Etli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves With Meat

Here comes another star of a typical Turkish feast: Etli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves, this time  not in olive oil, but cooked in a rich tomato and butter sauce with a delicious meat and rice stuffing. When people click on our link through Foodista.com on Wednesday (remember we are going to be the featured blog of that day), I want them to land at this post. What do you think? It feels like I am hosting a dinner party and it’s important to greet the guests with our nicest offering.

Ingredients:

60-70 grape vine leaves (fresh leaves are better, those in brine are OK)

2 medium size yellow onions, finely chopped or grated,

1/2 kg of ground beef+lamb, (around 10-15% fat would be fine)

1 1/2 cups of rice,

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Etli Kabak Dolmasi – Stuffed Zucchini

Yesterday, my husband and I were both out, me shopping, him working. He called me on the phone close to our meeting up time and told me that he had a surprise for me. A surprise?! I was really surprised, my hubs had a surprise for me. Thank God he didn’t tell me what it was on the phone, because he always does that and ruins the surprise, he calls up and tells “hey honey I am on my way home and I got flowers for you” and he turns up at the door and says “surpriiise!!” with a big and cute smile on his face, and I am like “duh?!” This time he kept it to himself that he bought me a book on Ottoman Cuisine. The book contains some very interesting info on 19th century dining habits of the Ottoman elite.

Anyways (thanks to the person who invented this word), back to our recipe… Stuffed vegetables, poultry and meat are very popular in Turkish cuisine. Zucchini comes the third on the list of things-to-be-stuffed, I suppose, after vine leaves and capsicum. 8-ball zucchini is one of the cutest things you can find in a garden, imho. We call them Cretan Zucchini, I don’t know why and feel quite lazy to look it up on the internet. If you have minced meat, rice, zucchini and tomatoes in your kitchen, this recipe is pretty much ok to play around with depending on your liking of herbs and spices.

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