Tag Archives: rice

Dolmades

I live in a primarily Greek neighborhood in NYC, and I can get fresh Dolmades pretty much whenever I want, but since I just moved 12 blocks (and 2 Avenues) away from my absolute favorite place to eat, Opa!, I’ve been eating stuffed grape leaves out of a can for lunch all week–but shockingly, the canned version is just not as good as the freshly prepared ones.  This is my favorite recipe.  I also mixed together some Tzatziki yogurt sauce to go along with my meal–even though traditional dolmades are usually served with lemon slices.  These are great with lemon-roasted potatoes or a nice Greek salad with a hunk of fresh feta.

INGREDIENTS:
2 T extra virgin olive oil
half a finely chopped onion
½ tsp grated lemon zest
¼ C pine nuts
pinch of cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ C brown or wild rice, cooked
1 ½  C vegetable stock
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
1 T finely chopped fresh dill
20 grape leaves (I use jarred)
1/2 lemon, for juice

DIRECTIONS:
Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add lemon zest, pine nuts, salt, pepper, rice, and 1/2 C vegetable stock.  Stir and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes.

While filling is cooking, remove grape leaves from jar and rinse in a colander.  There is usually a pretty brine-y smell that can carry over to the final product if the leaves aren’t rinsed, so this step is especially important.  I just set them in room temperature water and slosh around a bit with my hands.  Than I transfer to a colander and give a rinse with cold water to finalize things.  If there are stems on the end, now is also a good time to trim them off with scissors or a paring knife.

When the filling is finished cooking stir in chopped parsley and dill.  Now you will fill and wrap the leaves.

Place one grape leaf, seam side up, on a plate or cutting board.  Spoon in a heaping Tablespoon of filling onto the lower 1/2 of the leaf.  Wrap the bottom of the leaf over the filling, tuck in the sides, and roll until closed tightly in a neat little envelope!  Since the rice is already cooked, you don’t have to worry about the dolmades expanding during the final step, so be sure to wrap tightly.

Pack dolmades into a saucepan.  Add 1 C vegetable broth, 1 T olive oil, and juice from 1/2 a lemon  Be sure the dolmades are packed tightly, because as the broth boils the steam will encourage those little guys to unwrap–I try to use the smallest saucepan I can possibly squeeze them in, without having to stack.

Cover the pan and simmer on low until liquid cooks down completely–usually about 20-40 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy immediately–OR–chill in refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Serve with Tzatziki dressing and fresh lemon slices.

Adapted from The Mediterrasian Way.

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Horchata

If you’ve never made horchata before, its a pretty simple recipe with a lot of waiting in-between steps.  The steps go like this:  blend uncooked rice and cinnamon in blender until finely chopped.  Add a few cups of water and sit in fridge overnight.  Strain mix through cheesecloth to remove goop.  Add milk/vanilla/sugar/spices/whatever your family/regional specialty is.  Toss in some ice cubes (and perhaps some rum!) and serve.  

My version is made from leftover (already cooked) brown rice, and the flavor stays just as true to most original versions.  The sweet milkiness really compliments a super-spicy Mexican or Latin-American dish.  Mixed with espresso or rum is also fantastic.

This specific recipe is more of a concentrate, because I like to maintain a stronger flavor when I use it as a baking substitute.  It can be used for anything you can possibly imagine: banana bread, pancakes, or pretty much any baked good that requires milk.  If you like really sweet horchata then just add ice cubes and a dash of cinnamon, and its the real deal.  If you prefer a subtler drink, serve 2 parts concentrate and 1 part milk. 

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 C cooked brown rice
1 T ground cinnamon
4 C water
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C white sugar

DIRECTIONS:
Pulse rice, cinnamon, and 1/4 C water in a food processor until rice looks more like mush than rice.  Transfer mixture to a pitcher or large bowl.  Add remaining 3 3/4 C water.  Let mixture sit in refrigerator overnight.  12 hours is ideal, but 6 hours works just fine, too.

Pour mix through cheesecloth or strainer; there should be a gloopy mix that remains behind.  It may take 5-10 minutes to entirely separate the liquid, depending on your straining method.  Discard the gloopy mix or make horchata cookies with it!

Add vanilla, sugar, and evaporated milk.  Stir until most of the sugar dissolves.  Serve with rum, espresso, or use as a substitute for milk in your favorite baking dish.  If you prefer a milder flavor, serve 2 parts horchata, 1 part milk.