Monday, August 22, 2005

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma) ©

Lebanon, Greece, Yemen, and other Eastern countries have their own version of stuffed grapes leaves. This recipe is a combination of several different ones. Stuffed grape leaves are a delicious snack for a party, or watching a ball game especially when served with a cold, lemon dipping sauce.


16 oz Jar grape leaves or fresh-grape leaves
3/4 c Long grain uncooked rice
2 tsp Fresh dried mint
1 c Water
2 lb Ground lamb, beef and pork - even amounts
1/2 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp GREEK oregano
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1 TBS cumin
1/2 tsp crushed or powdered dill seeds
4 lg Garlic cloves
2 - 3 large lemons

To prepare fresh grape leaves for rolling, dip one leaf at a time in boiling water for about 30 seconds and cool. Mix ground meat with rice; season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and the other spices. Remove stem from each grape leaf, if using fresh leaves. Spread each leaf on flat surface. Place about 1 teaspoon of meat stuffing across the leaf about 1/2" from stem point. Fold leave forward toward stuffing. Then fold right side over then the left side and roll leaf forward very tightly.

When fully rolled, squeeze it to secure. Repeat for each leaf. Neatly place each stuffed roll in a large pot in layers. Pound the garlic with mint and salt to taste, then add add 1 cup water or more as needed, and lemon juice; pour over grape leaves in the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook covered, very slowly for 1 hour. Add more water if needed. Steam until grape leaves are soft and are pierced and cut easily with a fork. Do not over cook. The leaves should not fall apart. These can be further processed in a hot water bath. Put stuffed leaves in sterilized quart or pint canning jars, pour an even mixture of water and vinegar to 1/2" from top. Process for a full 15-minutes.

Lemon Dipping Sauce

6 egg yolks
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup chicken or beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Beat together the egg yolks and lemon juice and add these to the stock. Cook over a low flame, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot or cold (yields about one cup). Note: This sauce can also be put to good use in soups, with fish and lamb dishes, and with salads.

Chicken with Orange, Almonds and Pistachio Nuts ©

The middle east is known for pistachio nuts, and are used in a lot of recipes. Here is one you may want to try.


1 1/2 cups Basmati or long-grain rice
2 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 TBS Cooking oil
2 TBS Butter
1/4 Cup slivered Almonds
1/4 Cup Crushed Pistachio nuts
1/2 Cup thin slices of Orange peel
3 TBS Sugar
2 Large onions
1 TBS Hawaish(*)

2 Cups Sugar
Saffron, 1/2 teaspoon
Fresh ground Black pepper


Soak rice in warm water for 2-hours. Rinse and dry chicken. Peel and thinly slice onions. Fry in oil until slightly golden. Add chicken pieces sprinkled with HAWAISH and fry until color changes. Add a cup of hot water, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add more hot water during cooking if necessary. About 1/2 cup of water should be remaining at the end.

Save three spoons of sugar for later use. Add remaining sugar to a cup of hot water and bring to a boil. Add chicken juice, 2-3 spoons of oil and saffron, and mix well. Soak almonds in cold water for an hour. Thinly slice orange peels. Boil for a few minutes, drain and repeat. Soak in cold water for an hour, drain, and repeat. Finally, boil for a few minutes with three TBS sugar. When rice is rinsed, pour a bit of oil and hot water in a pot, and add 1/2 of rice. Spread chicken pieces over the rice, and cover with 1/2 of remaining rice. Spread half of almonds and orange peel over rice and cover with remaining rice. Pour sugar and chicken-juice mix prepared earlier over rice. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Add remainder of almonds, orange peel, and pistachios, and mix well.

Garnish with a sprig of sage.


HAWAISH (Spice Mix) All the spices are mixed proportionately and stored to be easily measured out for recipes. 2 TBS ground cumin 1 TBS pepper 1/2 tsp coriander, ground; 1 tsp turmeric, ground; 4 whole cloves, broken up; 4 pods cardamom seeds; 1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated; 2 bay leaves Mix all ingredients together. Store in a glass jar with a tight cover. Keep the 2 bay leaves in the mixture to keep the spices dry and clean. Do not include the bay leaves as part of the spice mixture.

Serves 2.