Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Enchilada Chicken

Posted by terrepruitt on August 12, 2019

If you have read my blog or seen any of my tweets within the last month or so you know that I made Taco Pie again. Oh my I love it, and this last time with the flour tortillas, I really loved it. When I make it I cannot find the size of enchilada sauce I need so I end up with a lot of leftover sauce. The time before last, the unused sauce sat in my refrigerator until it went bad because I didn’t know what to do with it. This time I was determined to use it and thought I could use it with chicken like I do with other sauces.

This is just chicken baked in the left over enchilada sauce. It was very good. I can see this dish following Taco Pie every time now.  I will be using up that extra enchilada sauce. YUM.

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Enchilada Chicken

~Four boneless skinless chicken breast
~Taco Seasoning (click for homemade recipe)
~20 ounces (or so) of Enchilada sauce
~about 2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used the 4 Cheese Mexican mix)
~Cilantro

~Rice (optional)

Place the chicken in a baking dish. Sprinkle half of the Taco Seasoning over the chicken. Let it set for an hour or two (in the refrigerator). Then flip over each piece and sprinkle the rest of seasoning over the chicken. Let it set for an hour or two (in the refrigerator).

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken, sprinkle in some chopped cilantro, then top it with the shredded cheese. Bake. I baked this about 50 minutes . . . depending on the size of the chicken breasts . . . bake the chicken until thoroughly cooked.

Then serve over rice . . . or in tortillas, or on its own . . . topping it with chopped cilantro.

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Easy. Yummy. A great way for me to use the left over enchilada sauce.  I know this is just a different take on both Italian Chicken and Chicken Salsa.  Pouring sauces over chicken and baking, it is so easy and so many different types of sauces gives us such a variety of flavors!

What do you think? Don’t you love easy recipes?

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Taco Seasoning

Posted by terrepruitt on August 7, 2019

My husband and I aren’t big taco fans. I mean, we like them, but we don’t make them at home and we don’t order them when we go out. This past February we were in Anaheim staying at a hotel across the street from Disneyland and right outside our motel was a Jimboy’s Tacos – and I did fall in love with that greasy mess. And then once home finding out we didn’t have one close, I did try a few different tacos while I’ve been out, but nothing compares. But regardless of not making tacos, I do find myself wanting taco seasoning.

We eat “taco seasoned” meat with our taco salad. We usually buy the packaged kind, but sometimes we like to try out own. This is what we use when making it ourselves.

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Taco Seasoning

–2 tbsp cumin
–2 tbsp garlic salt
–1 tbsp paprika
–1 tbsp garlic powder
–1 tbsp minced onions
–1 tsp oregano
–sprinkle of pepper

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You may know that I don’t like anything spicy hot so I only use a sprinkle of pepper if any at all.  I don’t put in any chili powder or cayenne pepper.  It is a nice mild mix of spices.

Do you like tacos?  Do you have an occasion to use taco seasoning?

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Bruschetta Orzo

Posted by terrepruitt on July 29, 2019

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, CYCDSo this is pretty very much like the Five-Vegetable Pasta I made and I posted about in the post titled Bruschetta Pasta. Basically the only difference is the way I cut and cooked the zucchini and the pasta itself. I used that recipe to make this. I didn’t realize when I decided to make it that it was going to be such a hot day. My original plan was to cook all the vegetables in the oven, but I decided while I was waiting for one batch to cook I might as well cook the mushrooms on the stove.

 

 

 

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—1 medium or large eggplant, cubed (very small)
—4 medium sized tomatoes, cubed
—2 zucchinis, cubed (tiny)
—1 lb of mushrooms, chopped (tiny)
—1/2 of a large onion, chopped (tiny)
—olive oil
—two tablespoons of butter
—garlic powder
—garlic salt
—pepper
—sweet basil
—balsamic vinegar

—1 1/4 cup orzo
—2 1/2 cup water
—2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon

—Parmesan cheese, grated, as desired

Heat the oven to 450°F.

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Put the cubed eggplant on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt. Mix it up, then spread the eggplant evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then take the pan out of the oven and stir the eggplant adding more garlic salt. Bake for another 15 minutes, then take the pan out of the oven and stir the eggplant adding more garlic salt. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Stirring or tossing if necessary to ensure even roasting.

Put the cubed zucchini on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt. Mix it up, then spread the zucchini evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then take the pan out of the oven and stir the zucchini adding more garlic salt. Push the zucchini over to one half of the baking sheet to make room for the tomatoes. Put three of the tomatoes on the other half of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake for another 10 minutes, then take the pan out of the oven and stir the zucchini adding more garlic salt. Check on the tomatoes. Toss them gently. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

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When you have about 15 to 20 minutes left of cooking for the veggies heat the butter in a pan. Add the orzo to the melted butter. Toast the orzo – just giving it a little color. Then add the water and bouillon to the pan. Stir until the bouillon is incorporated. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer – or even lower. Let all the water evaporate. Stirring every once in a while.

After the orzo and the veggies are all cooked add half of the orzo to a large bowl/dish then half of the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt (if you even need to), pepper, and basil. Then stir. Then add half of the cooked tomatoes and half of the raw tomatoes. On top of the tomatoes add the rest of the orzo and vegetables. Add more salt (if need be), pepper, and basil. Stir gently.

Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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So, I have discovered that I love orzo. I cook it in broth and it is amazing on its own. I thought it would make this dish amazing too, but I liked this dish better with linguine. My husband is loving this and I like it too, I just think I like the veggies with the other pasta better.

What about you? Linguine or orzo for this?

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White Sangria

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2019

For some reason around the time of Fourth of July I was craving Sangria, but I didn’t know how to make it. I was craving red sangria, but I also wanted white sangria. I thought that I would make the red for my hubby and me prior to the fourth.  Then make the white for our company on the fourth. I thought it would be ok to have left over red, but not left over white because I was going to use champagne and it would have gone flat by the time we had company.

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3 nectarines
1 small container of raspberries
1 bottle rosé
1 cup white rum
4 cups peach juice
1 bottle of champagne – note only 1 cup goes into the Sangria
lime juice

Cut the nectarines into chunks. In a large pitcher or bowl, combine the nectarines, raspberries, rosé, rum, and peach juice. Stir until mixed. Add a bit of lime juice to taste. Add 1 cup of champagne. Stir again.

You can serve over ice and even top it off with a bit more champagne.

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I am not a fan of peaches, so this – without the champagne topper, was too peachy for me. I think I will opt for a different juice. The original recipe I had seen says to use peach nectar, but the store I went to had a very limited juice selection and no nectar.

This was good . . . with the champagne topper. It was very refreshing. It was pretty much what I was looking for . . . . once I figured out I need to add a bit more champagne.

I think I will keep experimenting.

Do any of you have a good Sangria recipe? Red or white?

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Sangria Or Wine With Fruit And Juice

Posted by terrepruitt on July 8, 2019

A few months ago I unearthed a glass pitcher and it made me want Sangria.  I don’t know how to make Sangria, I believe it is more than just wine with fruit in it.  I did a little research and just got overwhelmed with all the recipes so I let it go and I used the pitcher for flowers.  The flowers died, but the pitcher remained.  I used it to water the plants.  I would often look at the pitcher and then look for a recipe.  There are so many recipes out there.  I didn’t know which one to use.

I finally decided to cobble one together.  I found one that said to cut up the apple and orange put it and some brown sugar in a pitcher and muddle it.  Well I was using a spoon and that was not working so I decided to use something else and my last thought before the pitcher broke was, “I better be careful so I don’t break the pitcher.”  Well, at least that pitcher won’t be taunting me anymore.

I had to throw out that fruit and start over.  This time I didn’t bother muddling.

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1 apple
1 orange
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1 cup orange juice
1 cup peach juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 bottle of red wine
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Cut the apple into chunks.  Peel the orange, then cut it up.  Put the fruit in a bowl then add the liquid.  Stir.  Then add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.  Once every thing is mixed put it in a pitcher.  Serve over ice.

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I used a bowl because I was afraid I would break the pitcher.  (That was the THIRD thing I had broken that day.)  I prefer to put ice in each glass so that the ice doesn’t melt into the pitcher.  But you do what works best for you.  I am rather happy with this combination.

As with some things I make I end up adjusting as I continue to make the recipe and that very well might happen with this.

As I was at the store buying the ingredients, I quickly looked up what red wine to use for Sangria and what came up was Pinot Noir or Merlot.  I decided to go with the Merlot.  Then when I got home and did a search I got a different result, but I had already purchased the Merlot so I used it.

I made white Sangria for the Fourth of July.

Do you like Sangria?  Do you make it?  What is your recipe?

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THIS Taco Pie Recipe

Posted by terrepruitt on July 3, 2019

Since having received the Taco Pie recipe from one of my yoga students a little over a year and a half ago, I think I have made it at least four times.  My husband and I have loved it every time.  But, honestly the last time was not my favorite.  I was really tasting the meat and I don’t like the TASTE of meat.  The meat didn’t have enough flavor AND I over cooked it.  Since the assembled “pie” is in the oven for 30 minutes the meat does not (SHOULD not) be thoroughly cooked prior to putting it in the oven.  Overcooked beef is bad, but overcooked turkey, is worse.

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I planned on making taco pie so I made out a grocery list, which I have to do, of course, because I don’t stock enchilada sauce or taco sauce.  I was so looking forward to it.  I was on the phone when I started cooking it so I did it a little differently, when I got off the phone I read the part I did incorrectly and shrugged – too late now.  So I added the sauces, then read the rest of the recipe.  “D’OH!”. I forgot the corn tortillas!!!!!  How did I think I was going to make taco pie?????  Grrrrr!  Clearly I did not read the recipe when making my list.  How did I forget corn tortillas?

Well, good thing I had just bought two packs of flour tortillas!  Flour tortillas it is!  BEST MISTAKE EVER!!!

As I often say on my blog, I use it as my recipe book – although as I re-wrote this recipe I see that I had NOT been using my post of the recipe, I had been using the original print out, and so I thought this new version had a few more differences than the first post, but it is not as many as I thought.  But still, I am re-posting the taco pie recipe with my current changes so I can just reference this one and not even have to go to the other one.  You, Dear Reader, can use whichever one you prefer.

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Taco Pie

1 Tablespoon or coconut oil
1/2 of an onion
(just under) 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons cumin
12 ounces enchilada sauce
1 bottle taco sauce
20 ounces cream of mushroom soup (2 boxes)
6 to 8 (soft taco size) flour tortillas
4 cups grated Mexican Cheese
1 can sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Chop the onion.  Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onion to the pan. Cook until it starts to caramelize. Add the meat (crumbling it as you cook it or crumble it into the pan). Sprinkle the meat with garlic salt and cumin as you cook it. You add as much flavor as you want, I learned I want to cover the meat with the cumin (might end up being more than 1 1/2 – 2 Tblsp). DO NOT COOK MEAT ALL THE WAY! (note to self) Cook the meat until it is about half done, maybe a tad more.  Turn off the heat.

Add the enchilada sauce, the taco sauces, and the cream of mushroom soup. Stir until it is all mixed together with the meat.

In a 9X13 baking dish you are going to do layers. First layer is 1/3 of the sauce, the next layer is 3 – 4 tortillas to cover the sauce (I don’t let a lot of tortilla overlap), then sprinkle a light layer of cheese, then 1/3 of the sauce, then 3 – 4 tortillas, then a sprinkle of cheese. Then use the rest of the sauce to cover the tortillas, then cover it with the cheese.  Sprinkle on some sliced olives.  Save some to add for serving.

Bake for 45 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Top with the sliced olives.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 4 – Avgolemono Sauce

Posted by terrepruitt on June 5, 2019

Since my hubby loves Avgolemono Soup, I thought I would make some as sauce for the stuffed grape leaves since I recently experienced my family serving sauce with the dolmathes.  I actually didn’t make the SOUP because I didn’t add chicken or orzo. I would like it thicker as a sauce, but it was very runny. It tasted fine.

I did look at a recipe for this because I didn’t know how to reduce the ingredients to make a small portion. I bet there are several ways to make it.  I used

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Lemon-Egg Sauce / Avgolemono Sauce

2 eggs
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1 cup of broth used to cook the stuffed grape leaves
salt
pepper

Mix the eggs using a hand mixer.  Mix for about 5 minutes. Slowly – while still mixing – add the lemon juice. Then even slower – while still mixing – add the broth. The hot broth needs to be added to the eggs very slowly otherwise the eggs will cook. So the eggs get tempered by adding the hot liquid slow. Then add salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce into a pot heat it up to just BEFORE boiling. Turn down the heat and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Place the grape leaves on a plate and spoon some sauce on top of them.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves Series:

Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 1 – The Idea

Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 2 – Prepping The Fresh Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves

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Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves

Posted by terrepruitt on June 3, 2019

Since there are so many names and so many versions of stuffed grape leaves, and while I would like to think I am cooking a Greek version of them, I think that traditionally dolmades (or whatever) don’t have lamb in them. So . . . I am calling what I made Stuffed Grape Leaves.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves – How I Made Them

30 grape leaves for stuffing – prepped, see previous post
4 or 5 grape leaves for the bottom of the pot (enough to put at least one layer on the bottom)*
1 lb of ground lamb
1 3/4 cups of rice**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, CYCD
1/2 large onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
.66 ounces dill
six cups of broth
olive oil***

Chop the onion. Chop the dill. In a large bowl mix the lamb, rice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and dill.***

Place a grape leaf (or put a few out) on your work surface with the smooth side down (you will be placing the stuffing on the “ribbed” side).

Depending on the size of the leaves use about a tablespoon or so of the mixture and place it on a leaf at the bottom (stem area). It is easier to roll the leaf if the mixture is sort of cigar stub shape. Fold over the sides of the leaf then the bottom (where the stem was) then roll from the bottom. Remember not to roll too tight because the rice will expand during cooking. Place the rolled grape leaf seam side down.

Cover the bottom of the pot with grape leaves. Since they won’t fit perfectly you will end up with overlapping leaves, that is perfect as you want to insulate the stuffed grape leaves from the bottom of the pot.

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After you have all the stuffed grape leaves in the pot, pour some olive oil on top of them splashing a little onto each roll, then you want to weight them down, not smoosh them, but weight them down. You can use a plate (or two, if need be) or a lid. Then pour in six cups of broth, I used chicken broth.

Bring the broth to a soft boil, then lower the heat and let cook for about 60 minutes. Depending on the size of the rolls, I would check them at 50 minutes. The rolls I made were HUGE so I waited to check them after 60 minutes, then I cooked them for 10 more.

Once they are thoroughly cooked serve them hot or cold.

 

*I used leaves straight off the vine for the bottom of the pot. I washed them, but I did not blanch them. The leaves I used were HUGE (one leaf pretty much covered the entire bottom) so I only used three or four to give it good insulation.

**I used more rice than this, but it was too much so I am going to try 1 3/4 cup

***I did not use any oil IN the mixture, but I am planning on putting a little in next time

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I see me making adjustments to this recipe as I go along. This was just my first time winging it. I kept saying as I was making the stuffing, “I think I used too many onions.” And my husband kept making comments about the recipe. I kept having to tell him, “There is no recipe. I am not following a recipe! The ones I saw had mint and/or cinnamon and/or pine nuts in them so I was just trying to figure something out.”

As I mentioned I did not put oil in them, but looking at a recipe after I made them I saw one person did. I think I might do that next time. I don’t know. My husband said they were fine. I never really know, though because he likes pretty much everything. I tried a tiny taste of the stuffing, but not the grape leaf.

This is part 3 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves

Next . . . the lemon sauce . . . kinda like the soup.

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You can see the difference in the blanched leaves.

 

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They were bigger than the ones my husband normally eats.  His eyes lit up when we saw how large they were.

He enjoyed them for days.  He said that he did not taste a difference between the leaves.  He could tell that some were barely blanched and some were “well” blanched.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 2 – Prepping The Fresh Grape Leaves

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2019

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, CYCDIn looking up how to prepare fresh-off-the-vine grape leaves for stuffing it seemed like I should have started days before I planned on stuffing them. The first few sites I found said that stuffed grape leaves were prepared with leaves that had been soaked in brine for days. Well, DAYS of soaking was not going to happen, but I figured that they did need some soaking. I thought that they would need the flavor of salt plus a soak in brine would help tenderize them. Ha! Still just faking all of this because I have never actually eaten stuffed grape leaves.

I went outside and cut off 30 grape leaves. Ideally they would have been all the same size, but there wasn’t 30 of all the same size. I started off with ones about the size of my hand, but ended up having to get larger ones. I also tried to get ones that look fairly new. I figured the newer leaves would be more tender and tasty.

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, CYCDAfter I gathered the leaves I brought them inside and washed them thoroughly. Although, it was pretty cool because it had rained the day before so they were pretty clean to begin with. There was no dirt or bugs, but still, I washed them. I also cut off each stem as close to the leaf as possible. Then, I poured some salt into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish then added some water. I put some of the grape leaves in the dish, then I poured some salt onto the leaves then added more water. I put the rest of the grape leaves in, then filled the dish with water. I used another dish to hold the leaves down. I let them soak about five hours.

Since I didn’t necessarily want them to be salty and I was hoping for some tenderization, I rinsed the leaves off before I blanched 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, CYCDThen I stacked two piles totaling 15 leaves into the rinsed out 9X13 baking dish and poured boiling water over them. Instructions I had seen on blanching them said to leave them for two minutes. So I set my timer for two minutes or so I thought. I was doing something else and so I wasn’t paying attention but then it dawned on me that my timer had not gone off. So I took the leaves out of the hot water and stuck them in their ice bath. I don’t know how long they ended up being in the hot water. With the next batch I paid more attention to setting the timer and I actually did it. I took the leaves out after two minutes. By then I was fully immersed in making the stuffing AND my husband had come home so the surprise was out of the bag. We started talking about the books we were listening to and about what I was making and I didn’t really look at the second batch of leaves. I just took them out of the hot water and placed them into their ice bath after the timer had gone off.

I didn’t notice the difference in color between the two batches until I started stuffing them. I was concerned because the ones that I believed were in the hot water longer than two minutes were that drab color green – the same color as the jarred leaves, but the ones that were in the hot water for two minutes were still bright green. I was worried that they would not be tender enough and would taste too green. I asked my husband to pay attention while he was eating so that he could report to me so that I would be able to adjust the preparation in the future.

When I pulled the first group of leaves out of the ice bath I had just set them on a towel to dry. I did not separate them or even pat them dry to help them. I was more concerned at that point with getting the whole process underway because the stuffed leaves were going to take an hour to cook and it was getting late. We often eat late and I was trying to not let that be the case. So I wasn’t even thinking about taking the time to dry the leaves. I didn’t even think about drying the leaves until I was 18 into stuffing and rolling. Then it dawned on me. So I patted the last twelve dry.
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https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47960702646_a44e8757a6_o.jpgFresh-Off-The-Vine Grape Leaf Preparation

Grape Leaves
Water
Salt
Ice

Wash the leaves. Cut the stem off as close to the leaf as possible. Pour some salt into a dish/pan large enough to immerse all of the leaves. Put some water in the dish. Put half of the leaves in the dish, then pour more salt on top of the leaves. Then put the rest of the leaves in and fill the dish with water. Use another dish to keep the leaves complete submersed, if need be. Let the leaves soak for about five hours.

After a few hours at least (if not five), rinse the leaves. Rinse out the dish/pan, then put the leaves back in . . . (you can blanch all the leaves at once if you’d like or not. I didn’t because I didn’t have a dish large enough to hold water, the leaves, AND ice for the ice bath so that is why I did two batches).

Pour boiling water over the leaves. Let them set for at least 3 minutes.

Take the leaves out of the hot water and put them in an ice bath.

(Since I was blanching the leaves in two batches I left the cooling leaves in the ice bath until I was ready to put the other ones in.)

Take the leaves out of the ice bath and let them dry a bit. Use a towel or paper towels if you want to dry them. I would think that if you are going to let them dry you might need to separate them first. I don’t know for sure though. I just left them wet. When I did dry the remaining 12 I had separated them and was filling each one then folding each one.
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PLEASE NOTE: In looking at the pictures I see why the second batch of leaves did not blanch well. As I mentioned, I was distracted as my hubby had just come home and I was making this up as I went along – I had put ice in the dish I used to weight the leaves down, I had been making more room in the ice bath dish and didn’t want to put it in the sink to melt because I figured I could use it for the next ice bath. When I went to use the dish as a weight, I didn’t think about the ice I had put in it. I just grabbed it and put it on top of the leaves in the boiling water. DUH! Had to have taken some of the heat out of the boiling water.

This is part 2 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 2 – Prepping The Fresh Grape Leaves

Here is the link to part 3 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves

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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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