Marina (in the red apron) was our hostess for the day, as well as our teacher. This picture shows the filling for the main dish of Armenian Tolma (stuffed grape leaves). We also stuffed cabbage leaves and vegetables to create Armenian Summer Tolma.
Some of the wonderful, fresh, summer vegetables in Tajikistan.
Marina's nimble fingers rolling the blanched grape
leaves freshly picked from her yard.
We all had a hand in rolling the leaves...
it was similar to rolling a tiny burrito.
The pot of Tolma before cooking.
Stuffing the fresh eggplant, peppers, tomatoes with the same stuffing: ground beef (hand ground), rice and spices.
Summer Tolma, ready to enter the pot to be cooked.
Final product of stuffed grape leaves, cabbage leaves, and eggplant. My mouth just waters looking at this photo,
remembering the flavor!
Marina also demonstrated some appetizers:
Cottage Cheese Balls "Ala Marina," her own recipe,
also stuffed into peppers...
A larger, party size cottage cheese ball,
with a lovely carrot crudite garnish...
and hummus, my favorite, made right from scratch
from dried chickpeas, served with pita bread or Armenian Lavash.
After all of the cooking, we were delighted to eat it!
We also were served a yummy American Oatmeal Sheet Cake, which of course we ate before any of the cooking began.
Thanks so much to Marina for opening her home and teaching us these delicious dishes. Her attention to detail in the dish presentation was so very inspiring as well. I do plan to attempt all of the new recipes presented.
It was a wonderful time of new friends,
flavors (especially on my part!),
and life as an expat in Dushanbe!