Hye Thyme Cafe

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Smokey Pesto Baked Spaghetti Squash

I absolutely love spaghetti squash ... and pesto. So what could be better than combining the two? Adding some nice gooey cheesey smokiness to the mix! I usually bake my spaghetti squash, but since it was going to be baked again anyhow, I shaved off a little time and microwaved it first. I used up the last of my freezer stash of Kale-Almond Pesto, but any pesto will do nicely.

1 spaghetti squash
pesto to taste (I used about 1/2 c for a small squash)
1 tomato
sliced or shredded smoked provolone (or other smoked cheese)
dry seasoned bread crumbs

  1. If you have the time and want to bake the squash, slice it in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then brush the inside with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut-side down to start.  Most people keep it cut-side down, but I like to flip it after about 20" or so to let the sugars start to caramelize a little.  Bake 40" or so until tender.  If microwaving, add about 1/4" of water to a microwave-safe dish and place the squash in, cut-side down.  Nuke for 12-15" until tender.
  2. When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to shred the strands and transfer to casserole dish.  I nuked mine in a small Pyrex, then just poured out the water and shredded the squash into the same dish.
  3. Toss the squash with pesto to taste.  Don't be alarmed if it looks different than mine - shades of pesto vary quite a bit, depending on their ingredients.
  4. Add sliced tomato to the top, and cover with the smoked cheese.
  5. Sprinkle a handful of seasoned bread crumbs over the top and dot with butter.
  6. Bake at 350 until golden and melted - time will vary with vessel used, size, etc., but should be in the neighborhood of 20-30".
I paired my squash with some rotisserie chicken and leftover green beans from a night of Chinese take-out. The beans may not be pretty in these pics after already being reheated once, but they sure were delicious! I wish I knew their secret. They're always perfectly crisp-tender, with just the right amount of garlic. I either end up with more crunch or they're too soft. I'm great with asparagus but need to work on my green beans. ;)



Friday, October 17, 2014

Slow Cooker London Broil

Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil

London Broil / Flank Steak is known for being a flavorful, but not the most tender, cut of beef, which is why it's usually sliced super thin. That's not an issue when you put your slow cooker to work for you. Most slow cooker recipes call for a full eight hours of cook time. You do have some wiggle room here. If you're looking for a tender steak that slices with minimal resistance, six hours will do you just fine. If you're looking for more of a fork-tender pot roast type end result, go for the full eight.

Having gotten a late start, I pulled the plug at six hours this time.  I wanted to make sure I had the kitchen cleaned up, everything put away, and time to digest dinner so I could pop a bowl of popcorn and park my butt in front of the TV for The Walking Dead premier. Maybe I should have gone vegan that night - forgot about the cannibals at Terminus! They used a grill rather than a slow cooker.   *:( sad *:puke! puke

1 London Broil / Flank Steak
Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 can Delmonte Petite Diced Tomatoes 
   (zesty jalapeno or with green chilies)
2 cans beef broth (or 2 cans water and 2 beef bouillon cubes)
2 T Worcestershire
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lg onion
Olive oil
(Optional: Baby Carrots, Diced Potatoes, Corn Starch for gravy)

  1. Trim most, if not all, of the fat from your steak, then season well with Montreal Steak Seasoning and a light dusting of flour.
  2. Sear the steak in a bit of olive oil for about 4" on each side.
  3. While the steak is searing, empty the tomatoes into your slow cooker, and if you are using water with bouillon cubes, use the can to measure out your water, adding that to the tomatoes.
  4. Add the Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, oregano, garlic, and onion - sliced into rings or wedges.
  5. If you like your carrots (and potatoes if using) soft, go ahead and add them with the rest. If you prefer them a little firmer, hold back and add them at about 2 hours in.
  6. Once your steak is seared, nestle it in among the liquid and veggies and, to quote Idina Menzel in Frozen ... "Let it go" and just walk away.
  7. When the steak is done to your likeness, transfer the steak, onions, and carrots (and potatoes if included) to a platter and loosely tent with foil to rest.
  8. You have options when it comes to a sauce.  You can use the juice as it is, or you can use a blender or wand mixer to puree the juice, using some of the carrots to act as a thickener. A third option is to scoop out a bit of the liquid, stir in a tablespoon or so of cornstarch to create a slurry and pour it back into the pot. Turn the heat up to high and let it come to a boil to thicken and reduce while your meat rests.

Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil
Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil

Much like you would toss cubed beef with flour when making a beef stew, the flour here helps create that nice crust/seal when searing to hold in all that flavor and helps later with thickening the liquid. I like to keep a shaker full of flour handy for things like this and when dusting a work surface for kneading dough, etc. I would have normally thrown in some diced potato, but I was in the mood for Parmesan Mashed Potatoes that night instead, so I just included the carrots and onion.

Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil

Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil

 No need for slicing super thin with meat this tender.

Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil

Hye Thyme Cafe: Slow Cooker London Broil