5th August 2009

Baba Ghanoush

This particular recipe for baba ghanoush (or baba ghannouj, moutabal, etc.) comes from a book called Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors d’Oeuvres, Meze, and More, but honestly, the basic recipe is pretty simple: eggplant, tahini, lemon, garlic. We served it with the gyros we made for the Almost Meatless Potluck.

Chris says:

Hooray, I’ve always wanted to make baba ghanoush! I love the smokiness from the grilled and blackened eggplant.

Lisa says:

Yeah, this is good — tastes really close to how my dad makes it.

Chris says:

Same ingredients I’m assuming?

Lisa says:

Yep… though we always called it “moutabal” growing up.

Chris says:

I think this one came out just a little … sweet? …is that possible? It might just need a pinch more salt.

Lisa says:

You’ll never get an argument from me on adding salt. To anything.


Baba Ghanoush
2 medium-size eggplants
4 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

Score the eggplants all over with a fork. Preheat a gas grill on high and grill the eggplant whole until the skins are black and blistered, about 40 minutes. Remove the skins and spoon out the insides as soon as you can handle the eggplant. Puree the pulp in a food processor, then drain the bitter liquid from the eggplant by letting it sit in a strainer over a bowl for an hour.
In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and tahini. Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar until it is a paste, then stir into the tahini. Stir into the eggplant puree. Taste and add water to thin.
Pour onto a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil, then top with parsley.
Scoop with pita or Arabic flatbread.

posted in Appetizers, Arabic, Armenian, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

27th February 2009

Big Steaming Bowl: Armenian Stew with Pilaf


This recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: a hearty vegetarian stew with Mediterranean spices atop a bed of bulgur pilaf. It was nice and filling, and delicious for lunch the following day.

Chris says:

So this *claims* to be an Armenian dish…

Lisa says:

We certainly never made this dish when I was growing up…

Chris says:

Though you guys really didn’t have many vegetarian meals, did you?

Lisa says:

True — but this is good. These are pretty big servings!

Chris says:

Well it’s all good stuff in there… a bunch of vegetables, beans, and spices!

Lisa says:

I love any meal that we can top with garlic-yogurt.

Chris says:

I’ll eat to that…


Armenian Stew with Pilaf
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 small zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 15-oz can drained fava beans
1 large bunch swiss chard, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bulgur
2 cups water
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

plain nonfat yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Warm the oil in a dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic, mint, basil, bay leaf, and salt, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften. Add the carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and tomato juice, cover, and simmer until all of the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the fava beans and Swiss chard, cover again, adn cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, add more salt to taste, cover, and remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, warm the olive oil for the pilaf. Add the onions, garlic, and salt, cover, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bulgur and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. Pour in the water, sprinkle in the rosemary, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the bulgur is tender.
In a separate dish, mix the yogurt and minced garlic.
When the bulgur is almost ready, reheat the stew, then ladle onto a pile of pilaf, and garnish with yogurt.

4 Servings

posted in Armenian, Main Dishes, Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

30th September 2007

Lahmajoun / S’fiha / Meat Pies

This evening Lisa successfully tackled an all-time favorite dish, lahmajoun (also, lahm bi ajeen, s’fiha). These little flatbread “pizzas” feature a crispy crust and ground beef mixed with tomatoes and a delicious mix of various herbs and spices. This is the first recipe we’ve made from Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, which we received as a wedding present from Megan. We served it with a cucumber and yogurt salad.

Chris says:

Wow, I can’t believe how good this turned out, especially considering you’ve never made it solo before… the dough was perfect!

Lisa says:

Neither can I — these are *so* good. The flavors in the meat are fantastic. I love that we have nine pies left to freeze, too.

Chris says:

Oops, better make that eight. Mmmm… this cucumber stuff is good.

Lisa says:

I’m not sure why they call it “salad”; it’s very similar to a cucumber yogurt soup I’ve had. So cool and refreshing!

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

(Meat Topping)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs lean ground lamb or beef
2 large tomatoes, peeled seeded, chopped, and drained
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses (reduce unsweetened pomegranate juice to by two-thirds)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp mixed spices (2 parts allspice, 1 part cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and cumin)
salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste

To make the dough pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture stand about 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy.
In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the remaining 1/2 cup water, the yeast mixture, and the oil. Blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, sprinkling with just enough additional flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the meat topping. In a medium heavy skillet heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the lamb/beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste and mix well. Add the parsley, mint, and pine nuts, Pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, mixed spices, and salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Drain the onions of oil and add to the meat mixture. Knead the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Divide into 16 equal portions and set aside.
Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball and arrange the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly floured board. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface roll out each of the balls into a circle that is no more than 1/8″ thick. Arrange the circles slightly apart on large, lightly greased baking sheets. Top each circle with a portion of the meat mixture, spreading evenly to the edge. Bake the pies in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Makes 16

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad
2 cups low-fat plain yogurt, drained to 1 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
1 tsp crushed dried spearmint
1/2 tsp crushed tarragon
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate to cool and let flavors combine.

Makes approx. 2 cups

posted in Arabic, Armenian, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 11 Comments

23rd September 2007

Manti (hooray!) and Swiss Chard with Bulgur

We’ve been looking forward to making manti again (okay, I’ve been looking forward to Lisa making manti again), and the first day of fall sounded like a perfect excuse to make this Armenian favorite: Crispy little canoe-shaped dumplings stuffed with ground beef, onion, and allspice, in a bowl of chicken broth, topped with a dollop of garlic-yogurt.

Chris says:

Holy mackeral, I love this stuff. My favorite part is taking some of the leftover manti and just dipping it right into the garlic-yogurt. I could eat that every day and never tire of it. And I like that new side dish with the swiss chard. I’m glad we’re finding more things to do with the bulgur in the pantry.

Lisa says:

I love it too, but how about next time you spend an hour putting the manti together, and I’ll play on the computer. Also, that side dish ruled, but needed more garlic.

Chris says:

I don’t want to ruin perfection, so I think you should continue to be the designated manti-maker. Hey, haven’t we already featured this on the blog?

Lisa says:

Yeah, the very first post — but that’s back when you were lazy and weren’t listing the recipes. Besides, we made a new side dish with it, and have this picture of the manti before it went in the oven. I want to show off my hard work.

(from The Complete Armenian Cookbook)
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
salt, pepper, and allspice to taste
won ton wrappers
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter

To prepare the filling, combine the ground beef, onion, salt, pepper, and allspice in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside. Cut each sheet of won ton wrappers into four squares. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square. Pinch the two ends with your fingers to form a canoe-shaped pastry. Arrange the manti close together, meat-side up, in a well-buttered pan. Dot each with a bit of the butter. Bake at 350 degrees about 20-30 minute, or until the manti are golden brown. Keep warm. Heat the chicken broth. Combine the yogurt and garlic in a mixing bowl. To serve, place the manti into individual bowls, add the hot chicken broth and the garlic-yogurt. Sprinkle with the sumac, and serve.

4 Servings

Swiss Chard with Bulgur
(from Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb Swiss chard, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup #3 bulgur
1 cup water

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the swiss chard to the onion and let them cook, over medium heat, for 6 to 10 minutes or until the Swiss chard has reduced in bulk. Make a hole in the center of the Swiss chard, add the bulgur, then cover it with the chard. Cook for 5 more minutes. Season with pepper. Add water and cook over low heat until the water has evaporated.

Serves 4

posted in Armenian, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 7 Comments

2nd July 2007


This parsley and bulgur salad is a great summer side dish. Unlike Americanized versions that contain mostly bulgur, this traditional recipe from The Complete Armenian Cookbook focuses more on the parsley and other vegetables (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers) present.

3/8 cup fine (#1) bulgur
3 ripe tomatoes, minced
1/2 small onion, minced
3 green onions, minced
2 bunches parsley, minced
1/4 bunch mint, minced
1 large cucumber, diced

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
salt and hot red pepper to taste
pinch of black pepper

Romaine lettuce leaves for garnish

In a mixing bowl combine the bulgur and the tomatoes with their juice. Let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, until the bulgur is soft and all the liquid from the tomatoes is absorbed. Add the other vegetables and mix thoroughly. Combine the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and start pouring over the bulgur mixture, stirring as you pour. Stop when the vegetables are well coated (you don’t want it swimming in dressing!) Chill. Surround with Romaine lettuce leaves for garnish… and scooping!

Makes 6 side-dish servings.

posted in Armenian, Middle Eastern, Salads and Light Soups | 2 Comments