Hye Thyme Cafe: August 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! :)


Friday, August 25, 2017

Curried Granola-Crusted Shrimp with Grilled Pineapple

Curried Granola-Crusted Shrimp with Grilled Pineapple : Hye Thyme Cafe

I was very excited when Golden Girl Granola reached out to see if I would be interested in participating in their annual recipe challenge again this year. The first year was Entrees, last  year Desserts (I placed 2nd - yay me), and this year Appetizers. The first thing that came to mind was using the granola in some sort of Stuffed Mushrooms. The problem with that... I loathe mushrooms, so I wouldn't even begin to know how my own recipe turned out! Then I thought of some sort of cheese ball or brie, but that would have been too easy. 

Golden Girl sends each participant a bag of their choice of flavor/blend to use in their recipe, but that's always a tough call if you don't know what it is you'll be making when you first sign up. For that reason, I opted for the "Original," which is a mix of rolled oats, honey, almonds, coconut, non-GMO/expeller-pressed canola oil, vanilla, and sea salt. The inclusion of the coconut sent my mind down the tropical path toward pineapple, which then led me to the shrimp and curry.

The recipes will be evaluated at 25% each on Taste, Visual Appeal, Creativity, and Crowd Appeal. I'm crossing my fingers that my shrimp dish hits all those notes with the judges. 

INGREDIENTS :
1 pineapple
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and cleaned *
1 1/2 c Golden Girl "Original" Granola, crushed fine
3 egg whites, beaten
1/2 c rice flour *
2 T curry powder *
1/4 t each Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying
Skewers or Picks
Optional: Chutney, or Plain Yogurt with Curry Powder for dipping ****
* I would have preferred to use fresh shrimp, but none of my local markets had raw, large shrimp, so I went with a bag of frozen, pre-cleaned, easy peel - thawed, peeled, and blotted dry. While rice flour tends to produce the best "crisp," you can use AP flour, or even cornstarch. If you "like it hot," but your curry blend is on the mild side, pump it up with a pinch of cayenne. A nice Mango Chutney would be great with these as well, but I opted to use some of my homemade plain yogurt mixed with additional curry powder.

INSTRUCTIONS :
  1. Peel your pineapple by slicing off the top and bottom, then carefully making lengthwise slices all the way around the outside, going back with the knife to shave any remaining rind.
  2. With your naked pineapple standing on end, make one slice down its length, right along the edge of the core, set that slice aside and lay the pineapple cut-side down to repeat slicing along the core on each side so that you end up with four strips and the core - discard the core, then slice the widest strips in half lengthwise, so you are left with approximately 1" wide pineapple "sticks."
  3. Heat a well-oiled grill pan or grill, and grill the pineapple sticks until nicely caramelized on each side; set aside until cooled, then slice into chunks. It's much easier to grill the pineapple in slices than to flip all those chunks, but if you're feeling ambitious and don't want any edges without grill marks . . . 
  4. Set up your dredging station by setting out one bowl containing your flour (again, feel free to add a pinch of cayenne if your curry blend is mild) curry, S&P whisked together, a second bowl containing your beaten egg white, and a third containing your ground granola.
  5. Heat your oil - I prefer to work in smaller batches/smaller pot and about 1" of oil.
  6. Blot your cleaned/peeled shrimp dry and, holding each by the tail, dip first into the flour mixture (shaking off any excess), then the egg white, then the granola (shaking off any excess) - repeat and set aside.
  7. When all of your shrimp have been double-dipped, fry them a few at a time for about 3" until golden.
  8. Skewer a pineapple chunk, followed by a shrimp, then another pineapple chunk, and serve with your preferred dipper.

 



Okay, I have a confession to make ... while not in my "loathe" category with mushrooms and cauliflower, and while I do occasionally eat shrimp, a bite or two of lobster, or even a few crawfish, I'm not a seafood person either, but these shrimp really are good! If even I enjoyed them, I'm fairly certain you will enjoy them!

Best of luck to everyone participating in the challenge, and a BIG thanks to Golden Girl for inviting me to play with their granola again. :)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pistachio-Mahlab Scones with Pistachio Creme

Pistachio-Mahlab Scones with Pistachio Creme : Hye Thyme Cafe


I baked a few batches of Choreg a while back and had some leftover mahlab that I wanted to use up while it was still good. If you're not familiar with mahlab, it's actually the inside of a pit from the St. Lucie Cherry. It has a warm, almost nutty flavor, said to resemble a combination of almond and cherry, like marzipan, although that's not what my taste buds bring to mind. I can't really describe it, but if you were ever around a kitchen with a batch of Choreg baking, chances are the aroma would draw you in like a magnet. I haven't found a local source for mahlab, so I order it online through Massis Bakery. It arrives whole, and I grind it in my spice mill as needed.

Thinking about Baraze, Lebanese cookies that include both mahlab and pistachios, gave me the idea to incorporate them into a scone, since I've also had scones on the brain lately. When it comes to the Pistachio Creme, when it first hit my tongue, I thought uh oh, too salty, but then the cream and powdered sugar quickly balanced that out, and I quite enjoyed it. If you are particularly sensitive to salt, you can either give the pistachios to be used in the creme a quick rinse, or completely soak them to reduce the salt.

My preference is to use pistachios that are still in their shell - both for their color and because it's easier to remove the skins. I have found that when purchasing already shelled pistachios for baking, they tend to be a darker roast, and the skins are more difficult to remove. With the in-shell pistachios, I shelled them all, then rubbed them by the handful to remove the dry outer skins. Don't stress over breaking a nail shelling them - reserve one of the shells to use like a can opener - just insert it into a tight shell and twist to pop it open. Because the pistachios come salted, I did not include salt in the recipe.

SCONES :
2 1/2 c flour
3 T baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1 T ground mahlab
2 eggs (+1 for egg wash)
1 stick butter
1/2 c heavy cream
1 lb in-shell pistachios (divided)
Coarse sanding sugar (optional)

PISTACHIO CREME :
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T confectioner's sugar
1/3 c heavy cream
1/2 lb pistachios

  1. Shell all of your pistachios, then rub them to remove as much of the outer skin as possible. Measure out 2c and rough chop them for the scones, then process the rest into a paste using a spice mill/coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle; set aside.
  2. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and mahlab.
  3. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, then stir in the cream, eggs, and pistachios just until the dough comes together.
  4. Pat out to about 1" thick on a flour-dusted surface, then slice or use cutters to shape, and transfer to a parchment-lined tray.
  5. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the tops of the scones, then sprinkle with the sanding sugar (optional).
  6. Bake at 350 for about 20" until golden.
  7. For the pistachio creme, beat together the cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and cream until smooth and fluffy, then blend in the pistachio paste.
Pistachio-Mahlab Scones with Pistachio Creme : Hye Thyme Cafe


Pistachio-Mahlab Scones with Pistachio Creme : Hye Thyme Cafe

 
Pistachio-Mahlab Scones with Pistachio Creme : Hye Thyme Cafe


Monday, August 14, 2017

Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Hummus

Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe


OK, I think this might be my new favorite Hummus! Although I must admit that when I picked up the package of sun dried tomatoes, I had a pasta dish in mind, so you might prefer to work with the jarred option so you don't have to re-hydrate them. I purchased the dry because I knew I wouldn't be using them all right away. Totally up to you.

The other thing to consider is the use of basil. My first thought was to make a sun dried tomato hummus. Then it occurred to me that I have a beautiful basil plant in my kitchen window, so why not make it tomato-basil? I was afraid that blending all of that beautiful greenery into reddish-brown tomatoes would result in a really gross brown, so I was going to just stick with the tomatoes. Then a light bulb went off in my mind, and I remembered that I had a small bottle of basil oil in the pantry and could use that instead. After I made the hummus, I looked it up online, and sure enough, there are plenty of recipes using fresh basil, so feel free to replace the oil with olive oil and use fresh. If you prefer the idea of the basil oil but don't have access, there are also plenty of posts out there for how to make your own.

INGREDIENTS :
15 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c tahini (well stirred/shaken to redistribute the oil)
12 sun dried tomatoes, re-hydrated per pkg instructions (reserve liquid)
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t smoked paprika (optional)
2 T+ basil oil

Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe

Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Hummus: Hye Thyme Cafe


  1. Give the chick peas a whirl in the food processor to get the party started.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the tahini, re-hydrated tomatoes, garlic, juice from the lemon, salt, pepper, paprika, and 2T of basil oil.
  3. Process until smooth.
  4. To thin the batch, a little at a time, stream in some of the reserved liquid from re-hydrating the tomatoes until you reach your desired texture. If you used jarred tomatoes, you can use some of the liquid from the jar - if that will leave the rest of your tomatoes naked, use a little water or olive oil instead.
  5. Garnish the top with a drizzle of additional basil or olive oil, and serve with veggies, crackers, pita chips, etc.
As I was just thinking about what to serve it with, it crossed my mind that I should pick up a ball of fresh mozzarella and a baguette when I'm out later and use them with the hummus and my fresh basil to make crostini. [drool]

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