25 January 2009

brown rice dolmades and yogurt-style sauce

brown rice dolmasi

With one of my best friends in Bulgaria and another on his way to Armenia, I've been thinking a lot about Eastern Europe (and the trip I plan to take there next year). It's no surprise that my thoughts inevitably lead to food; trying new cuisines is, after all, one of my favorite things about traveling. So when one of my coworkers Jeremy was having a potluck birthday party last week, I immediately thought of making dolmades (or "sarmi" as my friend in Bulgaria calls them), a great finger-food that seems perfect for parties.

I started with Tyler Florence's recipe, but decided to use brown rice instead of white, and I also added a handful of currants. Unfortunately, using brown rice made the dish take a lot longer to prepare, so the dolmades weren't ready in time for the party. But it was probably for the best because there was already so much delicious food there. (Have I mentioned how great it is to work with and live near so many vegans? Well, it's awesome!) Besides, the dolmades tasted better the next day anyway, and I don't think the birthday boy minded waiting. I served them chilled with a yogurt-style sauce (based on Vegan Dad's Tzatziki) on the side, but if it's your birthday you can put it all in a bowl and eat it with a spoon like Jeremy. By the way, even though I don't use tofu often and I try to avoid eating a lot of soy, I would eat that sauce with a spoon, too.

Yogurt-Style Sauce:
1 (14 oz) package soft tofu
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tabelspoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch of paprika paprika
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and finely chopped

Combine the tofu with the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, like a thick yogurt. If necessary, add a bit more oil or water to get everything moving, but not so much that the mixture becomes too thin. Scrape down the sides and blend again, if necessary. When everything is well combined, taste for salt and stir in herbs and the cucumber.