I was talking to a friend of mine today (Abraham Lincoln), and he was wondering what "I feel good" meant. Today I feel quite good: my children and husband are well, we watched TV as a family last night and laughed a great deal, I had just enough money to pay for some petrol, I used my credit card prudently to buy some milk and (B grade) tomatoes, it's Friday so I don't have to prepare school lunches tomorrow, and I'm going to use the vine leaves I collected from my garden and frozen a little while back, along with the zucchini flowers I've been collecting over the past week to stuff them (along with the tomatoes) and make yemista with dolmadakia caps to feed my family with. Maybe I'm just too simple-minded, but I really don't mind being a first-class Master's graduate with a simple mind; that makes me feel good too. And if you read some more of Abraham's stories, you might start feeling good about simple things too.
My husband is a very proud gardener; he loves his blue garden, now that he's buffed all the leaves with a sulphur powder to scare away some nasty mites. This powder is not a pesticide - it's a deterrent, and is permissible in organic agriculture. Every morning, after I returned home from taking the children to school, I picked the zucchini flowers that had sprouted the previous day. They flower in the early hours of the evening, then stay open for a couple of hours before they close up, and cannot be prised open for stuffing even by delicate fingers. All in all, I picked 9 flowers this past week. They were growing on their own stem, not at the end of a courgette; once you chop off the flower from a zucchini, it stops growing. Even zucchini flowers still attached to the courgette can be stuffed: look at how Lucy did that - the effect is stunning. I also had about thirty vine leaves in a packet, blanched, dried and frozen by my very own self, and these will form the caps of my stuffed vegetables today.
The vine leaves were thawed in their storage bag, placed in a pot of hot water. The zucchini flowers are incredibly resilient: after being cleared of their yellow powdery interior centre, they were stored one inside the other, and did not break when I took them out of their storage bag (in the fridge; they can't be frozen), remaining unblemished, as if they had all been freshly picked on the same day.
Nine zucchini flower parcels won't go a long way in this house - there are six of us eating this meal today. That's why today's leaf and flower parcels are going into the oven - as caps for the stuffed tomatoes. The recipe is the same as for my classic yemista and dolmadakia recipes combined.
Another most impressive dolmadakia leaf is large flat-leaf basil, which Marianna illustrates.
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This is my entry to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Laurie.