Thursday, October 14, 2010
Daring Cooks: Stuffed Grape Leaves
Today is my first Daring Cooks Challenge. Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. And, boy, was it a challenge...
Not that the recipe itself was so hard to make. It definitely had more steps than I'm used to lately. And it had some techniques I haven't tried before--weighing down the rolls with a Pyrex dish comes to mind. But, really, the challenge, for me, was to make something I've never tried before, and, quite frankly, never really had the inclination to.
Let me tell you, I did NOT feel any more inclined toward this after smelling the grape leaves. Picture driving near the ocean on a really humid day. The kind of day where the ocean doesn't smell fresh and clean anymore--it smells salty and fetid. I remember those kinds of days back when I lived on Long Island--when I would be driving down by the beach and think, "My goodness, something smells rotten!" Yeah. That's how the grape leaves smelled.
And THEN, as I'm carefully pulling each leaf apart from the others, since they were packed so tightly in the jar, I find a dead, preserved ladybug. I'm not kidding. There was no mistaking what it was. It was still intact, and red and black (though the red had slightly faded). At that point, I seriously considered scrapping the whole project. But, I found the insect on the very last leaf I had unraveled, so I trudged on and tried not to think about it too hard.
The results were, well...disgusting. I'm sorry. I understand that this might have been to some people's taste. It just wasn't to mine. The whole house reeked from the grape leaves, and you can't taste without using your nose. The texture was okay, but it was just a spiced meatball wrapped in an unappetizing leaf. No thanks.
I hope everyone else had fun with the challenge, and that their results were more pleasing to their palates. As for me, I'll try next month's challenge and see where it takes me. I guess Daring means risking failure or disappointment. The recipe worked just fine, it was just my personal preferences that failed me. Better luck next month, I guess.