24 February 2009

A Greek Tribute with Rolo me Abelophylla with Avgolomeno

Rolo me Abelophylla with Avgolomeno
One of the perks of blogging is meeting some very kind hearted people who ultimately become your friends. In the two years that I have been blogging one of these people would be Ivy of Kopiaste. On a recent trip to the Central Market in Athens, with her good friend Marianna of History of Greek Food, Ivy thought of me. Even though we are thousands of kilometers away and an 11 hour plane ride from each other our love of food, Greece and friendship brings us together. Thank you Ivy!!!

I wish I could have been there with Ivy and Marianna as she tells of her adventures in the market here.

What did she find that made her think of me? Products from the island of Kea.

Ivy knows how much I loved my time spent at Keartisinal with new friends on this ultimate 8-day cooking vacation. Here I met the owners of Red Tractor Farms.

Kostis Maroulis and Marcie Mayer. Kostis has a keen interest in botany, classics, archeology and bee keeping. His grandfather's summer property provides the perfect setting for the full scale agro-tourism projects he had envisioned while living and studying abroad. He has planted 2 small vineyards, learned to play the bouzouki, cultivated rare plants collected on his walking tours, built Soultana (a traditional wooden boat with lateen sail), and much more. The European Union encouraged his efforts to promote agriculturally sensitive tourism by awarding him a grant in 2006. Kostis is also a partner in KeaArtisanal .

Marcie Mayer is a native Californian and has been living in Greece since 1984. Marcie designs the Red Tractor Farm labels and website. In her spare time she paints, sculpts and makes mosaics - all incorporated into Red Tractor Farm seminars that include guest artists and art workshops for kids.

When on the island of Kea I visited an interesting little shop where they sold all kinds of local products. At one time you could also watch them making their delicious pasteli. Ivy sent me some of their pasteli to remind me of my time on Kea. Along with that she also sent me something, we both hope I will never have to use...spatholado.

Spatholado is an ointment that is prepared in small quantities using an ancient method. The oil is used to heal burns, cuts and surgical scars. It is particularly effective for deep wounds, injuries caused by crushing, or any kind of trauma associated with nerve damage. The name 'spatholado' literally means 'sword oil' and refers to its ability to heal sword wounds. Its heyday was on the battlefields of the Crusaders.

Red Tractor Farms also produces Chutneys, Preserves, Marmalades, Seasoned Rubs, and coming soon... Pitted Kalamata Olives in Balsamic Syrup, Black Olive Chutney and Black Olive & Fig Marmalade.

In honour of memories of Greece and friends I made a delicious Greek dish. It reminds me of one big gigantic dolmades. I served it with some avgolomeno sauce. The recipe comes from Nancy Gaifyllia. As she says, "Grab a tube pan (about 10 to 12 cup capacity) and this recipe for Meat, Rice & Cheese Loaf in Grape Leaves will produce a great looking and delicious dish, kind of like a giant stuffed grape leaf. The meat, rice, and cheese filling is encased in grape leaves (which add a fabulous taste as well. Fill the center with extra meat filling, condiments, or nothing at all!!!"For more details, see this recipe for Meat, Rice and Cheese Loaf in Grape Leaves with step by step photos.

I'd also like to thank Jen over at a2Eatwrite for devoting a whole week to BloggerAid and raising awareness. It is not too late to get your recipe in for the cookbook. We are publishing a cookbook where 100% of the proceeds target children and education through the World Food Programme called School Meals. We hope that our excitement is contagious!!! Send your submissions by March 31st to bloggeraid AT gmail DOT com. Click here (Everything you need to know to submit a recipe).

Now on to the recipe...............................

**Rolo me Abelophylla -Meat, Rice and Cheese Loaf in Grape Leaves**

About 7 ounces (200 gr) of grape leaves (jarred, * see note below), blanched
1 teaspoon of sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon.
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 -1/4 pounds (1 kg) of ground beef
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 rounded tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of dry white wine or Vermouth
1 cup of medium grain rice, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup of boiling water
7 ounces (200 gr) of finely crumbled feta cheese
7 ounces (200 gr) of grated kefalograviera cheese
5 ounces (140 gr) of grated graviera cheese
a little olive oil for brushing the pan

Note About Grape Leaves: If using fresh grape leaves or leaves already prepared for cooking, a smaller quantity can be used. Depending on the size of the tube pan, 20 - 30 leaves should be enough.About Cheeses: Greek feta is readily available. Substitutes for kefalograviera include pecorina toscano, pecorino romano, aged myzithra, and (lastly) parmesan. Substitute for graviera is gruyere.

Blanch the Grape Leaves (if needed)Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, add juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Carefully unroll the leaves (do not separate them). Turn off the heat and place leaves in the hot water for 3 minutes. Remove leaves, place them in a bowl and cover with cold water. When cooled, drain in a colander.Note: It is not unusual for many of the outer leaves in a jar or can to be damaged, or to tear while using. Set these aside to use later in the recipe.

Make the Filling
Preheat olive oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add ground beef and brown completely, breaking the meat into very small pieces as it cooks. Stir in dill, mint, salt, pepper, and the 1/4 cup of white wine or Vermouth. When liquids resume a boil, add 1 cup of medium grain rice and 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir to mix well and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan as the rice absorbs the liquid. Remove pot from the heat and stir in cheeses until thoroughly mixed in.

Make the Loaf
Lightly brush the interior of the pan with olive oil. Use a paper towel to remove any excess that may drip down into the bottom.Lay grape leaves in a single overlapping layer around the bottom of the pan. Add a second and third layer, working up the sides of the pan, and hanging out the sides (and in the center opening). Use leaves that are whole and without any damage for the bottom layer (which will show on the top); torn leaves can be used on the inner layers.Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C).Spoon the filling into the leaf lining, resisting any temptation to pat it down. Level it off along the top. Fold the grape leaves in over the filling and tuck in. If there are gaps, use more leaves to cover, tucking the edges inside the pan. Sprinkle the top with water, about 3-4 handfuls, and bake at 390°F (200°C) for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Place a serving dish over the loaf, invert, and release the loaf.Yield: serves 8

Note: If there's any filling left over, it can be placed in the middle of the ring.

**Avgolomeno Sauce**

This creamy sauce has a lemony taste that works wonderfully with most vegetable dishes - casserole and steamed - and is a favorite with stuffed cabbage. Use it to give a special touch to leftovers containing ground meat, rice, or vegetables where the lemon taste will blend.

2-3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon of water
juice of 2-3 lemons
broth from the dish being cooked (or hot beef or chicken broth or stock)

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Beat in egg yolks, water, lemon juice, and 2-3 ladles full of broth, beating (or whisking) continuously. Add the avgolemono sauce to the dish being cooked, stir, cover with a towel for 10 minutes, and serve.

Alternate Preparation (for this dish)

Use boiling meat or chicken stock if you want to prepare it for a dish that doesn't have its own liquid, like leftovers. Remember to add the liquid very slowly, beating or whisking continuously, so it mixes smoothly.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. Delicious! That speciality looks really marvelous!



  2. Your rolo looks beautiful Val. I saw Nancy's recipe for this just yesterday and bookmarked it to make. Now here you've made it - I think someone is sending me a message - I see some lovely Rolo in my future!!

  3. Val, I never thought of making one giant dolmas. Nancy's recipes are all great and I definitely would like to try this one, as it looks beautiful.

  4. Oh my gosh, just yesterday I had asked Peter at Kalofagas a question about grape leaves, and here today you've posted this awesome recipe! I've never cooked with grape leaves before. This looks so good, especially with that Avgolomeno sauce (I could eat that with a spoon!). The ring shape is so attractive, too. I'm not big on mint, but boy oh boy I sure do love everything else! YUM!

  5. What a beautiful looking, and delicious sounding, recipe, Val! Also, thanks for the shout out. I'm so in awe of what the three of you have been doing.

  6. Oh wow! I've never seen a rolo before...you learn something new all the time! I love dolmades so this will be perfect...and thanks for the ink to Nancy's site!

  7. What a presentation. Such a delicious looking savory loaf!

  8. Love the look of that rolo! Yummy yum yum.

  9. this looks really creative - i have been doing a lot of avgolemono meals just lately, they pair well with the weatehr (torrential downpour for the last twelve hours)

  10. i'd like to personally give a big ol' pat on the back to the clever person responsible for filled grape leaves. what a treat. :)

  11. Looks delicious...and I love the presentation!

  12. Oooh Supersized dolmades! Delicious, Val.

  13. That's a lovely dish Val! I saw a version of that on About.com for the holidays and I was really impressed by it. You've done a superb job and that's so great that you received those lovely goodies from Ivy!

  14. Wow! Isn't it so cool when you make good friends with other bloggers. How sweet of Ivy to send you such a wonderful gift to show you she is thinking about you. I love that! And YAY for Jen for devoting a whole week to Blogger Aid! That rules!

  15. I'll hope right along with you, Valli, that you never need to actually use the Spatholado! Yikes! Its much better kept as a conversation piece and a remembrance of Greece, that's for sure. You are such an adventurous cook...I love reading your posts, and I always learn something from you. :-) And I'm still craving those chicken gyros you made a few days ago!

  16. Val, this is a wonderful and interesting take on Dolmades!

  17. What a great recipe, always looking for something different and yummy.

  18. This looks like a great recipe, I am always looking for something new. Nice to have such thoughtful friends.

  19. I'm a vegetarian..., but I think I could just leave the meat out. This looks just too good!

  20. My, this recipe brings the sun anywhere on earth!

  21. Looks amazing. Positively delicious, Val. In fact, it's making me super hungry already today.

  22. Wow Val, it looks fantastic! And that filling.... Mmmmmmm. Lately I'm looking at cruisers publicity... there's some nice ones going from Barcelona to Greek Islands... It's still a dream :D

  23. OMG! Mouthwatering!

  24. I would love to eat that.

  25. I love the way your doing this recipe. I now would love to be in Athens also. Maybe someday.

  26. I really like the ring shape for this one!


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