Hye Thyme Cafe: December 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! :)


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh : Hye Thyme Cafe


I usually prefer the red tabouli (Eetch), but every once in a while, I'll throw together a batch of the traditional, especially if I have a surplus of parsley kicking around. As with the red, it's great scooped up with wedges of a nice fresh pita, cucumber chips, as a topping on crackers or pita chips, etc. Sometimes I'll just make a salad and throw a scoop over the top.

For the tomatoes, you can use whatever is available to you, but I prefer to quarter the small grape tomatoes - that way, you get more of the firmer outside, not so much juice and pulp. Same goes for the cucumber - I like using the pickling cucumbers because they are firmer and less seedy. Tabbouleh is all about the parsley and lemon, but some people are more partial to parsley than others, so chop it all and add half to see where it's at, then add more to your liking. If you've got any left, just throw it in a zip-top bag and store it in the freezer for cooking, flavoring broths, etc. down the road.

INGREDIENTS :
1 c bulgur wheat (I prefer the fine)
1 1/2 c hot water (many use boiled, but it will absorb either way)
1/4 c olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 t each salt and pepper
2 bunches parsley, chopped
1 cup mint, chopped
2 c grape tomatoes, quartered
3 mini cucumbers, diced small
3 scallions, sliced thin

  1. Pour the hot water over the bulgur, and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, allowing that to soak in while you're chopping your veggies.
  2. Chop the parsley, mint, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and thin slice the scallions, then add to the bowl with the bulgur - no worries if all the water hasn't been absorbed yet.
  3. Chill for a while to allow the liquid to finish absorbing and the flavors to blend.
Tabbouleh: Hye Thyme Cafe

Tabbouleh: Hye Thyme Cafe

Tabbouleh: Hye Thyme Cafe



Monday, December 5, 2016

Spinach-Artichoke Hummus

Spinach-Artichoke Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe


One of my favorite things to eat is a nice hot, cheesy, gooey Spinach and Artichoke Dip. That said, you may have noticed that I've been on a bit of a Hummus kick lately. When I looked in the pantry a week or two ago and saw a can of quartered artichoke hearts, I decided to add an Artichoke Hummus to my To-Do List. Then I started thinking about the dip and decided to make it a spinach/artichoke version. That turned out to be a great idea for a healthier dip option - a little too good actually! After eating a hefty portion with some veggies and pita chips for dinner, I actually had to put myself to bed early so I would stop scooping another chip every time I passed through the kitchen (funny how thirsty I was that night, forcing me to make several trips to the fridge for water).


INGREDIENTS :
15.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
8/5 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
3 T tahini
1-2 cloves garlic (depending on size)
1/2 t kosher salt (or about 1/4 t table salt)
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c water
1 T white balsamic vingar (or 2T lemon juice)
1 c chopped spinach (I used frozen/thawed)
  1. To the bowl of your food processor, add the chickpeas, about 2/3 of the artichoke hearts (reserve the rest), the tahini, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, half of the water, and white balsamic (or lemon juice).
  2. Puree until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary to catch any stray chickpeas, and adding the remaining water if needed - depends on how "juicy" your artichokes were, how well you drained the chickpeas ...
  3. Add the reserved artichoke hearts and the spinach to the bowl, and pulse until just combined. The semi-chopped artichokes will add another texture and make your Hummus more appealing visually, and adding the spinach at the end will also change the texture and prevent your hummus from turning Kermit the Frog green.
  4. Let that sit for a while to give the flavors a chance to blend, then drizzle a bit of oilve oil over the top and serve with veggies or pita chips for dipping.

To whip up a batch of pita chips. Just cut loaves of pita bread into single layered chip-sized pieces, spritz with cooking spray (or brush with olive oil), sprinkle a bit of salt or your favorite herb or spice blend, and bake until crispy. Sometimes I'll pick up one of those multi-section shaker-top bottles of spices (meant to be added to olive oil for dipping bread) and make some of each flavor. Lately, I've been using a container of Falafel Spice.
 

Spinach-Artichoke Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe


For any kind of dip like this, if you're going to be dipping cucumbers, because they can be slippery, you might want to use a crinkle cutter so the ridges give your dip something to cling to.

Spinach-Artichoke Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe



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