, then thought about what to make with them. 
Pecans in the freezer and a couple of zucchini that were on the brink topped the list.
After some careful consideration, this is what I made...

Zucchini-Pecan Muffins ready to serve
Zucchini-Pecan Muffins                                                
Yield: 12 muffins

2 large eggs
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (depending on your sweet-tooth level)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. (packed) grated fresh zucchini
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda  
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Stir in the grated zucchini, oil and applesauce.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until combined.

4. Sift the dry ingredients into the egg-zucchini mixture without over-mixing. Fold-in nuts, if using.

5. Lightly coat each cup in the muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon or small ladle to distribute the muffin batter evenly among the cups, filling them almost to the top.

6. Bake at 350°F on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Insert a wooden toothpick in the center of the largest muffin. When removed, a clean toothpick assures the muffins are done.
Muffins just out of the oven
7. Place muffin tin on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin; allow to cool another 20 minutes.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Stanley’s Armenian Cuisine Restaurant – Stanley Kooyumjian's story and two of his recipes

Stanley Kooyumjian's story and recipes recently appeared in The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. I share this with you, thanks to Christine Datian.

Stanley Kooyumjian's story:
The original concept for Stanley’s famous Armenian Cuisine Restaurants was developed at the Home Market, an old downtown Fresno grocery store that opened in 1903. It was later owned by George Kooyumjian, Stanley’s hard-working immigrant father.

George came to America and settled his family in Fresno at the time of the Armenian Genocide.  He began working at the Home Market as a butcher, preparing lamb cuts and marinated shish kebab.  George’s prized recipe for shish kebab had been passed down by father to son in the Kooyumjian family for generations. The Home Market’s popularity grew with Fresno’s local Armenian community in the 1930s and 1940s, as it specialized in featuring a variety of Armenian foods like rice, bulgur, beans, lamb, bread [lavash], cheese, grape leaves, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

George became a respected caterer for local Armenian church dinners and picnics throughout the San Joaquin Valley,
On his father’s death in the summer of 1958, young Stanley Kooyumjian and his devoted, talented mother, Gladys, took over the family business, worked together for years. They eventually opened Stanley’s Armenian Cuisine Restaurant in downtown Fresno, and later, a second location, Stanley’s on Shaw Avenue. Both very popular, Stanley’s restaurants were known for featuring delicious Armenian cuisine, impeccable service, and for an endless choice of fine wines and spirits.  Like his father, Stanley specialized in catering services for many local Fresno businesses, special events, and weddings, and was an expert in wine and the preparation of lamb.  His catering services served as many as 1,500 people at a single setting, with Stanley often cooking his family’s traditional shish kebab recipe over his own barbecue.

When Stanley sold the family business, he did not abandon fine cuisine, lamb, or wine.  He retired from the restaurant business in 1983 and joined the American Sheep Producers Association as the West Coast marketing director. In 1998, at an Armenian Studies Banquet at California State University, Fresno (CSUF), Stanley served as a special guest chef, preparing a memorable braised-lamb shanks dinner for over 250 guests for His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Stanley's Shish Kebab and Pilaf
Two of Stanley's recipes:

Stanley’s Shish Kebab
3 pounds lean leg of lamb, cut into 2-ounce cubes
1 1/2 cups yellow or white onions, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced*
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
About 2 teaspoons salt
About 1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup inexpensive red wine, such as Carlo Rossi burgundy, or juice
of one large freshly squeezed lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
*Diced red onions, zucchini, red or yellow bell peppers, eggplant and cherry tomatoes may be used in this recipe.

In a medium (non-corrosive) bowl, combine cubed lamb, onions, bell pepper, parsley and garlic.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour wine (or lemon juice) and olive oil over lamb and vegetables, then mix well.  Cover tightly, refrigerate, and allow to marinate 6-24 hours.  Mix occasionally.
Thread meat onto skewers or alternate with pieces of onions and bell peppers (and other vegetables, if used).  Place skewers on hot grill over hot coals or under hot broiler.  Turn as needed to cook uniformly on all sides until the meat is medium doneness (browned well on the outside and still pink on the inside).  Serve with rice or bulgur pilaf.
Serves 6.
Stanley's Kouzou Kuzartma (Baked Lamb Shanks)
Stanley’s Kouzou Kuzartma (Baked Lamb Shanks)

4 lamb shanks, preferably from a leg of lamb
Salt and pepper
4 cups sliced white or yellow onions
1 large bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, reserving 1/2
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 10 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree or diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup California burgundy wine, to taste
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 225-250 degrees F.  Thoroughly salt and pepper lamb shanks.  In a roasting pan with rack, add water and place lamb shanks on rack.  Bake uncovered for 2 hours.  While shanks are browning in oven, proceed with sauce.  In a skillet, sauté onions, garlic and bell pepper until onions are opaque.  Add crushed or diced tomatoes, wine and 1/2 of the parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove shanks from oven.  Remove rack, drain liquid, and discard.  Spread sauce evenly over shanks.  Cover lightly with lid or foil and place in oven.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove lid or foil and return to oven for 30 minutes.  Garnish with remaining sauce and parsley and serve with rice or bulgur pilaf.
Serves 4.

Note: The Fresno Bee's blog item on Stanley Kooyumjian’s passing at age 77 in 2010 drew remembrances and condolences from Stanley’s many customers and dedicated employees who testified to the high caliber of Stanley’s traditional Armenian dishes, the unrivaled excellence of his food, wine, and service, and to Stanley’s exceptional professionalism and character as a friend, and a respected community and business leader for decades.

For these recipes, go to:
*Many of Stanley Kooyumjian’s original recipes are reprinted from A Harvest of Recipe Cookbook, Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, Fresno, California.