Recent entries in: Appetizers and Snacks

  • 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/
  • Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za’atar

Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za’atar

Posted on January 30, 2017

The avocado extravaganza that I eluded to last week continues today.

But here is the thing. These Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za’atar, in all their plant-based, carbolicious glory, seem rather trivial and trite at the moment. Because as you’ve probably noticed, things in this country are getting bad. Like real bad.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za'atar | www.floatingkitchen.net

And yes, I know that this blog is a place for sharing recipes, photography and the occasional bad joke. I understand that those are the reasons why you’ve come here today, why you’ve visited in the past and why (hopefully) you’ll be back in the future. I get it. Really I do. And that is precisely why I don’t get overly personal in this space on a regular basis.

But to stand by and say nothing, seems wrong. Silence isn’t an option anymore. Things aren’t normal. And I can’t (and won’t) act like they are. I don’t support the decisions being made by our President. And I’m fighting those decisions in ways that I know how to do – like by signing petitions, donating money to reputable organizations, contacting my elected officials and joining protests.

I hope that many of you are doing some of these very same things.

I’m also eating my feelings. And I’m not ashamed to admit that these Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za’atar have been getting me through some tough moments. As an extreme lover of avocado toast, the combination of bread and smashed avocado has basically evolved into my version of comfort food. It soothes me. Screw alcoholic beverages, bubble baths and massages. Just give me avocado toast.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za'atar | www.floatingkitchen.net

As with a lot of crostini recipes, this one is pretty customizable. Butternut squash would be great. You could try roasted cauliflower instead of the broccoli. And a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or agave nectar would be a nice addition, too. Oh and of course a little cheese never hurts. I left it out to keep these little appetizers vegan (just be sure to check the ingredient list on your bread). But goat cheese plus avocado is a favorite combination of mine, and I know it would work beautifully here in this recipe, if you’re so inclined.

Peace, love and respect.

Cheers,

Liz

Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za’atar

Serves 8-12

Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Crostini with Avocado and Za’atar

Ingredients

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) French baguette, sliced
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and seeded
  • About 1 tsp. za’atar seasoning

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and the black pepper. Spread the sweet potatoes out onto a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. The remove the baking sheet from your oven and add the broccoli and an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine. Return the baking sheet to your oven and roast the vegetables for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until they are soft and starting to brown in a few places. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Pre-heat your broiler. Spread the baguette slices out onto a second rimmed baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the remaining olive oil. Then place the baguette slices under your broiler until they turn golden around the edges, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, scoop the flesh out of the avocados and add it to a medium bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt. Then mash the avocados lightly with a fork.
  5. To assemble the crostini, spread some of the mashed avocado on the toasted baguette slices. Top with some of the roasted squash and broccoli. Sprinkle with za’atar seasoning. Serve and enjoy.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/roasted-sweet-potato-and-broccoli-crostini-with-avocado-and-zaatar/

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