Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

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    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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Posts Tagged ‘rice’

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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Avgolemono – My Way

Posted by terrepruitt on April 10, 2019

I am not sure if I have said this before in other posts, but for 38 years of my life I did not really care for Greek Food. I was not a fan of tomatoes and it seemed like there was a lot of tomatoes in the Greek food here. When I went to Greece my mind was changed. There wasn’t tomatoes in everything and I liked the way they cooked their food. Although I still believed I didn’t like Greek Lemon Soup. I am not a fan of the lemon flavor for the most part so I never tried it. When there was opportunities to try it there was always either rice, celery, or carrots in the soup in some combination. I do not like rice in soup and I am not a fan of water-laden carrots. I do not like celery. One day we were at a local restaurant and my husband ordered the Greek Lemon Soup. Even though he “doesn’t share food” he let me have a spoonful – it was delicious. It was simple, just chicken and pasta! Ahhhh . . . . I found some Avgolemono I liked! So I decided to make some. I found a lot of recipes online with celery and carrots and rice in some combination, so I didn’t look past the ingredients.  I wasn’t finding one to use.  I knew I wanted to use pasta.  I had purchased some orzo online with the sole purpose of making Avgolemono, but I hadn’t planned on making it the night I ended up making it. I did not make a special trip to the store for ingredients.  So I made the soup with what I had on hand, which was a limited number of eggs and canned chicken. Just to put it out there, there is NO CELERY, NO CARROTS, and NO RICE in this soup.

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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, Greek Lemon SoupAvgolemono – My Way

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion
two cans of chicken (a little over 3 cups)
garlic salt

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup orzo  (going forward 1 cup)
8 cups chicken broth

7 eggs
4 lemons / 3/4 cups lemon juice (more if you like it really lemony)

Juice the lemons. Set aside. (Zest one if you want some zest for garnish.)

Chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the onion then add the chicken to the pan to heat it up a bit*. Sprinkle some garlic salt on chicken while stirring.

In a large pot, melt the butter, then add the orzo to toast it. Add the chicken broth to the orzo. Bring to a boil. Then let simmer.

While the orzo is cooking in the broth mix the eggs together with a hand mixer. Mix the eggs at least 3 minutes on low allowing a lot of air to get into them making them frothy. After the “at least 3 minutes,” add the lemon juice slowly while mixing the eggs.

Once the orzo is cooked (about 15 minutes – test to verify) add the egg mixture to the broth BUT not all at once. Put a little bit of broth into the eggs while mixing. Keep adding broth a little at a time to slowly bring the eggs up to the temperature of the broth. Once the eggs are tempered add the mixture to the broth. Stir the egg mixture and broth together. Once it is all incorporated add in the chicken. Mix it all together. Then taste. Is it lemony enough for you? If not add more lemon juice. Or add some lemon zest as garish to each bowl – this gives it an extra zing!

*if using raw chicken cook it thoroughly

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I had typed this up to use as my recipe to make the soup. I figured I would need to play with it a lot in order to get it to what I was looking for, but nope. THIS. IS. IT. Oh, except I will use more orzo . . . perhaps a cup maybe more. But I really think that the orzo is all that I will adjust.

Originally I wrote the recipe with salt and pepper as ingredients, but I did not add any additional salt besides the garlic salt. And my husband added pepper to his bowl, but said it did not really add anything to the soup so he would not be using it, so I didn’t even try.

I am going to check in with my uncle who, I am told, makes Avgolemono all the time. I want to know what he does. Although, my husband and I really loved this and so for the most part I will probably just stick to this.  But sometimes it is nice to try things a little differently so that is ALWAYS an option.

How about you?  Do you like Avgolemono?  Have you found a place that serves one you like?  Do you make it?  How do you make it?

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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, Greek Lemon Soup

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, Greek Lemon Soup

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, Greek Lemon Soup

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