february 13, 2011

Following our Valentine’s Day tradition, we made a feast of Mediterranean dishes. Lunch was a mix of our favorite meze and dinner continued with a delicious fisherman’s stew.


2 6-oz packets vine leaves
2 cup long grain white rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbs olive oil
4 oz pine nuts,toasted
4 tbs currants
2 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
1 tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leave parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
6 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs allspice
4 cups vegetable stock

Soak the vine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes, then remove and pat dry. Reserve some leaves to line the saucepan and discard any with holes. Meanwhile, soak the rice in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften, then drain. Mix the rice, onion, olive oil, pine nuts, currants, herbs, 1 tbs of allspice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.

Lay some leaves vein-side down on a flat surface. Place 1 tbs of filling in the center of each, fold the stalk end over, then left and right sides into the center, and roll firmly towards the tip. Repeat with remaining filling and leaves. Line the base of a large, heavy-based saucepan with reserved vine leaves. Drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil. Add the stuffed leaves, packing them tightly in one layer. Sprinkle the layer with allspice. Add subsequent layers of dolmades.

Pour olive oil, stock, and lemon juice over them. Cover with an inverted plate. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes.


2 6-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
5 gloves garlic, minced
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper

Bring 4 cups of water to boil in medium sauce pan. Add garbanzo beans and let boil for five minutes. Drain beans into colander and rinse under cold water. Run beans between fingers to remove outer husks; discard husks.

In a large bowl, mash together beans, garlic, and oil. Add lemon juice, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley, paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Note: This is not a true hummus (no tahini sauce). It’s thicker and less creamy, but very good.


1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 oz lemon juice
2 cups bulgur
2 bunches flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
salt, pepper

Soak bulgur for 1 hour. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl.

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