When I first moved in, there seemed to be interesting deli meats in the refrigerator at all times, and I could sample of them at will for my lunches. But lately, there's been a lack of that! And normally I would be content concocting a delicious sandwich of mushrooms, kimchi, mustard, spinach, broccoli, cabbage.......whatever I could find; it would be delicious as long as it was on good bread.
But lately, since I've been training for a half-marathon, I need a bit more stuff in my sandwich. The other day I bought this prosciutto, pre-sliced and hard-as-hell to work with. It adds a deliciously salty kick, and tastes strangely (since it's pork) of seafood, which of course I enjoy fully.
Ma'am is gone for this week, and so we determined to use the ground beef she left in the refrigerator. There was Bean and Nick and Paige and Mike and me. We made eight burgers; but with hugely disproportionate buns, I used a quarter for mine.
Those wimps prefer well-done burgers, though -- so what turned out the best to me was a hump of quartered mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, drizzled in olive oil, oregano and basil.
I had resigned myself to a small dinner of oft-repeated dishes, but then Bean wished to go to the grocery store. When he bought some year-aged cheddar cheese, and Mike (who is staying with us for a while) bought some fresh dinner rolls, an idea popped! Right into my New England head. A granny smith and cheddar sandwich!
But how to make it a panini?
A small frying pan, with a small bit of olive oil (heated until I feared the fire alarms would announce themselves) did the trick! Then I plopped the sandwich in, squashed it down with a pan cover; flipped it over and repeated, and rescued it from certain danger. It was nicely scorched, but the cheese was not melted.
Into the toaster it went, adorned with beautiful burn marks. And it was delicious.
First came the cooking of the Basmati rice, which produced a much greater yield than I expected with a measley half cup of the darn things; they swelled and wriggled to a giant bowlful of aromatic grains.
Then, the chopping of wonderfully complementary vegetables -- mushrooms and tomatoes, of course; my altogether favorites.
All of this boiled with the rice, until it reached a delicious tenderness:
leftover fresh coriander
chopped scallion (redundant?)
And then came the unfurling of the jarred grape leaves.
And the rolling.....
Here they are, all hot side-by-side in their lil' dish:
I'd forgotten that grape leaves have a taste all their own; I was simply using them as a containing mechanism. But their taste reminds me of childhood days when a loud, German man would cook us leaves stuffed with lamb and rice, and tell us tales of the world.