On Monday I took my laundry in and met the husband and wife that operates it. The husband spent time in the United States many years ago and speaks excellent English. My friend Miguel who is acting as my interpreter asked the owner about his grape vines well one thing led to another and…when I arrived on Wednesday morning to get my clean laundry the owner was on a ladder cutting grape leaves for me. These are a delicacy that I have not found on the coast so I was fast to accept his gift and run home to pickle them for my stuffed grape leaf recipe.
After stripping the branches, cutting back the stems and washing them in Vitalin I allowed them to drain. In the meantime I made two separate solutions both with the same ingredients, water, lime (lemon) juice and salt.
With the water mixture boiling in the larger pot I blanched batches of leaves for 30-40 seconds. Removed each batch to a cold water bath continuing with the next batch until completed. I had set aside two large pasta sauce jars with lids that I cleaned in a mild solution of bleach and scaled in hot water. Take 20-30 leaves and roll them into a cigar shape and stuff into the jar until you have filled the jars or run out of leaves. Bring the second pot of water, lime and salt to a boil and pour over the grape leaves to within a quarter of an inch of the top. Wipe the rim of the glass with a clean cloth and secure the lid. Allow to cool and then I refrigerate as these are not new canning lids (cannot find on the coast) and may not seal properly.
What I need now is lamb – once I have the lamb I will post the recipe for Dolmades. There are different recipes from several different cultures as this dish is a popular part of many cuisines in the Middle East including Greek, Armenian, Turkish, Egyptian. They can be made with lamb, my favorite or beef or pork. I would imagine that any combination of these three would also work. I believe my original recipe is Greek; of course with my modifications. ha ha