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Recipe: Armenian Monti

I completed the first of my Pre-30 Bucket List! #13, learn how to make Monti.

Monti, is an Armenian dish I LOVE. When my mom first made it for Brian he went crazy. It is now his favorite food of all time, and he’s not the only one.

I’ve been around my mom making Monti since I could remember, but this time I was actually going to learn and be able to replicate it at home.

My mom and me making Monta in the same kitchen!

Apparently, true Armenian Monti uses lamb which I am a fan of, but my mom is not. That is why we always have used beef. She also adds Garlic into the meat.

Here we go!

The Recipe!

Chopped up onions, garlic, parsley and melted butter, before the ground meat is added

egg and oil to start the dough

If the dough is done it should feel like your earlobe

roll out dough into thin strips

cut into squares

spoon meat mixture into dough squares

pinch ends

line up on baking sheet

spoon melted butter over all uncooked monta

in the oven!

This is what they look like when they’re done.

Although, completely good on their own…..

We serve it in a bowl with hot water, garlic yogurt, and topped with slowly grilled “crispy” onions.

I would have taken a picture, but we ate them all before I could get my camera out- So here is a picture I took from another blogger with a different recipe(looks like she’s also an adoptive mommy):

Recipe for Monti from written by my mom:

Mama’s Monti:  From a Scandinavian Mama!  They can blame it on that!  The ingredients are for 1 batch, however when I make it for you all I make it X4

Ingredients:  Single Batch=  About enough to fill 1 cookie sheet

Dough:

 

  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons All purpose Flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 Pound Ground Beef  (It’s customary to use Lamb, but you all love the beef)
  • 1 Onion, chopped very fine
  • 1/4 cup or so, finely chopped Parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground P
  •  Salted Butter, melted  Used to drizzle on just before putting in oven…2 to 4 Tablespoons  (I use more, the Scandinavian thing again!)  And, to answer what you’re thinking,  my cholesterol is low!

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 Cups (at least) of plain Greek Yogurt (We like the Fage Brand)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, or more to your liking….we use more, of course

Broth:

I have never used the broth recipe, but some people use the following:

  • 3 Cans of Beef Broth (or Homemade), or Chicken Broth
  • a Couple Tablespoons of Catsup
  • a Couple of shakes of Tabasco Sauce

To Make Dough:

In a food processor, combine Egg, Water, Salt, and Butter. Process until mixed.
Add Flour and process until mixture forms a ball.  If it’s too sticky, add a bit more Flour.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead a bit until dough is smooth and elastic. About a minute.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest while you are making filling.

To Make Filling:

Combine Ground Beef, Onion, Parsely, Garlic,  Salt and Pepper.  Mix until well-blended.

To Make Yogurt Sauce:

Combine ingredients and refrigerate until serving time.

Set Oven to 375 Degrees

Prepare Pan.  Spread a light coating of butter on pan

Now it’s time to work!  


(First of all picture the end result in your mind so you see where we’re going with this.
They look like a little fat canoe with a ball of meat in it.)

On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough at a time to form a 9 inch square about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares.
Note:  I just roll out some dough to the right thickness as long as you get little squares to fill.

I take a baby spoon and fill about 1/2 Teaspoon of filling on each square.  Then pinch two opposite ends tightly.. It now should look like a little boat with the meat inside.  As each Monti is formed, put it meat side up in the prepared pan.  You can put them fairly close together, as long as they aren’t touching.
Ok, now you can leave this part out, but it’s not going to taste as good as mine!….Drizzle the melted butter over the Monti!.

Bake them on the middle rack in the oven for about 35 minutes.  I check them about 25 minutes   The dough should be browning, but don’t let the bottoms start burning.  Cool  on the pan.

To Serve:

Boil some water in a pan with a little salt.
Put as many of the Monti “boats” in a bowl.
Poor some boiling water in bowl over Monti.
I like it with less water and lots of Yogurt Sauce on Top
Daddy likes more water with Yogurt Sauce mixed together, then adds the Monti

That’s it!  Oh no I almost forgot the best thing of all. The Onion Garnish!   Take 1 chopped yellow onion and slowly cook in a saute pan in……butter!  It takes some time so start this early in the preparation of the Monte.  Cook it until it is carmelized and nice and brown a little crispy.  This is the “garnish” you put on top of the Yogurt Sauce  mmmmm

So I do this Times 4 for my family.  It takes me hours to do that much.  If one family gets me to make it a the other daughters’ family finds out it’s a Monti war.

Note: The Monti Boats freeze great.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Brian and I took a weekend vacation to Carmel!

A big part of my childhood was spent there, so I love going back.

Carmel Then:

Carmel Now:

 

We do encounter one problem. The men in my family (and the ones we marry) tend to be abnormally tall, and the houses in Carmel are built for abnormally small people.

Eating is one of my favorite things to do, and some of the best restaurants are in town.

We met my best friend from Carmel, Heather, and her husband Adam.

We went to the Flying Fish for dinner.

This is my all-time favorite restaurant.

The best abalone!

After dinner, we went to a dive bar in downtown Carmel (didn’t know one existed there!)…complete with a WII, disco ball, vinyl wall decals and boom box as the “sound system”….

Living it up at Ody’s Tavern

The next morning, we went to the Tuck Box for scones. Brian was very reluctant to go here when we first came to Carmel together years ago. We’re both not scone people and a feminine tea house is the last place he wants to hang out….but there is a reason it is huge tourist attraction. The scones are really good, and the atmosphere is very Alice in Wonderland. Now we always make sure to go at least once.

For dinner we went into Pacific Grove to Peppers! They have the best tamales I’ve ever had (half of the time they aren’t available…). And great margaritas…..and classic window lettering.

 

Overall, our trips are always memorable. I need to make a custom calendar with pictures from our trips during different months. It would be great to see them all next to each other. Other places worth eating:

Marinus at Bernardus Lodge.

The Little Chicken House!  (My favorite!)

Little Napoli

Mission Ranch

Fun Facts about Carmel:

  • High-heeled shoes are outlawed (the law used to be enforced long ago..)
  • The city of Carmel-by-the-Sea does not have numbered addresses. You must name your house. Some of the names: Hansel and Gretel, Periwinkle, Sea Urchin….
  • There is no mail delivered (post office only), but if you wanted to order a pizza you would give the address as the name of your house.
  • There are no parking meters
  • Father Junípero Serra (the first President and founder of the early Missions) is buried there

 

 

Wordless…

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Card

Here is the picture we selected for our Christmas Card!

 

 

Picking Out Our Christmas Tree.

This is my favorite time of year!

I LOVE the smell of pine in our house. Time to pick out a tree!

This is the first year where Samuel really understands what is happening. He was only home for a few weeks we got our tree last year.

We went to Mr. Greentrees in West Hollywood. It is probably the most famous Christmas tree farm in the West L.A./Beverly Hills area.

The staff is really friendly, the trees are set up beautifully, and they flock in different colors!

Flocking uses toxic chemicals, but it reminds me of my childhood Christmases….

My grandma’s house had a white flocked tree every year.

They also have some gigantic trees.

15-20 foot ones!

We aren’t going to be around the majority of December, so we thought we would just get a tree for the smell (and tradition’s sake) that was small….

The very friendly and helpful man that worked there told us that those 4 ft trees were $100 without the stand!

As much as I loved that place, I’m too cheap to spend that much on a little tree we will enjoy for a week.

Brian was ready to buy it, but my dad taught me the art of Christmas tree shopping.

Thanks to Siri we were off to East LA….

Where we bought our 6ft tree for $20!

We decided just to do just big lights this year…

And a bow on top….

 

 

Number Sixteen- Pre-30 Bucket List

November 17 I completely overbooked myself.

My cousin came in from San Francisco and her plane was delayed. Then off we went immediately to the boys’ MMA class.

Aram bringing down Big John McCarthy

When the class was over we raced back to our neck of the woods. Dropped the kids off with Mali, and ran off to the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy event. Rolls-Royce that weekend was also showing off their new Phantom Hybrid.

Lori, me, and Alexandra in the new Phantom

Jonathan, Alexandra, me, and Rankin, whose gallery it was (He and Lori have the same pose!)

Lori looking at the pieces with her artistic eye

We left the event and went home to change. At that point we were running way way behind schedule! We were supposed to meet my friend and her friends for drinks before the new Twilight movie, but between the flight delay, the bomb in the bus on Ventura Blvd (yes, bomb) and being overly exhausted, we couldn’t quite do it.

We did, however, make it to the 12:45AM showing of Breaking Dawn (which was fun in the beginning and took an overly strange turn at the end…)

At 6AM we arose and got ready to head out to Las Vegas.

When we got there the room was much bigger than we anticipated. The staff kept opening more and more locked doors that led to bedrooms and bathrooms….

Yeah the TV’s come up out of the bed! Very “MTV Cribs” circa 2001

That is me texting! #hellfrozeover #pigsfly

The birthday boy and me! I always attempt red lipstick in Vegas, and I’m not really sure why….

We were determined to wear sequins the entire vacation….

Happy 30th!

Then we went to an “ice bar” which is basically a bar inside a giant freezer with some crazy ice scultptures. They call it “minus 5″ because that is how cold it is…but we soon figured out they meant Celsius…We weren’t roughing it as bad as we thought.

The highlight of Minus 5 were the cocktails in ice cocktail glasses! They were not only delicious, but we got to shatter them when we left.

Virtual fire in Minus 5′s “lodge”

Jello Shots – I can’t believe I made it through the entire trip without throwing up.

I decided to smoke a cigar. I figured all the junk was getting in my lungs in the casino anyway, why not join in? Ohhhh I am so not a smoker. I got the worst headache and had to go up to the room to clear my head after partaking in a vanilla flavored stogie.

 

Lor discovered her gambling addiction…in the form of slot machines!

I actually won money in Vegas! I  almost lost all my winnings at a Black Jack table, but then, luckily, won it all back!

I discovered how much I hated penny slots! They have the worst return and totally drain you! $50 min. Black Jack is safer! (not kidding!)

With that being said, I completed number 16 on my Pre-30 Bucket list!

 

We Finally made it home where my parents were waiting with the boys! Monta! and Sprinkles Cupcakes!

 

 

Today

Thank you Mr. G for taking this!

Random Adventures

The boys went to the Playboy Mansion. We were visiting to check out the property for a charity event.

They were treated like royalty. Samuel specifically requested fresh squeezed orange juice, and received it.

It was a perfect playground for the kids, if it weren’t for a few large birds trying to poke their eyes out.

Also, My boys were given so many sweets, when came home and crashed on the couch when their sugar high plummeted.

Anyway, the point of this post is regardless of your preconceived notions of locations or people-throw it all out. We are more likely to have positive experiences and discover truth about people without going in with inaccurate assumptions. In this instance, I found nothing but kindness, acceptance, and generosity.

Aram and Mary

Grace and her boyfriend, Samuel

The birds walking around tried to poke their eyes out. They were happy when they found some safely in cages.

 

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