Hye Thyme Cafe: June 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, June 30, 2016

Beet Green and Toasted Pecan Pesto

Beet Green and Pecan Pesto: Hye Thyme Cafe

I try to be good about not wasting food, but it's tough when you live alone. There is only so much food you can eat and/or freeze, especially when it comes to fruits and veggies. Too many turn before I get a chance to get to them. I've been eating a LOT of Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad lately, and it occurred to me that, although I had used beet greens in a Greens and Beans recipe a while back, I usually end up throwing them away. This time, the greens were so pretty, I couldn't bring myself to toss them, so I decided to try a pesto. 

I took a chance on the color being something less than appetizing by keeping the purple stalks intact. It doesn't have that bright green, vibrant color of some other pestos, but it is equally delicious. I also don't normally bother toasting my nuts for pesto, but since these had been in the freezer for quite a while, I wanted to toast them first to bring some life back to them.

1 bunch beet greens
1 c pecans
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/2 c parsley
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 lemon
olive oil

  1. Wash the beet greens well and chop into large pieces; transfer to food processor.
  2. Toast pecans in a dry pan until lightly browned, then remove from pan to prevent burning, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Add pecans to food processor, followed by garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, parsley, and Parmesan.
  4. Squeeze in the lemon juice - if you want, first wash, dry, and zest the peel and add that to the mix.
  5. Pulse to combine everything, then drizzle in a little olive oil, pulsing again and repeating until you achieve the texture you like. I typically leave mine on the thick side so I can adjust it for whatever I'm using it in - whether as a marinade, dressing, dip, etc.

Beet Green and Pecan Pesto: Hye Thyme Cafe
See, look how pretty - couldn't throw these away!

Beet Green and Pecan Pesto: Hye Thyme Cafe
I always chop and freeze leftover parsley.
No need for water or olive oil and ice cube trays!

Beet Green and Pecan Pesto: Hye Thyme Cafe

Beet Green and Pecan Pesto: Hye Thyme Cafe
You can see little flecks of purple from the stalks.

Whenever I make a batch of pesto, since I won't be using it all at once, I like to portion it out into little silicon molds, or even muffin tins, freeze it, then pop them into a zip-top bag. Two of my favorite uses for pesto are slathering it on chicken before baking, or whisking in a little red-wine vinegar for a salad dressing. I't also great on pizza and bruschetta, and of course, pasta.

Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad - Redux

Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

This salad may not photograph well, but it's so good, it's worth a second look. I can't seem to get enough of it lately. I usually eat it in romaine spears, but sometimes, a bowl and fork are all you need. There are two reasons I decided to re-post this recipe. The first is that when I initially made it, I had chopped everything into matchsticks, and as tasty as it was, it was a bit unwieldy. The second reason is that, at the time, I was playing around with some samples of Japanese citrus juices I had received, and I'm assuming not many of you typically have them laying around in your pantry. 

I have since learned that running everything through the shredder attachment on the food processor works great - I had anticipated it turning to mush - and a great replacement for the Sudachi juice is something readily found at the grocery store, Lime Ponzu. If that doesn't strike your fancy, I'm sure a light soy sauce or tamari would work equally well. Honestly, I don't even bother measuring the dressing anymore, I just crush a clove of garlic into a measuring cup, pour in a little olive oil, then whatever else I happen to have on hand.

1 clove garlic
1/4 c olive oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
1 T lime Ponzu (or tamari, soy sauce, etc.)
1 T Agave Nectar
1/4 t fine sea salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t crushed Pasilla Chile Pepper (or other)
3 beets
3-4 lg carrots
2-3 granny smith apples

  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients first, to give the flavors a chance to mix.
  2. Wash and peel the beets, carrots, and apples (you can leave the peels on the carrots and apples if you want, but most of the apple peel won't go through the shredder); cut into large chunks and run through the shredder attachment on your food processor.
  3. Toss together in a large bowl to separate and mix the strands (you don't want all the apple in one spot, the beet in another...), then pour the dressing over the top and mix again.
  4. Best left to chill for a while before serving, so the flavors can blend - make sure to always mix from the bottom to re-dress, but plate using a fork or tongs so it's not too drippy.

Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Roasted Corn Hummus

Roasted Corn Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

I think this one is my favorite hummus so far. If you've been reading along, you know I recently tried a Roasted Carrot Hummus and a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. The one thing I will say is that when I first ate this one, I already had a tin full of falafel-spiced pita chips, but the falafel spice was too strong, so I ended up switching to Wheat Thins, then toasting up a batch of plain pita chips. Before I even ate any, the smell was making my stomach growl.

2 ears of corn
1 lime
2t chile powder
Olive oil
1/2 t salt
16 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 c tahini
1 clove garlic

  1. Shuck the corn, pop off the handle so you can stand it on end, and carefully slice off the kernels. You may have a few strays, but if you have corn flying everywhere, you're not cutting close enough to the cob.
  2. Zest the lime and set the zest aside.
  3. Toss the corn with 2t olive oil, 2t chile powder, and the juice from half the lime, and roast at 375 for 30-40" until the corn starts to lightly caramelize. Let cool for a few minutes.
  4. To your food processor, add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt, lime zest, and the juice from the other half of the lime - add the corn mixture and proccess until smooth, adding olive oil, a little at a time, to achieve the texture you like.
  5. To garnish, use a spoon to create a swirl over the top, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with additional chile powder.
  6. Serve with pita chips, crackers, raw or blanched veggies, etc.
Roasted Corn Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Roasted Corn Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Corn Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Corn Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Corn Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

I'm right around the corner from 50, so I figure it's really time for me to start making some better food choices. Replacing the beef with chicken in this taco salad was one of them. With all the flavor in the taco seasoning, you won't even notice the difference. Eating fewer carbs is another choice, like replacing a huge taco shell bowl with some baked corn tortilla strips, so you still get the satisfaction of that that flavor and crunch, but not so many carbs.

I'm not listing salad amounts here, since it will vary depending on how much salad to taco filling you like, how many people you're serving, etc. 

Romaine or Iceberg lettuce sliced into ribbons
Sliced black olives
1 small red onion
Diced tomatoes (I like a mix of small tomatoes)
Canned or jarred jalapeno rings
3 small or 2 large avocados
1 clove garlic
1 small lime
1 lb ground chicken
1 packet taco seasoning
Shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, etc.)
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Corn tortillas
  1. Toss the lettuce with sliced black olives, sliced red onion (I don't like a lot of raw onion, so I used a little in the guacamole, sliced some for the salad, and diced the rest to saute with the chicken), diced tomatoes, and jalapeno rings, and set aside.
  2. For the guacamole, mash together the avocado, garlic, juice from half the lime, and some minced red onion. I like to mash most of the avocado, but leave a little bit chunky. If you haven't worked with avocado before, run a knife around the center lengthwise and twist to open. Then you can either use a spoon to pop out the pit, or tap it with the blade of a knife and twist to release it. Then, starting from the tip, run a spoon along the inside of the skin to release it. Squeeze a bit more lime over the top and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap before covering your bowl, to keep as much air out as possible to avoid discoloring. Chill until ready to use.
  3. For the chicken, saute with the reserved red onion until done, then follow the instructions on the taco seasoning. Be sure to note how much meat the seasoning is for - ground chicken usually comes packed by the pound, but a lot of taco seasonings are for 1.5 pounds, so you might want to hold back a little.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, slice some corn tortillas into thin strips, toss them onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 until golden and crispy.
  5. To plate, top your salad with some of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with cheese. Top that with a scoop of guacamole and a bit of sour cream or yogurt, then sprinkle with tortilla strips.
Because I'm usually not using up the whole can/jar of jalapenos, or the entire package of corn tortillas, I freeze the leftovers for another occasion. Of course, you could bake up the rest of the tortilla strips and sprinkle them with salt for a crunchy snack. 

Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe
Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Chicken Taco Salad: Hye Thyme Cafe

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

I seem to be on a dip kick lately - Roasted Carrot Hummus, lots of Guacamole, avocado mashed with a little plain yogurt and garlic, just about anything else I can mix with yogurt, now this. It must be that the veggies are so much better this time of year. Although I'm not always dipping veggies; I've been getting lots of mileage out of pita chips too.

Red bell peppers are one of my favorite veggies. They've got great crunch, they're sweet, loaded with vitamins, and one of our local grocery stores almost always has them on sale for some reason, so whenever I hit that particular store, I stock up. I'll slice some for dipping, chop some into salads, roast one or two, and dice and freeze the rest for cooking with down the road.

This time, I decided to use one of the peppers in a hummus. It's funny, growing up, I always thought I hated hummus. Turns out it was just the packaged junk they used to sell back in the day. I'm pretty sure it was packets that you just added water or olive oil to and stirred. Knowing I'm Armenian, a lot of people thought they were being nice and would serve it whenever I was at their house, so I had to choke it down to be polite. Thankfully, I don't think anyone makes it like that nowadays, and once I had "real" hummus, I realized just what I'd been missing.

1 large red bell pepper (I think I'll up it to 2 next time)
2 cloves garlic
15.5 oz can chickpeas
1 T olive oil
1/2 t kosher salt (or 1/4+ t table salt since it's finer)
1/2 t pepper
1/4 to 1/2 t cayenne pepper
3 T fresh chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/3 c tahini
Juice of 1 lemon

  1. You can certainly use jarred red peppers, but I prefer to roast my own - plus it's easy. Slice off the top and pull out the stem. Slice in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast at 450 until charred and crackly. If you want, to speed things up a bit, once the skin starts to brown and bubble up, you can switch on the broiler for a minute or so. Transfer to a covered bowl or brown paper lunch bag and seal it so that the steam can work on the skin for a few minutes. Once cooled, the skin should slide right off for you.
  2. Add all of the ingredients, including your roasted pepper(s), to the bowl of your food processor and let run until smooth and creamy. Make sure you stir the tahini well before measuring it out, to re-distribute the oil.
  3. To garnish, transfer to a serving bowl, use the back of a spoon to create a swirl pattern on the top and drizzle in a bit of olive oil, then add a sprinkle of additional cilantro.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

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