Wednesday, June 25, 2008
GRAPE LEAF PiCKING
My inventive friend Laura and I took our kids grape leaf picking. She has tons of grapes that grow on the sides of her driveway.
It was a beautiful day in the Ozarks...kind of hot but with a cool breeze. The kids had fun adventuring while we picked the leaves. It was very satisfying work. My mind wandered to the thought that people all over the world have been doing this for centuries.What great fun!!
When we got back to Laura's house we canned the leaves in jars. We reserved a bunch to consume for dinner that night. Laura showed me how to make her families recipe for stuffed grape leaves. Her father, who is Lebanese would make them for the family. Boy are they tasty!!!
They are quite different than the dolmas that I have had before. They are stuffed with meat and rice. You could make them vegetarian also. Here is the recipe for those that are interested:
LAURA'S STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
1 c uncooked rice
1 lb uncooked ground meat (beef, lamb, ground turkey)
1 onion minced
2-3 cloves garlic
handful of fresh parsley minced or 2 tsp dried
2-3 tbsp fresh mint leaves minced or 2 tsp dried
1/4 cup lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of tomato paste (optional, we made some with and some without, both were tasty)
50-60 blanched grape leaves
Mix all ingredients in bowl. Place leaf shiny side down on work-surface. Place about 1-2 tbsp of the filling in the center of the leaf. Amount of
filling will vary depending on the size of the leaf. The filling will expand a little as it cooks. Fold the bottom of the leaf up, then the sides,
then continue to roll all the way up, kind of like you roll a burrito. Place in the bottom of a pot side by side in one direction for the first layer
and then the opposite direction for the second layer. Rotate directions for each layer until all leaves are rolled.
Fill pot with water until it is about 2 inches above the grape leaves. Place an oven proof plate inside of the pot to weight the rolls down and keep
them from unraveling. Cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and Simmer until rice and meat are cooked...about 1 hour.
Enjoy! Have a wonderful day!!!