Saturday, August 29, 2020

Madzoon (Yogurt) with Honey, Fruit and Nuts

Autumn is fast-approaching, but we’re still feeling the intense warmth of summer. We find the best way to stay refreshed is with a soothing dessert made with plain madzoon (yogurt).

Here’s one of our go-to treats made with homemade yogurt (or a good quality store-bought version), topped with fresh fruit of your choice, honey and nuts. Simple and sweet.

Homemade madzoon (yogurt) with chopped cherries, pecans, and a drizzle of honey

Madzoon (Yogurt) with Honey, Fruit and Nuts

Yield: 2 servings


1 cup plain yogurt, homemade (preferred) or good quality store-bought

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. cinnamon

A drizzle of honey

¼ cup seasonal fruit (fresh berries, cherries, peaches, or dried fruit, such as currants, or apricots)

3 Tbsp. walnuts, pecans or pistachios, chopped


1. Mix together yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon and honey. (Note: honey can be drizzled on top before serving.)

2. Chill until ready to serve.

3. Just before serving, gently fold in nuts and fruit- or just sprinkle them on top.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Zucchini with Pistachios and Basil

Last week I received my Nory Locum shipment - 2 boxes of locum (of course!) and 2 lbs. of unsalted California pistachios (without shells).

My locum and pistachio nut delivery from Nory Locum

Doug and I dove right into the locum!

Before using the pistachios, I toasted them in the oven at 350°F for about 8 minutes to give them some extra crunch.

With the bounty of zucchini and fresh basil I had on hand, the recipe, Zucchini with Pistachios and Basil, was born. 

It’s a lovely accompaniment to grilled meat, poultry, or fish.

Zucchini with Pistachios and Basil

Zucchini with Pistachios and Basil

Serves 6


4 to 5 medium zucchinis, rinsed, cut lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided 

1/4 cup (or more) fresh basil, cut into thin strips, divided


Place the cut zucchini in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Toss to coat zucchini.

Using a 12-inch skillet non-stick skillet, put heat on medium-high and add half the zucchini. (You don’t want to crowd the pan.) Cook for 5 minutes, turning about half-way through, until lightly golden and tender-crisp. Transfer zucchini to a serving bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, if necessary, and continue to cook the remaining zucchini.

Place the rest of the cooked zucchini in the serving bowl. Drizzle zucchini with lemon juice. Sprinkle with half the pistachios and basil, tossing gently.

Garnish with remaining chopped pistachios and basil.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Olive and Nut Salad (Tzitabedoughi yev Engouizi Aghtsan), a recipe by Aline Kamakian, Mayrig Restaurant, Beirut, Lebanon

We all know about the devastating explosions which occurred in Beirut on August 4th. Buildings and businesses in ruins, lives lost.

Mayrig, Aline Kamakian’s restaurant in Beirut, is highly regarded by anyone who has ever dined there. Unfortunately, her establishment was not spared in the blast.

I came across two pieces on Face Book about Aline and her restaurant.

The first: This photo and explanation came from a story by Emilie Sueur, Editor-in-chief at L'Orient-Le Jour:

Aline Kamakian, inside her damaged restaurant after the explosions. 

(Photo by João Sousa)

“Aline Kamakian refuses resignation. Nearly 85 families depend financially on its restaurant, Mayrig, devastated by the double explosion of August 4, at the port of Beirut. If the interior of the establishment is, for now, condemned, she has vowed to reopen the terrace and kitchen asap.” 

Aline and her team preparing 500 meals to victims of the Beirut blast.

The second was written and posted by Zoe Dean-Smith: 

“We met this incredible woman Aline Kamakian during our Global Ambassadors Program in London in 2016.

Last week she lost her restaurant, her office, her home last week in the Beirut explosion.

25 of her staff were hospitalized, 3 in critical condition and 30 of her staff lost their homes.

Today she already has her sleeves rolled up again and is working with World Central Kitchen preparing meals for victims of the blast.

I am so in awe of this fearless resilient woman leader.

If you'd like to support her and her Mayrig community, please go to” 


I’ve never been to Beirut, and therefore have never been to Mayrig restaurant or to Aline’s other restaurant, Batchig, but I have - and love - Aline’s and Barbara Drieskens’ cookbook, Armenian Cuisine, which was published in 2011.

With Aline’s determination one can be sure that Mayrig will rise once again.

So, it gives me great pleasure to share with you one of Aline’s deliciously simple recipes, Olive and Nut Salad. 

Although I am posting her recipe as it is written in her cookbook, I adapted my version slightly based on the ingredients I had on hand.

The Armenian Kitchen's adapted version of Aline Kamakian's Olive and Nut Salad

Olive and Nut Salad

Serves 4


1 ½ cups green olives, pitted (I used a combination of pitted Kalamata olives and pimento-stuffed green olives.)

2 (Roma) tomatoes, cut into small dice

1 (medium) white onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. (mild) red pepper paste

2 Tbsp. olive oil

½ Tbsp. (1 ½ tsp.) pomegranate molasses

Juice of ½ lemon

½ cup walnut pieces (I used chopped pecans.)

2 Tbsp. parsley. washed and finely chopped


Cut pitted olives in half.

Blend together the red pepper paste and olive oil, stirring very well. Add the pomegranate molasses and lemon juice and mix to create a sauce.

In a bowl, mix together the olives, tomatoes, and onions. Pour the sauce over them, tossing to coat.

Just before serving, stir in the chopped nuts and parsley.

Aline suggests serving this in small portions as it is quite filling and is best when served as a side dish or as part of a mezza assortment. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

KOFTA, a recipe from Chef Dan Janjigian

The following story and recipe come from Chef Dan Janjigian, as a special to the Armenian Mirror-Spectator.  

Chef Dan (Jiggy) Janjigian, Photo by Nick Sulzer/Buckrail 

As soon as I read his story, I contacted Chef Dan (aka Jiggy) for permission to share this with The Armenian Kitchen. He happily obliged, and, mentioned that his brother, Andrew, is a baker, artist and writer for Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen. Hopefully, Andrew will permit me to share his story with you, too. So, stay tuned!

Andrew Janjigian at Boston Public Market. Photo by Leo Gozbekian

Kofta By Dan Janjigian Special to the Mirror-Spectator

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — As an Armenian-American chef, I am constantly looking for ways to integrate the dishes and flavors that I grew up with into my menus. This recipe was born out of that desire in the catering kitchen. When I make these koftas, they’re usually small, about two bites and served on a skewer as a passed appetizer at events, dotted with a dill-cucumber raita, or a thick jajik.

This recipe is a marriage of kofta, and losh kebab, or as my parents said “It’s a grilled Keyma with spice.”

When I’m at home, I prefer to eat it in Syrian bread with a lightly dressed cucumber and tomato salad.

If gluten is an issue, you can substitute cooked quinoa for the bulgur in equal proportions, it adds a different texture as an added bonus.

Chef Jiggy's Kofta


Makes about 10 patties – Serves 4


1 LB. ground lamb or beef or a combination of both

1 Small Yellow Onion

3 Cloves Garlic

1⁄4 Cup Fine Bulgur Wheat or Quinoa

1 1⁄2 Tsp. Kosher Salt

3 Tbs. Harissa Paste

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1⁄2 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped Fine


In a small bowl, combine the bulgur wheat with 1⁄4 cup of warm water and set aside. If using quinoa, follow box instructions to cook, then set aside to cool.

Peel and dice onion and garlic and pulse about 8-10 times in the food processor until the purée is wet. Move the purée to a fine strainer and set over a container to catch liquids as they drain off the mixture. After about 10 minutes, lightly press the mixture with a spatula to push out remaining liquid.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the onion purée, chopped parsley, cumin and a few grinds of black pepper, about 1⁄2 teaspoon. In the container with the onion water, add salt and harissa paste and stir to incorporate.

Using your hands, combine everything together and massage until well mixed and smooth. Form into oblong shaped balls and grill over high heat until medium or to your liking.

Dan Janjigian grew up in Westwood, Mass. and has lived in Jackson Hole for the last 15 years. He works as a catering chef and was recently voted “Best Chef” in the 2020 Best of JH competition. When he is not cooking, he spends his time exploring the Teton mountain range where he works as a backcountry ski guide in the winter months.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Please Help Nory Locum, a Small Armenian Business, to Survive and Thrive during these Difficult Times

In 2010, I wrote about Nory Locum, a once-thriving candy-making company in CA, owned and operated by Armand Sahakian. To reciprocate, Armand shared his mother’s treasured recipe for St. Sarkis Halva with The Armenian Kitchen. During that  time I fell in love with his delicious candies, ordering numerous boxes -over the years - to share with family and friends.
Armand Sahakian

Mrs. Sahakian's St. Sarkis Halva

Just as countless small businesses all over the globe are dealing with loss and the real possibility of closing forever, Nory Locum, may be facing the same fate – unless we can help.

I just read a story about Armand on Dining in the Diaspora urging people to help keep the Sahakian's business afloat by either contributing to their fundraiser or by ordering their products. 

To contribute to their fundraiser, click here.

To purchase Nory Locum products, click here. (Products are shipped within the US.)

In my effort to help, I chose to order my favorite locum(s) and California pistachio nuts. I then felt the need to get the word out to anyone else who could possibly help.

If you can, please support Armand Sahakian, his family and Nory Locum so that they may survive and thrive during these difficult times.

Many Thanks!

Robyn from The Armenian