Due to popular demand, Lana scheduled a couple classes at Ingredients for those who wanted more Greek and Italian cooking recipes and tips.
Last night was Greek. With two of my favorite foods… dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and avgolemono soup (egg and lemon soup). We also had tzatziki (yogurt cucumber sauce) and karidopita (a cake). Making it even more fun, Best Friend was able to come too.
A tip Lana had for buying grape leaves is the ones from the US (California) are milder than those from overseas. Also, bigger is not better… it’s tougher. Go with smaller leaves like this one.
Put the filling right in the middle of the leaf and roll. Same method you’d use for a wonton or burrito. Just have to keep that filling inside!
Another tip… find help to stuff them! That’s Best Friend on the left.
And here they are all lined up waiting to be cooked.
Avgolemono soup is just so good. Tangy and rich, it’s a Greek comfort food.
Tzatziki sauce is so versatile. It can be a dipping sauce, a salad dressing or a condiment for gyros. If you make it and don’t use Greek yogurt, make sure you drain your regular yogurt for several hours. Greek yogurt is much thicker.
The karidopita is one of those dense cakes that causes you to have a happy little sigh as you eat it. Definitely not low anything! And that includes taste.
Himself is so looking forward to trying these when he gets home!
Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
1 jar grape leaves
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (basmati is very nice)
½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped mild onion
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 Tbs dry dill weed
Juice of one lemon
1 pound ground lamb
1 tsp allspice
2 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
Mix together all filling ingredients. Set aside.
Remove stems from grape leaves. Lay leaf on counter with stem side up. Place 1 to 2 teaspoons filling in the center of the leaf. Fold stem base up first, then sides, then roll to tip of leaf, forming a cigar shape. Do not wrap too tightly as rice needs room to expand.
In a heavy pan, place a single layer of unrolled leaves on the bottom. Then a layer of rolled leaves side by side. Repeat until all rolled leaves are in the pot. Finish with a layer of unrolled leaves.
On top place a plate to keep the leaves pushed down in the pot.
Mix stock and lemon juice, pour over leaves. Cover and cook for one hour on medium low heat. Remove from heat and let cool an additional hour. Do not remove lid or leaves will darken.
(Note: Lana used ground turkey instead of lamb as there was no lamb to be found in town. They were excellent!)