Dolmas – Stuffed Grape Leaves

 Okay, all by myself I went to Guayaquil! I left by taxi to the airport in Catamayo – an hour and 45 minutes, or less from here. Took the 40-minute plane ride over to the coast, to the Port town of Guayaquil – a large city, richer in some places, dirtier in others – but always with the ocean so close. Aah, the ocean breeze really took the edge of the humid heat. I stayed in an Airbnb for the night, then went to the U.S. embassy in the morning, where they renewed by passport and notarized my divorce papers. Turned out my little pic was too small for the passport application! But luckily they took all my papers and I ran out to find a guy leaning against a tree, who walked me quickly three blocks, through a gated community, to a quick doorway, where, for ten dollars, then took one picture and printed out four for me. Then we headed back, went through the four Embassy checkpoints again, yikes! And handed the guy my pictures. Luckily, everyone was SO nice, as usual! Very kind, and often going out of their way to help me.

eRecipe of the Day – Dolmas

Dolmas are a traditional Greek dish. Eat as either a salad, or wrap in Swiss chard  leaves for the with lemon or your favorite dressing to dip in. Try adding raisins, currants, seeds or nuts. Common vegetables to stuff include zucchini, eggplant, tomato and pepper.

Ingredients:

1 c. pine (or other) nuts

4 grape leaves, massaged in olive oil

1 c. sprouted rice or cauliflower/parsnips

2 T. lemon juice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. garam masala/ allspice

Instructions:

To make the filling:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the parsnip/ cauliflower  until it forms rice-like pieces. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a high speed blender or food processor, combine the pine nuts, lemon juice and spices and process until creamy. Add the mixture to the cauliflower.
  3. To make the dolmas: Place one grape leaf, stem side up, on a work surface. Brush with some of the oil mixture. Place one-fourth of the filling near the base of the leaf. Roll up like a cigar, tucking in the sides as you go. Make sure the roll is good and firm. Brush the roll with some of the oil mixture. Set aside. Repeat.

Quick dressing – Blend: 1/4 c.  lemon juice,  1/4 c. olive oil, 1 tsp dill, 1 tsp. mint and a few chiles in a bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Word of the Day – hojas de uva – grape leaves

Tip of the Day – Use leaves from your own land or the countryside surrounding you. Banana leaves for a plate – or as wrap. Corn leaves for tamales, or corn husk dolls, or to start a fire. Grape leaves for dolmas!

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