Hye Thyme Cafe: August 2015

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, August 24, 2015

Triscuit "Emergency Cheese Bouregs"

Triscuit "Emergency Cheese Bouregs" - Hye Thyme Cafe

I was recently contacted by a reader (which I love by the way – via link at right) commenting on one of my Armenian recipes, and we started chatting back and forth via e-mail. At some point, we got onto the topic of where we source our ingredients, missing certain items when moving, etc. Debby commented that her brother-in-law does not do much by way of cooking, and since he doesn't live close enough to enjoy the benefits of her time spent in the kitchen, he came up with an emergency craving substitute for one of his favorites - Cheese Bouregs. He tops Triscuits with Muenster cheese, sprinkles the black seeds we use in Choreg and Simit (nigella sativa / black sesame in a pinch) over the top, and then nukes them for about 30 seconds until bubbly/melted.

Since I happened to be on my way out the door to the grocery store, I naturally added Triscuits and Muenster cheese to my list. I have never had bouregs with seeds on them, so I didn't relate to it in that nostalgia sort of way, but it was a tasty snack. What it actually reminded me more of was string cheese – not the mozzarella sticks you find by the cheddar and American cheese, but the real string cheese they hide over by the fresh mozzarella. Nine out of ten times, that will be an Armenian string cheese (the other time you'll find Italian), seasoned with the black seeds and mahlab (also used to flavor Choreg).  Now I'm wishing we had this conversation before I made the Sujuk Pizza a while back and couldn't find the string cheese!

NOTE:  Although their version did not include tomato, because all of the commercials tell you to top your cracker with three items, I was afraid the Triscuit Police might come after me if I only used the Muenster and seeds, so I thin-sliced a few small tomatoes and blotted some of the juice before topping some my crackers with those as well.  Shhhh, don't tell the Triscuit Police, but I made them again since then and broke the cracker law by adding a fourth ingredient - sprinkling dill over the tomatoes.  Yummm!  I think dill is my favorite herb.

What's your favorite Triscuit topper??

Triscuit "Emergency Cheese Bouregs" - Hye Thyme Cafe

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Crispy Roasted-Tahini Green Beans

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe

The folks over at Sesame King Tahini, through Thought For Food & Son, recently sent me a few jars of their Tahini to sample and review. I have only used one so far, and not enough to make a true evaluation, so this is not my review post, but I thought I would share with you my first "experiment."

If you are not familiar with Tahini, it's a paste made from sesame seeds, most commonly used as an ingredient in Hummus. When I think of sesame, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Sesame Green Beans I love to order with Chinese take-out. That's where the idea for these came from.

Green Beans
Tahini (I used roasted)
Bread Crumbs (I tried both fresh and dry seasoned)
Cooking spray, melted butter, or olive oil (I used spray)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray/grease baking sheet.
  2. Drop the beans into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds to blanch, then immediately run under cold water until cooled; pat dry.
  3. Dip the beans in the tahini, letting the excess drip off, then roll in bread crumbs and transfer to baking sheet. (Like with coconut milk, tahini separates, so you need to shake or stir it to re-distribute the oil.)
  4. Spray the top with cooking spray, or spritz/drizzle with melted butter or olive oil.
  5. Pop the tray in the oven, reducing the heat to 350, and bake for 15" or so until nicely toasted.
I thought about making a dipping sauce, maybe a lemon aioli, but I didn't want to detract from the sesame. So what's the verdict? I really liked the beans that were coated in the fresh bread crumbs. As for the dry seasoned crumbs, it was sort of like that order of skinny onion rings when you go to pick one up and half the batter falls off. I didn't have any Panko crumbs in the house, or I would have tried those too. The Panko might provide even more crunch than the fresh crumbs.

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe
Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe
Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe
Fresh crumbs on left / dry seasoned on right.

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe

Crispy Roasted Tahini Green Beans: Hye Thyme Cafe

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jalapeno Black Beans (OR Accidental Black Bean Soup)

Much like a bologna sandwich, once a year or so, I get a craving for a hot dog. Growing up, that usually involved a side of B&M Baked Beans.  You may recall that a few years back, I encountered Goya Fiesta Jalapeno Baked Beans for the first time. At the time, I used some to make Jalapeno Baked Bean Cornbread Cups. I also made a mental note at the time to try my own slow-cooker version.

I knew that the Goya beans included corn, and red bell pepper, so I started with that. Never having made beans before, I looked up some recipes, and they all seemed to call for 4 or more cups of liquid. How this turned into accidental soup is that I started with 3 cups, which looked like more than enough. By the time I was finished, there was still a lot more liquid than I had anticipated, so I used a slotted spoon to remove some from the pot to use like baked beans, then grilled and diced a ham steak and added that to the pot with more beef broth and additional cumin to account for the extra liquid, and turned the rest into a great soup!

Regular baked beans usually include molasses, which I did not want in this particular recipe, so I had instead increased the amount of brown sugar I was using, thinking that over the course of cooking, it would simmer with the broth into a sort of simple syrup type of sauce. Not so much, but that's OK! You might want to start with 2c, then add more if necessary. Another option might be to use some of the soaking liquid from the beans because it would be more starchy. I have read in some places that you shouldn't use that liquid, yet in other places that you can, so using some of it should be fine.

16 oz bag of black beans
2 strips bacon
1 red bell pepper
1 large sweet onion
4 or 5 jalapeno peppers
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 t cumin
15.25 oz can of corn
3 c beef broth

  1. The day before you plan to make your beans, you will want to soak them, so pour them into a large covered bowl or a pot, cover them with water by at least 2", cover and store them in the fridge overnight. The next day, drain the beans (reserving some of the liquid if you want to use that).
  2. Turn your slow cooker on high, then snip your bacon into tiny pieces and add to the pot to let the fat start to render.
  3. Petite dice the red bell pepper, sweet onion, and jalapenos (the amount of pith and seeds you include will determine the heat level), stirring them in with the bacon as you go along.
  4. Crush or mince the garlic and add that to the pot next, along with the salt, black pepper, and cumin, letting the fat from the bacon act as the vessel to deliver those flavors to your veggies.
  5. Add the corn, drained beans, and broth (or part broth, part reserved bean water), cover and let simmer for 4-5 hours. 
  6. If you are going to do like I did and use the beans as a side dish for one round, then transform the rest into a soup, just don't forget to increase the seasoning so the flavor doesn't get watered down by the additional liquid.


If you are looking for a vegetarian option, just omit the bacon and swap out the beef broth for vegetable broth. For the soup, skip the ham and maybe puree part of the soup for a different texture.

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