Last week Tom and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. On one side when I think about it I find it so hard to believe that 10 years with this wonderful man have past. On the other it feels so natural, like there was no other meant to be for me.
I did make a mistake in my “past life” but I think that mistake was meant to happen - to lead me to Tom.
For the past several weeks Tom, Soeren and I have been living in perfect symbiosis with each other. Everything fits together, everything is tuned to perfect harmony and everything works like clockwork. At times it feels like we are living in our own bubble, taking a step outside of it wakes us up to the realization that there indeed is another world out there.
It was not always like this though. Like any “healthy” relationship both of us had our downs and hard times. So much so that at times I really thought about leaving!
Being a Gemini I am constantly restless and need to be on the move. I can be hard-headed and stubborn. Put this up against the characteristic traits of an Aries, to which Tom is born under, you will see we make an explosive couple. Tom can be broody, impatient and far too logical, sometimes driving me up the wall. I know I often hit against Tom’s rational aspect of life with my light and airy ideas, making him impatient.
We’ve had our share of fights and battles. However, we’ve come through and found our peace. We do make an explosive pair but I could not think of anyone else I would rather have my fireworks with. Sure he makes me mad, but no one else can make me laugh as much as he does. I probably drive his patience with my wild ideas, but it is his rational thinking that always puts my world into perspective.
Together we share one treasure: Soeren. The Virgo in him brings the order we often need in our relationship. With his coolness and sensitivity, he is the soothing balsam on our egos, making us complete.
This weekend we wanted to remain in our bubble. It was just so cozy and comfortable. The rain could fall down in sheets and the wind could howl against our windows, we were happy just enjoying each other's company. Over a game of Uno, I looked over to Tom and smiled to myself. Yes - I am looking forward to the next ten.
Dolma is the name given to stuffed vegetable dishes typical in the Turkish, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and Greek cuisines. However you will most certainly find versions of the dolma in the Balkan countries and even Central and South Asia. One of the most popular dolma variety is probably the grape-leaf dolma.
My dolma is typically found in Greece. I use rice and Kefalotyri cheese, a sensational Greek salty cheese made from goat milk. For the required heat I use a hot Aci Sivri pepper, a Turkish chili. The entire dish is served with a garlicky Tzatziki style sauce, making this an unforgettable experience.
Printable version of recipe here.
1kg Aubergines, cut lengthwise is approx. 1cm thick slices, then placed in salt water.
6 tablespoons olive oil
Butter for the form
50g cold butter
120g onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100g rice, cooked
200g bell pepper, cut into very small cubes
1 aci sivri pepper, finely chopped. Substitute with any other green chili.
300g large Roma tomatoes, blanched, skin removed, de-seeded, and coarsely chopped
70g Kefalotyri cheese, cut into very small cubes. Substitute with an Italian Pecorino sardo
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
The Yogurt Sauce
150g thick Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2-3 garlic cloves, mashed
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
In a large skillet heat the 2 tablespoons of oil for the filling and sauté the onions and garlic until aromatic and translucent.
Add the bell pepper and the Aci Sivri pepper and continue to stir-fry for another 5 minutes. Incorporate half of the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon parsley into the mixture.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then add the cheese and rice. Mix well, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Take the aubergine slices out of the salt water and pat dry with paper kitchen towels. Reserve 1 cup of salt water.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and cook both sides of the aubergine slices until slightly golden. Set on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
Butter an ovenproof dish. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Taking the narrow end of the aubergine place approx. 1 tablespoon of the rice filling on the aubergine and gently roll. Place each aubergine roll tightly next to each other in the ovenproof dish.
Distribute the remaining tomatoes over the top of the aubergine rolls. Cut up the cold butter into flakes and divide over the top. Pour 1 cup of reserved salt water into the dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the yogurt sauce, by mixing the mashed garlic into the yogurt. Add the crème fraiche and whisk until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Take the ovenproof dish out of the oven, sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve with yogurt sauce and rustic bread.
Maybe I am featuring this recipe because it is in a way a lot like the three of us. The aubergine and the rice-cheese mixture are quite the individuals. But the aubergine tightly hugs the rice-cheese filling, creating the perfect harmony. It is the cool refreshing yogurt that caresses the entire dish, adding a totally new flavor level. We love it because it simply tastes fantastic.
You might like these aubergine ideas from WFLH:
Dolma from around the blogs:
- Chef Zadi - Dolma Khodra - Algerian Stuffed Vegetables
- Cafe Fernando - Stuffed Zucchini
- Anne's Food - Swedish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Kåldolmar
Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:
- Tasks for Kids in the Kitchen by Kristen
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