Armenian Easter Bread

The Recipe: The oh-so-special braided Armenian Easter bread, called "choereg" or some times "choreg". It's a buttery sweet bread, fragrant with an addictive spice called "mahleb" or some times "mahlab". Best of all, it can be made in advance and keeps just beautifully. Many thanks to Cyndi, a Kitchen Parade reader, for sharing her family's special Easter bread! ~ Skip Straight to the Recipe ~

Her Grandmother's RecipeLast summer, a note and a recipe arrived from a reader. I’ll let Cyndi tell the story of her grandmother’s Easter bread in her own words. In Her Own Words“I have been cooking many of the traditional Armenian foods that my grandmother made. I pride myself on the choereg.“Armenian Choereg is a traditional bread served at Easter, sometimes with red eggs placed amid the braids. It is found in Armenian and Greek groceries in New York and New Jersey (where I am from) and gets snatched up fast because it is so good. That is one r…

Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner

Another quick supper, this time a one-pot oven dinner, pork chops and rice cooked together. The very first meal I cooked, memorable for reasons good and bad! Here’s to memories, the ones connecting home-cooked food and real life.On March 31, 1970, I cooked this easy one-skillet supper. Yes, I really do recall a single meal cooked exactly 39 years ago today, perhaps more than the one cooked yesterday, all because: It was my mother’s birthday, her 40th.
It was the first meal I ever cooked.
It was a disaster.
But there’s more to the story, one that demonstrates how kitchen disasters can have happy endings and how some times, no matter what is served, meals are not about the food.Mom had a new job, she was working long hours. That morning, she jotted down her recipe for a standby pork chop supper she’d made herself many times, one so familiar that she left out one itsy bitsy detail: browning the pork chops. Oops. An experienced cook might have realized. Me, I was 11 and following her recipe…

Grape Salad with Almonds & Cilantro

The Recipe: An unusual fruit salad, savory and sweet at the same time. This salad recipe takes familiar ingredients and turns them upside down. Start with your favorite fruit – I've tried grapes, mango and apples – and then just stir in the rest, including a touch of salt, a key ingredient. There you go, fruit salad in a whole new way! ~ Skip Straight to the Recipe ~

Grocery-Store MathEven practiced frugal grocery shoppers suffer temptation.The other day, my local grocery had big bunches of gorgeous-looking red grapes, one group for $1 a pound, another for $2. Closer inspection revealed that the more expensive grapes were seedless. I reached for them, almost unconsciously weighing the value of a dollar to the convenience of seedless grapes.But if a penny saved is a penny earned, a dollar saved is a dollar earned, times a hundred. I picked the grapes with seeds.Turns out, there were hardly any seeds in those $1 grapes. Turns out, the seeds were so soft, I didn’t even bother scooping…