Recent entries in: Appetizers and Snacks

  • Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast

Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast

Posted on March 27, 2017

Avocado toast is a food that I just can’t quit.

I know a lot of folks are feeling kind of “over it” lately. It’s achieved Kardashian-level celebrity status, right up there with kimchi, smoothie bowls and those Starbucks Pink Drinks. But to me, avocado toast isn’t just the latest trend. To me, avocado toast is pure comfort food. It’s the food that I eat when I’m stressed and rushed and struggling to find the time to prepare a “real meal”. And it’s the food that I eat when I just don’t feel like eating. Like this past week, when my heart felt heavy and my house seemed unbearably empty. Avocado toast was the only thing that actually tasted really good to me.

Today’s version includes one of my favorite curious little fruits: kumquats. They are in season right now, so keep your eyes peeled for these sweet-sour gems that look just like miniature oranges.

And speaking of peels, you can eat them. Yup. Not need to peel kumquats (thank goodness because that would be a laborious task!). In fact, the peel is actually the sweeter part of the fruit. It’s the center that packs a pucker-inducing punch!

Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast | www.floatingkitchen.net

Last year, I made a Spicy Kumquat and Whipped Ricotta Crostini. And a couple of weeks ago, I spotted these gorgeous Kumquat Honeycomb Tartines from Alanna at The Bojon Gourmet. So it’s been on my mind to create a new version of kumquats on toast.

To that end, I asked my Mom for a few kumquats for a recipe and, of course, she brought me an ENTIRE CASE. Not that I was particularly surprised by this. Because my Mom always goes above and beyond the call of duty (it’s one of her most endearing qualities). But a case of kumquats is A LOT to try and get through. So I’ve been making plenty of dishes with kumquats this week (I might just have to share another one soon!), as well as making pickles, marmalades and chutneys.

Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast | www.floatingkitchen.net

These quick-pickled kumquats are exactly as they are named: pickled kumquats that can be made very quickly. I start by slicing each kumquat into 3-4 slices. No need to discard the seeds, but I do remove and discard the tiny woody stem that is sometimes found on the end. Then I boil them briefly to soften the peel and take away some of the bitterness. Finally, I combine the kumquat slices with a easy rice vinegar brine and pop them in the refrigerator to chill. Within an hour, they are ready to consume!

If quick-pickles are known as “quickles”, then are quick kumquat pickles known as “kuickles”?

Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast | www.floatingkitchen.net

Because I have so many kumquats, I made myself a couple jars of these quick-pickled kumquats. But you can certainly scale the recipe down, if you prefer. The quick-pickled kumquats should last for a week, maybe more, in your refrigerator.

This Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast is just one in which you can enjoy your “kuickles”. Try them on sandwiches, with grilled chicken or fish, or add them to a cheese platter. Or simply eat them straight out of the jar!

Cheers,

Liz

Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast

Quick-Pickled Kumquat Avocado Toast

Ingredients

  • For the Kumquats
  • 4 cups kumquat slices
  • 1 cup warm water, plus more for boiling the kumquat slices
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • For the Toast
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • Salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 10-14 slices pickled kumquats
  • 1/2 cup pea shoots or sprouts
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Add the kumquat slices to a medium pan and cover them with about 1-inch of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Drain the kumquat slices, discarding the cooking liquid. Divide the drained kumquat slices between two jars (or more or less, depending on what size jars you have) with re-sealable lids.
  2. Stir together the warm water, rice vinegar, maple syrup, salt and black pepper. Pour this mixture into the jar(s) over the kumquat slices, filling the jar(s) to the top. You can discard any leftover liquid. Seal the jar(s) and transfer them to your refrigerator to chill for 1 hour. A longer refrigeration time is okay, too. The quick-pickled kumquats can be stored in your refrigerator for a week, if not longer.
  3. To make the toast, cut the avocado in half. Remove and discard the seed. Scoop out the flesh and place it on the toasted bread. Mash the avocado flesh down with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Top with some pickled kumquat slices, pea shoots and a few fresh mint leaves. Drizzle with a little maple syrup, if desired. Enjoy immediately.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/quick-pickled-kumquat-avocado-toast/
  • Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

Posted on February 7, 2017

There is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now. And it’s left me feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed and at times, small and insignificant.

Like, am I suppose to just sit here and talk cheerfully about a guacamole recipe, all while our elected officials are planning to build a wall at the Mexican border? That doesn’t feel right to me. It seems silly to be excited about food when there is so much hate and fear circulating around us.

But then I remember that sharing food, and the stories behind our food, is a big part of who we are. It defines us on every level: as individuals, as families and as a nation. To share food and food stories is to be human. So no matter what happens over the next few years, I’m going to continue to do that.

We are a nation of immigrants. And today, myself and some other food bloggers are celebrating that fact by sharing our #immigrantfoodstories. I hope you feel inspired and uplifted. And I hope you feel the urge to share your immigrant stories as well (both food and non-food related). Because I don’t think we can afford to be silent any longer.

Armenian Power | www.floatingkitchen.net

I’m half Armenian. All four of my Great Grandparents on my Mom’s side immigrated from Armenia in the early 1900’s to escape the Armenian Genocide. My family, like so many other Armenian families during those years, found safety and security here in America. In time, they became dedicated community members in their newly found country – raising families, erecting churches and managing small businesses. One of those businesses (now called Donabedian Bros.) is still in operation today, and is owned and run by my Mom and Uncle.

I grew up being mainly influenced by my Armenian side of the family (simply due to the proximity of where we lived). They were a hard working and proud group of people. But never too proud. The Armenian Genocide had inflicted a deep scar that still ached from time to time. A scar that was often kept covered and hidden away from prying eyes.

There was a lingering shame and a general quietness about them.

Except when it came to matters regarding food. Then there was no holding back! As a family of great cooks (and even greater appetites!), meal times and Holidays were always a celebration of our traditional foods. My Great Aunt Margaret proudly made the best toorshi (pickled vegetables). My Great Aunt Dorothy made the best lahmahjoon (flatbread with ground lamb) and roejeeg (grape juice and walnut candy). And my Mom always had the most sought after paklava in town!

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

Today, I’ve recreated my Great Aunt Carrie’s recipe for Eetch (also sometimes called mock kheyma or meatless kheyma). It’s a bulgur based-dish that can be served either as a salad, or spread onto crackers/bread. It has a somewhat similar flavor profile to tabbouleh, so if that’s something you enjoy, then I would encourage you to try Eetch. It’s also a recipe that gets better with age. So it’s a great dish to make for a party or potluck, because you can prepare it up to a day in advance. {Oh and if you’re curious, those little round baked goods in the photos are something called simit, an Armenian bread/biscuit that I’m still trying to get just right.}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad | www.floatingkitchen.net

I want to leave you with a few excerpts from an essay written by my Great Aunt Beatrice that details the experiences of her Mother Agnes (my Great Grandmother) in Armenia during the Genocide. It was a school assignment in which she had to write about someone she admired. It’s pretty powerful.

Be sure to check out the hashtag #immigrantfoodstories to see more inspiring stories and recipes.

Cheers,

Liz

Armenian Genocide Letter | www.floatingkitchen.net

“Sure enough, in the winter of 1985, while Agnes was still an infant, a massacre took place. The women and children of Harpoot fled into the nearby mountains, while the men and older boys tried to fight off the Turks and protect their homes. Mrs. Soorsoorian, carrying Agnes and pulling and coaxing the four other children, was having a difficult time of it. The path up the mountainside was narrow and steep. She was making no progress, as the children stumbled and fell on the rocks. The child in her arms was an extra burden. Despairing and in tears, she dropped little Agnes into a snow bank and helped the other children ascend. I suppose she thought that if one of the children had to die, it would have to be the youngest.”

“Soon the Turks gave the order that all the Armenians who were not fighting where to abandon their homes and leave the country. Agnes, now twenty years old, and her aged parents where among the thousands of unfortunates who were forced to leave their homes. It must have been a sad procession that marched away from it’s native soil. Thousands were massacred, and I don’t know whether my mother’s parents were among these, or whether, exhausted, they fell on the wayside, but I do know that they died during this time. I have never asked my mother about these facts, because I know she refuses to discuss this horrible phase of her life with anyone.”

“In two years she had money enough to purchase a steamship ticket, which she did without wasting anytime. A few weeks later, her boat docked at New York Harbor. Agnes’ brothers were there to greet here. In one way, it was a happy reunion, but on the other hand, it was pitiful to think that these three were the only living members left of their family. Agnes lived with her brothers for two years, after which she met my father George Kerkorian, whom she married. They came to Newburyport to live, and here their two daughters, my sister Louise and I, were born.”

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad

Serves 4-8

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur (also called dried cracked wheat)
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the bulgur and tomato sauce to a large bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if desired.
  3. Refrigerate until well chilled. You can serve this as a salad, or as a topping for bread and crackers.
  4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/armenian-bulgur-parsley-and-tomato-salad/

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