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Armenian home cooking

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  • Allan Evans Oct 8, 2000 10:27 PM
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Our neighbors are Armenian and from both spheres; Lebanon and Azerbaijan. Tonight they made a pizza covered with onion slices cherry tomato fragments, a spicy Armenian cheese, fresh hot pepper bits and za'atar herbs. Followed by another pizza topped with ground meat seasoned with tomato paste, olive oil, raw onions and fresh mint. Homemade hummus was remarkable for the tahini being a subtle component, plenty of raw garlic, and a superb Lebanese oil (when we once made hummus with Italian oil it was way off base). Then came bulgur and noodles in a casserole with garden grown zucchini, little bits of beef, tomatoes, garlic chunks, basil. There followed a brilliant Anjar (town in Lebanon) style roasted chicken: stuffed with onions, the chicken roasted slowly for 3 hours. A paste was ground in a mortar (with pestle) of garlic in olive oil and salt until it became creamy. This was smeared over the roaster, which was then covered with lavash bread. We tore at the lavash, grabbed whichever chicken meat lay below, only to savor it with the lush garlic intermediary. For dessert an apple tart was baked with a sugar-cinnamon dusting. Arak from Anjar was served cold, mixed with water. I can never eat in a Mid-Eastern restaurant again after such bliss. (Only at times does Ali at Kebab Cafe approach such heights.)

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