Posted by: Santa Barbara Dreaming | November 11, 2008

Grape leaves in my rice?

Hola bloggers! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope everyone had a delightful Monday. And for those of you who have Tuesdays off; please have tons of fun on behalf of those of us who have to work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tonight I had my second to last Global Vegetarian Cuisine cooking class. I’m actually very sad I only have one more class left ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This class has been oh-so-much fun, and very educational. I look forward to it every week.ย 

I was so pumped for class today, and especially so because the song Just a Girl by No Doubt was playing on the radio just I pulled into the parking lot. Oh man, I was jamming! I am SUCH a fan of this song! I pulled up into my spot, but stayed in my car rockin’ out to the song. I listened to the entire thing before I finally turned of my car and got out. Lol. Does anyone else do that? I love crankin’ up the stereo in my car and having my own little Karaoke show.ย 

Anyway, back to the grub.

Tonight’s menu was a total delight. It included:

Moroccan Lemony Bean and Rice Stew
Cherry Clafoutis
Dolmas Salad
Toast wit tomatoes

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy do I love Moroccan food! I’ve only had the opportunity to eat it once or twice before, but it is amazing how much flavor, depth, and complexity they can pack into each dish. I’ve been quite intimidated to try it all on my own (I’m actually quite timid in the kitchen), so I was glad to get to make it in class. We made a HUGE batch


 a whole pot of steamin goodness

a whole pot of steamin goodness

ย It’s comprised of lentils, garbanzo beans, onions, celery, and tomatoes. It is astonishingly easy to make. You just saute the onions and celery, add broth and boil away, with just a couple of spices! It makes a hearty, warm, slightly cinnamon-y bowl of stew. Super.ย 


a close up

a close up

But my favorite of the night was definitely the Dolmas Salad. It includes an ingredient I have never used before; GRAPE LEAVES. Have YOU ever cooked with grape leaves before? I’ve heard of things being stuffed into grape leaves before, but I’ve never seen it or eaten it as an ingredient before. The name is Dolmas Salad, but it’s actually a rice dish. Here it is:


Dolmas Salad

Dolmas Salad

It’s really lovely. It has a very UNIQUE taste. It’s fresh and lemony from the fresh lemon juice. It’s nice and nutty from the pine nuts. And then there’s this slightly salty flavor throughout the dish from the picked grape leaves and its brine. It’s a flavor I’ve never experienced before. It’s fresh and light, but filling because it’s rice. There’s raisins in it too, adding another layer of flavor by adding a layer of sweetness. Quite addicting. It’s healthy too; it has a lot of fresh herbs, and only one tablespoon of olive oil in the entire dish that serves a good 8 people.

1/2 cup minced onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts (plus more if you want to sprinkle it on top)
1 1/2 cups long grained white rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped jarred grape leaves and 1/4 cup of its brine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh choppedย parsley
1/4 cup fresh dill

Cook rice in vegetable broth along with the chopped grape leaves, brine, lemon juice, and pepper. Saute onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add onion into the rice mixture and cook for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, top with parsley and dill.




ย Mmmm. I just love the scent of fresh dill! My grandma is Finish, so she puts dill on everything. It must run in my genes, because I have a deep appreciation for this herb. It’s not used much in American cooking, but I urge you all to start adding it to your dish! It has such an earthy quality that is hard to reproduce.

The cherry clafoutis…. didn’t turn out well. We don’t know what happened, but it ended up looking like a piece of rotting tofu. It was grey and crumbly. I don’t know what a clafoutis is, but apparently its supposed to settle like a flan. Ours tasted ok, but the texture was completely wrong. I think I’ll leave that for the professionals next time! haha

Well it’s gettin late here, so I think I’m gonna go snuggle up in bed soon. I’m not a big fan of chilly weather (chilly here means 60 degrees), but one thing I DO LOVE is snuggling up in my soft blanket. Blankets are not nice in hot weather, but there is something so so darned COMFY about the feel of blanket on your skin. Can’t get enough of it! Plus I’ve got flannel sheets, so my bed is just like this big, soft cloud. It does make it that much harder to get up in the morning though. haha. But I guess that is a price I’m willing to pay. Oh Pillow! Here I come! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Whether or not you have a day off tomorrow, I hope everyone has a spectacular day! Good night blog world, sleep tight!

Tonight’s question: Do you have a stuffed animal on your bed?ย 

My answer: they all end up on the floor, but I’ve got a few, including my favorite named Gouppie (don’t ask) that I’ve had since like, 1st grade.



  1. I’m sorry your cooking class is almost over- those are way fun. Did the grape leaves make the dish super salty? For some reason I’m hesitant to cook with anything that’s been brined because I think the salt will like, permeate life, haha.

    My grandma’s swedish so I totally get what you’re saying about the dill ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The only stuffed animal I have on my bed here at school (actually, the only one I brought with me) is a little stuffed meerkat my boyfriend bought for me at the san diego zoo- doesn’t Quite keep me warm but, he’s in england, so it does the best it can.

    I do happen to get tomorrow off (and my dad’s a veteran, so I think it’s really cool that some people get it off nowadays) but I’ll try to have as much fun for you as I can…. while working on three midterm/final papers!! Haha- I’d rather be at work!

  2. Wow, that food looks amazing. It’s gotta be so healthy, too! Man, why can’t we get stuff like that at the fast food windows? That’s a great recipe, I’m gonna go shopping and try it out.
    As for me, I rock out constantly. In parked cars, running with my iPod, scrubbing behind my ears in the shower. For me, life is one big Karaoke party. Sing along if you know the words! LALALA!

  3. I don’t play much with my stuffed toys anymore but have 3 around my room at the moment. One is a baby retriever called sorbetto, a mini schnauzer named pepper and my bear, Faz. lol.

  4. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. Your blog is amazing….love the header! it makes me want some vacation right now.
    it’s great that you can take vegetarian cuisine classes, I wish I could do it too.

    and yes, I have couple of stuffed animals too, but always end up on the floor!

    have a nice day! ^_^

  5. That cooking class sounds AMAZING – enjoy the last class!!

    I don’t have stuffed toys on my bed anymore – still have the ones from when I was little though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. whoa i want to take a global vegetarian cooking class! so cool!
    thanks so much for posting the recipe! i have a huge jar of grape leaves in the fridge ๐Ÿ˜€
    have a wonderful day

  7. Jess –
    What? Are you trying to tell me midterms aren’t fun? haha, jk. Good luck on them! And yay for Scandinavian relatives! Maybe after we meet up in Hawaii we could go to Finland/Sweden/Nordic countries…… I am daydreaming…

    James –
    I’m really glad you have started scrubbing behind your ears. I was starting to notice….. haha. You know I think you’re the best!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And wanna know why they don’t sell food like this at fast food restaurants? BECAUSE NOTHING CAN BEAT THE AMAZINGNESS THAT IS MCDONALD’S FRENCH FIRES. I thought we went over this? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Alicia –
    I’m taking that you’re a dog person? ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorbetto is such a cute name!

    Coco –
    Thanks for visiting! I agree that a vacation right now would be ideal. I”m thinking warm, sun, Mai Tai, live music, a massage….. ahhhh

    Veggie Girl –
    I have toys from when I was little too. I find that I’m SO attached to them even though they are ratty and old and really have no practical use anymore ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess a part of us never grows up ๐Ÿ™‚

    Gina –
    What else can you use jarred grape leaves for? Have you ever used them? I hope you have a wonderful day,too, I hear it’s your birthday week! Enjoy, lovely lady ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. The salad sounds great!! Just like dolmas, but without all the work of stuffing!
    Moroccan food is actually my favorite food to cook, and vegetable tagines can be really simple! My favorite is when they have lots of dried fruits and spices for a sweet and savory contrast– just saute onions, garlic, and some ginger with various spices (cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, etc.), then add whatever vegetables you have, dried fruit, and water or broth, and simmer, then serve over couscous. Now that it’s getting really cold (where I am, but probably not where you are), I’ll probably be eating a lot of this. In fact, there’s a pumpkin and greens over couscous dish I’d like to try.
    by the way, cooking classes sound great!

  9. […] time too! It’s almost lunch…. yay. I’m excited because I have a big bowl of the Moroccan stew I made last night at my cooking class waiting for me! (We can take leftovers home with us ) I bet […]

  10. About the cookies – I want to be knowledgable about those things, but on the other hand, I don’t want to – know what I’m saying?

    I looooove that song, too. It reminds me of a particularly fun summer in high school.

    Stew looks perfecto!

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