Hye Thyme Cafe: November 2014

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, November 20, 2014

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe

Crepes are another one of those things that I have always left for someone else to make for me, like Shish Kebab. I still haven't gotten around to the Shish Kebab, but I finally dipped my toes ... or should I say ladle ... in to make crepes. The recipe is a no-brainer; it's the shaping that takes a bit of a learning curve. I am also pancake challenged, so my first attempt was kind of sketchy. I figured out that rather than ladling the batter and swirling the pan, I got a better shape by pouring the batter then swirling it toward the outer edge with the back of a large spoon.

Normally for something like this, I would have made a general white sauce or some sort of cheese sauce, but you might remember a while back that I posted a recipe for Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Chicken Cous Cous, thanks to my friend Michele, who is a Wildtree representative. In addition to the sample she sent me of their Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato seasoning, she had sent me a sample of their Alfredo mix, which I completely forgot about. Oops, sorry Michele!


INGREDIENTS :
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 t salt
1 c flour
2 T melted butter
Cooked chicken, diced or torn
1 small crown broccoli, steamed
Shredded cheese of choice
Optional garnish - chopped scallion, parsley, etc.

WILLOWTREE ALFREDO SAUCE :
1 packet Willowtree Alfredo mix
5 T butter
1/2 c milk

  1. For the crepes, whisk the eggs well, then add the milk, salt, flour, and melted butter, again mixing well; let rest for 30".
  2. While the crepe batter is resting, go ahead and dice your chicken, steam your broccoli, and chop any garnish you plan to use.
  3. For the sauce, all you have to do is heat the milk and butter together until the butter is melted, then whisk in the Alfredo mix.
  4. Lightly brush your pan with oil and heat at just over medium temp - you might find that you need to lower it after the first few crepes.
  5. As mentioned above, pour a scoop of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to form a thin circle.
  6. When little bubbles start to form around the edge and you can lift it with a spatula (I like to use my cheese slicer because it has a rounded edge rather than flat), flip to cook the other side; it should just be lightly speckled and takes less than a minute.
  7. Stack the crepes on a plate as you make them - yields 6-8.
  8. Stir the chicken and broccoli into the Alfredo sauce to warm through.
  9. Plate one crepe, and using a slotted spoon, transfer some of the warmed chicken and broccoli to the center of the crepe, sprinkling with shredded cheese.
  10. Fold the sides in toward the middle, overlapping, then spoon over more of the sauce, sprinkle on some more cheese, and garnish as desired
Although it was thinner than I was expecting, the Wildtree Alfredo Sauce was a pleasant surprise, as I was expecting the standard bland sauce that might need some doctoring. Theirs is very nicely seasoned, and as you can see, very easy, so I would not hesitate to recommend it, with the proviso that you might want to use slightly less liquid than called for.

If you want to use the crepes in a dessert application, I would suggest adding a bit of vanilla, or maybe cinnamon to the batter. I'm thinking my next crepe session will involve apples and maybe some mascarpone. We'll see ...

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe
Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe
Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe
Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe









Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe

Chicken and Broccoli Crepes: Hye Thyme Cafe

Thanks again to Michele for the Wildtree samples!  Check them out to see how they can help with your holiday menu.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe


I felt like baking something and had homemade yogurt in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I decided to bake a cake. I had just bought some lemons to squeeze in my water, so I settled on a lemon cake. I usually make a Lemon Thyme Cake, but wanting to try something different, I decided to go with poppy seed. Then it occurred to me that the other day, while cleaning out my freezer, I realized that the cork on the bottle of Limoncello I was storing in there had leaked, so I took it out. That made me think to go with the Limoncello.

I washed my lemons very well - not crazy about the thought of wax and pesticides in my cake - and dried them equally well so they wouldn't gum up my microplane, then I zested all four of them. I used some of the zest and juice in the cake, then froze the rest of the zest and bagged the naked lemons to keep in the fridge for my water. Whenever I'm zesting citrus or chopping parsley, peppers, etc., I freeze them in snack-size zip-lock bags for future use. No need for water or ice cube trays like most people seem to do.

Because I had a box of cake flour on hand, I used that, but you can certainly use AP flour. The texture will vary slightly, but it won't have an adverse effect.  


INGREDIENTS :
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
4 T lemon zest
3 T Limoncello
1 c yogurt (or sour cream)
3 T poppy seeds
3 c cake flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3T sugar and 4T lemon juice for outside of cake


  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  3. Mix in the lemon zest, followed by the Limoncello, poppy seeds, and yogurt.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed, then add to the wet mixture, a little at a time, until incorporated.
  5. Pour into greased/sprayed bundt pan and bake at 350° for 55-60" until a toothpick inserted into the center [of the cake, not the hole in the pan 😉] comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10-15" in pan before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  7. While the cake is cooling, heat together the 3T sugar and 4T lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved.
  8. Brush the lemon/sugar all over the outside of the cake to soak in for extra flavor and moisture.
  9. Serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, with a dollop of mascarpone or creme fraiche ...

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe
Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe
Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe
Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe









Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cake: Hye Thyme Cafe


Monday, November 10, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (Broccoli and Cheddar with Crispy Skins)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe

I have always been curious when encountering a recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup, or just Baked Potato Soup, because many of them actually call for mashed potatoes, or mashing your baked potatoes. I hadn't been specifically looking for recipes, but when I would happen to come across one, I would also notice that they didn't include broccoli. Personally, when I think of a loaded baked potato, broccoli and cheddar are what immediately come to mind. Then there are the skins - maybe it's an Irish thing, but in my house, when we had baked potatoes, we always ate the skins, so those should go in the soup too!

Given that the weather is cooling down and soup/stew season is upon us, I decided to give my own version a spin. I did, however, oops and forget I was planning to make soup, so I used my milk to make a batch of coconut yogurt (still a work in progress). Thinking that just broth would be too thin, I looked online for options and found a Parade Magazine recipe that included cream cheese and sour cream - made sense to me, especially the sour cream. Who doesn't like sour cream with a baked potato??  It wasn't lost on me that their recipe did not include broccoli or potato skins.

Arguably, white cheddar might have looked more appetizing than my orange, but I had a big, already opened, bag in the fridge, so I decided to use that instead of opening the block of white and shredding it myself.


INGREDIENTS :
3 lg baking potatoes
6 slices thick-cut bacon
3 T flour
3 T butter
4 c chicken broth
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 c sour cream (more if using for garnish)
2 c shredded cheddar
salt and pepper
4 scallions (or some fresh chive)
1 small crown of broccoli

  1. Start by scrubbing your potatoes well - if you plan to skip the crispy skins, you don't need to be as picky about it, but why would you do such a thing??? Bake until tender - when a fork can easily be inserted. Mine went in at 350° for about 50".
  2. While your potatoes are baking, go ahead and cook your bacon. You can either cook it and then crumble it, or dice it and then cook it. I'm usually in the cook then crumble camp, but this time I went the other way and diced it, removing a lot of the fat while I was at it. Remove from the pan to a paper-towel lined plate to soak up the grease, then pour off the grease, leaving just about a teaspoon or so in the pan and set aside.
  3. You can go ahead and chop your scallions now too, reserving some of the green tops for garnish, and removing the florets from your crown of broccoli. They'll be fine until your potatoes are done.
  4. When the potatoes come out, let them cool to where you can comfortably handle them, then cut in half lengthwise. To preserve the skins, I found it easiest to slice off the ends, scooping out the flesh with a spoon, then running a knife along the skin of the main section. Chop the potatoes into cubes and slice some of the skins into strips - like using tortilla strips in tortilla soup.
  5. In your soup pot, over medium heat, whisk together the flour and butter to create a roux, cooking just until it starts to take on some color (a blonde roux).
  6. Whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time until incorporated, then the cream cheese and sour cream.
  7. Bring the heat up just a little bit and start adding in your cheddar, stirring or whisking until melted, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Add the cubed potatoes, chopped scallions, and broccoli florets and continue to cook until the potatoes are heated through and the broccoli is tender.
  9. While that's happening, re-heat the pan with the reserved bacon grease and toss in the strips of potato skin, frying until crispy.
  10. Add most of the bacon to the pot, reserving some for garnish, then you can switch and transfer the crispy skins to the plate the bacon was on for the moment.
  11. To serve, ladle into a bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of the reserved scallion tops and bacon, and some of the hot crispy skins.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe








Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe








Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe








  
Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork (Slow Cooker)

Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe

I can't begin to tell you how good this is. I made it the other night and happily ate it again last night. As a matter of fact, when I was eating it the first time, I was actually mad that I had sliced a baby cucumber and de-stemmed some grapes to go along with it because I wanted more of the pulled pork but wouldn't have room to scarf down more of that along with the rest.  😢

It has a great layering of flavors and is sweet, spicy, fruity, herbaceous, buttery ... drool ... Oh, and it's super easy!! Of course, I can't guarantee that same flavor if you use different brands of salsa and BBQ sauce, but I'm pretty sure you'll be happy you made it. I'm guessing it would be great with chicken as well.


INGREDIENTS :
1 pkg pork tenderloin
1 can (mine was 15 1/4 oz of Freestone) sliced peaches
1 jar peach salsa (I used Paul Newman's)
1 c barbecue sauce (I used Dinosaur BBQ's Wango-Tango Habanero)
1 lg sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic (or 1-2 t jarred/minced)
Fresh chopped cilantro
Buns
Butter
  1. Pour the peaches, syrup and all, into your slow cooker along with the salsa, BBQ sauce, onion, and garlic, and give it all a stir.
  2. Cut the tenderloin in half and nestle it down into all that liquid. Sometimes packages of tenderloin come in two strips, sometimes one - doesn't matter. I opened my package, slid the (one-piece) tenderloin out right over the slow cooker and cut it once in the pot to avoid cross-contaminating anything else in the kitchen with raw pork.
  3. Turn the slow cooker to low and let it run for the standard 8 hours or so. If you want to check it before that, just poke it with a spoon or something - if it breaks apart, it's ready for shredding.
  4. Transfer the pork from the slow cooker to a platter or plate, leaving the cover off the slow cooker and turning the heat to high to reduce the sauce a bit.
  5. Use two forks to shred the pork. If you want to go old-school, you can let it cool a bit then actually shred it with your fingers.
  6. Stir the pork back into the slow cooker and continue cooking for a few minutes to re-heat and let it soak up that juice.
  7. Meanwhile, add a pat of butter to a skillet and grill the cut sides of your buns.
  8. If you won't be serving the whole pot, I suggest transferring what will be used to the platter you shredded the pork on and mixing in a bunch of fresh chopped cilantro. You could mix it into the slow cooker, but I like that fresh raw cilantro flavor.
  9. Pile it onto your grilled buns and enjoy! I like to use tongs so I can hold it over the pot for a few seconds to let the excess juice drip out. You have more control over how dry/juicy your sandwich is than if using a spoon.

Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe
Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe

Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe
Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe









Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe

Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe

Peach-BBQ Pulled Pork: Hye Thyme Cafe


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