Monday, December 14, 2009

I have a problem saying no.

I inherited the inability to say no (thanks, mom), and tend to stretch myself far too when we decided to make our work holiday party a Mediterranean themed make-a-food-and-bring-a-wine ordeal, I was both stoked and stressed.

Everyone at work thinks I can cook. I talk a big game, people...and sometimes, I really do make magic. But not always. Unfortunately. And I'm fine when that happens at home. It just stresses me out when other people will be judging me. Which is probably some sort of cosmic karma for being a McJudgerson all the damn time.


The bossman tries to stick to a vegetarian diet, so I wanted to bring something he could eat. Figured Chickpea Stew would be good*...but as I never leave well enough alone, I also volunteered to bring stuffed grape leaves.

Stuffed grape leaves are kind of a pain in the ass. Chopping and mixing and rolling-even getting the leaves out of the jar can be annoying. But it's also actually pretty fun. And totally something to be done in advance. So Thursday night, I got to work. And I was so proud of how good they looked, even after using a jar full of the most bizarre sized leaves. The problem? They were dry, dry, dry. Ground turkey is already not the moistest meat out there, so you really do have to be careful to not overcook them. And I forgot the plate. Don't ask me why it works, but it does. And I knew better, which makes it that much more frustrating.

So this is one of those examples of do what I say and not what I do. I really should follow my own recipes.
*Speaking of, the stew turned out great. I used crushed tomatoes instead of diced, used 2 Serrano chilies instead of Jalapeno, and will be doing that from now on.

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Egyptian, not Greek)
1 jar grape leaves, rinsed (they'll be near the olives at the store)
1 pkg lean ground turkey
1 cup uncooked white or basmati rice
1 half onion, chopped finely
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
Juice of one lemon, plus slices to garnish
3 cups chicken broth

Mix rice, turkey, onion, minced garlic, and spices(including salt and pepper). Use your hands...this is the fun part.

Take a grape leaf and spread it out on a cutting board. Place about a finger's width worth of rice mix across the leaf. Roll it up like a burrito, tucking in the sides first and then rolling lengthwise, keeping it fairly tight.

Repeat with remaining rice/leaves. Place in stock pot in a circular pattern. Tuck in the garlic slices randomly between rolls. Make more than one level if you need to.

When you're done, tuck the egg in the middle. I don't know why. Tradition? I'll ask Miss Lucy- she's the Egyptian responsible for me knowing it. Whatever it is, it's fun to make people eat it afterward (It tastes fine, I promise).

Cover with chicken broth and lemon juice. Place a heavy plate over rolls to keep them in place. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Serve with lemon slices. Can serve warm or cold.
Makes about 2 dozen medium sized rolls. Roughly 50 cals per roll, 1g fat, 6g carbs, 6g protein.

No comments:

Post a Comment