Recipe Corner: A Hundred Years and Still Cooking, Recipes from First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno


Esther Bagdasarian’s Grape Leaves (Yalanchi Sarmas)


1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 large onion, sliced, plus 1 medium onion, sliced

1 cup long-grain or converted rice

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1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

Juice of 4 lemons

1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cayenne pepper


1 16-oz. jar grape leaves

Heat olive oil and vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden and limp, about 10 minutes. Add rice, tomato sauce, lemon juice, parsley, dill, salt, and cayenne and paprika to taste. Add water to cover if liquid in pan does not cover onions and herbs. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all juices are absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Put 1 grape leaf on plate. Place about 1 tablespoon filling at bottom of leaf. Fold in sides and roll up. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.

Line baking pan, such as roaster with lid, with grape leaves. Arrange filled leaves in 3 or 4 layers in pan, alternating direction of each layer to promote even cooking. Cover with additional grape leaves and weight down with heat-proof plate. Add water to cover. Cover with pan lid and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Cool completely, then refrigerate at least 1-2 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Makes about 50 stuffed leaves. Each stuffed leaf: 75 calories; 52 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.09 gram fiber.

Menzmyrek’s Luleh Kebab


2 pounds ground lamb

1 pound ground beef chuck

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

2 large bunches parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons allspice

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt

6 to 8 green onions, chopped

Combine lamb, beef, tomato sauce, 1 bunch chopped parsley, allspice, paprika and salt in large bowl and knead with hands until well blended. Form mixture into 4×1 1/2-inch sausages.

Grill over hot coals, turning once, until medium rare to medium, about 10 minutes. Do not overcook; kebabs should be juicy.

Arrange on serving platter. Sprinkle kebabs with some of the green onions and some of remaining parsley. Serve remaining green onions and parsley on the side.

Makes 6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 197 calories; 1,001 mg sodium; 81 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 27 grams protein; 0.70 gram fiber.

Sesame Sticks (Simit)


1 cup flour

1 rounded teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

4 to 5 tablespoons milk

1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Cut in shortening until finely crumbled. Gradually add 3 to 4 tablespoons milk to make dough softer than pie dough, stirring first with spoon, then mixing with hands.

Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface. Fold over and roll again. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Finally roll out into oblong about 4 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Slice into 4×1/4-inch strips. Hold each strip by ends and twist in opposite directions.

Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops with 1 1/2 teaspoons milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Brush lightly with remaining milk using patting motion to help stick sesame seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes longer.

Makes about 30 sesame sticks. Each stick: 32 calories; 25 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.02 gram fiber.


This collection includes recipes by the pioneering Armenian women who first settled in California more than 120 years ago. A Hundred Years and Still Cooking, the First Armenian Presbyterian Church of Fresno (FAPC) Fidelis Women’s Society Centennial recipe collection. First published in 1993 by H. Markus Printing, the 496-page volume includes instructions for preparing 636 different recipes. To order a copy, send a check or money order for $35.00 to: First Armenian Presbyterian Church 430 S. First St., Fresno, CA 93702, Attention: Marine or write to

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