Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stuffed Grape Leaves and a Delish Greek Salad

A week or so ago I started getting emails from the Rachael Ray Magazine with recipes in them.  I have printed off so many of them and have tried a couple.  They were both excellent.  One of the recipes, Greek Fit-for-the-Gods Salad with Spicy Cucumber Dressing and Pita Chips, calls for canned or freshly made stuffed grape leaves.  I lived in Turkey and instantly remembered the spiced and slightly sweet rice filling the cooks there make for their dolmas.  I opened my Turkish cookbook and found a recipe.  I searched at Kroger and found some jarred grape leaves (Mezzetta brand- located by the olives-  They were pricey, but the jar has a lot of grape leaves in it.).  I had some leftover rice, so I improvised and didn't follow the recipe exactly.  They turned out great!  The jarred grape leaves have some citric acid and salt in the brine, so they are already pretty flavorful before being stuffed.  It was actually pretty easy to fill and roll the grape leaves.  Here is a similar recipe from  I used much less cinnamon (just a pinch)than the recipe requires and added a little sugar.  I also used some chopped fresh tomato instead of the paste.  The flavors in the dolmas are different that those made in Greece.  Dolmas made in Lebanon are usually served hot with meat in them.  It was a fun kitchen adventure. 

The other recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine that I loved was for a healthified Tuna Melt.  I adapted it a little, using rye bread, and grilling it in a cast iron pan using some olive oil.  I didn't use the beans or scallions as I didn't have any, and I used a plain old american wrapped, sliced cheese.  It was very tasty even with the omissions!

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