Dolma | Lamb and Fresh Grape Leaves Rolls

Dolma (Ottoman Turkish: طوٓلمه‎) is a family of stuffed dishes common in Mediterranean cuisine and surrounding regions including the Balkans, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Stuffed with lamb and rice grape leaves is one of the version. I was never impressed by what is sold or served as dolma in the U.S. Most of the time it is dry and tasteless. As a result, I never attempted to make it at home, thinking it’s not my thing. That was until some of my friends bragged about their homemade dolma with fresh grape leaves. The recipe below is my first try and I consider it very much up to my taste!

June 1, 2019
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Flowering Leeks | 韭菜 | jiǔ cài

Years ago, I discovered foraged ramps in the U.S. though available only matured, expensive, and very difficult to find. Unfortunately, matured ramps cannot substitute cheremsha, which is ramp sprouts from Kavkaz mountains. But flowering leeks can! Cooked the same way, I consider succulent stems of flowering leeks the second best. The recipe below is exactly how we prepared ramp sprouts in our family — simple and delicious. It works for the flowering leeks to the letter.

March 19, 2018
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Of Love and Hate: Brussels Sprouts

We kids feared many things in those days – werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday School — but they all paled in comparison with Brussels sprouts. — Dave Barry
I feel sorry for all people who were served poorly cooked Brussels in the childhood and now miss the beauty of these tiny cabbages every season. How do YOU like your Brussels?

October 30, 2017
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Huazontle Salad

Think broccoli with thinner and more fibrous stalks and stems. That’s huazontle, just with more tiny green buds and fewer stems and leaves. Huazontle bud clusters are simmered in salty water for 5-15 minutes (different sources give different timing) first. Then they are cooked as tortas (patties), which are formed by pressing huazontle clusters around a portion of queso fresco, dipped in flour then into an egg foam, and deep-fried. This recipe is sort of the same, but deconstructed.

January 18, 2017
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Preserving Ramps: Frozen

Freezing herbs is the easiest and fastest way to preserve them. When added at the end of cooking or right before serving, frozen herbs work almost the same as fresh. You can freeze whole, chopped, or pureed herbs. Freeze them in water to make flavored ice cubes for drinks and cocktails. Or freeze them mixed with vegetable oil, butter, or animal fat to use for cooking savory dishes. Frozen herbs retain their taste, smell, and nutritional benefits for up to one year. Since ramps season is so short, freezing is a great way to make this unique ingredient available for longer than a few weeks.

April 13, 2016
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Modern Capon Magro | Seafood and Vegetables Salad

Served buffet style, this preparation is perfect for parties. It is heathy and beautiful, light and bright, a meal you’ll be happy to share with friends and family! The variety of fresh, blanched, grilled, marinated, pickled, roasted, broiled vegetables and seafood could be endless — whatever is available, the best quality, and preferred by your guests.

May 9, 2015
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More Ramps! Salad Dressing

Blanching is a must for herbs and vegetables to stop the enzyme action and to destroy any microorganisms present on the surface. Freezing only helps to remove extra moisture. Are there any other techniques to replace blanching benefits? Yes. There is heat-shocking.

May 3, 2015
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Roselline Romagnola | Vertical Lasagna

Roselline di pasta alla Romagnola (Pasta Roses) is beautiful vertical lasagna from Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. Originally, it is made with mortadella, ham, melting Fontina or Asiago, pungent Gorgonzola, and full of umami grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. This recipe is my favorite fancy version of pasta roses. It is served at the end of all February fresh pasta classes.

February 3, 2015
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