Treasured Armenian Recipes
It's one week until Easter, one of the most important holidays to Armenians. I was lucky enough to be in Armenia for Easter in April 2000, when we went to Etchmiadzin, where the Holy See of the Armenian church is located. Which reminds me . . . if you are looking for good vegetarian or even vegan dishes, you should start researching Armenian Lenten recipes. They are relatively easy to prepare, nutritious, and a savory change of pace from what I often find to be either bland or just excessively complicated concoctions.
Well dare I gush about a site we found this morning. I am smitten. Written by Robyn Kalajian, a retired culinary teacher, and her husband, Doug, Armenian Kitchen is a treasure.
Start with the vospov kufteh, a wonderful blend of lentils and bulgur that can stand alone as a meal. Try the turleh, an Armenian version of ratatouille that I suspect the French poached from their Middle Eastern Cousins. You can also learn how to fold grape leaves, and also finish your meal with a cardamom fruit salad that is to die for.
Perusing through the Kalajians' collection, I remember why my Armenian relatives almost all live to be octogenarians or even nonagenarians. The foods are rich in whole grains, healthy oils, nuts, dark fruits like pomegranates, and a lot of vegetables. Plus, the food is cooked with affection, and we all know that happy people live longer. Reading through this site, I step back in time to my grandmother's little green house on Terrace and Effie, where she hovered over a white porcelain gas stove, preparing for a Friday night feast . . . the table was overloaded with dishes, the results of pots and pans bubbling over with love.