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.
This Greek stuffed zucchini blossoms recipe (Kolokytholouloutha Yemista/Κολοκυθολούλουδα γεμιστά) makes a delightful appetizer and the recipe is similar preparation wine leaves.
A friend of me gave me her zucchini flowers, but winter and summer squash are perfect as well. If picking your own fresh blossoms, pick early in the morning do so in the morning when they have just bloomed or buy it in the morning at the farmer market. Remove the pistil inside of the blossom as it is bitter.
As usually there are many different recipes of this dish, some of them don’t ask you to fry the onion prior filling, I tried both variation and both are delicious as well.
I hope you enjoy this stuffed zucchini blossoms recipe!
Remember: When picking zucchini blossoms, do so in the morning when they have just bloomed or buy it in the morning at the farmer market. Remove the pistil inside of the blossom as it is bitter.
Zucchini or potatoes (peeled) slices to cover the bottom of your pot, optional
2 cups water, warm
1/4 cup olive oil
Trim the bottom of the flowers, remove pistil and remove any small outer leaves around the blossom. Place in a bowl with lukewarm for 10 minutes. Rinse with fresh water set them upside-down to dry.
Fry onion and garlic in a wide skillet until translucent.
Add rice, tomatoes and water. Simmer until the water is adsorbed.
Add parsley, mint and half one quarter cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well.
Cover the bottom of your cooking pot with zucchini or potatoes slices if the bottom of your pot is too thin in order to avoid burning.
Gently open the flower and use a spoon to fill them and close with the petals to seal the filling. Don’t overfill them!
Place the filled flowers on the lined pot.
Add broth and drizzle with olive oil.
Place an inverted place on the flower to fix them and cover with a lid.
Cook at low temperature until liquid is completely adsorbed. Switch off the heat and let cool down a bit. You may also place use a baking mold, cover as described ad bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for about 40 minutes (switch off after 30 minutes).
I was planning to prepare something like “Kotopoulo avgolemono ” (Greek chicken in lemon-egg sauce) with asparagus, but during the way home from home, the cold weather inspired me to prepare the meal on the open fire using my paella skillet.
If you cannot prepare this on the fire you may simply prepare this in your skillet, this will work for sure as well!
As the chicken was cooking I decided to skip the egg, the sauce was so delicious that I really did not need more and my fresh bread rolls came just out of the oven.
The result was extremely delicious a perfect warming and comforting meal!
The chicken was tender, juicy, the asparagus done but not too soft and the sauce: a real dream!
500 g green asparagus, trimmed and partially peeled
4 tablespoon olive oil, or to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups vegetal or chicken broth
2 small lemons, juice and peel of one of them
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and them with flour, remove excessive flour.
Prepare the onion and the asparagus.
Add oil to the skillet and adjust chicken pieces and onion on it.
Heat and brown on both sides.
Add wine, broth, lemon and peel of one lemon juice bring to simmer. After 10 minutes remove the lemon peel. (Variation: add some dill)
Adjust asparagus on the chicken, the harder parts the asparagus should stay covered by the broth. Cook until asparagus is done, but not too soft. If necessary season the sauce or add little more water.
250 g fillo/phyllo pastry (or 1 big and 1 smaller not sweet pie crust, size depend on your mold)
250 g potatoes, peeled sliced ( or coarsely grated)
500 g zucchini, small sliced ( or coarsely grated)
400 g fresh white cheese (best Greek antothiro or myzithra) or as alternative if you don’t find the Greek white cheese 300 g ricotta cheese + 100 g feta
1 egg, slightly beaten
20 leaves mint, chopped (to taste)
1 -2 tablespoon sesame seeds
Prepare all your ingredients.
Preheat the oven at 150°C-
Grease your mold (I used my round 26 cm cake mold).
Cover your mold with overlapping borders with 2 third of fillo.
Fill with potatoes.
Add half of zucchini.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add half of the cheese and half of mint leaves.
Add remaining zucchini.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add remaining cheese and mint leaves.
Add some olive oil to taste (I add about 2 tablespoons).
Add the egg but leave one tablespoon for the topping.
Fold the fillo on the borders over filling.
Brush little egg.
Cover with 2 sheets of fillo.
Brush with remaining egg and make incisions (in squares) over the surface.
Spread sesame seeds and some oil (about 1 tablespoon).
Bake at 150°C for 1 1/2 hours.
Increase the heat in the last 10 minutes if necessary until golden brown.
Serve warm of lukewarm.
Note: if you have bigger zucchini they will contain too much water. Put your sliced or grated zucchini in a bowl; add 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Stir. After 30 minutes rinse and drain prior use. Or perhaps another solution is to spread some breadcrumbs on fillo prior filling it with potatoes and zucchini. If you try this please let me know!
I was used to prepare my Greek coffee bringing to boil shortly the mixture once or twice, but now I tried a new way and the coffee turned out excellent and from now on I will adopt this method!
Annacia’s Turkish coffee recipe is simply perfect and the coffee I prepared was the best Turkish coffee I’ve ever prepared. The main point is: heat slowly and don’t let it boil. I was scared to prepare this because I still had some coffee (I used Greek coffee powder) that I had to use and I was not sure if this was fresh enough.
The coffee was perfect, great taste, foamy and enough and the powder stood only on the bottom of the cup!
Cuttlefish is a quite inexpensive seafood which offers many possibilities to be prepared.
I love stuffed cuttlefish, but even a simple recipe is excellent, especially if you use a good white wine without sulfuric smell (I love the golden “Romeiko” from Chania most) and you enjoy this sitting outside combined with salads and good bread to enjoy the sauce.
Once again I’ve proposed to you a Greek/Cretan dish which is called Σουπιές κρασάτες (Soupies krasates). Greek food is too good, I can’t resist it!