More exotic eating…

I have continued exploring with some of the exotic vegetables I have been receiving in my CSA share, and have enjoyed some really delicious recipes recently.  Every week, I get at least one item that I have never before prepared.  Luckily, the CSA has a volunteer recipe organizer that distributes recipes pertinent to the items we receive each week.  Unfortunately, I have been quite preoccupied with the show I’m in, so I haven’t been able to cook as frequently as I like.  But I thought I would share a couple more interesting dishes I’ve had over the last week or so…

The first was a very unique dish, a Cardoon and Mango Chutney.  Unfortunately, I lost the actual recipe, but I can share what I remember.  First, you sauté red onion about 10 minutes,

 until caramelized, then you add turmeric, chili powder, curry, pepper, salt, ground mustard, bay leaf, cardamom, jamaican allspice, and ground ginger.  Cook all that until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Then you add the cardoon (peeled and chopped) and cook until softened.  Add a can of coconut milk and then add chopped mango (I used Indian mango – yum!)  Simmer until everything is cooked and the vegetables are softened.  Serve all that on some brown rice, and you’ve got a great meal.  The only complaint I had was that there was a little too much chili powder in mine – so go easy on that spice.
My other new dish was stuffed grape leaves – so easy and so delicious!  I actually do have the recipe for that:
1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb
1 1/4 c. rice (raw)
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice (level)
1 tbsp. dried spearmint
1/4 lb. melted butter (1 stick)


Mix all above ingredients together.  GRAPE LEAVES: Pick 75 to 100 medium leaves early in season when they are tender (avoid tiny ones). Cut stem off and brush clean in bowl of water. 

If unable to pick leaves, jarred leaves can be purchased in a Greek import store.  STUFFING THE LEAVES: Line bottom of pot with large leaves. Stuff leaves on wrong side. Place a little stuffing on stem side.  Fold leaf over stuffing – bring one side over, then the other side and then roll. Place in pot with seam side down.  When all stuffed leaves are placed in pot, cover with large leaves. Pour seasoned water (with salt and allspice) over the stuffed leaves. Place hand over leaves and press down to avoid leaves opening. Bring to boil, foam may come to the top. Skim it off.  Lower to simmer for 1 hour. Take 1 stuffed leaf, cut and check to see if rice is cooked.
My only note on this recipe was that I used short-grained brown rice, which wasn’t thoroughly cooked after simmering for one hour.  I would recommend using a faster cooking white rice.
Now, for any of my readers who have access to more grape leaves than I (ahem, ahem, who could that be?), here’s another recipe you should try:

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Vegetarian)


16 Lg young fresh grape leaves
1 lb crumbly goat chese
1/2 c plus 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


Soak fresh grape leaves in ice water at least 30 minutes. Pat dry before using. Rinse leaves packed in brine, if using, and pat dry. Mash together cheese and 1 tablespoon oil. Set aside. Remove stems from grape leaves. Pour remaining 1/2 cup oil onto shallow plate. Dip dull underside of 1 leaf into oil. Place leaf, oiled side up, on work surface. Place 1 tablespoon cheese mixture in center of leaf and season with generous grinding of pepper. Fold sides and top and bottom ends of leaf over cheese to make square. Place seam-side down on clean plate. Repeat with remaining leaves. Recipe may be made to this point and refrigerated, covered, overnight. Grill over medium-hot coals, seam-side down, until leaves are no longer bright green and are nicely scored, about 2 minutes. Turn and grill other side about 2 minutes. Or broil close to heat source. Yields 16 leaves.

I’m hoping to try that one soon!

3 thoughts on “More exotic eating…

  1. A view from the middle June 26, 2008 / 1:37 am

    Since I’m relatively sure I can gain access to some leaves I think I may try this recipe. Sounds delish, I’m happy to see you writing again, I should be doing the same.xoxo Mom

  2. Lore June 26, 2008 / 10:56 am

    Wow, I am so impressed by your culinary artistry. Having a love for cooking is a great gift. Some people fight this all their lives, thinking: I can’t cook I don’t like to cook, I just like to eat. Much love, your Oma

  3. Anonymous May 6, 2010 / 7:27 pm

    the dolmas and the stufffed grape leaves is a Greek food we call it doll-ma-dakia here and its delicius =) kisses .

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