An Armenian-Greek Dinner Party: Recap
Here’s the best pic of our colorful table right before we all sat down to dig in (yes, that is a baby bottle in the background since our friends brought their adorable son!):
Some highlights include…
the grape leaves – I always use my great-grandmother’s recipe and I don’t mean to brag but my friends told me my grape leaves were so delicious that I should consider selling them!
pepper dolma – this was the one “meat” item on the table – half lamb half sirloin, rice and spices (another family recipe)
imam bayildi – another traditional dish, which I usually serve chilled in the summer; however, this roasted eggplant with tomatoes, peppers, onions and herbs was simply delectible warm right from the oven
vospov kufteh (lentil & bulgur wheat patties) – these are best eaten with pita bread
and I would be remiss if I left out the baklava bites! Can I trademark that name btw?
So to recap, here’s how I pulled this dinner party off. On Thursday night I made the grape leaves. It made sense to make them ahead of time 1.) because it is time consuming to roll 50 grape leaves and 2.) they taste even better if you chill them in the fridge for a couple of days to let the flavors really soak in. Friday was another productive day. I prepared the vospov kufteh, baklava bites, dolma filling, tzaztiki and hummus. I actually got ahead of schedule on Friday because I wasn’t planning on making the hummus or the dolma filling until Saturday but I was on a roll so why not? I also vaccumed, dusted and cleaned the bathrooms on Friday so the house was ready for company. Then the day of on Saturday I set the table and even put out all of my serving plates and utensils. I took this photograph in the morning so I would remember which appetizers to put in which platters/bowls:
I ended up adding a couple of extra apps, which I picked up at one of my favorite Armenian stores, Sevan Bakery: Armenian string cheese and a dip called muhammara. I’ve tried to make it before but I just love Sevan’s so much that it just makes sense to buy there’s. Muhammara is such an interesting combination of ingredients: pomegranate molasses, walnuts and roasted red pepper. It sounds odd but the flavors are amazing together! Our friends also ended up bringing some delicious tapenade and baked feta to go with our mediterranean/middle eastern theme. Anyway, back to Saturday…the dolma was already ready as I had made the filling and stuffed the peppers. The stock pot sat in my fridge until late afternoon on Saturday. I also made the imam bayildi on Saturday. Before I knew it, it was 3pm, everything was in order and on schedule and I ran upstairs to shower and make myself pretty for my guests. After pulling myself together, I popped the imam bayildi into the oven and threw the dolma on the stovetop. I quickly put appetizers in the correct serveware and before I knew it we were greeting out guests! With a little planning and prepping, a dinner party of this scale is totally possible. Had I left everything to Saturday it would have been a nightmare but sticking to my schedule made this dinner party a sinch and I can’t wait to do it again!
I can’t wait to share recipes this week for the grape leaves, dolma, vospov kufteh, imam bayildi and baklava!
What do you do to prepare for a dinner party? Do you like to have a theme when you entertain?