Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today of all Days

It is cold. It is rainy. It is divine.

I think Sundays make the perfect day for a rainy afternoon. I am hoping for a BIG thunderstorm. It doesn't look like that is going to happen.

I guess I should clarify a few things.

I live in the south. It really does not get THAT cold. I am able to function with the sunroom's window open. If it were actually COLD, I could not do that. But my toes do feel a little icy.
>I LOOOOOOVE Sundays.. I guess the Bangle's got it right when they said - "It's my fun day." I feel like the entire world let's out an exhausted exhale. I see clearer. I feel calmer. There is definitely something about Sunday.

My plans today are truly silly. I organized my cosmetics. Seriously, I reorganized them.

I made the bed.

I am planning to make this awesome little egyptian meal tonight. So I double checked to make sure I have all of the ingredients.

THAT reminds me - I promised my sister I would add at least a random Mediterranean recipe from time to time. Okay..
Here it goes:

First of all - these are the bell peppers I have for tonight.

Now for the fabulous recipe:
I am making - Biber dolmasi (which is basically stuffed bell peppers, but middle eastern (to be exact - North African style.)
This is truly the egyptian's favorite.
Ingredients -
Olive Oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground sumac
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup of ground lamb
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
large pinch of cayenne pepper
5/8 cup basmati rice, rinsed, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained
2 tomatoes, grated, juices set aside, and skin discarded
2 tbsp blanched almonds, toasted and chopped
3 tbsp currants
2 tbsp chopped frech flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 large bell peppers
8 grape leaves preserved, well rinsed and patted dry
1 tbsp tomato paste, dissolved in 1 1/4 cup boiling water
salt & pepper

What to do:
Preheat to 350F.

Heat 3 tblsp olive oil in a skillet. Add the onoion and sumac and cook over med. heat, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stiring an additional 2 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, until no longer pink. Stir in allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring for 1 more minute.

Stir in the rice and tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring occassionally, for 3 - 5 minutes, or until the tomato juices have evaporated. Stir in the almonds, currants and herbs and set aside.

Halve each green pepper from top to bottom, leaving the stalks intact, then seed. Divide the lamb mix between the bell pepper halves.

Use the grape leaves to line the bottom of the shallow overnproof casserole or deep skillet with an oven proof lid and handle large enough to hold the pepper halves in a single layer. Arrange the pper halves in the casserole or skillet so that they remain upright.

Spoon 1 tbsp of tomato paste liquid over each pepper. Add 4 tbsp of oil and salt and pepper to taste the remaining tomato paste liquid, and pour around the bell peppers.

Bring the liquid in the casserole to a boil on the stove, then cover tightly.
Bake in the over for 50 minutes - 1 hour, or until peppers are very tender and the rice is cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the tomato liquid - then serve hot. However, you can let the peppers cool - they will absorb the flavor from the grape leaves.

How does that sound???? It is not as hard as it may seem. FULL of vitamins!

Okay.. this is probably the most scattered blog entry in a very long time. Sorry.. just sleepy from the rain!!!

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