Friday, July 31, 2020

Chef George Duran shares his mother's Sarma recipe!

I've been a fan of Chef George Duran, even before I learned he is Armenian. Once that was revealed, I was even more interested in following his career.
In the early days of this website, I wrote a piece about George which you can read by clicking here.
See the source image
Chef George Duran

I was delighted to see his mother's recipe for Grape Leaf Sarma on his Face Book page recently and immediately contacted him (or his staff) to see if he'd allow me to share it on The Armenian Kitchen.
George Duran's mother's Sarma (photo courtesy of George Duran)

A few days later, the recipe was emailed to me!

Thanks to George and his mother, I present to you ...

George Duran’s Mom’s Sarma Recipe

Filling Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 cups medium grain rice
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red pepper paste
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
5-6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. Kosher salt

Jarred grape leaves, soaked for an hour and squeezed

Liquid Ingredients:
1.5 Cups water
1 Chicken bouillon cube
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. butter

In a large bowl mix all of the filling ingredients together.

Place liquid ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to simmer. Set aside until ready to use.

Using one grape leaf at a time, place it on your work surface, shiny side down. Trim and discard each grape leaf stem.

Add 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture to the middle of the grape leaf. Fold the sides over the rice and roll the leaf into a small log shape, about the size of your thumb.
Repeat with the remaining rice.

Line the bottom of a medium stock pot with torn grape leaves, then arrange the stuffed leaves in the pot.

When the dish is full, cover the stuffed leaves with several layers of flat grape leaves and pour in reserved stock liquid.

Place a small dish upside-down on top of grape leaves and cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Let rest for 15-20 minutes. before serving.

PS: Check out George's recipe for lahmajoun (lahmajoon), too! 

Friday, July 24, 2020

"Dzvov Lobi" or Havgitov Lupia, a Green Bean and Egg recipe from Lucine Kasbarian

The recipe for Green Beans and Eggs (Dzvov Lobi or Havgitov Lupia), was sent to me by Lucine Kasbarian who first sampled it in Sisian, Armenia. She states that Western Armenians prepare this as well although, to her knowledge, it’s not tied to any specific region.
Havgitov Lupia, ready to eat!
Serves 2 to 3
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) butter
**2 cans French cut string beans, drained
4 raw eggs, beaten till frothy 
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Melt butter in a stew pot. Add beans to pot and cover. Stir occasionally, until beans are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Adding beaten eggs into cooked green beans

2. Season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add eggs to beans while stirring. 

3. When eggs set firmly around the beans, it’s ready.

To serve: Serve with lavash, cut tomatoes, sheep or goat cheese, and cut lettuce or fresh dill. Or, you can top the dish with madzoon (plain yogurt) blended with fresh minced garlic.

It’s great anytime, not just for breakfast or brunch!

** Note: Frozen French-cut green beans may be used instead of canned. Cook according to package directions and drain, then continue with the recipe. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Armenian Museum of Watertown, MA announces its Recipe-Sharing Project!

My husband and I started TheArmenianKitchen website in March 2009 with the sole purpose of preserving and sharing Armenian recipes.

Imagine how delighted I was when, just recently, Lucine Kasbarian brought to my attention an Armenian-recipe -sharing project initiated by the Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, MA!

Sarma Gurgood - a family favorite!
Without hesitation, I sent them one of my grandmother’s recipes, Sarma Gurgood, a Musa Daghsi favorite in our household.

The project is open to anyone who has an Armenian recipe and/or custom to share. As a participant, you should understand you are giving the Museum permission to post your recipes and photos on their social media pages and on the Museum’s website

Participants are asked to limit the recipe to 500 words and 2 images. Once the recipe is received, a follow-up email will be sent so that participants can send the recipe’s photo(s). 

Don't delay - Recipe submissions should be made ASAP!
Are you ready? Simply click on this link to get started! 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Jajuk: A Chilled Yogurt and Cucumber Soup

When I think of summer, cucumbers come to mind - as in “cool as a cucumber.” The high-water content of the cucumber provides a moist, cooling effect to the palate.

My grandmother called cucumbers “varoonk." My father sprinkled salt on the thin, moist slices to bring out their goodness. My niece and nephew would fight over cucumbers when they were little.
I just like them for their cool, crisp snap when biting into one.

Armenian cucumber
If you’re lucky, you might even find Armenian cucumbers in stores, otherwise, they can be grown in a home garden.

Did you know that the Armenian cucumber is actually a variety of melon?
It’s related to the muskmelon and is known by several names: yard-long cucumbers, snake cucumbers, and snake melons. The Armenian cucumber is long, slender, not bitter, is burp-less, easy to digest, can be eaten with the skin still on, and - tastes like a cucumber.

No matter what type of cucumber you find, here’s a favorite hot-weather recipe combined plain yogurt that will cool you down the instant you take the first sip:
Photo from The Gutsy Gourmet

Chilled Yogurt-Cucumber Soup (Jajuk)
Yield: about 4 servings

1 long, seedless cucumber, washed & peeled
2 cups plain yogurt
½ cup cold water
1 clove garlic, squeezed through a garlic press, or hand-mashed (optional)
Dash salt
2 tsp. crushed dried mint

1. Cut the cucumber in quarters, lengthwise. Slice each section into thin pieces.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt with the water.
3. To the yogurt, stir in cucumbers, garlic, if using, salt, and mint. To keep this very cold, add a few ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. To serve, stir, ladle into bowls, and add an ice cube in each bowl. Garnish with fresh sprigs of mint.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Grandma Mary’s Delightful Cake (or Church Delight Cake)

Grandma Mary’s Delightful Cake
(or Church Delight Cake)
 By Christine Vartanian Datian

This recipe is featured in the Collections from the Grapevine Cookbook, published by the Ladies Society of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Fowler, California.  

Grandma Mary’s Delightful Cake
 Enjoy Mary Boyajian Mirigian’s Delightful Cake recipe she made for family dinners and church events at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Fowler, California for many years Mary was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1902, and as a child moved to the small town of Fowler, California, known for its grape vineyards and expansive farm land.  She was a charter member of the Armenian-American Citizens' League, active in the California Armenian Home Guild, American Legion Auxiliary, Fresno County Farm Bureau Women, and St. Gregory Senior Ladies Society.  She was married to Mesrob K. Mirigian of Fowler, and had three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Though she passed away in 1981 at age 79, Mary passed along her many creative skills for baking, cooking, and sewing to her beloved granddaughter Mary Ekmalian of Fresno.  This is a cherished recipe of Mary and her mother, Arpeni "Penny" Mirigian, who passed away in 2019 at age 97.  “Being raisin growers and farmers, my grandmother and her family looked for new ways to use raisins in their recipes, many of which remain with us now. The skills I learned from her and my late mother, I embellish on today.  Back then, immigrant families could not afford a lot of ingredients.  My grandparents raised their family during the Great Depression in the San Joaquin Valley. Those were challenging times for Armenian families just to survive,” Mary says.  “Old family recipes are special -- how you make your family happy when they taste your food, that makes all the difference.  When people tell you how delicious these recipes are today, that makes you feel good,” she adds.
1 1/2 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine or butter, at room temperature 
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace (or nutmeg)*
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cups walnuts, chopped, to taste
1/4 cube (2 Tbsp.) margarine or butter
1/4 cup milk, heated
3/4 box powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
Wash raisins.  In a medium pot, combine water and raisins and cook until the water has been reduced to 1 1/2 cups.  Reserve cooked raisins to add later.
Measure into a mixing bowl: the sugar, margarine or butter, eggs, and salt, and blend well together.  Measure into a flour sifter: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and mace; sift together three times.  Gradually add sifted mixture into wet mixture.  Add the cooled raisin water to this mixture.  Add vanilla.  Blend well, and stir in walnuts and the 1 1/2 cups cooked raisins.  Pour into a large 12” X 17” greased and floured baking sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. 
Frosting:  Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Spread on warm cake before cutting into squares.
Makes 54 (2”) squares 1/2” thick.
* Possible mace substitutes include nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, ginger or pumpkin pie spice.