April 2, 2013

The Boys Take Over! And I Bake...

Armenian Barbecue Feast and an Armenian Nutmeg Cake. 

bbq meat

Spending months and months making the inside of our new (old) house livable has been quite a task.  There are still many, many more projects that need to be done, but we have been somewhat ignoring the outside of our home.  Right now the front yard consists of a beautiful blooming tree with pink blossoms surrounded by... dirt.  Our backyard has three 100-year-old Oak trees and even more dirt, along with a pool who's vinyl liner is severely damaged and that is in extreme need of cleaning and chlorine.  But, it's all a work in progress.  I mean, we aren't millionaires! Baby steps, baby steps... At least we got the sprinklers installed last weekend! 

nutmeg cakehummus pita

It was Jamie's brother, Sean, that had the great idea of some sort of themed BBQ or dinner.  He visited my blog after it launched and suggested I do a frequent post in which "the men take over the blog"!  So here it is, the first of many!  This weekend we kept it small, mostly because the shape of our backyard is ROUGH, to say the least.  Until we lay some grass and make the pool not a shade of pea green, we will not be throwing any large parties, unfortunately.  :(

armenian market pasadenaarmenian market shopping

We decided to have an Armenian feast this time around!  We visited Garni, a fabulous meat market in Pasadena.  The folks there were so nice and helpful.  The selection was great and the prices were fair.  All of the meat we got was marinated and it was fabulous.  Chicken, lule, lamb, quail and their famous spicy chicken wings, it was all delicious!  We left there with over 10 lbs of meat... we only had four people attending the dinner, so needless to say, we had leftovers.  Surprisingly though... not a lot. 

bbqarmenian bbq

Sean brought his charcoal grill and we grilled it all in stages throughout the afternoon and early evening.  As you can see, it just so happened that Sean's grill was the same shade of green as our swimming pool, so we got a kick out of that!  The boys grilled everything over a mixture of original and mesquite charcoal, it was HOT!  Hot men grilling over a hot grill... that's my kind of weekend! 

  armenian bbqbbq quail

bbq feast

While the boys were setting up the grill, I searched for an easy Armenian dessert to whip up in the kitchen.  The obvious choice was baklava, but I was drawn to an Armenian Nutmeg Cake that kept popping up as a Daring Baker's Challenge from last year.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, so decided to give it a try.  I knew I liked nutmeg, but after this cake I can say that I love it!  This cake has a crispy, crunchy bottom layer and a soft coffee cake-like layer.  It was so good that when my attempt to re-make my Citrus Upside Down Cake for Easter failed miserably late the night before, I quickly made another Nutmeg Cake on Easter morning to bring to brunch!  It's that quick and easy!

nutmeg cake

nutmeg cake

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Adapted from Cooking College Chick
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temperature, cubed
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a cup, mix together milk and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.  Add brown sugar and combine.  Using your hands or a fork, mix in the butter.  You want to achieve a uniform, tan-colored, crumbly mixture. 

Place HALF of the mixture into a 9" round cake pan to form the crust.  Set the remaining half aside. 

In a bowl, whisk the egg and nutmeg until it's nice and frothy, about 3 minutes.  Add the milk and baking soda mixture, and stir to combine.  Add the wet mixture into the remaining dry mixture and stir until combined.  Pour the batter into the cake pan and top with walnuts. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.


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