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Old 06-07-2012, 12:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Margi Cintrano View Post
CWS,

300 ... Wonderful ... Surely wish, you were just a little bit closer ... Lots of blue pond in between !

Do please let us know how they turn out and thanks for trying the recipe. I feel honored. Appreciate it ... Let me know how they turn out ...

Ciao, Margi.
You would be most welcome to come and enjoy (or help roll them). I could probably pick 1000 leaves. I just scouted the vines that are closest to the house at the farm. There are plenty of grape leaves along the fence at the house in the City. I didn't go check the ones here behind the barns or along the fences bordering the 50 acres of fields. Heck, I could probably pick 10,000 leaves before they get too big. Seems to me I picked leaves until almost the end of June last year. There is definitely not a shortage of grape leaves...just time and freezer space are the problem.
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
You would be most welcome to come and enjoy (or help roll them). I could probably pick 1000 leaves. I just scouted the vines that are closest to the house at the farm. There are plenty of grape leaves along the fence at the house in the City. I didn't go check the ones here behind the barns or along the fences bordering the 50 acres of fields. Heck, I could probably pick 10,000 leaves before they get too big. Seems to me I picked leaves until almost the end of June last year. There is definitely not a shortage of grape leaves...just time and freezer space are the problem.
Do you blanch or parblanch them before you freeze them? I'm going to go get some at a friend's house.
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:20 PM   #23
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Do you blanch or parblanch them before you freeze them? I'm going to go get some at a friend's house.
I blanch the leaves and stuff them, steam them for about 40 minutes, cool, and then freeze the stuffed ones. If you aren't going to stuff them right away, you will want to check the method for freezing just the leaves. You do have to blanch them first. I think I posted how I did my leaves last year in the picnic challenge thread.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:16 AM   #24
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My two-cents' worth from Greece since your original request was for tried-and-true and/or old family recipes -- mine are both, one from my mother-in-law who was as 'Greek village' as they come, and other from a Greek girlfriend's mother, equally authentic, but from a different region of Greece.

I made the first of the season several weeks ago -- they're a huge family favorite, but still a treat as they take some time to make.

I make two versions, one with meat (usually beef, sometimes lamb), one without. Usually I make the meat ones as part of a big oven tray full of stuffed ("yemista") tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. The meatless ones I usually make solo, served with a tart and creamy egg-lemon ("avgolemono") sauce.

The ingredients for the with-meat ones are:
ground beef or lamb
rice (usually short-grain, but it's a matter only of preference)
onions
the 'innards' of the other veggies I'm stuffing
spearmint leaves
olive oil
salt & pepper

The ingredients for the meat-less ones are:
rice
onions (scallions are particularly nice)
celery
parsley
dill, if you'd like
olive oil
salt & pepper

(Maybe I should forewarn you that unless we're talking baking, I'm not a measuring type of cook, so I'd struggle to give you exact amounts here, and, besides, there are so many variables, primary one being how many leaves and/or other things you're planning to stuff. Exact quantities aren't crucial to the recipe's success, and how much of anything you put it depends so much on personal taste. I tend to have a heavy hand with a variety of ingredients because that's how I like them. I'd say use the amount that appeals to you the first time you make them, and then adjust up or down the next time ...)

Basic filling procedure (with-meat):

- finely chop onion and saute in olive oil at least until tender and translucent. If you'd like, cook even more until a bit caramelized and browned which adds a richness to the flavor.

- either add in the ground meat and cook until separated and browned, or remove the onions first, do the meat, and re-combine if you'd rather.

- season with salt, tons of coarsely-ground fresh pepper, and ground/pounded spearmint leaves (mine are usually dried).

- add in the rice (uncooked)

- if you're also stuffing other vegetables, you need by this time to have emptied them out into a bowl. Obviously with pepper, tomatoes, and zucchini, that pretty much means a bowl full of tomato and zucchini guts. I'd suggest pureeing those (blender, blender stick, potato masher, etc.) to get a fairly evenly mushed up liquid-y end result.

- add all or most of this mixture into the onions/meat/rice mixture and simmer until the rice is about half-cooked (still hard/chalky core). You can save out part of this tomato/zucchini mixture to pour over the finished stuffed veggies in the pan before baking, but personally I prefer not to because it can burn (my mother-in-law did do this, but she always managed to have enough left-over (i.e. damaged or otherwise unsuited to rolling) grape leaves that she could put a layer of those over the entire pan preventing what was underneath from burning).

- Let the filling cool a bit which just makes handling a bit easier ...

To prep the leaves other people have given good instructions. My only notes would be that if your leaves are young and tender, there's no need to cut out the central vein and in fact if you do, personally I have no idea how you'd ever wrap them! I only get rid of any hanging stems on the leaves. Otherwise, one by one (it's pleasantly mesmerizing) I blanch them in boiling water, fishing them out with a skimmer and laying them all in the same direction into a wire strainer over a bowl. It makes the rolling go much quicker if yours leaves start out 'organized' this way.

The procedure for the meat-less ones is similar:

- finely chop and sautee the onions as above (olive oil, only)

- add in the rice (proportionally more in this version since here it's the primary ingredient)

- add either water or stock, the latter obviously resulting in tastier dolmades. Season with salt and plenty of pepper, in our house, always coarsely ground and always plenty.

- finely chop the celery (as finely as you can manage -- these are intended to be delicate) and chop whatever other greenery you're using

- depending on how well-cooked you'd like the celery (I like mine more alive than dead), add it into the rice mixture either right when you start simmering it, or much closer to when you're going to pull it off the stove. Bear in mind that you'll be cooking them again once wrapped.

- as in the procedure for the with-meat types, stop cooking the filling when the rice is about half-way done. You should be topping up the liquid as needed, of course.

Wrapping is identical. There must be good YouTube videos out there to help because describing the method really isn't the way to go. My only note about wrapping is that big, galumphing dolmades aren't considered all that nice -- they're intended to be fairly delicate in size. So resist the temptation to over-fill. They're harder to wrap that way anyways.

A note or two about preparing for cooking: someone posted a link to an article that was otherwise good, but I disagree with how they put them in the saucepan because I think with their method you'd risk the dolmades opening up and losing the filling. The way I was taught was to make a tight ring around the outer edge in the saucepan, leaving the middle completely open. If they're packed in tightly enough, they won't budge (and of course as the rice continues to cook, it swells and they pack in even tighter). However, the other big advantage to this is that you can monitor the amount of liquid in the pan very easily -- something that would otherwise be nearly impossible, or at least nearly impossible without disturbing the dolmades which you don't want to do.

That's about all I have to offer. If anyone needs instructions for the stuffed tomatoes, etc. and how to cook those, and/or for the lemon sauce for the meat-less ones, just say so.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:45 AM   #25
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It's that time of year again. I'm using ground turkey (can't find lamb and decided on turkey). I'm doing a variation of Jeff Smith's recipe:

Stuffed Grape Leaves With Egg Lemon Sauce Recipe - Food.com - 184691
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
It's that time of year again. I'm using ground turkey (can't find lamb and decided on turkey). I'm doing a variation of Jeff Smith's recipe:

Stuffed Grape Leaves With Egg Lemon Sauce Recipe - Food.com - 184691
Is this the right time to be picking grape leaves? I recently noticed that one of my condo neighbours has grape vine(s).
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:24 PM   #27
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Is this the right time to be picking grape leaves? I recently noticed that one of my condo neighbours has grape vine(s).
Ours are a bit late because of the winter that went on and on and on. They are supposed to be about the size of your hand. My hands are bigger than your hands. If they haven't been sprayed, I'd go for it. They are bitter when first blanched, but when you steam them to finish the recipe, they lose their bitterness. Supposedly, you are supposed to pick only the four uppermost leaves off the vine.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:56 PM   #28
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Ours are a bit late because of the winter that went on and on and on. They are supposed to be about the size of your hand. My hands are bigger than your hands. If they haven't been sprayed, I'd go for it. They are bitter when first blanched, but when you steam them to finish the recipe, they lose their bitterness. Supposedly, you are supposed to pick only the four uppermost leaves off the vine.
Their vine(s) are growing up the house and most of the leaves are at eaves level. I really don't think they are sprayed. I can ask them when I ask for permission to pick them. Herbicides and pesticides are illegal in my town, unless you have some sort of infestation and get a permit. Hmmm, I wonder if it was illegal when we killed the wasps a few years ago.
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