Hye Thyme Cafe: March 2017

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, March 28, 2017

Coconut, Almond, and Cranberry Granola

Coconut, Almond, and Cranberry Granola : Hye Thyme Cafe

I have always loved granola, whether it's the big clusters you munch on for a snack or eat like a bowl of cereal, or the loose kind you sprinkle on your yogurt. For some reason, I haven't been happy with the versions I've been getting lately - one was just eh, and another was so bad, I actually threw it away. How bad can toasted oats be that you need to throw them away?!? I decided to make my own - it's cheaper that way anyhow. I do actually love Golden Girl Granola, but we don't seem to have it locally.

Because I have to watch my carb intake, and I knew I wanted to use dried cranberries (extra sugar), I decided to use unsweetened coconut and reduce the amount honey by incorporating some Amaretto. That way, the Amaretto would help carry that honey to all of the oats and then bake off in the oven, while slightly boosting the almond flavor. If you're not concerned with carbs and want a sweeter version, go ahead and increase the honey, omit the Amaretto, and include 3-4 T of brown sugar with the honey - as well as some vanilla or almond extract if skipping the Amaretto.

4 c old fashioned oats
1 c sliced almonds
1 c unsweetened coconut chips
1/4 c Amaretto
1/2 t salt
1/4 c honey
1/4 c neutral oil (canola, etc.)
1 c dried cranberries 

  1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almond slices, and coconut chips
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the Amaretto, salt, honey, and oil
  3. Pour the oil mixture over the oats, stirring until well coated
  4. Bake at 300 for approximately 20", stir, and continue for another 10-15" until golden
  5. Stir in the cranberries last so they don't dry out by baking; let cool
Coconut, Almond, and Cranberry Granola : Hye Thyme Cafe
Coconut, Almond, and Cranberry Granola : Hye Thyme Cafe

Coconut, Almond, and Cranberry Granola : Hye Thyme Cafe

Coconut, Almond, and Cranberry Granola : Hye Thyme Cafe

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Honeybell Orange Sponge Cake

Honeybell Orange Sponge Cake : Hye Thyme Cafe

While still trying to make my way through a box of Honeybells sent to me by my office, a vision of my sister's Lemon Sponge Cake suddenly danced in my head, so I decided to translate my own version using the Honeybells, which are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. I had a hard time not scarfing the whole cake down in one day!

6 eggs, separated
1 1/2 c sugar
2/3 c Honeybell juice
2-3 T Honeybell zest
  (I say zest 1 and if you don't get 2/3 c juice out of it, zest another since you'll be juicing it anyhow)
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cream of tartar

  1. Beat the yolks until thick and lemony.
  2. Gradually add the sugar, then the juice and zest.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to the yolk mixture, a little at a time.
  4. If using a stand mixer, and you only have one bowl, pour the mixture out into a separate bowl and clean the mixer bowl well. Now use that bowl to beat together the whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  5. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture and transfer to your baking pan (see NOTE)
  6. Bake at 325 for 60-65" until toothpick tests clean.
  7. Invert to cool - if using a tube pan, that will mean inverting the pan over a bottle to insert the bottle neck into the tube. If using a bundt, invert onto a cooling rack. 

NOTE:  There are two schools of thought with sponge cakes - some say to NEVER grease the pan, because the batter needs something to "grab onto" to climb the pan, while others say to go right ahead. Not only did I spray my pan with baking spray, but I made it in a non-stick bundt pan, rather than the traditional tube pan. (That also accounts for my slightly over-filled pan - I knew better but rolled with it anyhow and ended up with a cake that sort of has what you would call feet on macarons.)

Honeybell Orange Sponge Cake : Hye Thyme Cafe

Honeybell Orange Sponge Cake : Hye Thyme Cafe

Honeybell Orange Sponge Cake : Hye Thyme Cafe

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Vegetable Soup with Great Northern Beans

Vegetable Soup with Great Northern Beans : Hye Thyme Cafe

A lot of times, if I'm making vegetable soup, I'll throw in a can of Great Northern Beans to add some protein to the mix. Vegetable soup is really kind of a no-brainer, so this is more of an idea inspiration than for actual recipe value. I'll usually start with the basics - garlic, onion, celery, and carrot. After that, it's all about what mood I'm in or what's lurking at the back of the crisper drawer. Soup is a great way of using up all those odds and ends in your fridge and freezer. If you've got veggies and herbs hanging around that seem to be more questionable than what you want to include in your soup, go ahead and freeze them rather than throwing them out - that way, you can use them down the road to season a batch of stock.  

For some reason, I usually use beef broth when making vegetable soup, but I went with chicken broth this time - maybe because I was including spinach and associate spinach with chicken. More often than not, I'll include at least one color of bell pepper in my soup, usually red or orange. I decided to skip the peppers this time, but did add something else that I love in soup for another texture - water chestnuts! They add a great crunch. 

1 T olive oil
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t each salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 c frozen corn
32 oz carton chicken broth
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
1 can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
Grated Parmesan - optional

  1. Saute the celery, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.
  2. Season with the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, then add the spinach and corn - frozen is fine, they will thaw in just a few minutes, and the spinach will give off more liquid and flavor for your broth that way.
  3. Once the spinach is thawed, go ahead and add the broth and bring up to a simmer.
  4. Add the water chestnuts and beans last and let simmer for a few minutes more to heat through.
  5. Serve up a cup/bowl with a sprinkle Parmesan over the top.
Vegetable Soup with Great Northern Beans : Hye Thyme Cafe

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