Rice and Herb Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades Nistisimi)

Most Greek women use fresh or home frozen grape leaves, and this makes all the difference. During our spring and early summer Keartisanal cooking classes we pick them from the garden. The leaves toughen as the days get hotter, though, so we use our home-frozen ones which work equally well. If you can get hold of even a few fresh grape leaves, use them as flavoring, placing them between the dolmades. Fresh leaves need to be blanched for about 3 minutes, while frozen tender leaves can be used directly after thawing. Make the dolmades one or two days in advance, let them cool in the pot and then store in the fridge. They taste better the next day.

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To serve 8-10 as an appetizer (more…)

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Fried Olives with Onions (Elies Tiganites me Kremydi)

Serves 8-10

1 pound black salt-cured Greek olives, (‘throumbes’, often called ‘Thassos’ in the US) or juicy black olives, such as Pelion
Olive oil for sautéing
1 large purple onion, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, or a mixture of dried oregano and thyme
Fresh whole-wheat or toasted bread slices, to serve
Slices of Manouri or Ricotta Salata cheese, to serve (optional)

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Green Olives Marinated with Lemon, Chili, and Fennel

Adapted from a recipe by Marco Smouha, from “Olives, Flavored by Time, Seasoned With Memories” by Julia Moskin (New York Times, October 17, 2007)

Following our tradition, I substituted fennel for the celery called for in the original recipe. I made it last year for the first time, and I loved both the spicy olives as well as the fragrant preserved lemon pieces that are a great addition to all kinds of winter salads.

For 1 gallon (more…)

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