Stuffed kale leaves with cabbage rolls

April 28th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

It is time again to make a bit of nutritional cleaning with the arrival of spring.

Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables for a perfect support of the body’s detoxification system.

Let’s boost our metabolism, optimize digestion and eat to lose weight and get energy for summer.

  • 20 kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 20 cabbage leaves(stems removed)
  • 1 T. rice (rinsed)
  • 1 T. large grain bulgur (rinsed)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 300 gr. medium ground meat
  • 1 T. red pepper paste
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper
  • In a pot put water, add a pinch of salt and sugar. Steam kale leaves in a covered pot with a steamer basket for 5- 10 minutes.

    Pull off large outer leaves and trim away thick, tough ribs.

    Chop onion fine. Mix with rice, bulgur and ground meat in a bowl. Add red pepper paste, salt and pepper.

    Drop a spoonful of the mixture in the center of each kale leaf and wrap around meat securely. Repeat the same for the cabbage leaves.

    Place stuffed kale and cabbage leaves in a pan. Put an aluminium plate upside down (or some other weight) directly on the dolmas, to prevent the leaves from unwrapping.

    Add 1/2 lemon juice and cook for 15 minutes with 1/2 cup water.

    Serve with Turkish yogurt.

    You can reach a similar dish, meat stuffed cabbage leaves (sarma) from here.

    Snap pea in olive oil

    April 19th, 2012 § Comments Off on Snap pea in olive oil § permalink

    Snap peas also known as sugarsnap peas, are edible podded peas that differ from snow peas.

    The snap pea is edible when it is young and it has slightly sweet taste.

  • 1/2 kg snap pea in pods
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 4 T grated tomatoes (or fresh tomato paste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • Wash the snap peas. Mature snap pea pods may need to be stringed which means the membranous string running along the top of the pod from base to tip is removed. Set aside.

    Saute the chopped onion with olive oil in the pressure cooker. Place the snap peas and the tomato paste to the pressure cooker.

    Add salt with 1/4 cup water.  

    Cook 10 minutes until they are tender.  

    Place the snap peas into a service plate.

    Serve cold.

    Celery root in olive oil stuffed with rice

    April 10th, 2012 § Comments Off on Celery root in olive oil stuffed with rice § permalink

    Celeriac or celery root is high in fiber, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C and B.

    I recommend to buy small sized celery roots as they won’t have void or tough cores. The heaviness of the roots are important. When buying with stems, check the leaves are lively and fresh.

  • 2 medium celery roots
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 fresh onions
  • 1 orange juice (1/4 cup)
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t. sugar
  • salt
  • Pare the celery roots.

    Cut celery roots into half. Scoop out the centre of each halved celery in order to fill.

    In a pressure cooker put olive oil, onions, sugar, salt, orange juice, lemon juice and water. Place celery roots and cook 20 minutes until they are tender.

    for filling:

  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 t dill (diced)
  • Place the rice in a wide pan such as a pie tin. Cover with boiling water. Let it stand at least 30 minutes or several hours. When you are ready to cook it, drain it and wash in cold water, until the water runs clear.

    Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan like pilav pan. Put the rice in the pan. Let the rice fry with high heat, covering the pan with its lid for a minute.

    Add 1/4 cup of water and salt, turn the heat down and cover with lid. At a low heat, simmer for 15 minutes.

    Add butter, stir once tenderly, taking care not to destroy the grains. Finally add dill.

    Place the celery roots into a pan. Fill the rice to the scooped centres of each celery root. Let simmer with its broth  for 5 minutes.

    Place them to a serving platter.

    Pour the broth over the warm celery roots stuffed with rice and serve.

    Aegean green olives

    January 19th, 2012 § Comments Off on Aegean green olives § permalink

    After a long break, I’m back again. Mostly these kind of intervals mean adventure, especially when you live in two countries, part time in one and part time in another.

    This years’ olive harvest has already begun in Aegean region and it will continue till March. Here in Greece, almost every family has olive trees and they generally collect by themselves. The individuals harvest their crop for their consumption of olives and/or extra virgin olive oil. For olive oil, the olive sacks are taken to the olive mills personally. Instead in Turkey, only the villagers and the olive tree owners do this process. However you have a wide opportunity to buy uncured olives from every part of the country.

    Cured olives are one of the most delicious foods coming from ancient times. Especially when they are a little bit salty, they can be enjoyed in almost any dish. 

    Uncured olives are extremely bitter and sour tasting. Curing olives are so simple, like this;

  • 1 kg raw green olives
  • grain of salt
  • sour salt (citric acid)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon slices
  • a bunch of green fennel
  • Wash the olives. Using a sharp knife, make a horizontal equatorial line cut to the olives.

    Completely cover the olives with water, make sure none are poking out. So weight them down with something.

    Every 2 – 3 days change out the water with fresh water. The green olives should take about 1.5 – 2 months to become cured, depending on the size of the olives. After one month, taste one in case the bitterness might already be gone.

    When the olives don’t taste bitter any longer, place them in a jar with fresh water.

    Put 2 T grain of salt, 1/2 t sour salt, 3 – 4 slices of lemon and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil to the water(brine). The sour salt maintains the olive firm.

    For your taste, optionally you can add a bunch of green fennel or 3 T red wine vinegar.

    If properly stored, the olives keep for a long time.

    Olives have a high content of heart healthy fats, besides a good source of vitamin E. Regular consumption of olive and olive oil reduces the risk of hypertension.

    Spinach gratin

    December 24th, 2011 § Comments Off on Spinach gratin § permalink

    An ideal side dish served with steaks, chicken or fish!

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 kg spinach
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 100 gr Emmental cheese
  • 10 T bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t nutmeg  
  • Stem and wash spinach. Saute the onion with olive oil in a large pot. Place the washed spinach and cook covered for 5-10 minutes until wilted and leaves its juice. Add salt and grated nutmeg.

    Pre heat oven to 180°C.

    Put the spinach, pepper eggs and milk to a blender and mix them all together for 1-2 minutes.

    Spoon the spinach mixture into a gratin dish or a shallow casserole coated with oil and bread crumbs.

    Arrange top with the remaining bread crumbs and Emmental cheese.

    Bake at 180° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

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