Cooking, Food, Recipe

Eat This While You Read That: Lloyd Behm

Lloyd A Behm is responsible for one of the Hard SF books written in the last couple of years that is eminently readable. Since this meal took me a couple of days from start to finish, you’ll have plenty of time to read. The Martian Aria is reviewed here, but the thumbnail is: great characters, Mars colony. Fun reading.

Wait! Stop, don’t go away. You don’t have to do it the hard way. As a matter of fact, I recommend you don’t do it the way I did. So grab the book, and come back here to see how I learned not to make dolmades.

Grape Leaves
Where you begin, for dolmades.

I’d asked Lloyd for a recipe for this series, and I’m not sure this is the right one. You see, he’s one of the few people I talk food with and we send each other recipes. So… I hope this is right. Because it was a fun meal to prepare, and somehow I think Brumbar would approve. Anyway, it wasn’t crepes… (and yes, you’ll have to read the books to get that joke).

Great-Grandma's Dolmades

Ingredients

  • Grape Leaves - (use the jarred, not my method)
  • ½ Lb Ground meat
  • 8 Oz Tomato sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • Small jar (8 oz) grape leaves
  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash salt

Instructions

  • Remove grape leaves from brine, unroll and rinse.
  • Place in bowl of cold water.
  • Mix meat, rice and spices together in bowl. Add half tomato sauce.
  • Remove stems from grape leaf, put app 1 teaspoon of meat mixture in center of leaf.
  • Fold outside ends of the grape leaf over meat mixture and roll from base of the leaf to tip (cigar style)
  • Repeat until all meat mixture is used. Stack rolls in heavy sauce pan. Pour remaining tomato sauce over rolls, cover completely with water, put top on pan and simmer for 2 hours. Check rice to determine if done.
  • Once cooked, can be served cold.
  • Note – I found that most jars of grape leaves were 16 oz jars, so I double the recipe.
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    To begin with, I went out with my little basket, kitchen shears (and camera, natch) and harvested grape leaves. First note, if you decide you want to do this recipe the hard way, make sure you are picking the younger, more tender leaves. Tough old ones will leave you picking leaf-veins from between your teeth. I brought my leafy haul home, washed, patted dry, and slipped them into a ziploc to freeze for another day (hat top to Kathryn McCrary for this idea).

    It’s at this point I highly recommend you do Lloyd’s version with the jar of leaves. They will be more pliable, uniform in size, and will yield better results.

    dolmades
    Making a little leaf envelope for a small spoonful of rice and beef mixture.
    dolmades
    Roll from the stem end toward the tips. Don’t make your packet too tight, the rice will expand while cooking.
    dolmades
    Once you have used up all of your leaves, it’s time to cook.
    dolmades
    Special note – pack your dolmades snugly and don’t put in too much broth. Mine were too loose and some unraveled while cooking.
    Pita bread
    I did finally learn the trick to properly puffed pitas. Once you roll out your disc of dough, let it rest for 15-20 minutes before baking in a very hot oven on a stone.
    Pita Bread
    They puffed, and went back down, but they were tender, tasty, and perfect for this meal.
    Fatoush
    Fatoush: a salad of mint, tomato, onion, cucumber, and garlic, tossed with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.
    Dolmades
    Fatoush, dolmades, and pita bread.

    The dolmades were, sadly, overdone. I simmered them for longer than the rice I used needed to cook. I would cook this for no more than 30-40 minutes next time. But they were tasty, and the tough leaves we unwrapped and ate the middle. The First Reader learned that it’s not the lemon of the restaurant dolmades he doesn’t care for, but the grape leaves. Next time I try them, they are all mine Muahaha.. ahem. Anyway the tzatziki sauce, pita, and fatoush were all wonderful so the meal was a success even if the dolmades weren’t quite spot on.

    Happy Reading!

    The index page for ETWYRT is here. 

    3 thoughts on “Eat This While You Read That: Lloyd Behm

    1. Yum! Query – does this work with any ground meat? Wife has been wanting me to try doing something with lamb (not a familiar meat to me, at the prices here), but she is rather wary of any Greek dish. This looks like something she would appreciate, though.

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