During my walk through the garden I noticed that the fist wine leaves were almost big enough to be used for one of my favourite Greek dishes: dolmadakias (diminutives of dolmades)! Now in early spring the leaves are very light, tender and even if even still small, I decided to try to make this without meat (lamb or beef
As the same times I had some asparagus on hand, I decided to prepare also the egg-lemons sauce, which is perfect for both preparations!
Usually for this recipe, we use pine nuts, but as did not have such of them just now at home, I decided to uses some previously roasted pumpkin seeds; and WOW! This was real great!
I collected only about 30 leaves about 10-12 cm wide (yes real small, but tender!) and these made 3-4 cm sized dolamadakias.
Note: this dish often served lukewarm and the lemon leaves would taste even better the next day.
30 young tender fresh grape leaves (double the filling and the sauce if you have big leaves), washed and stem removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
½ cup rice
1 cup vegetal broth (or simply the hot water you used to prepare the leaves + salt)
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, copped
2 tablespoons, chopped roasted pine nuts (or roasted pumpkin seeds)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juice of
1/2 lemon, grated peel of
1 cup water (I used drained liquid form the stuffed leaves + the blanching water for the leaves)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional lemon juice
Bring about 1 liter of water to boil and place the leaves in hot water. Drain the leaves after 3 minutes (preserve one cup of water). Set aside and don’t discard the water.
Fry the onion in the oil just until translucent, add the rice and the broth. Reduce to simmer.
Add the herbs and seed, cook until the water is adsorbed for about 6-8 minutes, the rice will not be cooked through, but this just fine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Place a small amount of this filling (about 1 teaspoon or more if the leaves are big) on the backside of the leaf near the stem and then close it. For this step, I first fold the left and right side of the leaf toward the center and I roll it up starting from the side of the stem (like the spring rolls).
Place one tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of you pot, and then place the stuffed leaves one by one, near each other, opening side down so that they don’t move. If you have more leaves you some leaves to cover the bottom of the pot or (even better) a few thin sliced potatoes (addition to your meal)!
Try to make two layers of the leaves in the pot (size depends on the leaves and the pot!)
Grate le lemon zest, set aside; juice the lemon and set this aside as well.
Place parts of the peel or additional lemon slices over the stuffed leaves, cover with the water (add to the water previously salt to taste), add about 1 third of the lemon juice as well.
Cover with a small plate the stuffed leaves, so that they don’t move while cooking. Cover with the lid and simmer for about 40 minutes (adding some more water if needed). Drain out the liquid and use it for the sauce.
If you have rice leftovers, cook them in a small saucepot with water as a risotto until done.
For the egg-lemon sauce blend together the egg, the lemon juice the lemon zest, the drained liquid from the stuffed leaves, the cornstarch and the olive oil.
Very slowly heat the sauce in a small saucepot until it thickens (do not let it boil but add more water if needed). Adjust salt and pepper. If you need add more lemon juice to taste.
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, if possible with whole grains
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 cup croutons
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup thinly sliced parmesan cheese
Walnuts, enough to top each mushroom
Remove stems of the mushrooms and make a hole a little bit bigger using the vegetables-carve. You will use the caps, but reserve the cutouts and the stems for another recipe.
Place the cups on an ovenproof mold (opening up).
Crash or dice the croutons lightly (to about 5 mm/ ¼ of inch size) so that they will fit better into the mushrooms.
In a small bowl combine mustard, cream cheese and nutmeg add croutons and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Spoon about 1 tablespoon stuffing mixture into each mushroom cap.
Top with the parmesan cheese.
About 10 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
Bake the mushrooms into the oven for 2 minutes or so, when you see, that the cheese begins to melt, take out of the oven, to with one piece of walnut and bake until the cheeses begins to change the color and the mushrooms and heated through.
Here is my choux recipe which I’m keeping since years.
I was used to prepare the sweet variation, but now I used them for a savory recipe using them at the place of “vol aux vents” cases with my vol au vent recipe for a Valentine Day suggestion. In this case I omitted the mushrooms and I used instead some diced parley root, but both would work fine!
For this special day I suggest to use either only one piece as entree or 3-4 pieces as main dish. Adapt the quantity of the filling to the needed portions as the empty choux can be kept for a few days or for other preparations.
For decoration I used carrots cut outs with cookies cutters (boil 3 minutes in salted water) and a few drops cream of balsamic shaped with a toothpick to hearth!
Read the procedure before starting to prepare the dough. The flour should be at room temperature!
In a saucepan combine water, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour: it’s very important to the flour all at once!
Immediately stir using a wooden spoon (I use the spoon with the “hole”) and stir until you get a homogeneous mass.
Bring back to medium heat and continue to stir until it pulls away from the walls (this takes about 2-4 minutes).
Now remove from the heat and let cool down under 56°C before adding the eggs (this will prevent denaturation of the proteins of the eggs). For this step add the eggs one while incorporating them using the hand mixer. The dough now should be shiny, smooth and thick enough that it will keep the shape after piping (not running!).
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
For baking I use a silicon mat, but a parchment foil would be great as well.
You can drop the dough using the spoon on the parchment foil, but for this Valentine suggestion you either spoon it into a piping bag to pipe into heart shapes, or press gently into a heart shaped cookie cutter, or repeat until all the dough is used up. You may also correct the shape with a wet finger.
Bake for 15 minutes at 220°C until risen and golden (don’t open the door).
Then cook for other 20 minutes at 150°C opening shortly (2 seconds) the oven for a few centimeter from time to time so that the steam will escape.
Switch off the heat. Turn the choux upside down and let them to cool down in the oven. For this step the door should stay lightly open (I use my wooden spoon to prevent closing again of the door)
You can fill this to your taste or keep them in an air tight container until needed.
We tried these simply and delicious dish on Tenerife as we escaped the European winter for a few days.
Originally these peppers had been imported from America and now they are very much appreciated in Spain and all over the world. For this recipe you should use small green peppers (called pimientos de Padrón) each one just one bite!
Traditionally these peppers should be fried, after this some salt (with “sal Maldon“) is added and they are served immediately. In this version we will toss them with little olive oil and bake them in the oven.
These are usually served as appetizer, but as side dish works very well for us.
Pimientos de Padrón al Horno – Oven Baked Peppers from Tenerife
Vitello tonnato or vitel toné (veal with tuna sauce) is a traditional Piemontese (from Piemonte, and Italian region) dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that has been flavored with tuna and anchovies. It may be served chilled or at room temperature, generally in the summertime, as the main course of an Italian meal or as “an exceedingly elegant antipasto for an elaborate dinner.
In my version turkey cooked at low temperature for a few hours; but you can use turkey leftovers form the Thanksgiving Day for this!
Originally fresh white tuna (in most restaurants canned tuna is used today to reduce cost and preparation time) is simmered until fully cooked in white wine, cider vinegar, white onion and garlic, and then puréed with a mix of olive and vegetable oil and egg yolks in an electric blender or food processor to form a thick sauce. A variety of seasonings can be used, including anchovies, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. The thick, smooth purée is then somewhat thinned with a little water and cooking liquid from the veal and a few capers are stirred in. Some of the sauce is spread out on a serving platter and the cold slices of veal are arranged in a single layer on top. The rest of the sauce is then poured over the veal so that it is, generally, completely covered.
This is a double recipe; the slow roasted turkey breast and the tonnato sauce.
500 g turkey breast with tonnato would feed about 4 people, so I suggest to prepare 1 kg of breast, enjoy half of it warm the half of this with the tonnato sauce. Or simply double the sauce ingredients for the whole turkey breast and this make about 8-10 servings.
Note: you may also try to cook “sous-vide” the breast with the wine and the spices. Finish by quick broiling it in the oven.
Tacchino Tonnato – Slow Cooked Turkey Breast with Tuna Sauce
Pat the turkey dry all over with paper towels and place it in a bowl and rub with spices, salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 85-90°C together with the mold.
Heat oil in a skillet and brown the breast on all sides (this takes about 7-8 minutes).
Place the breast in the preheated mold, dissolve fond in the skillet with the wine and pour it over it over the breast. Place it immediately in the oven at 85-90°C and bake for about 4 hours. Best if you can measure the temperature in the center of the meat. This should reach 75°C.
Remove turkey form the oven and enjoy about half of it warm with the favorite sauce (for example a cranberry sauce or the sauce I suggest in recipe in my recipe of Meatstars or Meatballs with Asian Flavor)
Let cool down the remaining the remaining and place it overnight in the fried.
Slice thinly the breast and arrange it on a serving dish.
Place all the ingredients for the sauce into the blender and process until smooth. Adjust taste with salt and pepper or add more capers.
Spoon the sauce over the sliced turkey and top with capers.
Finish to garnish with the ingredients you like and you have on hand.
Ww 11 smart points per portion (4 portions from 500 g turkey breast)