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! :)


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Artichos - Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos"

Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe


I love stuffed artichokes, but I know some people who are intimidated at the thought of making them, while others are wary of diving into one to eat it. I can sort of understand not wanting to tackle making them, but eating them? It's kinda like an onion blossom - you just pull off a leaf and you're good to go. But for those who fear the artichoke, it occurred to me to make an deconstructed version, more along the lines of a nacho. I decided to veer away from my usual filling and go with a chicken and spinach version. I was tempted to chop up a can of artichoke hearts and add that to the mix as well, but I knew I would end up with too much filling, so I skipped it.


INGREDIENTS :
1 artichoke
1 small sweet onion, diced (about 1c)
1 lg clove garlic, minced
10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach - thawed
salt and pepper
2 c diced or torn cooked chicken
1 lemon
4 oz pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 T dry seasoned bread crumbs
1 T grated Parmesan
(Nutmeg - optional)


  1. Steam or boil your artichoke until tender.  When cool enough to handle, pull off the leaves and arrange on a baking sheet.  Stop when you get to the inner purple leaves. If you want, you can slice off the base just below the bulb and dice that part to mix in with the spinach. (See pic - if you were to pull off the purple leaves, you would get to a bunch of hairy looking fibers - not something you want to eat.)
  2. Lightly coat a pan with oil (I used olive) and saute the onion and garlic until translucent.
  3. Add the spinach and cook until wilted down and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste - and for those of you who like nutmeg with your spinach, knock yourself out.
  5. Stir in the chicken.
  6. Wash your lemon to remove any wax and pesticides, then dry well to make sure it doesn't gum up your zester/grater - zest the peel right over the pan, stopping when you get to the white pith.  Then squeeze in a teaspoon or two of the lemon juice to brighten things up.
  7. Remove pan from heat and stir in the cheese while the spinach mixture is still warm.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and Parmesan.
  9. Fill each artichoke leaf with the chicken/spinach mixture.  You can use a spoon if you like, but it goes faster if you use your hands.  Make sure to leave the tip empty, because that will be your handle.
  10. Sprinkle a bit of the bread crumb/Parmesan mixture over each, then pop in the oven until toasted and melty.  I was in no particular rush, so I just threw them in at 350, but if you're in a hurry, just pop them under the broiler for a few minutes.


If you have never eaten an artichoke before, just grab it by the tip, put the whole leaf in your mouth and lightly bite down, then drag the leaf between your teeth so that, along with your filling, you are drawing the pulp out of the artichoke leaf.  Discard the remaining leaf.


Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe
Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe








Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme CafeSpinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe









Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme CafeSpinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe









Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe
 
Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe

Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe
 

Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe

 
Spinach and Chicken Artichoke "Nachos" - Hye Thyme Cafe
 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Corn Salad

Corn Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe


August is the height of corn season in my area, but as much as I love corn on the cob, I decided to try something different for a change, so I threw together this salad.  I have lived here for almost nine years now, and I still smile every time I see a little unmanned, self-serve roadside farm stand. I saw a kitten trying to steal an ear of corn from one the other day.  I guess he forgot his wallet.  

INGREDIENTS :
6 ears of corn
1 small red bell pepper
1 small orange bell pepper
3-4 scallions
1 cucumber
cilantro
1 t sugar
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t black pepper
1 small lime
1 t oil (veg or canola)
1 t rice vinegar (or white balsamic)

  1. Shuck your corn and drop it into lightly salted boiling water for about 3 minutes - you just want to take that raw, starchy crunch off of it.  Pour out the hot water and run under cold to cool the corn.
  2. Remove the kernels from the cob.  To do this, hold the ear by the tip so it's standing on your cutting board on its "handle," and run a sharp knife down the length, close to the cob. There are a bazillion posts going around about doing this in a bundt pan to catch the kernels so they don't fly all over your kitchen, but unless you're maybe cutting raw (hard) corn, or not cutting close enough to the cob, that's not going to happen. You can see in my pics below just how far the kernels jumped.
  3. Petite dice your peppers, scallion, and cucumber so they are all roughly the same size as the corn. I know I say this all the time, but I actually prefer to buy the mini pickling cukes for better flavor without all the mushy seeds (so I used 3-4 minis).  If you can find a good firm cucumber, that's great.  If not, maybe an English cucumber or the minis.  If all you have access to is big cucumbers with tons of seeds, I'd scoop out the seeds so you don't end up watering down your salad - unless you think it will be gone in one sitting.
  4. Wash the cilantro really well, then squeeze dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel and chop.  I thought I was going to use about half a bunch but found myself sneaking in more.
  5. Toss all of your veggies and cilantro together in a big bowl and zest the lime right over the top.
  6. Squeeze the juice from the lime into a small bowl, and to that add the sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper, oil, and vinegar; stir together to dissolve the sugar, then pour over the veggies and toss.
  7. Sprinkle the chili powder over the top and toss again - I waited to the end to add the chili powder because I was afraid if I added it to the liquid, it would just turn everything reddish-brown.  This way gives the liquid a chance to be distributed first.


See - if you have kernels flying everywhere, you're not cutting close
enough to the cob and are actually wasting a lot of your corn.

Corn Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe




Corn Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Corn Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
 

You can break up the strips of corn if you want,
but I like to let it break up on its own as I mix,
leaving some small strips like pictured below.

Corn Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe