Oct. 14th, 2008 03:45 pm
Really, the answer to "how do you make Yaprakes?" is: "What?  You cook it!"  Honestly, this is the answer that my grandmother (and her sister, who taught me to make spinach pies) would give when asking for a recipe.  After watching her (and my own mother) perform this culinary miracle, I believe I have something that resembles a recipe.  Sadly, there are no amounts listed here, as everything is pretty much "to taste."  Experimentation is the key, and you get to eat the rejects!

Because [livejournal.com profile] auspeople demands it:

  • brown a small finely choped onion in olive oil

  • add a bunch of ground beef and cook it in the oil/onion pan

  • pour out the grease

  • add olive oil to remoisten, as well as for flavor (I love olive oil, so my yaprakes may be a bit oily for some people)

  • add onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, tomato paste, and dried dill weed to taste (use more dill than you think you need)

  • stir in and cook a bit, adjusting seasonings as necessary

  • add uncooked rice (I like a higher rice to meat ratio than [livejournal.com profile] drangelo, I think about 1/2 cup per pound of meat is about right, but, like I said, it's all a matter of personal preference.)

  • stir in and cook for a few minutes

  • remove from heat and let cool until it will not hurt to handle the mixture

  • rinse off grape leaves under cool running water, gently separating leaves so that they do not tear

  • place a spoonful of the filling onto dull side of leaf and fold it up or roll it up and place on the bottom of a large dutch over (olive oil on the bottom to prevent sticking)

  • pile up the rolls in layers, seam side down so that they will not open up during cooking

  • when all the filling is used up, or you have run out of leaves, place a heavy ceramic dish upside down over the top of the pile to keep them tight, and fill the pot with water until it just covers the top of the dish 

  • simmer partially covered over medium heat until all the water is gone (I tend to cover them completely until they reach the level of simmer I want, and then move the cover a bit to release the steam.  I continue to check occasionally to see if I need to cover more or less.)

  • if you are married to [livejournal.com profile] drangelo, allow some of the leaves to burn on the bottom


  • Some people put a layer of leaves on the bottom of the pot, as well as between the layers.  I scoff at this behavior as it (1) keeps you from having more leaves and therefor more yaprakes, and (2) keeps you from having the delicious slightly burned ones on the bottom of the pot.

  • Dont put too much filling in each leaf, and don't roll them too tightly, as the rice needs room to expand as it absorbs the water.
  • Keep the partially torn leaves and leaf pieces to cover any holes in other "mostly perfect" leaves, so that you can use as many leaves as possible.  Sometimes I create entire leaves out of several leaf pieces.  In my head I refer to these as Frankenstein-Yaprakes.

  • When [livejournal.com profile] drangelo and I were cooking machines, and had much higher metabolisms, we would add a small piece of feta to the meat filling inside each folded leaf.  Heaven!  But not kosher!  (Don't tell my grandmother.)
I left this as a comment in a friend's journal, and I thought I would add it here for the rest of you.  It's just a snippet of my life with [livejournal.com profile] drangelo.

When [livejournal.com profile] drangelo and I first moved in together we did a lot of cooking.  One of the best things that I/we make are my paternal grandmother's recipe for stuffed grape leaves.[1]  If you have ever had stuffed grape leaves, you know that the recipe requires a significant amount of dill weed.  It takes a lot of work, though, so it didn't happen very often.

Since it took so long between these fabulous grape leaf events, whenever grape leaves found its way onto our meals list, we would inevitably find ourselves in the grocery store trying to remember if we had any dill in the spice cabinet.  We would then buy a jar just to be sure.  Eventually we found ourselves with 4 or 5 nearly full jars of dill in the cabinet, more than we could conceivably go through for years.

It became a joke between us whenever we went grocery shopping.  "You sure we don't need any dill?" 

We didn't buy dill again until we moved to Texas.

[1] If you are a "standard" Greek, you know these as dolmathes.  We, being Greek by the way of Sephardim, call them yaprakes.
Too much cinnamon in the coffee.  It was a good idea, but I'll have to work on the proportions a bit.
I make a damned good cup of coffee.  :)

Ok, so it's probably more due to the coffee itself, but I have to say there's quite a difference between what I've had from coffeeshops and what I made last night and this morning.

We bought a coffeemaker this weekend (thanks, Mom!), as well as a grinder, and I finally made my first pot of coffee ever last night.

The pot has a built in charcoal water filter, so the water is doubly filtered, and we bought some organic skim milk for my low-fat needs.  ;)  Last night I tried dark roast Sumatran beans, fresh ground, at about a tablespoon per cup.  Ended up with some extra ground beans that I kept in the freezer until this morning and brewed to bring to work.  As an added bonus, I put in a dollop of sugar-free toffee syrup.  Totally yum.

Next stop, a thermos so that I can bring more into work and keep it hot.
I just read about bacon flavored ice cream via Fark.  The article is unimpressive, but the Fark comments are my gift to [livejournal.com profile] paracoon.
Our 17th wedding anniversary is this Friday, and we would like to go to a nice dinner.  Not the incredibly fantastic Noe's that we did for 15, but something at the level of Ruggles (which is the leader so far).

Suggest away!
In preparation for the ice storm, we made this recipe today with the following changes:

deleted ancho chiles
added black beans
added chili powder
added chili garlic Cholula
added cinnamon
added masa

It smells delicious! I'll let you know how it turns out...

Food is fun

Nov. 1st, 2006 02:14 am
I was taken to a restaurant for dinner last night called Blessing Soups that is famous for its soups. I actually had to write down the name of this soup (which, thankfully, I was not forced to eat).

Salmon Head Soup with Tuber of Elevated Gastrodia and Dried Sandworm

It was the dried sandworm that really got me. I mean, where do you think they keep that thing? And how big of a dehydrator do they have?

We also did not get the Goose head and feet appetizer. ;)
We went to a marvelous curry restauarant for lunch yesterday. Mutha's, I think it was called. They are famous for their fish head curry soup.

I ate the fish eye. It was kind of chewy. :)

Today they brought in Pizza Hut for lunch. :(



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