Dolma | Lamb and Fresh Grape Leaves Rolls

Dolma with Lamb and Fresh Grape Leaves

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!

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Smoked Basmati

Smoked Basmati with Eggplants

Smoking grains with Camerons stovetop smoker is a no-brainer. Cook them to 80-90% of doneness, season, add some fat, and finish by smoking with wood chips of your choice. But if the introduction to smoked grains made you curious, you might want to try this recipe with Middle Eastern flavors. You can start without the Mandi spice mix or replace it with another Arabian mix you like and have handy.

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Porcini Risotto

Porcini Risotto

Risotto is a quick (25 minutes!) meal to make at home. With mastered cooking method, you can easily make different kinds of healthy and delicious restaurant-quality risotto in a comfort of your own kitchen. Make sure you have the right ingredients! This recipe features whole frozen porcini mushrooms and Italian Superfino Arborio rice. They are available at our local Astin foods stores: Central Market has the rice, and Borderless European Market (BEM) — the mushrooms. The BEM porcini mushrooms are foraged in Lithuania and distributed by AmbeRye (AmbeRye Boletus Mushrooms, packaged 300 g / 10.58 oz).

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Pho Bo with Beef Tendon and Tail

Serving Pho Bo

It’s raining, it’s gloomy and dark, perfect weather to eat a bowl of steamy hot Pho Bo — to warm your soul, to wake up your tastebuds! Last year, I made my the first and the best Pho at home, because it was 100% to my taste. I also managed to adjust the recipe logistics to a busy lifestyle. In other words, no need to stay hours in the kitchen to enjoy a bowl of good Pho Bo at home.

There are many good Pho recipes available online. My version is based on Andrea Nguyen’s Beef Pho Noodle Soup Recipe (Pho Bo), where you can find a lot of detailed information about Pho.

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Baked Rice with Pineapple — Khao Ob Sapparod

Thai Pineapple Baked Rice with Seafood

This recipe is part of the Taste of Thai cooking classes (BLOCK 1: Sense of Cuisine. Introduction to Thai flavors, curry pastes, nam phrik kaeng). Pineapple rice is simple to make either for 2-3 people, or for a big crowd. It can be plated or beautifully served in halved pineapple boats. It’s a good way to use cooked long grain rice leftovers, as well as cooked lean meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Personally, I cook all the ingredients for this dish form scratch. There are recipes that use only fish sauce and white pepper for seasoning. They are good for those who can’t tolerate any heat. I prefer variations with Thai green, red, and yellow curry pastes, adding more or less of them depending to my guests requests for the level of heat. I tried many ways to cook and serve this dish — all of them are delicious!

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Romantic Food Goes Texan: Texas Quail, Peaches, Pecans, and Texmati

Romantic Texas Quail

Cooking together is one of the most romantic activities! This recipe requires cooking rice, quails, and sauce at the same time. While the logistics are easy for pros, it might be challenging for home cooks. That’s where cooking with loving partner might be highly beneficial. Come to my kitchen and I’ll teach you every step. Make this dish your special for special occasions!

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Fried Rice with Hamachi

Making Kona Hamachi Fried Rice

This recipe will help you to fix a quick dinner if you happen to have leftover sushi rice and a piece of good sushi grade fish. Yellowtail is my favorite, but salmon, fatty tuna, or escolar are suitable substitutions. When preparing the ingredients, slice your fish frozen and keep slices frozen until the moment they go on top of the rice. It prevents overcooking the fish. I usually cook and serve this fried rice in a hot pan. It is fun to put chairs closer and enjoy eating dinner shoulder to shoulder.

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A Girl With Morels: Risotto

Opening the box is one of my favorite moments. First, I stick my nose inside and smell morels’ concentrated fragrance. Then, I admire the variety of their shapes and shades and let their aroma to slowly fill my kitchen. “Into the woods — It’s time, and so I must begin my journey!”

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