HOLUALOA, BIG ISLAND -- Dusk. Alaina de Havilland lounges in an overstuffed sofa in an airy mini-mansion above Kailua-Kona.
Dolmas wrap up
Grape leaves are stuffed with
a lemony hummus
and tabbouleh filling
The South African-born culinarian and food consultant to restaurants and food groups explains that she's finished her first cookbook, released this week. It is part of a three-book contract with a New York publisher.
She unveils dolmas, or grape-leaf packets stuffed with a mixture of hummus, tabbouleh and squash. The morsels are rich and lemony, refreshing when eaten with fresh mint leaves garnishing the platter.
The recipe is one of more than 175 recipes in her 240-page collection "Pacific Palate -- Cuisines of the Sun" (Abbeville Press, 1998, $29.95).
Her subtropical melange also includes recipes for sesame ginger crusted ahi, spicy coconut cashew chicken, rosemary scallop potato pie, and baked volcanoes, a dessert.
De Havilland offers the dolmas recipe in answer to a Star-Bulletin reader who asked, "What is tahini and how is it used?"
Tahini is a thick paste made of ground sesame seeds. It's used in Middle Eastern cookery, to flavor dishes such as hummus and baba ghanoush, an eggplant spread.
Hummus is a thick Middle Eastern condiment made from mashed chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, and seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, and olive or sesame oil. Serve hummus as a dip with pieces of fresh or toasted pita bread.
De Havilland features tahini in her Hawaii-based collection because sesame seeds are used in Asian cookery, and grape leaves represent the vineyards planted by Spanish horticulturist Don Francisco de Paula Marin; hence, Vineyard Boulevard.
She writes that de Paula Marin introduced grapes to Hawaii, in addition to figs, pineapple and oranges -- fruits that are profuse in her Kailua-Kona home.
Sample de Havilland's dolmas at her book signings next month -- Oct. 2 at Barnes & Noble Kahala; noon Oct. 4 at Borders Waikele; and 3 p.m. Oct. 4 at Borders Ward Centre.
Here are her easy, healthful recipes for stuffed vine leaves, for hummus and for tabbouleh.
Vine leaves stuffed with
squash, hummus and tabbouleh12 brine-packed vine leavesOn a flat surface, open a vine leaf, vein side up, and snip off the stems. Place 2 heaping teaspoons of hummus in the center of the leaf. Place 2 heaping teaspoons of tabbouleh on the hummus, pressing down so the grains stick to the paste. Top with 2 teaspoons of squash.
1 cup hummus (see recipe below)
1 cup tabbouleh (see recipe below)
1 cup cooked, mashed acorn squash or pumpkin puree
Fold the stem end up over the filling, fold in the sides, and roll up. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Serve chilled. Makes 12 pieces.
Approximate nutritional analysis per piece, based on no added salt: 100 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 140 mg sodium.*
Tabbouleh1/2 cup bulgurSoak the bulgur in 1 cup cold water about 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using.
1/3 cup finely chopped scallion
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper
Add the scallion, parsley, mint, oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Makes 2 cups.
Approximate nutritional analysis per 1/2-cup serving, based on no added salt: 110 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 270 mg sodium.*
Hummus1 5-ounce can chickpeas, drained, liquid reservedPut the chickpeas and garlic in a food processor, pulse, then process to finely chop, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup tahini
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper
Add 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and pulse. Add the tahini and lemon juice, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 1-1/2 cups.
Approximate nutritional analysis per 2-tablespoon serving, based on no added salt: 100 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 110 mg sodium (150 mg sodium if 1/4 teaspoon salt is added).*
Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.