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.
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).
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.
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.