Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – Love Talin Orfali

It is that time of year again. I cannot believe how quickly 2013 flew by. Just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas and New Years for 2012/2013, and now as 2013 is coming to a close, were doing it all over again with putting up the lights, the decorations, finding that perfect tree, or putting up a tree that has been in storage. I love Christmas time when everywhere is decorated with beautiful colours, beautiful Christmas lights on homes, wrapped presents, ornaments, tinsel, snow globes, candles, manger, stables, the nativity scene, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Elves, Snowman, Mistletoe, Cookies and Milk, candy canes, the food, the celebrations, and of course and especially celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men and how Mary was chosen to give Birth to a King.

What are your Christmas traditions in your family? What exciting things do you do? Some families put on Christmas Sweaters, some families play games, and so on and so forth. What do you like to cook and serve to your loved ones? Christmas for me every year is always different, either we have a lot of people come over, some Christmases are spent going to other peoples homes, or going out to a party, so I cannot really say what is tradition with my loved ones, but every year is always different, but we do manage to always find a way to get together. When we do, we love cooking turkey, ham, rice, vegetables, gravy, and other things. I love baking my signature cinnamon cake which people I know love it, so they want more and more of it. It has been such a long time I have not decorated a Gingerbread house, but I think I will do that this year.

I love watching Christmas movies at this time of year like Miracle on 34th street, Home Alone 1 and 2, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Jack Frost, Four Christmases, Santa Clause, Santa Clause 2, I also love watching the Santa Claus Parade on television. I must have watched Home Alone 1 and 2 8 or 9 times this year alone on TV and I just love that movie especially. There is something about Home Alone 1 and 2, that make you get pulled into it and its so hard to flip the channel. After that Home alone 3-5 was all downhill and I did not enjoy them as much because when you change Characters, when you change the setting, it won’t be the same as the first 2. I know Home Alone 1 and 2 by heart, and if you put the movie on mute, I can say the whole script.

Anyway, lastly, I also want to acknowledge those people who are not so lucky during the Christmas and New Year Holidays, that are alone, but not really alone because there are people in this world that are thinking of them and one of them is me, people who do not have a warm home to go to, those who are less fortunate, those who cannot afford or who do not have enough to provide for their families and I’d like to reach out to all of those people around the world and tell them that I am thinking of them and they are in my heart, mind and soul and my thoughts and prayers are with them all and I wish them the best for 2014 and I hope that they too can have a nice and lovely Christmas. I want them to know that they are not alone and that I am with them all. The presents and Materialism shouldn’t matter, but all that matters is togetherness and creating memories.  I wish everyone peace, harmony, happiness, health, success, and all the great things of life. I wish everyone a prosperous, great, and lovely new year. Many blessings to all and wishing everyone all the best. With love always, Talin Orfali

Armenian Sesame Cookies

” ARMENIAN SESAME COOKIES ”

All purpose flour 3 and 1/3 cups
Baking powder 1½ tsp

Salt ½ tsp
Unsalted butter, melted 1 cup or 2 sticks
Milk ½ cup
Sugar ½ cup
Egg 3 large
Sesame seeds 1 cup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combining all wet ingredients
Combine flour, baking powder, salt together and set aside.

Whisk together melted butter and milk in a large bowl, then add sugar and continue whisking until the sugar is mostly dissolved.

Add one egg and whisk again thoroughly.

Gently stir in the flour mixture to make a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 36 pieces of approximately equal weight. Roll each piece of dough into a 4 or 5-inch strand. Connect the ends to make a circle and set aside. Finish shaping all the cookies.

Place a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds in a shallow dish.

Beat two eggs well to form an egg wash. Paint each cookie with egg wash and gently press its top into the dish of sesame seeds.

Arrange cookies, seeded side up, on prepared baking sheets, spacing about an inch apart. Adding a little sesame seeds to the dish at a time to keep them from getting all sticky from the egg wash.

Bake sesame cookies for about 30 minutes or until they are golden and dry. Cool cookies on baking pan on wire racks. Store them in airtight
containers to preserve their crisp texture.

Credits to the Recipe www.sugarbakingblog.com

Talin’s — Armenian Tabouleh Salad

Hello, today is the day where the week of Delicious Armenian and Middle Eastern Food Recipes Kick off as I had stated a couple of days ago. I would like to start with Tabouleh Salad (TAB-OO-LEI). Without Further do, Here is the moment you have all been waiting for.

is a healthy and tasty salad served throughout the tables of Armenian, Middle Eastern People. It is important to incorporate
fresh parsley and mint when making this masterpiece we call tabouleh. Many traditional Lebanese and Armenian recipes for tabouleh use a
much higher proportion of parsley to bulghur. If you prefer this style more than the rest, increase the parsley to 3 cups as desired to your preference.

Ingredients include:
1 cup fine (#1) bulghur wheat
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, chopped finely
3/4 cup cooked chick peas, chopped (Not necessary but if you like you can include this into it)
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, chopped to fine pieces
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped finely
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt to taste and to preference.

Preparation
1. With the bulghur mix with 2 cup cold water and let stand 1 hour to slightly soften.
2. Press out excess moisture and water in strainer.
3. Wash parsley thoroughly, and then drain and pat dry with paper towels, remove the stems and discard, finely chop leaves.
4. Mix the parsley with the bulghur in a large bowl, add chick peas(optional), green onions, tomato and some fresh mint.
5. Combine the oil, lemon juice and salt, pour over tabouleh and mix thoroughly and constantly.
6. Chill well before serving in the refrigerator for over 2 hours or you have the tabouleh salad instantly. Depends on the time you have.
7. Spoon tabouleh into small bowls lined with lettuce leaves for presentation and you can decorate the tops too with any ingredient not chopped in the recipe above.

Serve with pita bread or you can just eat it like that..

Notes
If you can’t find #1 bulghur, use #2 (medium sized bulghur) instead.