Category Archives: General Update

General Status Updates/News of Our Website

GoFundMe Setup in Memory of Alex and Andrea Kaloostian Espinola

Please join Florida Armenians in a special fundraising drive to donate benches to be placed around Davis Island (Tampa, FL) in memory of Alex and Andrea Kaloostian Espinola.

Gigi Kaloostian, mother of Alex and Andrea, created this fundraiser to honor their memory and each bench will include a plaque with both of their names.

It is our hope that these benches will serve as a home to meet friends and dogs, as well as a special place to share your Alex and Andrea stories.

Each bench is $2000, let’s put in as many as we can! The goal is to have these benches installed in May.

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Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip, aka Baba Ghanoush or Moutabal – A Lenten Recipe

By Robyn Kalajian
Florida Armenians Cuisine Contributor

Back in December we were pleased to see a recipe for ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’ by Dayana Sarkisova in the Washington Post. Why did this make us happy? Because the recipe, also known as ‘Baba Ghanoush’ or ‘Moutabal’, is one that we love. We also enjoy the grilled zucchini version of this, Mama Ghanoush.

By the way, this is perfect for Lent, which begins on Monday, February 24th this year.

Here is The Armenian Kitchen’s version of ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’

Here’s my version of ‘Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip’ –
‘Baba Ghanoush’, or, ‘Moutabal’:

(Making this recipe a day in advance will allow the flavors to develop.)

Yield: about 1 ½ to 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 large purple eggplants
  • 2 large cloves garlic, roasted and mashed
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Aleppo pepper (freshly ground black pepper may be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. ground sumac (sold in Middle Eastern stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Rinse eggplant; pat dry. Using a paring knife or fork, pierce the eggplant all around.

Roasted eggplant.

Wrap 2 large, unpeeled garlic cloves in foil. Place pierced eggplant and wrapped garlic on prepared baking sheet. Roast for about 30-35 minutes or until eggplant and garlic are soft. To test for softness, insert the fork or paring knife into the eggplant. It should slide in without any resistance.

Using tongs, place eggplant on a wire rack to cool. Remove garlic from foil; gently squeeze softened garlic into a bowl and mash with a fork. Set garlic aside until ready to add.

Eggplant mixture before processing.

Once eggplant is cool enough to handle, put it on a cutting board, pull away the skin and discard. Roughly chop the eggplant, then place it in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients mixing to combine.

To make a semi-smooth mixture, puree it in a food processor for a few seconds, but don’t over-do it.

Return mixture to the mixing bowl to adjust seasonings, if necessary.

To Serve: Place eggplant dip into a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro. Add a sprinkling of sumac and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

It’s best served at room temperature with chips, crackers, vegetable sticks, pita bread triangles, or lavash.

Armenian National Institute Exhibit Opens at Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Defense

Major General Lee Tafanelli of the Kansas Army National Guard with U.S. military delegation, U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy, Dr. Ashot Melkonian of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, and Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan at the Republic of Armenia’s Defense Ministry for the opening of the ANI exhibit.

YEREVAN, ARMENIA – United States Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy and Kansas Army National Guard Adjutant-General, Major General Lee Tafanelli, joined Armenia’s Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan for the opening of the exhibit “The United States Military in the First Republic of Armenia 1919-1920” on January 27 at the Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Defense in Yerevan.

Created by the Washington, D.C.-based Armenian National Institute, the new exhibit focuses on the enormous extent of humanitarian assistance rendered by the United States to Armenia in the aftermath of World War I through the services of American military missions sent to Armenia.

In his opening remarks, Minister Tonoyan thanked Ambassador Tracy for the support extended by the United States in recent years to Armenia. Reflecting on the historical exhibit, Tonoyan noted that: “For many, U.S. assistance during those years was critical, especially the new opportunities created to provide education thanks to which many Armenians received schooling during that difficult time and went on to make impressive achievements.”

Ambassador Tracy delivered welcoming remarks congratulating those present on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the Armenian Army and spoke about the important work done over the past 100 years.

U.S. General Tafanelli along with his delegation of officers viewed the exhibit and are in Yerevan as part of the U.S.-Armenia military partnership program.

U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy, Major General Lee Tafanelli, and Babken Vartanian at the Republic of Armenia’s Defense Ministry for the opening of the ANI exhibit.

Regional Director Arpi Vartanian, speaking on behalf of the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Institute, pointed out the importance of the high level military mission that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson dispatched to Armenia and stressed their effective intervention in stabilizing the humanitarian crisis in the country despite the small size of the American contingents. She thanked as well Armenia’s servicemen on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the founding of Armenia’s modern-day army.

The 27-panel exhibit documents the tremendous importance of the U.S. humanitarian intervention during the most difficult years in the life of the newly-formed Armenian state. Based upon the photographic collection of an American medical officer, Dr. Walter P. Davenport, the exhibit reveals the depth and breadth of measures taken by U.S. military personnel to stabilize the humanitarian crisis in Armenia, and especially the caretaking of the most vulnerable part of the population through hospitals, orphanages, food distribution points, and other facilities.

Subtitled “The American Relief Administration and Walter Davenport of the U.S. Army Medical Corps,” the exhibit reveals how in 1919, U.S. military personnel and civilian aid workers cared for tens of thousands of children. As Dr. Davenport reported: “At the present time we are furnishing food and medical relief to 75,000 children daily, this work being done through the medium of orphanages, orphanage hospitals, soup kitchens, cocoa kitchens, milk stations, bread distributing points, orphanage infirmaries, and public dispensaries.”

Dr. Walter P. Davenport with local Armenian medical staff.

The Davenport collection of photographs not only documents the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Armenia, but also the measurable difference American relief efforts made in the span of only a few months. The exhibit displays official and personal records related to Dr. Davenport’s activities in Armenia, which he subsequently reported in The Military Surgeon journal. With 103 photographs, 3 maps, 14 documents, and several newspaper articles, the exhibit pictorially reconstructs the conditions that U.S. military personnel witnessed in Armenia.

The digital version of the ANI exhibit is available on online and free to download from the ANI website where five other exhibits may be viewed. Designed for instructional purposes, the exhibits explain several aspects of the Armenian Genocide that were well documented photographically.