Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stuffin’ Time

It is that time of the year when the vegie plot has been yielding its treasures and making it difficult to keep up with cooking things as I pick them. A couple of weekends ago, I decided to celebrate the fact that my white zucchini plant had finally fruited by stuffing them, as well as a few other things I could get my hands on! Now this did take me a while but it was a pleasant way to spend the day and it definitely tasted good!

I wanted to do the Arabic traditional vine leaves and stuffed zucchini (warrah and koosa siami) but did not have enough vine leaves. My mother suggested on the phone from Sydney that I could use silver beet instead if I had any. Had any? I have 5 plants in the backyard! I had never eaten these silver beet rolls before but they were really lovely – difficult to say if it is better or not to the vine leaves…

I originally posted on the way to make vineleaves the Arabic way here . I basically used the same rice mix, but this time threw in some currents and pine nuts. I think these were a really nice addition, adding something sweet to the already sweet silver beet.

These photos show the rolling up process for the silver beet. They need to be blanched briefly in boiling water to make it easier to roll. One thing to note is that the stems need to be cut away or else it makes it very difficult to roll. Large silver beet can be cut into two (or three). Place the silver beet rolls tightly into a pot as shown in the last photo. Make a sauce out of tomato paste, water, lemon and oil and pour over the top. Cook on a low heat on the stove. The silver beet rolls don’t take as long as the vine leaves – I think 30 minutes was probably enough.

And don’t throw away those stems! Cut them up rather small, throw them into some boiling water, cook until tender. Then toss them with a sauce made from tahina, lemon and garlic. This makes a really nice side salad to the stuffed goodies.

I also stuffed some white zucchinis from the garden...

This photo shows the hollowed out zucchini. The hollowing out tool can be purchased from Arabic grocery stores (such as in Coburg) or I guess you can try using a knife, though I think it would be very difficult to not cut the shell. I dont believe that the normal dark green zucce variety can be substituted in this dish, as it does not have the nice thick sweet skin.

And don’t throw out the inside of the zucces! I sauté it slowly with onion and garlic for a long time until it breaks down and then add lemon, salt and pepper and cumin and coriander. This is delicious hot or cold, served as a dip with extra olive oil or as brushcetta topping. Really really good!

I also stuffed these – alas not from the garden but how cute is that pumpkin! I roasted these rather than cooked on the stove and added the rice mixture already cooked (for the silver beet and zucces the rice was added uncooked).

This is a close up of the cooked zucchini and long eggplants. So good!!!

This yoghurt dip is essential with stuffed goodies. Yoghurt, salt, garlic, cucumber and mint (all from the garden!).

As is this salad! Fatoush – basically tomato, cucumber, spring onions, parsley, mint, radish, toasted pita bread and a dressing of oil, lemon, sumac and garlic. We positively reeked after this meal from all the raw garlic but it was worth it!

And my final dinner plate (minus the pumpkin and capsicum – do you think I may have cooked too many things?).

Wow, that was a long post. But if you find yourselves with a glut of any of these vegies – give this a go, you will not be disappointed!

Note: All these vegies were stuffed ‘siami’ which means without meat. There is a meat version, which I personally do not like as much, but if anyone is interested I can post my mothers recipe.

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