Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.
Growing up in a large family, ethnic on both sides, with a mom who was home with us and channeling her creativity into cooking… was delicious.
My mother is an artist by nature, talent and soul’s purpose. But for all those years when my 5 sisters and I were growing up, she cooked every single day. She always painted when she could, but it wasn’t until we’d grown up a bit that she finally had a studio and really allowed herself the freedom to properly pursue her passion.
In the meantime, our Italian mom cooked for us and our Armenian dad. When they were starting out as a married couple, my dad started the first English speaking Armenian newspaper in the United States, called The California Courier. My mom was the recipes editor and so she got many, many recipes from Armenians living in America. She’d try them and the newspaper would publish them. Eventually they published a California Courier cookbook. I treasure beyond measure the copy I have.
My mother eventually decided that she would put all her accumulated wisdom, knowledge and recipes into one book for all her daughters. I remember her typing up recipes (on her actual typewriter) or writing them out by hand, and then standing for hours photocopying them and making piles as she sorted them into six big binders. It was a huge project.
She usually referenced where they came from or anything else pertinent.
Aunt Jeri’s Rolled Lavash Sandwiches
This one says: Tea Balls (or better known in our family as Crumble Cookies, a name Teresa gave them.)
Over the years one sister or another has gotten the idea to turn them into some kind of cookbook or just put them all into a digital file for ease of use or to create a kind of cookbook/memoir…. But nothing yet. And I’m so happy this Carnival came up when it did because it made me think that it’s time for me to really go through the book while I still have my mom around to ask questions to. So this is the beginning of a project of my own. So far I’ve mostly just pulled out favorite recipes or used it to look for something different and fun. Now I think I’ll start with the intention of trying as many recipes as I can. Of course I’m going to have to try and *healthify* some of them.
Today I’m sharing a recipe for Dolma (stuffed vegetables). Mom would make this pretty regularly. My dad loved it. His favorite was the tomatoes. It’s naturally gluten free but since there’s rice it’s not Paleo. I’ve considered trying a version without rice, but it’s so good as it is. I may have to try it soon since I’m experimenting with the Paleo lifestyle…
Also, we always had it with Lavash. It’s funny to me that it’s a known thing now. When I was growing up all these words were totally foreign to my friends. And I don’t think the soft bendy lavash even existed then. We’d take the dry, round crackery bread and wet it so it would get soft. It was awesome. I can’t have it in my house because I will not stop eating it.
I’ve done tried both beef and lamb and they are delicious. Of course I have to really encourage you to use only grass-fed, organic meats. I’ve also used turkey which is good, but not as great in my opinion.
1lb. ground beef or lamb
1/2 cup white rice
2 chopped onions (about 1/2 lb.)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
3 tsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
juice of 1 lemon
3 bell peppers
3 large tomatoes
2 Japanese eggplants
2 zucchini – cut in thirds
Heat oven to 350
Mix all beef, rice, onions, 1/2 can tomato sauce, parsley, salt and pepper.
Scoop out vegetables and loosely fill with meat mixture.
Put into a roasting pan. Pour remaining sauce and lemon juice over.
Add water to halfway up sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (until rice is thoroughly cooked)
Be sure to remove juice and place in separate container when refrigerating.
And that is it. I left out the part about placing a heavy ovenproof plate on top of the vegetables because it’s totally unnecessary. I asked my mom about it when I was making this on my own for the first time and she couldn’t even remember the why of it.
I also forgot to add the water this time, in these photos. It still worked fine. Not enough juice left over though. Oh, and I didn’t have parsley. But because of this carnival I made it for my family tonight just to get some photos for you! They loved it.
I would love to know if anyone tries this recipe or if anyone can think of a way to substitute rice. I think the rice was originally a way to make a smaller amount of meat feed more people. Still a good idea with the prices for organic meat.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: