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 1, 2015

Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Garlic Tahini Crust

Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Realizing I had almost a full dozen eggs in the fridge that I hadn't been using, and a head of broccoli, I decided to combine the two into a quiche or frittata. It's been a while since I made a quiche, so I couldn't remember offhand what I use for a crust. I was going to dig through my recipes but then started thinking about some tahini samples I recently received from Sesame King. I remembered reading that tahini is similar to nut butters and thought hmmm ... crust / butter / tahini ... what would happen if I replaced the butter in the crust with tahini?

It worked out great! It added just the right touch of garlic, and a slightly nutty flavor. Although, I do have to admit that there were a few small spots on the outside edge of the crust that turned out on the tough side where I hadn't rolled it out thin enough. I'm notorious for two things in the kitchen - misjudging the size of whatever bowl I'll need to use, and not rolling things out thin enough. What can I say? I'm a work in progress.

My favorite pie plate is a 10" glass plate, so that's what I used for the quiche. You can see that I didn't have quite enough dough to let me do a scalloped, crimped, or otherwise "fancy" edge on my crust. Of course, not rolling it out thin enough also contributed to that, but you might decide to use a 9" pie plate instead - up to you, but if you do, you might want to reduce and broccoli and/or ham a bit so you don't overflow.

1 1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/3 c Garlic Tahini

1 med onion, chopped
1 T butter
salt and pepper
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
6 lg eggs
3/4 c heavy cream
1 crown of broccoli
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar
1 c diced cooked ham (I used a small ham steak)

  1. I made my crust in the food processor, but you could certainly do it by hand, using a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate the tahini - or use your stand mixer. In either case, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder to combine, then add the tahini until a sort of crumbly or sandy texture is achieved. Scraping down the bowl as necessary, add water, first 2T, then 1T more at a time, until it pulls together into a dough. Roll out between sheets of waxed paper, then transfer to greased/sprayed pie plate. I like to peel off the top layer of waxed paper, then pick the crust up by the bottom layer - center it in the pie plate, then peel off that layer.  Set aside.
  2. You want to plunge the broccoli into boiling water for about 30 seconds to blanch, then run under cold water until cool - just to take that raw crunch off of it. If you plan to include the stalks in your quiche, give those an extra minute or so. If not, you can drop the whole crown in the boiling water if you plan to discard the stalks (easier to handle in one piece). If you want to use the stalks in a salad or something (raw), chop them off first but still leave the florets in large pieces. Break down the cooled broccoli into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Chop the onion and saute in the 1T butter until translucent. Add the crushed red pepper, season with salt and black pepper, and continue to cook until the onion starts to brown - remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream, seasoning with salt and pepper. I'm not one to use a whole lot of salt when cooking, but I do go heavy on the pepper. In this case, you want to make sure to taste your ham to see how salty it is before deciding how much salt to use here. Stir in the cooled broccoli, diced ham, onion, and 1 c of the shredded cheddar. Pour the mixture into your crust and top with the remaining cheddar.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45-60" until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The time will vary depending on which size plate you used, how true your oven runs, whether you're baking in glass or metal, etc. Let sit for about 10" before diving in.

Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme CafeBroccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Tahini Crust

Broccoli-Cheddar-Ham Quiche with Tahini Crus: Hye Thyme Cafe

I thought it was pretty cool using the tahini in the crust.  Aside from the flavor it added, it's nice to know (at least for someone in a Mediterranean or Near/Middle-Eastern household likely to have tahini on hand) that you have a new substitute for butter in your crust if you run short. Now that I know it works, it will be interesting to play around with different flavors in other applications.  :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte)

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe
Served with mini cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with a bit of salt, vinegar, and dill.

Although the weather hasn't quite settled into Fall yet, I was having a craving for those cool-weather comfort foods, so I was planning to make a tray of Shepherd's Pie. Then my mind wandered to Izmir Kufte (kofa/meatballs), so I got the idea to make a Shepherd's Pie but to flavor the meat like you would for Izmir Kufte. It didn't turn out tasting quite like Izmir Kufte because of the lack of frying, no breadcrumbs or butter, and not simmering away in tomato sauce for a long time, but it did turn out quite tasty and did manage to satisfy two cravings in one plate.

What didn't occur to me until I pulled the tray out of the oven is that I used corn instead of peas. When I make Shepherd's Pie, I usually make my Mom's version, which includes zucchini and other veggies, but when making a more standard version, I usually use peas and carrots. I think it's all that fresh, sweet corn on the cob I've been eating all summer! In any event, feel free to use peas if you prefer - or use both!

On another note, don't worry if your ingredients aren't exact. I couldn't find a 2 lb pack of ground beef and ended up with 2.25 lb, so instead of freezing or wasting the extra, I went ahead and threw it in. As for the potatoes, there was a 1.5 lb package of mini potatoes next to the russets, so I held a bag in one hand and three large russets in the other and decided the weight of the russets being more than that of the bag was close enough to 2 lbs. You can always taste and adjust the spices to account for the difference.

2 lb potatoes (I used russets)
Roughly 1/3 c milk (or half and half, sour cream, cream cheese, etc.)
3 T butter
1 egg yolk
2 t olive oil
1 lg onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chili powder (or 2 t chamen)
2 t cumin
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t each salt and pepper
1 can corn, drained
3 T flour
1 T tomato paste
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 c fresh chopped parsley
paprika (smoked or otherwise) - optional

  1. Wash, peel, and cube your potatoes, dropping them into a pot of cool water as you go along.
  2. Bring the potatoes up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until fork tender.
  3. Drain the water from the potatoes, then return the pot to the still warm burner - this will evaporate any residual liquid and give you a chance to make a space and pour in your milk and butter to let them warm up. If you mash your potatoes with cold milk and butter, it can turn out gummy. You could also warm them separately, but why bother? I usually use milk in my mashed potatoes but had a few tablespoons or sour cream that needed to be used up, so I added that as well. 
  4. Mash the potatoes until smooth, with a little salt and pepper, then stir in the egg yolk. If you're meat mixture isn't ready at this point, cover the potatoes to prevent them from drying out.
  5. While your potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, carrot, and garlic until the onions start to turn translucent, then add the beef, breaking it up as it cooks (a large serving fork works well to break up the meat).
  6. Season the meat mixture with the chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  7. When the meat is just about cooked through, stir in the corn, then sprinkle the flour over the top and stir to incorporate - this will act as a thickener.
  8. Stir in the tomato paste, sauce, and 3/4 c parsley, and let simmer for a few minutes to reduce and thicken.
  9. Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish - most people use an 11x7, but I prefer to use something a little smaller to get a nice, tall Shepherd's pie.
  10. Give your potatoes a last fluff and scoop them over the meat mixture - you can smooth them out, pipe them into fancy spirals, make swirls, etc. if you like.
  11. If using, sprinkle a bit of paprika over the top - I like the smoked paprika.
  12. Bake at 375 for about 30" until bubbly and the potatoes are lightly browned - just don't make the same mistake I did this time! Place a tray under your baking dish. I thought there was plenty of room between my meat mixture and the top of the pan, and because it wasn't something soupy, I didn't bother and ended up with a lot of spill-over.  :(
  13. Let cool for about 15" before serving to let the meat mixture set like you would for a lasagna so the layers don't slide apart, then hit the top with a sprinkle of remaining parsley and dig in!

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe
Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme CafeShepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe
Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe

Shepherd's Pie (a la Izmir Kufte): Hye Thyme Cafe

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...