Here are the recipes for what we cooked last night with our grape leaves. Our meal consisted of:
*New potatoes and our first half-runner green beans cooked with bacon (Larry made these)
*Sourdough bread with cucumber-yogurt dip
*Chicken and Goat Cheese Wrapped in Grape Leaves with Bell Pepper Sauce
*Goat Cheese Wrapped in Grape Leaves
Do I have any photos? I don't! I completely forgot to take any; we were so wrapped up in our cooking that it never crossed my mind to grab the camera. Take my word, though, the results were as pretty as they were tasty.
The foods that came from the garden for this meal: potatoes and green beans, rosemary, sage, dill, basil, onions and garlic, egg and grape leaves.
The first recipe is delicious and really not difficult to make. I don't like green peppers raw, so the sauce almost stopped me from making this. But I made the sauce anyway, and it was amazing. I am so glad I didn't let my prejudice stop me from trying it!
Chicken Breasts and Goat Cheese in Grape Leaves, with Bell Pepper Sauce
(this recipe is from the National Chicken Council, but I've modified it a little )
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (we used those frozen chicken tenders, thawed of course--they were just the right size for our grape leaves; we made 5 altogether using the amount of ingredients in this recipe)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces fresh goat cheese (I used less than this because my pieces of chicken were smaller and a smaller amount fit just right. I used about 4 oz of cheese)
4 fresh basil leaves
4 fresh sage leaves
8 or 12 grape leaves in brine (I used a good bit more, because my leaves were small so I had to overlap them to properly roll up the chicken. I used the leaves I'd just put in brine the day before and they worked great)
1 garlic clove
1 sprig rosemary
Bell Pepper Sauce: see below--it's yummy!
1. Sprinkle chicken breast with salt and pepper (I didn't so this--just forgot, but ours tasted fine).
2. Divide cheese into 4 portions and spread on top of each piece of chicken.
3. Place 1 basil leaf and 1 sage leaf on top of the cheese
4. Wrap chicken with 2 or 3 grape leaves. (I started with the chicken in the middle and made sure I had enough grape leaves to completely wrap it. I folded in the ends first, then started rolling from the large side of the leave to the tip, if that makes sense. I used 3 or 4 leaves per piece of chicken because as I said my leaves must have been smaller than what is usually used)
5. In large saucepan with steaming rack, place about 1 inch of water; add garlic and rosemary and bring to a boil (I used my crab steamer--never have used it for crabs but it worked perfectly for this. You could use a colander too, or maybe a cake rack in the bottom of a pan).
This part smelled so good!
6. Arrange chicken on steaming rack, cover and cook on high heat for about 20 minutes, making sure that the water doesn't completely evaporate or touch the wrapped chicken. Place chicken on serving plate and pour the sauce (below) around it.
Bell Pepper Sauce (I want to use this sauce for other things too!)
1. Slice two green bell peppers (I used one BIG one) and 1/4 small onion; put through a juicer (I used my blender--worked fine). In a small saucepan, place pepper-onion juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; bring just to a boil. Serve over the chicken wrapped in grape leaves.
(The recipe said that ricotta or cream cheese mixed with Parmesan could be substituted for the goat cheese.)
The second recipe is really more of an hors d'ouevre and was quick to make. Amy did this one by herself in about 10 minutes. The little bundles were delicious, tangy and melt-in-your-mouth soft.
Grape Leaves Stuffed with Goat Cheese (recipe is from the RecipeZaar website)
1 (7 ounce) package mild goat cheese (or 5 oz goat cheese plus 2 oz softened cream cheese)
1 tablespoon minced chives (I had some frozen so we used those)
1 tablespoon beaten egg
fresh coarse ground black pepper
12 large grape leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream together cheese, chives, egg and pepper to taste.
3. Wash grape leaves and pat dry.
4. Remove stems (we didn't do this since I'd trimmed the stems way back when I packed the leaves in the brine)
5. Working with one leaf at a time, place 1 rounded tablespoon of the cheese mixture at the stem end of each leaf.
6. Roll up tightly, tucking ends in to form a cigar shape.
7. Place rolls, open end down, (meaning the edge of the last leaf rolled) on a greased baking sheet.
8. Brush generously with olive oil.
9. Bake for 10 minutes.
10. Serve hot or tepid.
Last recipe for today:
We served sourdough bread and cucumber-dill dipping sauce with the meal.
Cucumber-Dill Dipping Sauce
We modified a recipe to come up with this version that we liked very well. Tangy, a little sweet and so cooling.
1 seedless cucumber
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
fresh dillweed (about a tablespoon)
salt and pepper
Cut the cucumber into chunks and blend in a blender until it is smooth. Pour into a cloth-lined colander and squeeze out about half of the juice from the cucumber pulp. Put in a bowl and add the yogurt, sour cream and dillweed. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The dinner was a lot more cooking than I normally do on a weekday evening, but it was so much fun. Since the evening was dripping-humidity-hot, it was a good way to use the time because we sure didn't want to be outside in that heat.