Dolma, dolmeh, sarma or dolmades (plural) are fabulous little stuffed vegetable rolls, the most popular being those wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves. Thought to have originated in the Middle East and adapted by surrounding regions including the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Central Asia, both Turkey and Greece like to lay claim to its origin. Modern day dolmades are readily accepted as one of the shining stars of ‘Mediterranean cuisine’. Dolmades are a classic example of regional and historical adaptation, utilizing whatever vegetables, grains, spices and scraps of meat that were readily available. Although the vegetarian versions are referred to as fake or lean dolma, there is nothing fake about the tangy flavor of these bite-size morsels, made with fresh dill, pine nuts and lemon. The perfect finger food appetizer (mezze) or side dish, dolmades are a favorite party or picnic food, as they can be made a day or two ahead and store well in the refrigerator. The added bonus is that they are gluten-free….
This year we all decided simplicity was the way to go with our holiday meal, without sacrificing the great flavors we always associate with the holidays and this time of the year. What better way than to go back to the classics, which is why this dish works. Peas, smoked bacon and pearl onions – what’s not to like? The addition of lightly cooked lettuce, seen more in European and Asian dishes than in America, adds a uniqueness to this recipe. This dish is another childhood favorite and can also be made with shallots, if preferred. …
Also known as Potatoes (Pommes) Anna, the original potato gratin is a classic French dish. Said to be created by Chef Adolfe Duglere in the 19th century and named after grande cocotte Anna Deslions, the dish became so revered that a specialty copper pan like this was designed specifically for ensuring a professional outcome when making it. Traditionally, it is prepared with clarified butter and seasonings (how could it not be delicious?) and then baked until the center is soft and buttery and the exterior, deliciously crispy. With its quick and easy, no-nonsense prep and enticing presentation, it is a quintessential holiday party dish, capable of holding its own amidst any holiday spread. Wanting to switch it up a bit for a slightly creamier texture, I swapped out the butter for heavy cream and added a few herbs. I was delighted that the fat in the cream helped form a slightly crispy crust with a creamy center….
This is the time of year when gardeners and farmers are busy reaping the fruits of their labor and keeping on top of harvesting the abundance of ripe offerings. Whether you have a summer garden or buy your veggies from local farmer’s markets or the grocery store, summer squash, tomatoes and peppers are in abundance and at the peak of their natural cycle. Grilling is one of our ‘go to” methods of cooking summer vegetables and with this Balsamic Glaze it makes a perfect farm to table side for any grilled meat….