Greek Pastitsio


Greek Marcaroni and Meat Pie

350°F Oven
Serves 6

Pastitsio is often called Greek Lasagna. Layers of Penne Pasta and meat sauce, with a creamy custard topping. A bit rich, but worth it.

1 pound Penne pasta or long macaroni
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Meat Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup meat stock
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
Cream Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until tender, drain.
  2. Melt butter and pour over macaroni. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese, the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Cool. Add eggs and toss again. Set aside.
  3. Make meat sauce: Saute onion and garlic in butter, add meat and brown. Add remaining sauce ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Make cream sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add milk all at once and bring to a boil gently, stirring. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly and add beaten egg.
  5. Added 1/2 cup of cream sauce to meat sauce.
  6. Butter a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish. Spoon half of the prepared macaroni in the bottom and top with meat sauce. Cover with remaining macaroni.
  7. Pour on cream sauce and spread to cover macaroni. Sprinkle on remaining cheese and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Chen Ma-po Tofu

Ma-po Tofu

Szechuan Bean Curd

Old Pock-marked Mrs. Chen’s Bean Curd (Tofu)

Serves 4 – 6

Ma-Po Tofu is an authentic Szechuan dish. Enjoyed by Chinese on top of a bowl of white rice, it’s spicy heat makes it a favorite to warm up from the cold. The Chinese say “Ma-Po-Toe”, leaving off the last syllable. I once had such a craving for Ma-Po Tofu that I visited 14 Chinese restaurants in Tucson, AZ – one every night for two weeks – to see who had the best! This dish can be made with or without the pork.

1 14 ounce pkg. bean curd
1 Tablespoon chopped green onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
2 ounce ground pork
1 Tablespoon hot bean paste
1 Tablespoon cooking wine or sherry
11/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup water with 1/2 teaspoon salt
11/2 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed in 1 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoon fresh garlic or green onion (diagonally cut into pieces)
1/4 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn powder


  1. Cut the bean curd into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Heat the wok then add 3 Tablespoon oil.
  3. Stir-fry green onion, garlic, and ginger until fragrant
  4. Add ground pork and hot bean paste; stir to mix.
  5. Add sherry, soy sauce, 1 cup salted water, and bean curd.
  6. Bring to a boil then turn heat to low;
  7. Cook for 3 minutes.
  8. Add cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken; stir.
  9. Add sesame oil
  10. Sprinkle the pieces of garlic and Szechuan peppercorn powder over the bean curd.
  11. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.


More hot bean paste may be added, to taste. Szechuan peppercorn powder may be omitted.If soft bean curd is used, reduce water in to 2/3 cups.

Sal’s Sassy Sauce


Honey mustard hot sauce

Rochester style

Makes 1 quart

A favorite from my years at the University of Rochester. “Sal’s Birds” rivaled pizza as a late night meal. This is my best imitation of Sal’s secret recipe sauce. Serve warmed sauce over fried chicken, seafood, grilled ribs, etc.

Sauce Ingredients
1 9 oz jar Yellow Mustard
1 cup Cider Vinegar
1 cup water
11/4 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
3/4 cup Orange Juice (or 1 fresh Orange, sectioned)
1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard Powder
11/2 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water


  1. In a 2 quart stockpot, blend mustard, water and vinegar.
  2. Stir in sugar until dissolved, add honey.
  3. Add orange (or juice).
  4. Stir in mustard powder, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
  5. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup water and add to pot.
  6. Heat slowly over low heat until sauce is thickened.
  7. Refrigerate overnight for flavors to develop.


Sal’s Bird: Half chicken dredged in flour and deep fried. Dip in sauce and serve on white bread with macaroni salad on the side.
Sal’s Gizzards: Boil chicken gizzards until very tender, bread and deep fry. Serve as above.

If you want the real thing, go to Sal’s web site where you can order the sauce!

For authenicity:

  1. Deep fry the chicken for 25-30 minutes, drain and cool. Reheat in hot oil immediately before serving.
  2. Immerse the chicken in sauce to coat thorooughly.
  3. Use simple elbow macaroni salad, not premium quality. Garnish by sprinkling paprika.
  4. Use soft Wonderbread style white bread under the chicken.
  5. Serve on cheap paper plates.
  6. Serve between 10 PM and 2 AM.

Sucmic Kufta

SucmicPotato and Bulghur Appetizers

Serves 4 – 6

Sucmic is a wonderful way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. This is a variation on Red Lentil Kufta.

1 1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes
1/2 cup fine bulghur wheat
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Knead bulghur into mashed potato until well mixed
  2. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.
  3. Shape into small egg-sized portions with hands.
  4. Chill before serving
  5. Arrange sucmic on a platter and brush lightly with olive oil. Garnish with sprigs of parsley.

Rice Pilaf

PilafArmenian Rice with Vermicelli

Aunt Mary’s classic recipe

Pilaf is a staple with Armenian meals. This is the classic recipe for Armenian rice, other varieties are presented on the following pages. Serve a bowl of madzoon on the side for topping the pilaf.

1 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup fine egg noodles
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons butter


  1. Saute noodles in butter over medium heat until lightly brown.
  2. Add rice and continue to saute for a minute.
  3. Slowly pour in chicken broth, bring to a boil and stir once with a fork.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Fluff pilaf with a fork, replace cover and allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving

Hummus bi Tahini

Aunt Ronnie's HummusChick Pea and Sesame Dip

Hummus is a classic middle eastern dip which is served before meals with wedges of pita bread. The taste is somewhat dry and nutty.

Contributed by Ronnie George
Serves 4 – 6

1-19 oz can chick peas
1/2 cup sesame tahini
2 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil


  1. Drain chick peas, reserving liquid.
  2. Combine with other ingredients in food processor, process until smooth.
  3. Add some chick pea liquid if necessary to make desired consistency.
  4. Spread dip in a shallow serving dish, swirling it with the back of a spoon. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley. Lightly sprinkle paprika and kamoon

Loukoumades (Farmer’s market version)

loukoumadesThis is the version which I developed for Herows and Seda from the Armenian place to use at the Vista farmer’s market. Based on a recipe from the Bonatsa Café, Patmos, Greece originally published in the Times (London) Online.

The batter consistency is important. It should be thick and sticky, but not solid. Too thick and the loukoumades will be chewy. They should be very light.

For the Vista farmer’s market, I make 4X this recipe. All ingredients are proportional. You can refrigerate the batter overnight once it has risen.

At the market, I use a small wooden spoon dipped in water, and a small spatula to drop the dollops of batter into the oil. We fry in a cast iron Dutch oven on a propane camp stove, so it’s hard to accurately control the oil temperature. Between 350F and 375F is a good range.


1 sachet (about 7g) of powdered yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)

1 pinch of salt

3 tsp of sugar

240 ml of warm water

240 ml of warm milk (or yogurt diluted with water)

350g of plain white flour

Vegetable oil


250g sugar

1/4 of a litre of water

1/2 orange

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp of rose water

3 drops of lemon juice


Ground cinnamon

Crushed walnuts

1. Into 240ml warm water add the yeast, salt and 2 tsp of sugar, stir and leave for 15 minutes.

2. Once this has rested add to the flour along with remaining 1 tsp of sugar and up to 240ml of warm milk to make a thick batter. Stir until there are no lumps and leave the mixture to rest in a warm place for at least an hour until doubled in bulk, then move to the fridge for 15 minutes.

3. Put all of the ingredients for the syrup into a pan and bring to the boil for 7 minutes, then leave to cool.

4. Heat 3 cm of vegetable oil in a wok or deep frying pan and with a wet spoon place a dollop of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until it is golden. Drain on some kitchen roll.

5. To serve put four puffs into a bowl, cover with a ladle of syrup and cover with honey, ground cinnamon and crushed walnuts.

Makes 25 – 30 honey puffs.

Jajukh – Yogurt Cucumber

JajukhJajukh is a delightfully refreshing salad of cool cucumbers, tangy madzoon and a hint of fresh mint.

Serves 4-6


  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 2 cups madzoon, drained
  • salt to taste
  • fresh mint


  1. Wash and peel cucumbers.
  2. Cut each into 4 or 8 lengthwise strips then slice very thin. Cut off seedy part if seeds are too big.
  3. Stir madzoon with spoon, add a little water if madzoon is too thick
  4. Add the cucumber and a pinch of salt.
  5. Blend all together and chill well.
  6. Garnish with fresh mint leaves if desired.

Mixed (Summer) Dolma

Mixed DolmaDolma are delicious as a main course or side dish. Serve in a deep dish with some remaining tomato sauce from the pan.

Stuffed Vegetables with Rice and Meat
Contributed by Mary George

Serves 4 – 6

1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 cup uncooked rice
2 medium onions, chopped
a few sprigs parsley
sprinkle fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce
Vegetables for stuffing – tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage or grape leaves.

stuffing dolmaPreparation

  1. Mix filling ingredients, adding in pulp of fresh tomatoes if used, otherwise use 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce.
  2. Prepare vegetables as directed below, and fill with meat mixture. Pack lightly to allow for expansion of rice.
  3. Place stuffed vegetables together in a deep frying pan and add tomato sauce and 1-2 cups water. Cover and simmer over low heat until tender. Approximately 1 hour.
Wash and cut off tops. Save tops to place back on tomato when filled. Scoop out pulp (add it to raw meat and rice mixture). Sprinkle a little salt and lemon juice inside to keep tomatoes more firm.
Bell Peppers
Cut off tops, scoop out insides.
Parboil to soften, peel off outer layers for filling
Grape Leaves and Cabbage
Remove stems/ribs and then blanch in boiling water to soften

Bandera Hootz – Cheese/onion Bread from Kessab

Bandera HootzBandera Hootz means simply “Cheese Bread” in the  Kessabtzi dialect of Armenian. It is served as an appetizer or snack.

At holidays, Aunt Florence would always offer a choice of V8 or apple juice to go along with a piece of bandera hootz.

A reasonable imitation can be made by simply spreading the topping on a pizza shell or pita bread and baking.

500°F Oven
Serves 10 – 12

5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Crisco shortening
1/2 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons lukewarm water
1 1/2 cup warm water
Cheese Topping
1 pound dry curd cottage cheese
2 ounces bleu cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large or 2 small sweet yellow onion(s)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Make dough
  2. Mix flour and salt
    Mix yeast, sugar and 3 Tablespoons lukewarm water. Allow to stand for 2 or 3 minutes.
    Add yeast to flour, mix in Crisco and enough warm water to make dough.
    Knead until smooth and elastic.
    Place dough in a covered bowl and allow to rise 3 to 4 hours or until doubled in bulk.

  3. Prepare topping while dough is rising
  4. Cut cheese small using a potato masher.
    Chop onions fine and add to cheese mixture.
    Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  5. After dough is risen, divide into 4 pieces.
  6. Roll each piece of dough into a circle 9-10″ round, about 1/4” to 3/8” thick.
  7. Allow rounds of dough to relax for 10 minutes.
  8. Spread cheese topping on dough leaving 1/2” uncovered at edges.
  9. Bake on greased baking sheet at 500°F until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
  10. Cool slightly and serve warm.


Bandera Hootz may be prepared in advance and warmed before serving. Wrap and refrigerate.
You can substitute Feta cheese for the mixture of cottage and blue cheeses