Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks are on a roll!

Challenges for the Daring Cooks are announced to members on the 17th of every month, and posted publicly on the 14th of the following month. I always eagerly check the forum to find out what the month's challenge is, then leave it till the last day. Why? I have no idea, but I am a bit of a procrastinator. This month was no exception. I checked the forum last night, and realized in a panic that I  only had a day. So, while I should have been doing the last of my unpacking after my move, I made stuffed grape leaves instead. I had purchased the grape leaves last week in a rare show of foresight, but that was all I had. So, I dug through my not-yet stocked fridge and cupboards and this is what I came up with:
I wanted to put some meat in the rolls, as those on the forum preferred the meat version to the vegetarian ones. Now, the only meat I had was a frozen package of ground caribou and I wasn't about to make a trip out. Then I remembered the Thanksgiving leftovers. I had been sent home with the raw turkey liver, as nobody in my family would touch it. I also had 4 litres of turkey stock I had made with the carcass. I added sumac, mace, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, cilantro, onions and garlic to the basmati rice and liver mixture. My jar of grape leaves was unpleasantly briny, so needed lots of blanching, leaving them quite delicate. I actually found the smell of the grape leaves on my hands really unpleasant and hard to remove. Luckily the finished rolls were perfectly seasoned and delicious. I served them with local cherry tomatoes, olive oil, sumac and cilantro. It was a nice lunch, and an even better break from unpacking.
Recipe:
1 jar grape leaves, rinsed and blanched to remove salt
olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup stock or water
3 tablespoons slivered almonds or pine nuts
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground sumac
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 turkey liver, diced (completely optional!)
salt

Rinse rice and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is softened but not browned. Add rice and stock. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low, until liquid is absorbed and rice is partially cooked. Cool. Add remaining ingredients and salt lightly (the leaves will add more). Spread leaves vein side up on work surface, trim stem off and roll 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of rice mixture tightly in leaves, folding sides in. You can put a couple of leaves together for larger rolls. Pack tightly in a steamer, in layers if necessary, and place a plate on top. Steam over boiling water in a covered pot for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with tomatoes, olives, and cheese.

Blog-checking lines: Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Find the full challenge PDF here, with recipes, pictures, and more!

23 comments:

Audax said...

I just love how you made them with the ingredients to hand well done and the last photograph is superb I love the filling the rice/meat looks so plump and the colour is delicious. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

chef_d said...

They look perfect! I'm not so sure about the liver, but the spices and other ingredients you used sound really intriguing...Excellent job!

FabFrugalFood said...

The turkey liver idea looks so interesting - great job on the challenge!

Donna

shelley c. said...

Wow - I am so impressed that you were able to pull these together so quickly and efficiently in the middle of all of your unpacking. And your photos are absolutely beautiful. Great job!

Valerie said...

Your rolls look delicious, Mary. One would never know that you did all this at the last minute. Plus the presentation/photos are stunning!

Lori said...

How perfect that you had the grape leaves already. You were reading my mind! I love your idea for filling. I always love when we use what we have on hand and make soemthing beautiful. Beautiful photos.

outoftheoven said...

Great job adapting the recipe to ingredients you already had! I love the idea of using pomegranate molasses - yum!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Fantastic job as always Mary! Your dolmades are stunning and sound as good as they look.

Suzler said...

You're brilliant! Your stuffed vine leaves look and sound divine. :)

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz said...

Very impressed with your completion under pressure with many things still packed. Just lovely rolls.

Indie.Tea said...

Those rolls look delicious. And the recipe is a nice break from the usual sweets on DB...

Melanie said...

The stuffed grape leaves look amazing, but I'm really drawn to your heirloom tomatoes! They look outstanding!

cuppy said...

I'm totally with Melanie on the tomatoes. O_O I cant' stop staring at the pictures. Those are beautiful shots, Mary!

Judy said...

Great improvisation! I bet they tasted as good as they look!

Kris Ngoei said...

This is something amazing coming out of a one day project.... Look totally delicious with the tomatoes, just love the shots :-)

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

FamilySpice said...

I seem to wait 'til the last minute, too. And you had everything you needed despite procrastination. Beautifully done!

Valérie said...

Haha, I really procrastinate these challenges, too. I'm so impressed with what you managed to whip up with what you had on hand. I'm sure no one has ever used a turkey liver in that way!

Tara said...

Very innovative!! They look really great!

Jojo said...

Very nice - they look beautiful. Nice lunch indeed. Excellent job of using what you had on hand.

Sweet and Savory said...

These are amazing. I can't find better words. Wow.

Lisa said...

Mary, I'm a notorious last minute DK Kitchen'er LOL That said, WOW, your stuffed grape leaves, the presentation, and the photos are SPECTACULAR! Can't stop looking at the photos - magazine worthy plus 1000!

bellini valli said...

I grew up in Ontario! Like you I love to discover other Canadian blogs. Dolmades are one of my favourite snack foods if eaten directly out of a can. I enjoy your innovative version too:D

A Canadian Foodie said...

Mary! I love your site, and have missed it!! Paleese get a plugin uploaded that will allow me to subscribe by mail... Feedburner is one a lot use. I never get to my readers and feeds and have missed your beautiful site. YOu have rendered SUET!! For Christmas pudding? I am going to search for it here. Sure hope you posted it. I have never heard of anyone doing that. Can't wait to read about it. This post is BEW-TEE-FULL!
:)
Valerie