Meme’s Dolma

While I’m enjoying time with my family in Romania several of my favorite food bloggers (born outside US just like me) are sharing their culinary talents with you. 
Today, I’d like you to welcome Christiane. She’s an Armenian, now living in Winston-Salem area.
She’s the mother of a beautiful girl, age 5.
On her blog, Taking on magazines, just like the blog name suggests, she cooks recipes from different magazines in her own kitchen with a kid underfoot, animals prowling the room, husband peering over shoulders as she describes herself. She explains the recipes so well and give you a couple of alternatives in case there’s something missing from your pantry.

You can follow Christiane on Facebook and on Twitter .
Now, please say Hello to my friend Christiane. 
Life takes weird turns and twists, does it not? Over fifteen years ago, AOL entered the world and my life changed. I met people online who became “friends,” even though I never met them. Eventually, some I did meet. One of those was my husband. We happened to live in the same town, but the first contact was through IM. Three years later, we were married. This summer we celebrated our tenth anniversary and even though I’m off AOL now, I’m grateful for the baby steps of social networking it created.
Now, the next phase of new “friends” that I’ve never met has arrived with the next phase of social networking; my blogging community. This group of women and men who share their lives and experiences through prose has developed into a family that cares. It’s really pretty cool.
So, when one of those family members asks if you would be willing to step into their little sphere for a while, it’s a bit like being asked if you want to read your older sibling’s diary. It’s an incredible honor, but it’s also a bit scary.
I’m so thrilled that Roxana asked me to step into her space for the day and share with you a bit of my heritage, especially the bit that centers around the kitchen. She and I are actually quite a bit closer than many would think. She is Romanian and I am Armenian; separated only by the Black Sea.
That being the case, how could I not do a dish that my grandmother taught my mother, who taught me. The fact that it was something I didn’t like at all when I was a child has no bearing on anything since children aren’t supposed to like vegetables; especially when those vegetables are cooked eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and green peppers.
In Turkish, “dolma” means a vegetable that is stuffed with a filling. A filling that is rolled in grape leaves (or cabbage) is called “sarma.” The filling usually consists of meat and rice. If you’ve been heading down the vegan road a while, just leave out the meat. I’m not headed that way, so I didn’t.
This is as close to my mother’s recipe as I can get. First, she has a strong French accent. Second, she doesn’t cook with measuring cups or spoons, but instead uses the palm of her hand and the pinch of this or that method. As with many things, this is even better the day after it’s made.
Just so you know, I love this dish now. My palate has evolved and I adore cooked tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. No, I didn’t include green peppers. There are something things that my palate may just never get used to. I’ve learned to accept that.
Meme’s Dolma
Choice of vegetables for stuffing; tomatoes, green, red or yellow green peppers, small eggplants, medium zucchini and yellow squash
1/2 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup short grain rice
1 small can tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Hollow out all of all the vegetables, leaving enough around the edges so they don’t collapse during cooking. If necessary, cut a small flat spot at the base the the vegetable will stand straight.
Put the vegetable pulp from hollowing them out in a food processor along with the chopped onion and parsley. Pulse a few times until combined and finely chopped. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
Add the beef, rice, 1/2 of the tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and mix gently. Loosely stuff the filling into the vegetables. Stand the vegetables in a large stock pot. Add the rest of the tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to 4 cups of water. Whisk until well combined and slowly pour over the dolmas and down the sides so as not to disturb the stuffing. If necessary, add more water so the liquid covers about 2/3 of the vegetables.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce the temperature to let it simmer until the rice is cooked, approximately 35 minutes. Let it rest a few minutes before serving.

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    Hello! My name is Roxana and I'm a self-taught baker, wanna-be photographer and the writer behind Roxana's Home Baking, where I share original and adapted scratch recipes. 

Here you'll find no fuss, no hassle easy recipes with ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen.  Read more ....


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  1. tanja says

    Thank you Roxana for introducing Christiane to us! I am a big fan of dolma and sarma, and Christiane's looks fantastic!!! I am heading over to Christiane's blog now!

    Enjoy your time with your family in Romania!

  2. Becky says

    I've long been a friend of Christiane and her blog, and it's great to see her here. She grew up not far from where I live. I love this recipe for the stuffed vegetables, healthy and so good. Great guest post, Christiane!

    thanks for a great guest blogger. Have a great time with your family!

  3. Lizzy says

    Oh, what a wonderful family recipe! I wouldn't have liked it as a child, either, but I would now!!! Thanks, Christiane and Roxana for a great post. Aren't Internet foodie friends wonderful???? xo

  4. Lilly says

    So funny how you met your hubby through AOL. I’ve met mine thought chat. Yes I LOVE internet!!
    Your stuffed veggies are lovely! I’m a big fan of stuffing things, veggie, tofu, grape leaves.
    Roxana I hope you have a blast with your family and have a safe trip back.

  5. Kelsey says

    These are so impressive looking but surprisingly easy-sounding to make! Thanks for sharing with us :) I am the opposite of you — up until now I have only stuffed green peppers!

  6. Sandra says

    Oh wow, I haven't have dolma/or sarma in a while now…wonderful dish and post, and thank you Roxy for sharing Christiane with us today!!!

  7. Brooks at Cakewalker says

    Hi Roxana, I hope you are enjoying your travels! Christiane, so good to read a little more about you – it makes your work that much more tangible. Fabulous guest post. Brava!

  8. Renata says

    I was also away on an unexpected trip and had limited access to the internet. But now I'm back. Hope you're having a great time!
    What a great post, you know how much I enjoy "edible containers", don't you?
    Great to meet Christiane and her wonderful food!

  9. Elies_Lie says

    What a feast u have there roxane!!
    Loves all the veggie! Tq for share the recipe with us! :)
    And I want u to know that u won an award at my site today… congratulations Ronaxe! 😉

  10. raquel erecipe says

    wow this is amazing…I love the idea of vegetable for stuffing…I also wanted her to featured on our our site=)

  11. Bestfoodies says

    I love stuffed peppers and even had peppers growing in my garden and yet did not make them! Thanks for the wonderful reminder to make this dish while the peppers are fresh!

  12. Tanantha says

    wow i love the stories behind food and also your relationship, Christine! I like that those veggies are used as a bowl or container. The stuffing sounds great although I don't think I've tried it before.

  13. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking says

    Great guest post, Roxana and Christiane! So nice to "meet" you! Wonderful how the internet brings people together!

  14. Gina says

    Perfect guest to have Roxana. I've never seen the vegetables filled with the stuffing, my husbands' aunt makes sarma in grape leaves. Making me wish I had some at the moment.

  15. Lizzy says

    What a delicious guest post!

    Christiane, even hubby would love this recipe…I would stuff zucchini and eggplant and peppers for me…and a tomato for him. Win-win!

    Hope you're having a great holiday, Roxana! Miss you~

  16. Magic of Spice says

    Hi Christiane, what a great recipe and so festive! My family loves stuffed peppers and such, so these would be great :)

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