IT WAS NOT your usual post-concert reception. The food was neither French, Italian nor quasi Oriental. The stuffed grape leaves and baklava were more in tune with the Corcoran's Doric-columned atruim, but the food was certainly not Greek. The event was a musical evening honoring Miran Kojian, concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra, and the food served was the musician's native Armenian.
After the last strains of Dvorak were applauded, the 300 or so in attendence headed toward the two buffet tables. Clearly labeled for any non-Armenians in the audience were homemade chourek, a sweetbread similar to challah, string cheese, which local Armenian ladies perpared at home, Armenian steak tartare, homos and pita, yalanchi, stuffed grape leaves more tomatoey and sweeter than the Greek, cheese bourek, buttered phyllo dough pastries stuffed with muenster cheese and egg and tiny individual baklavas.
NSO conductor Mstislav Rostroppvich said, as he bit into a yalanchi, "It is gorgeous. I like Armenian food very much. All my life I've been a great expert on it. I have many Armenian friends in Erevan (capital of Soviet Armenia). I especially like hot dolma yalanchi with madzoun [yogurt]."
Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger compared the food to what she had eaten in Greece. "I find it very delicious, a nice change from the usual cocktail fare."
Mr. and Mrs. Milton Shurr, docents of the Corcoran, came because they were interested in music. The food was a bonus. "The concert was marvelous and this group has such a warm feeling."
Louise Rupelian, a Greek married to an Armenian, thought the evening a good chance for people to see how difficult it is to make Greek and Armenian dishes.
It was clear that the food was prepared by Gourmet Angels, a "quatro" of local Armenian women specializing in American and Middlle Eastern foods was as warmly received as the Armenian composer Mirzoyan's string quartet.
Richard Parnas, principal violinist of the National Symphony, said "I'm crazy about the triangular cheese things [bourek] and the baklava, but I'm not wild about grape leaves."
Virginia Harpham, pricipal of the National Symphony's second violin section, was even more enthusiastic. "I think this food is marvelous, especially those cheese whatever they are [the same cheese boureks]. Armenians know how to eat. This is such a nice ending to a lovely evening." And so it was. HUMOS (About 2 cups) 1 (20 ounce) can drained chick peas 2 tablespoons tahini (crushed sesame seeds) Juice of 1 large lemon 2 garlic gloves 2 tablespoons olive oil Paprika
Blend all the above ingredients in a blender or food processor.Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with olive oil and paprika. Serve with triangles of pita. EASY METHOD BAKLAVA (70 to 80 pieces) 1 pound melted sweet butter 1 pound phyllo dough 1 1/2 pounds crushed walnuts 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon Syrup: 2 cups sugar 1 cup water 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Butter three sheets of pyllo dough, placing one on top of the other.
Combine the nuts, sugar and cinnamin. Take several handfuls of the nut mixture and run it along the edge of the dough. Roll up the dough to resemble a log. Place logs on cookie sheet side by side. Brush the tops with butter. aBake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut each log on an angle 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
Combine the syrup mixture and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Drizzle the syrup over the baklava. CHEESE BOUREK 1 1/2 pounds grated muenster cheese 2 eggs, well beaten 1 pound melted butter 1 pound phyllo dough
Combine the cheese and eggs.
Brush butter on 1 sheet of phyllo dough. Use 1 sheet of dough for large boureks or cut sheets in half (shortest width) for bite-size boureks. Place 1 tablespoon cheese mixture in center of the dough. Fold over sides to give three thicknesses. Begin to fold in triangular shape as you would fold an American flag. Brush top with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Before baking, the boureks are ideal for freezing set in a container between pieces of waxed paper. As needed bake as above. YALANCHI (About 50) 7 to 8 chopped medium onions 3/4 cup olive oil 1 cup uncooked rice 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup chopped dill Juice from 1 lemon Salt and pepper to taste 1 (16 ounce) jar grape leaves
Saute onions in oil unitl onions are transparent. Add remaining ingredients except grape leaves and mix well.
Drain and separate grape leaves. Cut off all stems. Spread a leaf on a small plate, dull side up and stem toward you. Place a teaspoon of filling near stem end, fold over sides of leaf and roll to end of leaf.
Cover bottom of a Dutch oven with loose leaves to prevent yalanchi from burning. Arrange yalanchi in pan tightly, making 2 to 3 layers. Cover with loose leaves. Add 2 cups of boiling water and bake covered with plate at 350 degrees for one hour. Allow to rest and cool.