Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Archive for May 27th, 2019

Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 1 – The Idea

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2019

It has been so long I can’t even remember if the grapevines were in the yard when we moved in or if my husband planted them. Either way I do know that for as long as we have lived here (over two decades) I have said, “Oh I should make something using our grape leaves.” And by something I meant stuffed grape leaves because I don’t know of anything else that one actually uses grape leaves for. The vines are very hearty. My husband trims them back and the next thing I know I am looking outside to see the vine latching onto the lemon tree again. A couple of weeks ago I happen to look outside and see the vines with beautiful green leaves washed clean by all the rain. I decided to surprise my hubby with some stuffed grape leaves. I googled it and glanced quickly at a recipe listing dill as an ingredient. So I went to the store and bought what I thought I needed to make them. Then I got cold feet when I realized I didn’t know how to prepare the leaves. I had originally been thinking I would just cut them off the vine and roll the stuffing up in them. But then I realized they probably needed some prep. In the middle of that revelation it dawned on me that perhaps stuffed grape leaves were actually meatless? Ya see, part of the issue with this whole endeavor was – I don’t eat them myself. I have never had one. My husband loves them (LOVES THEM!), but I have never even tried one. So it was kind of a challenge to figure out how to make them.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDOne would think you could just look up the recipe on the internet, but – ha! There doesn’t even seem to be a consensus on what they are called much less how to make them. Plus, when I post a recipe – for the most part – I want it to be at least MY version of it if not entirely “original.” In regards to what they are called, I have seen them called

dolma
dolmades
dolmadaki
dolmeh
dolmates
dolmathes
dolmathakia

and that is just the words starting with D. Seems like stuffed grape leaves are like “Swedish Meatballs” and every culture has their own version with its own name (of course).

When I did look it up I found recipes with cinnamon and pine nuts. Now, I know my hubby would eat and probably like whatever I made, but I was TRYING to surprise him and make something that he actually liked and was somewhat familiar. But with every recipe I found having different ingredients I decided to just try making something that was simple and somewhat familiar (I was hoping). When I researched further – after I had gone shopping, in addition to pine nuts and nutmeg I was finding recipes with MINT. Makes sense mint and lamb, but I had already bought dill so I was going to use that.

My research on how to prepare the grape leaves had me thinking I should have started the process DAYS before I was planning on actually making the recipe. The information I was seeing was that they needed to soak in a brine solution for days. There were some sites that said they could be blanched. But, again, I started thinking that in order to make this a treat and something he likes and is used to, I should have PURCHASED grape leaves. But then again, the whole reason I wanted to do this was to use our leaves. Sigh. All of this thinking and planning was probably over the course of ten days. It took so long because of my chickening-out-period!

As usual since I planned on posting about this I decided to just fly by the seat of my pants and make it up as I went along. I always feel funny posting other people’s recipes (but I have after making them) so I mostly try to make my own version. I will need a few posts to get it all documented. I started with the leaves.

This is part 1 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 1 – The Idea
Next:  Part 2 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 2 – Prepping The Fresh Grape Leaves
Next:  Part 3 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves
Next:  Part 4 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 4 – Avgolemono Sauce

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