Saturday, December 19, 2020

Be on the Lookout for our 2021 "Kitchen" Renovation!

We're taking an extended holiday vacation this year but we're not sitting with our feet up by the fire sipping Armenian brandy. Well, OK, sure we are. But we're also working hard to renovate The Armenian Kitchen

Sometime soon we'll unveil a new design that will be easier to use and more helpful than ever. We hope it won't take long but we're certain the wait will be worthwhile. 

In the meantime, have a Merry American Christmas, a Blessed Armenian Christmas and a Healthy, Safe New Year

*The Kalajians*

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Christmas Cookies, Traditional Paklava and other sweet Treats

We all know this has been a tough year, but it’s finally coming to an end. With that in mind, let’s focus on the celebration of Christmas.

I can think of no better way to prepare, than by making an assortment of Christmas cookies, traditional paklava and other sweet treats!

Here are some of our favorites. We hope you’ll like them as much as we do!

From our Kitchen to yours, we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas – and – a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful New Year!!

Almond Pine Nut Cookies  
Almond Pine Nut Cookies

Apricot Crescent Cookies
Apricot Crescent Cookies

Apricot Logs
 
Apricot Logs

Apricot Leather 
Apricot Leather

Kourabia 
Kahke

Nazook 
Chocolate Tahini Truffles

Boorma
Cheese Kadaif

Nut-filled Kadaif
 
Nut-filled Kadaif

 
Cream filling for Kadaif

And Last but not least ...
Traditional Paklava (Recipe follows.)
Traditional Paklava - ready to serve!
TRADITIONAL PAKLAVA

Yield: 30 to 40 pieces

Fillo dough, clarified butter, simple syrup, and chopped nuts with cinnamon. 
Filling Ingredients:

2 cups walnuts, pecans or pistachio nuts, chopped

1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

Main Ingredients:

11/2 cups clarified unsalted butter, melted (*See below)

1 lb. Phyllo dough, thawed

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine nuts and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Lightly brush a 9" x 13" baking pan with melted butter. (FYI: I made a smaller amount in an 8"x8" pan.)

3. Place half of the phyllo sheets (20 sheets) on the bottom of the pan, lightly brushing every (or every other) sheet with melted butter.

4. Spread with nut mixture.

Buttered bottom layers are cover with nut-cinnamon filling.
5. Layer the rest of the phyllo sheets (20 more sheets) on top, lightly brushing each sheet, including the top layer, with melted butter.

6. Place tray of unbaked paklava in refrigerator for about45 minutes to one hour before attempting to cut.

Paklava ready to bake.

7. To make diamond-shaped cuts: using a very sharp knife, cut diagonally, then make vertical cuts through phyllo dough.

8. Bake in preheated 350°- 375° F oven (depending on your oven) for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.

9. As soon as the paklava comes out of the oven, spoon some of the cooled syrup over the top of each piece. Cool completely before serving.

 

*To clarify butter: Melt about 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups butter or butter and margarine over low heat until foam appears. Skim foam and keep on low heat for about 15 minutes or until water has evaporated and salt and solids settle to bottom of pan. Cool about 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully pour clarified butter into container, leaving salt and solids at bottom of the pan. Discard solids.

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 strip of lemon peel or a drop of lemon juice

Directions:

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and cool.

For the Mini Paklava recipe, click here.

Mini Paklava

Friday, December 4, 2020

My Post-Thanksgiving Pumpkin Project- Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Custard, and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

In late October, my friend Linda gifted me with two small pie pumpkins – not pumpkin pies, but pumpkins from which pies – or other pumpkin goodies - could be made. They are the same type of pumpkins she used to make her pumpkin geregoor.
My pumpkin gift from Linda

With my gift, I planned to make a couple of recipes – pumpkin-pecan bread and pumpkin custard.

In order to make either recipe, I had to first prep the pumpkins.

Here’s what I did:


Cut and scooped-out pumpkin halves
First: I carefully cut through each pumpkin, removing the pumpkin fibers and seeds. The fibers were discarded, but the seeds were rinsed and patted dry so they could be roasted. 
Rinsed pumpkin seeds
(There’s nothing better than freshly roasted pumpkin seeds!)
Freshly roasted pumpkin seeds

Second: Working with 2 pumpkin halves at a time, I placed them, cut-side down on a microwave-safe plate and microwaved them for about 6-8 minutes on high power, or until the pumpkin halves were soft. (I tested them by piercing the skin with a paring knife. If it went in easily, they were done.)
Cooked pumpkin pulp

Third: I allowed the pumpkin pulp to cool a bit, then scooped it out. The pulp was placed in the bowl of the food processor which was fitted with the metal ‘S’ blade. After a few pulses, the pulp was smooth and ready to use or freeze for later use.
Processing the pumpkin pulp

Now that the pumpkin purée was done, I was ready to make my two pumpkin recipes.


Pumpkin purée ready to use.

Pumpkin-Pecan Bread

#1. This Pumpkin Bread recipe was originally posted in 2015 using canned pumpkin purée. This time around, I used the homemade pumpkin purée and added about ¾ cup chopped pecans to the batter. If I do say so myself, it came out pretty darn good!  


#2. Pumpkin Custard 
Serves 9
Pumpkin Custard - ready to serve!

Ingredients:
2 cups pumpkin purée
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups milk – or - 1 can evaporated milk (I used evaporated milk.)
¾ c. dark brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. allspice

Directions:

Place pumpkin purée in a large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to combine.

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Lightly grease an 8” x 8” casserole dish with vegetable oil. Place pumpkin mixture in the dish and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking until custard is set, about 30- 35 minutes more. Test the center of the custard by inserting a paring knife in the center. If it comes out clean, the custard is done.
Pumpkin custard - baked and cooling

Place casserole dish on a wire rack, allowing the custard to cool for about 30 minutes. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

To serve: Cut custard into 9 pieces. Place individual pieces on small plates. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with a little cinnamon, if desired.