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! :)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Chipotle-Adobo Roasted Chicken

When cleaning out the freezer recently I found a zip-top bag of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce. I vaguely remembered opening a can a while back but couldn't remember what I had used it for. Also having a chicken in the fridge at the time, I decided to thaw out the chiles to make this Cihpotle-Adobo Roasted Chicken.

I'm not a big sauce/gravy person, so it didn't occur to me at the time, but this would have been even more awesome if I had used the drippings to make a gravy, especially if you make mashed or baked potatoes to go with it. That would be sooooo good over potatoes! Great flavor, and just the right amount of heat.

1 roasting chicken
4 T butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 t each salt and pepper
3-4 chipotles in adobo sauce
2-3 cloves garlic
1 large orange

  1. Pat your chicken dry and set in roasting pan (with or without rack). I like to chop an onion and a few carrots and put those in the pan before adding a chicken. It looks like I got mad at my chicken and shoved a carrot up its backside, but that's really not the case. ;)
  2. Stir, or pulse together in a your food processor, the butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and three or four of the chiles with some of the sauce (how much depends on your taste and how much heat you like).  I mixed mine by hand, but it would really blend together better if you threw it in the food processor - not a big deal since it's all going to melt together anyhow.
  3. Once that's combined, wash and dry your orange well to remove any wax, etc., then zest the peel and squeeze the juice into the butter mixture, stirring or pulsing to blend - not all of the juice will mix in.
  4. This part grosses me out, but it's over pretty quickly and is totally worth it ... at the opening of the cavity, stick your fingers under the chicken skin and gently work your fingers in there to separate the skin from the chicken. Scoop up the butter mixture with your hand and rub it all over the chicken under the skin.
  5. When you've gotten all of the butter mixture on the chicken, go ahead and rub the residual butter on your hands over the outside of the chicken, then pour any juice that didn't mix in over the top - the sugar in the juice will help caramelize and crisp the skin for you.
  6. If you want, stick the orange peels inside the chicken, so the heat will cause a nice citrus steam bath while roasting, for extra moisture. I put them in whole, but if you're concerned about the air circulating, feel free to cut them into smaller pieces.
  7. Start roasting the chicken at 450 for 15-20" to get that nice crispy skin going, then reduce to 350 until done - time will vary depending on the type of pan you're using, the size of your chicken, etc., but most seem to come with thermometers nowadays. If not, and you have your own thermometer, stick it into the meaty part of a leg - avoiding the bone - and the temp should be at least 165⁰. You can also slice between the leg and the bird to make sure the juices run clear.
If you did want to make a gravy, you could do it two ways - right in the pan, then strain, or start a roux in a separate stock pot and then strain in the drippings, adding water or chicken broth as needed.  On those occasions when I do make gravy, I like to start it off in a separate pot, so I'll whisk together equal parts butter and flour (depends on how much I'm making, but 2T or 3T of each is usually good).  When that starts to get some good color going, strain in the drippings and liquid and let come up to a boil and start to thicken, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  I find if I do it the other way around - whisking the butter and flour (or cornstarch) into the pan drippings, I'm more likely to get lumps. Even though you're straining out the lumps, you're not getting the full benefit of that thickening agent because it didn't blend in.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips

Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe

Dips are fun to start with, but this is an especially good option for anyone looking to satisfy that pizza craving without all the carbs. If you like the idea of the dip but don't care about the carbs, try slicing a baguette into thin slices on a diagonal, brush with a bit of olive oil and bake until crispy. Then you can use the baguette chips for dippers. If you still want the pepperoni, add it to the dip instead.

I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day and kept seeing posts for pizza using a cauliflower crust. I was thinking that was a great low-carb option but personally, I loathe cauliflower! My favorite pizza toppings are either green bell peppers and onions, or pepperoni, which made me think of my sister, who turned me on to pepperoni chips a couple of years ago. They're awesome for a quick snack, or to use as a crumble in other dishes. It was the pepperoni chips that got me thinking about a pizza dip.

I figured you would need some cream cheese to start with, to make it dip-able, then you'd need mozzarella for that gooey string factor, pizza sauce, and any additional cheeses or add-ins you like. My favorite pizza uses a five-cheese blend, so instead of buying all of those different cheeses, I picked up a bag of shredded pizza blend.

Like I often do before trying a new recipe, I Googled pizza dip to look at other versions and see if there were any tips or anything that might not have occurred to me. I wasn't sure of the reason, but every recipe I looked at used the cream cheese as part of a bottom layer, then the other cheeses on top. That's the one thing I'll do differently in the future. I realized that at first, I was scooping across the top, so I wasn't getting down to that layer, and as it started to cool, the top started to tighten up a bit, so you had to work harder to scoop. I really don't see the reason for layering that way, so I'm going to mix all of the cheeses together from now on (maybe reserve some of the mozzarella to go on top), which will also be quicker, but still spread it in two layers so you can have the sauce in the middle. That's another thing - the other recipes called for more sauce, but I think that's too much.

Because this is a dip rather than a thin layer on top of a pizza being baked in a super-hot pizza oven, it occurred to me that I should saute the peppers and onions first so they wouldn't be raw. That also gave me an opportunity to add some garlic and crushed red pepper flakes - I love sprinkling my pizza with crushed red pepper. If you're making a plain version, you might want to go ahead and include some garlic salt or powder to your cheese blend. Also, since I had just opened a can of olives to use in a salad, I went ahead and diced up some of the extras to go into my dip. If you prefer a white pizza, increase the garlic, skip the sauce, and maybe include some ricotta.

When it comes to the pepperoni chips, because there will be a lot of shrinkage, be sure to go with the largest available at your market. You can use thin or thick slices; you'll just need to adjust the cook time. I used the regular thin slices, and they held up fine, but if you have a particularly aggressive dipper in your crew, you might want to go with the thick slices so they don't break. You can see in the picture below how much space there is between the cooked pepperoni slices - when they went into the microwave, most of them were touching.

1 t olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c chopped onion
1/3 c chopped green bell pepper
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 c chopped black olives
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 c grated Parmesan
2 c shredded mozzarella, divided
Pizza sauce
1 c shredded pizza blend cheese
Pepperoni slices

I'm listing the directions for what I did, but see my note above re: not using the cream cheese as a separate layer going forward. 
  1. Saute the garlic, onion, and pepper in the olive oil until the onion starts to turn translucent, then remove from heat and stir in the crushed red pepper flakes and olives.
  2. To the softened cream cheese, stir in the Italian seasoning, grated Parmesan, 1c of the shredded mozzarella, and half of the veggie mixture, then transfer to a large ramekin or other oven-safe baking dish.
  3. Spread a layer of pizza sauce over the cream cheese mixture - I started with 1/2 c but didn't get full coverage, so I increased it a bit. 
  4. Mix the remaining veggies together with the second cup of mozzarella and the pizza blend of cheeses. If you want to throw in some additional Parmesan, go for it!
  5. Spread the mozzarella mixture over the sauce layer, dot the top with a little more sauce, and bake at 350 until bubbly and starting to brown - about 30".
  6. While the dip is baking, cover a microwave-safe dish with paper towels, and top with a layer of pepperoni slices. It's OK if they're touching, but you don't want them overlapping. Cover with another layer of paper towels, and microwave for a minute and a half - check for doneness, then repeat in 15 or 30 second bursts until crispy.

Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe
Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe

Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe
Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe

Pizza Dip with Pepperoni Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe

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