2016 and the first air of the new year is tightly wound around us like a cold scarf, although our shivers are ever quelled by resolute attitudes and a general excitement for what that entails. i used to be a fervent resolution scribe, copying and re-modifying lists of places, people, things. in good time i’ve found that equal parts of determination, anticipation, whimsy and wind create a desirable and well-enjoyed year. many things we can control, and the events that remain are of the universe. i will keep my love deep, my head high, and my mountains taller than the last. my judgment belated, my compassion present, and my understanding malleable and willing to change. patience to listen to what i’m being told, and a feeling of fortune that it’s my eyes and ears that are being acknowledged. more of all that i am. and more of all that moves us.
resolutions are seductive, and determination can be a soul-drenching employment. i’ve learned to take careful measures not to set myself up for catastrophic mental failures and fatigue. each year (seemingly) brings me a little more practicality, which i always hope to put to good use. energy spent making people laugh instead of harshing my own mellow. growing a forest and feeding many. never succumbing to apathy, and always keeping my palms open for more. time not spent searching, but better time spent having found out.
i wanted to share grape leaves for the new year. grapes are considered lucky by some, and dare i question their leaves. dolmades are one of my favorite snacks, any place, any time. they signify abundance and prosperity, general well wishes for each new year. i wanted to lift the traditional application up a bit with one of my favorite grains, farro. there’s no second guessing the nuttiness and bite, and in combination with onion, fennel, and herbs – each wrap is another good wish for a year well spent. you have my dearest wishes for the new 365. i’m happy to be able to share this space with you.
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced (some fronds reserved)
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 1 / 2 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup farro
- 1 1 / 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 / 2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbl fennel fronds, chopped
- juice of 1 / 2 lemon
- 1 tbl fresh dill, chopped
- 1 jar grape leaves
- 1 / 2 lemon, sliced
- water/vegetable stock
- 1 tsp fresh mint
- 1 1 / 2 tbl tahini
- juice of 1 medium lemon
- 3 tbl cup olive oil
- 1 / 4 cup water
- 1 / 4 cup hazelnuts, shelled
- heat oil in a large pan and saute onion and fennel until soft, 7-10 minutes. add pine nuts and farro and toast 2-3 minutes. add vegetable stock and simmer mixture until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. remove mixture to a large mixing bowl and add parsley, fennel fronds, lemon juice and dill - stir to combine.
- drain grape leaves from jar, carefully separate, and place in a bowl of cold water to soak. remove leaves after about 10 minutes and pat dry. any leaves that aren't formed completely may be used to line the bottom of the steaming pot.
- on a flat surface lay out one grape leaf at a time - add about 1 tbl of farro mixture (depending on leaf size) to the bottom middle of the leaf. fold one side in, and then the other (keep all movements symmetrical), and while tucking the sides in roll leaf up. roll each completed grape leaf lightly in palms to set.
- in a large pot or dutch oven create a bed on the bottom with spare unusable grape leaves. place dolmas atop the bed, stacking if need be. add lemon slices on top of dolmas, and add a plate on top of everything to hold in place. add water/vegetable stock until liquid is touching the bottom of the dolmas. simmer pot 35 minutes until wraps are tender.
- in a food processor add mint, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, and hazelnuts. process until smooth and a creamy consistency has taken place. serve dolmas with sauce.