Catalyst Cooks

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Dave Delivers: Favorite March Lunch Results April 11, 2010

Hi to my Lunch people and anyone else that is interested:

I send out a weekly survey to my lunch clients to gather feedback on the lunches, serving size, microwaveability, etc.  By an overwhelming majority, the group’s favorite lunch from March was coincidentally also the lunch I thought was the biggest risk for my audience: an adapted Greek Dolmades recipe with tomato sauce, from the European Week.

Here is the recipe, adapted from “Brown-Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves” which appeared in the 2002 March edition of Cooking Light.

Lunch Greek Dolmades

Serves 4 (6 dolmades per person)


  • 1  cup  uncooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1/2 pound ground chuck
  • 1  cup  thinly sliced leek (about 1 large)
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • 2  tablespoons  toasted pine nuts, chopped
  • 2  tablespoons  dried currants
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh dill
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated fresh lemon rind
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried savory
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper, divided
  • 1  (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 24  bottled large grape leaves


Cook Rice in a rice cooker per its instructions.  Cool to room temperature in a large bowl.

Brown the ground chuck in a large skillet.  When browned, remove from pan and add to rice, reserving the grease in the pan.  Add leek at Medium heat; cook 10 minutes at or until tender, stirring frequently (do not brown). Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Reserve 1/4 cup leek mixture; stir remaining leek mixture into rice. Stir parsley and next 7 ingredients (parsley through 1/8 teaspoon salt) into rice and beef mixture. Add 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Combine reserved 1/4 cup leek mixture, tomatoes, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove grape leaves from jar; rinse and unfold them under cold water; drain well.  Pat dry with paper towels as necessary.  Cut off stems; discard. Stack 24 of the best leaves that are large and intact enough to allow for stuffing and folding; reserve remaining leaves for another use. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of rice mixture onto center of each grape leaf. Bring 2 opposite points of leaf to center; fold over filling. Beginning at 1 short side, roll up leaf tightly, jelly roll fashion. Repeat procedure with remaining leaves.

Nestle stuffed grape leaves, seam sides down, in tomato sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 20 minutes in skillet or until thoroughly heated.


There weren’t any lunches last week, since Neighbor Dave (or Dave Delivers) was out of town on business.  We’re back this week and have a fun set of menus planned.

Tuesday: Dave requested we celebrate Twins home opener at their new, open-air, downtown stadium.  I’ll be making Grilled Chili Cheese Dogs served with German Potato salad.

Wednesday: I got a new potato ricer and wanted to try it out, so I’m making homemade Gnocchi pasta tossed with olive oil, lemon and thyme; served with a roasted chicken breast.

Thursday: Lee is hungry for some spaghetti!  Lunch will be Spaghetti with simple tomato sauce and hot Italian pork sausage meatballs, and Pam’s famous Garlic Dill bread.

Hope you enjoyed this weekend’s weather as much as we did!  Dave & I started the day outside making homemade fried sour-cream donut holes with maple glaze; and ended it on our back patio with grilled catfish and fresh spinach salad.  Yum.


2 Responses to “Dave Delivers: Favorite March Lunch Results”

  1. Molly Says:

    I’m not sure why my pseudo-family wasn’t invited over for homemade donuts. I demand a redo.

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