Posts by tag: healthy

  • 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/
  • Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips

Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips

Posted on January 23, 2017

You know that avocado ripening trick that involves placing unripe avocados in a brown paper bag with bananas? Yes? Well, I had heard of this hack many times, but I had never actually done it myself, until about 2 weeks ago when I purchased eight rock-hard avocados that needed a quick fix. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I slipped them into a big brown grocery bag with two bananas, folded over the top and waited. And HOLY SH*T IT TOTALLY WORKED! Within two days, I had the most perfectly ripe avocados ever. My excitement runneth over.

I must admit that I was skeptical about the efficacy of this ripening trick. But now that I’ve seen it in action for myself, I’m fully on board with this procedure. It’s legit. If you’re not doing this yet, you need to start ASAP. And that’s my public service announcement for the week. You’re welcome.

Anyways. So I quickly went from having zero ripe avocados to having waaaaay too many ripe avocados. Hence today’s recipe for Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips. And…I have another avocado recipe planned for next week. It’s going to be an avocado party up in this place!

Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips | www.floatingkitchen.net

I don’t think I’ve ever met a guacamole that I didn’t like. I have a pretty standard recipe that I make all the time for myself. And I use it on everything from toast to tacos. But today, I decided to spice things up a bit by adding in a whole diced jalapeño pepper. Does that sound scary to you? If so, just start with half a jalapeño pepper, then you can add in more if you want to after you taste it. But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the level of spiciness. It’s balanced really well by the coolness from the lime juice, cilantro and goat cheese. Your mouth won’t be burning up. Trust me.

Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips | www.floatingkitchen.net

You can certainly serve this guacamole with regular tortilla chips. But I thought baked plantain chips sounded like a fun (and slightly healthier) option. Look for plantains that are still green, which are firmer and more starchy than those that are fully ripe. These are important characteristics for successfully making baked plantain chips.

If you’ve ever tried to peel a green plantain before, you know it’s a labor of love. The peel is so stiff, that it can’t be removed by hand the way you would typically remove a banana peel. Instead, you have to cut the peel off with a knife. Well, I suck at doing this. I usually end up making a total mess out of things, wasting a lot of the plantain flesh in the process. So this time, I decided to try my trusty vegetable peeler in lieu of a knife and that worked great! You’ll have to go over each spot a couple of times to make sure you remove all of the peel and get down to the flesh. But I found it to be a much easier and more efficient method for me.

Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips | www.floatingkitchen.net

Both the plantain chips and the guacamole are really best when served within a couple hours of preparation. So make sure you plan to make and eat everything on the same day. And heck, you might even want to try out my Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips at your Super Bowl party this year…if you’re into that sort of thing. And if you want more plantain inspiration, try these vegetarian plantain tacos!

Cheers,

Liz

Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips

Serves about 4

Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips

Ingredients

  • For the Plantain Chips
  • 4 green plantains
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar

  • For the Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and seeded
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Slice the ends off the plantains. Then use a vegetable peeled to remove the peel. Thinly slice the peeled plantains on the diagonal. Add the plantain slices to a bowl and drizzle them with the melted coconut oil. Then use your hands to toss the plantain slices in the coconut oil, making sure they are evenly coated. Spread the plantain slices out onto your prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the salt and sugar.
  3. Transfer the plantain slices to your pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until dry and crisp. They can burn easily, so start checking them around 18 minutes to make sure they aren’t getting too dark. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, make the guacamole. Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and add it to a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and salt, then mash lightly with a fork. Stir in the diced jalapeño pepper, goat cheese and cilantro.
  5. Serve the guacamole immediately with the baked plantain chips. Enjoy.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/jalapeno-and-goat-cheese-guacamole-with-baked-plantain-chips/

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