Choereg – Armenian Easter Bread

This delicious Armenian pastry is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. In English, choereg could be translated to “Armenian Easter bread”. The most important ingredient found in this pastry is the “mahleb”. This is what gives it its distinctive flavour and aroma. It can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, in the spices section. The beautiful aspect of this bread is the way it’s prepared: the dough is in fact braided.

Prep Time: 6 Hrs
Cook Time: 25 Min
Ready In: 6 Hrs 25 Min
Original Recipe Yield 5 loaves

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
5 eggs
6 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground mahleb
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, butter and margarine. Heat until butter and margarine are melted, but do not let it boil. Stir in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface, and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and stir a little to break up the yolks. Slowly pour in the heated milk mixture while whisking constantly, so as to temper the eggs and not cook them. Add the yeast mixture, and stir just until blended.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, mahleb, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until it forms a sticky dough. Pour onto a floured surface, and knead in additional flour as needed to make a more substantial dough. Knead for about 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, and set in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough has doubled, punch down again, and let rise until doubled. It will only take about half as long this time.
  6. Separate the dough into 5 even portions, then separate each of those into thirds. Roll each of those into ropes about 12 inches long. Braid sets of three ropes together, pinching the ends to seal, and tucking them under for a better presentation. Place the loaves onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Loaves should be spaced 4 inches apart. Set in a warm place to rise until your finger leaves an impression behind when you poke the loaf gently.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush the loaves with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely golden brown all over.

Footnotes

Hint

You may preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) while mixing, and then turn it off and let it cool down to about 100 degrees. Place your dough in there to proof with the oven light on, and it will rise much faster.
From AllRecipes.com
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/choereg-armenian-easter-bread/Detail.aspx

Greek-American Gyros

A great recipe for traditional Greek Gyros adapted for the American kitchen. This version is made with lamb, but could be made with a combination of beef and lamb, or all beef. The typical mix for Kronos gyros meat sold in the US is 85% beef and 15% lamb. If you go to Greece, we’re told they use pork.

From seriouseats.com and developed by a guy named Kenji Lopez-Alt. Read the story at Food Lab

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

For the meat:
1 pound ground lamb (or ground 85% lean ground beef—see note)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons picked fresh oregano leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 clove garlic, sliced
3 ounces slab bacon (or about 5 slices sliced bacon), cut into 1-inch pieces

For the yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced on microplane
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or mint

To serve:
4 pieces soft, hand-pulled-style pita (not pocket pita)
Chopped fresh tomato
Finely sliced onion
Cubed peeled seeded cucumber
Hot sauce

PROCEDURES

  1. Combine lamb, salt, pepper, and oregano in medium bowl. Mix with hands until homogeneous. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to over night. Meanwhile, place yogurt in fine-mesh strainer set over small bowl. Allow to drain in refrigerator for 1 hour. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place cold mixture in bowl of food processor with onion, garlic, and bacon. Process until smooth puree is formed, about 1 minute total, scraping down sides with rubber spatula as necessary.
  2. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. With moist hands, form meat mixture into rectangle about 1 1/2 inches high, 8-inches long, and 5-inches wide. Bake until center of loaf reads 155°F on an instant read thermometer, about 30 minutes. Allow loaf to rest at room temperature for fifteen minutes (or refrigerate for up to a week—see note)
  3. Meanwhile, make sauce. Combine strained yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
  4. Adjust broiler rack to highest position (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from broiler element) and preheat broiler. Slice loaf crosswise into 1/8th to 1/4-inch strips (each strip should be about 5-inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide). Lay strips on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil until edges are brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil. Warm bread by placing on rimmed baking sheet and broiling until soft and pliant, about 45 seconds per side.
  5. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over each piece of bread. Divide meat evenly between sandwiches. Top as desired, wrap with foil, and serve.

Summer Squash Soup

This soup was created from the need to use up some squash and zucchini that was in the fridge. It turned out really good so I thought I should record it. It is all vegetable, and is low is calories.

Ingredients:

Summer Squash Soup

Summer Squash Soup

1 potato – diced

5 summer squash and/or zucchini – cut in thin slices

1 medium onion -chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

4-5 leaves fresh basil – cut up

1 quart vegetable broth

cooking spray

salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash

Spray bottom of large pot with cooking spray. Cook garlic and onion for several minutes. Add potato, squash, zucchini, and basil.

Add vegetable broth, cover, simmer for 30 minutes

Remove about ¾ of the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Put vegetables into a blender or food processor and puree. **Be careful blending hot food. Hot liquid may be ejected from the blender!

Return pureed vegetables to pot and stir. Season with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash to taste.

Pakhlava

Baklava, Tertanoush

Sweet Walnut Pastry with Filo

350°F Oven
Yields 24 – 32 pieces

A deliciously rich sweet pastry – much more practical to make in the days of commercially prepared filo sheets. Our Aun-tay used to make her own filo dough, using a long stick to roll a golf ball-sized piece of dough to cover the kitchen table. “Baklava” and “Pakhlava” are the same word, the difference is in the transliteration from the original Greek and Armenian alphabets. You will find many varieties of Pakhlava in Middle Eastern bakeries, including rolled, queens and “bird’s nests”. This traditional layered Pakhlava, cut in a diamond shape, is most common. Pistachio nuts can be subsituted for walnuts. Greeks use honey in the syrup, Armenians do not.

Pakhlava
1 pound (25) prepared filo dough sheets (approx. 13″ x 17″)
3 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 orange peel, grated
11/2 cup clarified butter
Syrup
2 cups sugar
11/2 cups water
4 oz honey (if you are Greek) (see note)
11/2 Tablespoon lemon juice


Preparation

  1. Mix nuts, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel for filling.
  2. Butter bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking pan.
  3. Cut sheets of filo in half to fit the pan.
  4. Place 10 cut sheets of filo in the bottom of the pan, lightly brushing each layer with melted butter.
  5. Sprinkle 1/3 of nut mixture on top of sheets.
  6. Repeat with next 10 sheets and nuts until you have 30 layers of filo and three of nuts
  7. Place about 20 layers of filo on top, lightly buttering each.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut through dough lengthwise and then diagonally about 1 1/2 to 2″ apart to make diamond shapes and pour a little melted butter on each diamond. Sprinkle lightly with water to prevent curling of top layers.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 350° F.
  10. Pour any remaining butter over dough and continue baking 25-30 minutes until it is golden brown in color. It is very important not to undercook the pastry.
  11. While Pakhlava is baking, prepare syrup.
  12. Place sugar, water and honey in a large pot and stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 15 minutes.
  13. Cool to lukewarm.
  14. When dough is finished baking, spoon syrup evenly over pakhlava and allow to set for several hours. Cut again into serving portions.



Notes Filo dough dries quickly in the heat of the kitchen. Work with one sheet at a time, keeping the rest covered with a lightly dampened cloth.
Frozen filo dough is available in 1 lb boxes at most supermarkets in the freezer section.
When using frozen filo, it is important to slowly thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator and then let it come to room temperature (unopened) for two hours before using.
Commercial frozen filo gives between 22 and 35 full sheets per pound. You need 25 full sheets for this recipe.

The Greeks use honey in their syrup, omit if you are purely Armenian and increase sugar to 2 1/4 cups

Mrs. A’s Meatloaf

Contributed by Ronnie George from Mrs. Adair’s recipe

400°F Oven
Serves 4 – 6

A classic American meatloaf. One of the best you’ll taste. Not Armenian, but in the family

Ingredients
11/2 pound round steak
1 nice pork chop
3 slices bread
1/4 cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter, sliced thinly
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 Tablespoons cracker crumbs



Preparation

  1. Grind together round steak and pork chop.
  2. Break bread into small pieces in a bowl.
  3. Pour milk over bread, enough to soak until soft.
  4. Mix in ground meat, butter, egg, salt & pepper, celery and onion.
  5. Add some tomato juice, enough to hold loaf together
  6. Pack into roasting pan, sprinkle w/ cracker crumbs.
  7. Bake at 400° F for 1 hour; after 30 min add lots of hot water and baste until done.

Red Lentil Kufta

Red Lentil and Bulghur Appetizers

Stovetop
Serves 4 – 6

Lentil Kufta can be served hot or cold as an appetizer

Ingredients
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter, cut in pieces
1 large onion, finely minced
1 cup fine bulghur wheat
2 scallions, minced
salt and hot red pepper to taste
1/2 bunch parsley, minced

Preparation

  1. In a large pot combine the lentils with the water. Bring to boil. Simmer 25-30 minutes until lentils are very soft and liquid is absorbed.
  2. While lentils are cooking, saute onion in oil until golden brown.
  3. Transfer onions to a large bowl and stir in bulghur , butter and cooked lentils. Cover and leave at room temperature 20 minutes or longer, until bulghur softens.
  4. Moisten your hands with water and knead the kufta for three to five minutes. Mix in half the scallions. Add salt and red pepper, blending well.
  5. Shape into walnut-size balls, dipping your hands in water to keep kufta from sticking.
  6. Garnish with parsley and remaining scallions.

Greek Avgolemono Egg-Lemon Soup

Serves 4 to 6

1 (3 lb) fresh whole chicken
2 qt water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, peeled & quartered
2/3 cup Greek orzo (or short grain rice)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Place the chicken in a large pot with enough cold water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Skim any foam that rises to the top.

In a separate pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil and add the onions. Gently saute the onions until clear. Set aside.

When chicken is tender, remove from the broth. Let the chicken cool and pull the meat from the bones. Dice into large cubes and set aside.

Add the onion, bay leaves, and carrot to the broth and simmer for 1 hour. When finished, remove the carrot from the broth and add the orzo or rice. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to medium high to simmer until the orzo is cooked al dente, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken back into the broth. Add more water if needed.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and lemon juice together. To temper the egg mixture before adding to the broth, pour 2 cups of broth slowly into the bowl of egg and lemon, whisking continuously. Once all the broth is incorporated into the egg, add the mixture into the pot of chicken broth and stir to blend well throughout. You should have a thickened, silky texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ben’s High-maintenance Meat Sauce

1 lb. ground turkey
1/3 lb. ground Italian sausage
2 onions, finely chopped
2 bell peppers, roasted, skins removed, finely chopped
5 tomatoes, roasted, skins removed
3 15-oz. cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
12 oz. Angel hair

1. Saute onions and sausage together in a large skillet, adding a pinch of brown sugar, cinnamon or Balsamic to help carmelize.

2. Add roasted bells.

3. Brown turkey, drain fat and add to the mixture.

4. Add roasted tomatoes and smash with a spoon.

5. Add tomato sauce and let simmer while the pasta is being prepared.

6. Stir in Parmesan to distribute throughout sauce.

7. Toss in cooked Angel hair

Christmas Sticky Buns

Edith Love Newkumet > Dorothy Newkumet George > Bette George Dietrick

Sept 16 – 1950

Raised Dough

6 cups of flour

1 dry yeast cake. sprinkle into a ½ cup of warm water, let it stand for 15 minutes

2 cups of milk, scalded, to the milk add ½ cup of Crisco, and ½ cup of sugar. let it stand until cooled, then add enough flour to make a soft batter.

beat well. then add flour to make a soft dough. let it raise, to fill the bowl then punch down, and let it raise again.

Take from the bowl, and knead until it can be rolled on the board, adding flour to prevent sticking

(Caramel)

For Cinnamon buns

Roll out the dough, cover with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins.

Roll up and cut into one inch slices.

In a heavy iron pan, cover the bottoms with brown sugar and dots of butter, sprinkle with water, be carefull not to keep in too hot and oven, as a moderate oven is used for raised dough

350 oven, bake about 30 minutes, change from bottom of oven to top.

Chee Kufta

Chee_Kufta Kibbe Nayee

Armenian Steak Tartare

Serves 4 – 5

Like its French cousin, Chee Kufta is a delicacy which is eaten raw. Only the freshest meat must be used. Grind it yourself, keep very cold and serve promptly.

Ingredients
1 pound lean  lamb or beef round steak (ground 3 times)
1 cup fine (#1) bulghur wheat
1/2 cup V8 juice mixed with 1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup cold water (to be added as you work with the mixture)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Garnish
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup onions, chopped fine (and/or scallions)
fresh dill (opt.)

Preparation

  1. Soak bulghur in V8 juice. Add salt, pepper and mix. Put in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  2. Add meat and 1/2 cup of garnish greens. Knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Mound in flat oval shape on serving platter or shape into small serving pieces.
  4. Garnish with chopped greens and serve with pita bread.

Notes

Always grind Chee Kufta meat yourself.
Keep very cold while preparing and serve right away.
Leftovers should be refrigerated and may be fried or baked later.