My Messinia

Masters of landscape Amidst vineyards&graffiti +dolmades recipe

SAMSUNG CSCThere are many mesmerizing places worth visiting in Messinia yet the key to experiencing the very core of this region is always hidden in “off the beaten track” inland settlements where most of the cultivators reside. They are the real masters of this landscape forming its content.

When I first travelled to Messinia, one summer, a few years before I have settled here, I was so taken by the beauty of the landscape that I decided to diverge from the plans, driving off the main popular route and to check out the less frequented ones leading deep into the countryside.SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCSoon I found myself pulled further and further inland inspired by the idyllic atmosphere: vineyards with ripe grapes, cypresses scattered on the rolling hills, olive trees and small households in a siesta mood. That day my roaming made me feel happy and invigorated as if I have discover a “secret passage”. Now after living in Messinia for over 6 years, this comforting feeling, experienced back then, has not changed for me and is present as I drive off the main road. It is even more intense as now the little sleepy households I remembered from my first trip are homes to some of my dear friends.SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCThe tiny village of Glyfada, counting 200 inhabitants lies in the heart of the rural area…amidst the extensive olive groves and vineyards. Recently it has been known as the “graffiti village” since many of its homes have been covered with paintings and graffiti by the Messinian graffiti artist “Skitsofrenis”. For some people this unusual commission made on behalf of The Cultural Association of Glyfada was a bold move yet it is just an extension of the passion “the Glyfadians” have for the preservation and the propagation of the local traditions…In fact these graffitis account moments of countryside life (I will make a separate post dedicated to this topic).SAMSUNG CSC In Glyfada there is also another, a more typical, way of getting an insight into the local customs. The Museum of Local Folklore located within the village is a rich and well documented collection of artifacts and memorabilia coming from the homes of several generations of the local residents. The visits are arranged upon request.  SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC

Here in the heart of the agrarian Messinia one can really experience the traditional cuisine made with the use of homegrown produce so I thought of asking my dear friend, Gogo Kanaki (we have met and came close during staging of “Songs Around the Table” event /read more here),  to show me how to make dolmadakia-stuffed vine leaves-one of the signature dishes of Greek cuisine (for the origins of dolma/dolmadakia here). It was a great occasion to see the other ladies from the singing team and soon Katerina, Maria, Emilia and Georgia joint us in the kitchen.
 
DOLMADAKIA-STUFFED VINE LEAVES RECIPE (find the brief version of the recie at the bottom of the post)
 We started of by visiting the vineyards and gathering fresh vine leaves:SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC…and then picking scallions, fennel and mint from Gogo’s vegetable garden:SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC
 Having all the greens we went back home and started cooking…
Preparation of vine leaves:
In case you have an access to fresh vine leaves (gathered in springtime) you prepare them as following (or otherwise purchase canned vine leaves….)
1. Cut the stems and make a pile putting the leaves “face down”
SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC2. Plunge the leaves into a deep container of very hot water for about 10 seconds, to soften (the color will turn olive green) and wash them with cold water.SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC

 Preparation of the suffing:

  • Pour half cup of olive oil into a saucepan and saute the greens together, mint, fennel, scallionsSAMSUNG CSC
  • Add rice, one cup of water and stirSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC
  • Add grated fresh tomato (or a spoonful of concentrated tomato paste) and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutesSAMSUNG CSC
  • Add 1 cup of grated mizithra cheese and stirSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC
  • Add one scrambled egg and stir SAMSUNG CSC
  • Add salt and pepper and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Now you are ready to stuff the leaves:SAMSUNG CSC

  • Place the leaves rib-side down onto your work surface.
  • Place a rounded tablespoon of rice and vegetable mixture into the center of the grape leaf.
  • Fold the bottom of the leaf over the mixture, fold in the sides, and roll into a tight cylinder.
  • Put a layer of leaves at the bottom of a large skillet and place the rolled grape leaf ion top seam-side down.
  • Repeat with remaining grape leaves, packing them in a tight, single layer. Place a layer of vine leaves on top.SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSC
  • Pour enough water into the skillet to cover dolmadakia. Cover the skillet with aluminioum foil or baking paper
  • Place the skillet in an oven and fan for 45 minutes at 180°C (360°F)SAMSUNG CSC

DOLMADAKIA-STUFFED VINE LEAVES RECIPE (bief version)

Ingredients (for 50 stuffed vine leaves)

  • 50 fresh or canned vine leaves
  • 250 gr rice
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch of fresh fennel bunch
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 1 tomato or tomato paste
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of grated mizithra cheese or any hard goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice

Vine leaves preparation:

In case you use fresh vine leaves you prepare them as following (otherwise purchase canned vine leaves…)

  1. Cut the stems and make a pile putting the leaves “face down”
  2. Plunge the leaves into a deep container of very hot water for about 10 seconds, to soften (don’t let the leaves lose their fresh green color) and wash them with cold water.

Instructions for stuffing and baking:

  1. Cut the greens together, mint, fennel, scallions
  2. Pour half cup of olive oil into a saucepan and saute the greens together
  3. Add rice, one cup of water, half cup of olive oil and grated tomato (or a spoonful of tomato paste) and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  4. Add 1 cup of grated mizithra cheese and one pour 1 scrambled egg and stir
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Add a tsp of fresh lemon juice (optional)
  7. Place the leaves rib-side down onto your work surface. Place a rounded tablespoon of rice and vegetable mixture into the center of the grape leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the mixture, fold in the sides, and roll into a tight cylinder.
  8. Put a layer of leaves at the bottom of a large skillet and place the rolled grape leaf ion top seam-side down. Repeat with remaining grape leaves, packing them in a tight, single layer.
  9. Add half cup of olive oil .
  10. Place a layer of vine leaves on top.
  11. Pour enough water into the skillet to cover dolmadakia.
  12. Pour enough water into the skillet to cover dolmadakia. Cover the skillet with aluminioum foil or baking paper
  13. Place the skillet in an oven and fan for 45 minutes at 180°C (360°F)
  14. Take out of the oven and cool

Dolmadakia are served hot and at room temperature! Garnish with lemon slices or serve with Greek yoghurt or using the avgolemeno sauce (a sauce made up of eggs and lemons).SAMSUNG CSC

Comments (2)

  1. Anthony

    Such a beautiful experience and lovely post!! The pictures are amazing especially of the traditional kitchen! We would love to go to Glyfada!

    Reply
    1. Klaudia Delmer (Post author)

      Thank you for your lovely comment…Glyfada is here waiing for you

      Reply

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