Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

November 14, 2013

Special Post - Halloween 2013

Party Spread
Halloween is a great time of year.  It brings out a lot of creativity in people, including in the food department.  This year I attended a party at a close friend's house and we had a blast.  Everyone had cool and original costumes.  But the food was just as interesting!  The hostess made individual pizzas that had cheese in the shape of ghosts with olive bits for eyes and mouths.  She also made breadsticks into the shape of bones.  For dessert, she made "toe" cookies.  Her daughter made deviled eggs with olive "spiders" on top.  So creative!!!  I wish I had done some more research to make my food more festive.  My dishes included an antipasto platter and a dill dip in a bread bowl, delicious, but I know next year I will make my food a little more Halloween related!  Enjoy the pictures below of some of the party food!
"Ghost Pizzas" by Gail
My antipasto platter which included olives I marinated myself

Breadstick "Bones" by Gail
My dill dip in a bread bowl, a recipe my mom has made for years!

November 5, 2013

Simply Sides 8 - Dolmas

What is a dolma you might be asking yourself?  Why it is a tasty little morsel!  More specifically, a dolma is a stuffed fruit or vegetable, i.e. stuffed cabbage leaves, zucchini, tomato, or in this case, grape leaves.  A middle Eastern dish, stuffed grape leaves are DELICIOUS, although they may sound weird to those who aren't so familiar with this culinary delight.  You can commonly find dolmades on Greek menus, and as my parents were fond of Greek food while I was growing up, I have had quite a few of these in my lifetime.  
Grape leaves are stuffed with a ground beef (or lamb) and rice mixture, with a brightness from lemons and a kick from various spices.  
I have never made dolmades before, and as I am expanding my culinary prowess this year, I thought I would give it a go.  To kick it up a notch, I developed a crock pot recipe for them, so once you've assembled them, you can just set it and forget them for a few hours!
These are great for parties, make a great appetizer, and are a great (fairly healthy snack).  I hope you give them a try!

  • 1 8oz jar grape leaves (found in the olive/pickle section of your grocery store)
  • 1 lb ground beef (or lamb), browned with a diced onion
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 - 2 cups of chicken broth (or beef broth or veggie broth)
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 5 fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 tbs dried dill
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper (to taste, about 1 tsp of each)
  • 1 onion, sliced

Place sliced onion in the bottom of your crock pot.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, beaten egg, parsley, mint, dill, red pepper, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  Add in the juice of 1 lemon, mix well.  Drain and rinse grape leaves.  Take 1 grape leaf, place some of the beef/rice mixture in the middle.  Fold in the short sides, fold over one of the long sides and roll.  Place seam side down on top of onion in crock pot.  Repeat with remaining grape leaves until ground beef mixture and/or grape leaves are gone.  
Mix broth and lemon juice together.  Pour over stuffed grape leaves in slow cooker.  Turn slow cooker to low and cook 6-8 hours or place slow cooker on high and cook 2-3 hours.