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, April 19, 2017

Imrig Paklava (Sweet Semolina Cake with Pecans)

Imrig Paklava : Hye Thyme Cafe


I used to love Cream of Wheat (farina) for breakfast growing up, but of course, that included sprinkling lots of sugar over the top. Having outgrown the sugary breakfast phase, I tend not to reach for the farina unless I'm baking a tray of Spanakopita, since there is a little in the filling. That said, the rest usually sits in the pantry and ends up going to waste. I have made a few bread recipes with farina over the years, but I wanted to try something different and settled on this version of a semolina cake - inspired by Paklava. This recipe is an adaptation of that found in the Treasured Armenian Recipes cookbook.

Although this is referred to as a cake, don't be expecting that texture. Because this is made from farina, it has a denser texture. I want to say more brownie like, but that's not it either - closer in density but wrong texture. Polenta maybe?


INGREDIENTS
6 oz bag pecan (or walnut) halves (roughly 2c)
6 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c (2 sticks) melted butter
14 oz (1 3/4 c) farina
1 1/2 t cinnamon

SYRUP :
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c water
2 t lemon juice

GARNISH
Pistachios (optional) - just take a few, finely chopped
  1. In a dry pan, lightly toast the pecans, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Remove from heat, let cool, then chop; set aside.
  2. Beat together the eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy.
  3. Melt the butter (microwave is fine), and let cool a little so you don't end up with bits of scrambled egg, then slowly stream into the egg mixture.
  4. Stir in the farina, cinnamon, and chopped nuts.
  5. Transfer to sprayed 11x7" pan and bake at 350 for 35-40" until set - (time will vary with pan size) top will be brown, and edges will start to pull away from the sides.
  6. Place pan on rack to cool, then cut into diamonds.
  7. Stirring to dissolve the sugar, bring the 1 1/2 c sugar and 1 1/2 c water up to a boil. Add the lemon juice and simmer for about 5", then pour evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Start with about half the syrup, wait a bit to see how much it will soak up, then add more as desired.
  8. Decorate each diamond with a bit of pistachio "dust." Works best with in shell pistachios, since pre-shelled nuts are roasted to a darker color and difficult to remove the skins from - when you use them straight out of the shell, they are that nice bright green, and the dry skins will usually rub right off.

Imrig Paklava : Hye Thyme Cafe

Imrig Paklava : Hye Thyme Cafe

Imrig Paklava : Hye Thyme Cafe

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rice Kufte (Meat-Filled Rice Balls)

Rice Kufte / Kofta : Hye Thyme Cafe


These can be frustrating to get started. Because the rice is sticky, you need a little bowl of water to dip your fingers in. Too much water and the rice won't stick together - too little, and it won't let go of your hand. Don't give up! You'll get the hang of it after the first few. No wonder they use bamboo mats to roll sushi! 😉

INGREDIENTS :
1/2 lb ground beef or lamb
1 stick butter
1 small onion, finely diced (or lg shallot)
Salt & Pepper
1 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne pepper
3/4 c fresh chopped parsley
1 1/2 c water
1 c medium-grain rice
2 eggs

  1. Seasoning with 1/2 t each Salt and Pepper, the cumin, and the cayenne, saute the ground meat and diced onion in 1T of the butter until the meat has just a bit of pink left to it, then add the parsley and continue until the meat is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.  (Especially given the leaner packages of ground meat nowadays, the butter will give it a little extra help with flavor, texture, and help hold things together as it cools to make it easier for stuffing.)
  2. Bring the water to a boil, season with salt, stir in the rice, then cover and reduce heat to low, stirring once or twice along the way to prevent sticking to the pan, until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. When the rice and the beef mixture are cool enough to handle, pinch off about a walnut-sized ball of rice, and press it into the palm of your hand, forming a well - fill the well with some of the meat mixture, then pinch the rice around it to close the ball.
  4. Once all of your kuftes are formed, beat the two eggs with a little salt and pepper, then roll the kuftes in the egg to coat.
  5. Over medium heat, pan fry in the butter (starting with about half the remaining butter and adding more as needed) until golden.
  
Rice Kufte / Kofta : Hye Thyme Cafe

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