Hye Thyme Cafe: May 2016

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, May 26, 2016

Gundi (Persian Dumplings)

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe


I'm one of those people who always has a TV running somewhere in the background. It doesn't matter if I'm cooking, cleaning, working/playing on the computer - I always need that background noise for some reason ... possibly because of the tinnitus (constant ringing) in my left ear. Anyhow, I was working on the computer one night, not really paying attention to the TV, but I suddenly tuned in and heard Mike on Shahs of Sunset complaining that Reza had eaten all of something. That got me curious because, as an Armenian, our cultures share some similar foods, but I had missed what it was. Flash forward to a week or so later, and I realized that same episode was on, so I decided to pay attention to hear what it was they were talking about.

Of course, I got distracted by what I was doing at the time, so I missed the translation, but I did catch Reza describing it as sort of a matzo ball, but not really. Since I wasn't sure what it was called, but I knew that it was being served at a seder dinner, I used the clues I had to run a Google search to figure it out.

Sure enough, Gundi (or Gondi) is a chicken and chickpea dumpling, similar to what for me would be a type of Kufte. What I read is that it is usually served as either an appetizer, wrapped in a flatbread, or as a soup - either way, with fresh herbs. That sounded good to me, so I headed right out to the local health food store for chickpea flour. It later occurred to me that with expanding organic sections in grocery stores, I might have been able to find it there, but I checked the next time I was at the market and they didn't have it. Yours might though.

It is very easy to make, and was absolutely delicious, but you do need to build in time to let the mixture chill and firm up. I tried it both ways but found the herbs in the flatbread to be a bit messy, so the next day, I reheated a few in the reserved broth, mixed the herbs with a bit of yogurt to hold everything together, and cut the Gundi in half to make it more manageable. That worked out great!

INGREDIENTS:
3 medium onions
1 lb ground chicken
2 1/2 c chickpea flour
1 T olive oil
1 t cardamom
1 1/2 t turmeric (where the golden color comes from)
1/2 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t pepper
Chicken broth (roughly 2 qts - enough to cover)
Fresh basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro
Optional - plain yogurt

  1. In your food processor, process the onions until very fine - not quite, but almost mush. If too chunky, they'll cause your dumplings to break open when cooking.
  2. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and add the chicken, chickpea flour, olive oil, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper, mixing well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the mixture to firm up some - it will still be very soft.
  4. With wet hands, roll the mixture into 16 balls. I staged mine on a sheet of plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray. You'll see in one of the pictures that some of mine have a sort of porcupine texture - those are the ones I rolled when my hands were dry.
  5. Bring the chicken broth up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, adding the dumplings and allowing them to cook for 40 minutes. Adding one to the pot and waiting a few seconds before adding the next will prevent them from sticking together. Also, since I wasn't using homemade stock, had an extra onion on hand, and knew I wouldn't be using all of the herbs, I added the onion and some of each herb to the broth for extra flavor when bringing it up to a boil and let it bubble for a few minutes before fishing them out and reducing the temp.
  6. To plate, add a handful of the chopped herbs to your bowl, top with one or two Gundi, and ladle some broth over the top - or, as noted above, mix a bit of yogurt with the herbs, spread on flatbread, and top with Gundi.
I can't attribute the recipe to anyone because all of the recipes I looked at were the same, except for one that was for a half recipe but somehow used the same amount of flour as for a full recipe. I did increase the turmeric after looking at some of the pictures and how anemic they looked.

I can't say I really noticed the cumin, but the cardamom, in combination with all of those fresh herbs, made these dumplings super flavorful. I re-heated a few in the reserved broth the next day, and they were still just as good. Because I had more left, I threw them in the freezer. I'll have to make a note on how that works out when I get around to them again.


Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe
Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe

Gundi (Persian Dumplings): Hye Thyme Cafe


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Smoky Vegetable-Quinoa Soup

Smoky Vegetable-Quinoa Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe


I've been eating a lot of vegetable soup lately, once in a while with some sort of small pasta, but I've never made a soup with rice or quinoa before, so I figured it was time. (P.S., I've discovered that I definitely don't like zucchini or other squashes in my veggie soups.) In browsing through my spice drawer to see what I might feel like using, I noticed a bag of sample chiles I had received from Marx Foods a while back but keep forgetting about. Ancho chiles are the ripened and dried version of a poblano pepper, and they have a bit of a smoky flavor to them, so I thought that would be a good choice - I was right. I used a whole chile and ran it through my spice mill, but you might find it already ground in your grocery store's spice or international aisle.

INGREDIENTS:
2 cloves garlic
2 large carrots
3 stalks celery
1 large onion
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 ancho chile, choped into pieces and ground (stem removed)
1 bunch spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth (or other broth/water - may require additional)
1 c quinoa
2 c chopped green beans
2 c corn

  1. Mince the garlic, and dice the carrots, celery, and onion, then saute in the olive oil until the onions start to turn translucent.
  2. Season with the salt, pepper, and ancho chile.
  3. Slice the stems off the spinach and slice into ribbons, adding to the pot and stirring until completely wilted down.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, and quinoa, and allow to simmer until the quinoa starts to bloom.
  5. Once the quinoa starts to bloom, stir in the chopped green beans and corn and continue to simmer until the beans are tender.
  6. Garnish as desired - I always like a sprinkle of Parmesan on vegetable soup, and I had a few stray scallions in the fridge, so I tossed on a handful of those as well.
Because the quinoa will suck up a lot of the broth, you may find that you need to increase the broth - or add some water. I like my soups to be more about the veggies than the broth, so the 32 oz carton was plenty, but when I go back for leftovers, I might find that more of the liquid has been absorbed and might increase the liquid when re-heating.


Smoky Vegetable-Quinoa Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe

Smoky Vegetable-Quinoa Soup: Hye Thyme Cafe


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lentil Salad with Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette

Lentil Salad with Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette: Hye Thyme Cafe


Being Armenian, it was very common in my house growing up to have bowls of cooked lentils with onions and parsley served with pita wedges, but I was never a big fan. I love Lentil Soup, but never cared for plain lentils. My aunt makes a great lentil salad, but for some reason, it never turns out as well for me, so I decided to come up with one of my own. This vinaigrette is just what the lentils needed. They're very healthy, as a good source of both protein and fiber.

Red or yellow bell peppers would have provided a nicer color contrast, but since I had an orange bell on hand, I used that, even though there was already orange from the carrot. Red, orange, or yellow bell peppers are nice for their sweet flavor, but I would steer clear of the green for this dish.


INGREDIENTS:
2 c lentils
2-3 t chipotle mustard
1 T olive oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
1 T lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t each salt and pepper
1 large carrot, chopped small
2 stalks celery, chopped small
3 scallions, slice thin
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2 T dill (fresh or dried)

  1. Rinse the lentils, checking for any pebbles or other debris, then cover with a few inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until tender.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, whisk together the chipotle mustard, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; set aside.
  3. Chop your carrot and celery to roughly the same size as the lentils and combine with the scallions, parsley, and dill.
  4. When the lentils are tender, drain any remaining liquid and toss with the dressing while still warm so the lentils soak up all that flavor.
  5. Let the lentils cool for a bit, then toss with the remaining ingredients and enjoy at room temp or chilled, either on its own or scooped into lettuce leaves, etc.
Lentil Salad with Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette: Hye Thyme Cafe

Lentil Salad with Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette: Hye Thyme Cafe


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Roasted Carrot Hummus

Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe


I was in the mood for Hummus but wanted to try something a little different, so I picked up some carrots to roast. One thing I do need to try is starting with dry chickpeas and cooking them myself. For now, I'm relying on those very handy cans at the market. Some people like to thin their Hummus with the liquid from the chickpeas, but I just can't wrap my brain around that. It's the same with beans - I always drain and rinse off that starchy liquid before using either.


INGREDIENTS:
4 large carrots cut into wedges (I left the skin on)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 t olive oil
1/2 t fine sea salt
1/2 t black pepper
19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 c tahini (be sure to shake or stir to blend in the oil)
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t smoked paprika
2 T lemon juice
Extra olive oil for drizzling
Garnishes: sunflower seeds, pomegranate arils, chopped herbs, etc.

  1. If you're keeping the skins on your carrots for the extra nutrients, you'll want to give them a bath first, then slice into wedges;
  2. Toss the carrots and garlic with the 2t olive oil, salt, and pepper, then transfer to a baking sheet - the foil is not necessary, but handy for easy cleanup;
  3. Roast at 400 for 25-30" until tender and starting to caramelize;
  4. Add to your food processor the drained/rinsed chickpeas, tahini, cayenne, smoked paprika, and lemon juice;
  5. After the carrots have had a few minutes to cool slightly, add to the food processor and give everything a few pulses to combine, then let it run on full for a few minutes until smooth;
  6. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl to incorporate any chunks that may have clung to the top sides and let run for a few seconds more;
  7. If you find that it's thicker than you like when you open the lid to scrape down the bowl, add a few tablespoons of water (or reserved liquid from the chickpeas - yuck);
  8. To garnish, transfer to a serving bowl and drag the tip of a spoon around the top to create a swirl - drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and top with whatever you lie - I used some sunflower seeds this time.
Serve with raw veggies, crackers, multi-grain tortilla chips, pita wedges, pita chips, etc.

I was just going to eat some with raw veggies, but I changed my mind. I split a mini pita round into quarters and separated the layers, gave them a spritz of PAM and a sprinkle of falafel spice and toasted them in the oven. I've never made them with the falafel spice before, but that turned out great!

Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe




Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Carrot Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe


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