She taught me how to get my tomato and pepper plants to produce more and gave me bamboo dowels to stake the tomatoes. I came home and applied all her suggestions, and my plants look much better now. That made me happy.
She also explained to me the making of dolma, stuffed grape leaves. I couldn't remember everything she said, but I remembered enough and mixed in a little help from various online recipes and some personal creativity. Here's what I did, in case anyone wants to try (I have no idea where to get grape leaves, but they've got to be available someplace ... the Greek restaurants get them):
- Brown a pound of ground beef with garlic salt, pepper, and savory. I forgot to put the dill in ...
- Make rice with about half the usual amount of water so it's soft but not fully cooked (I used 1 1/2 cups rice and 2 cups water)
- When the rice is boiled dry, throw about a cup of diced onion, a half-stick of butter, and a dash of soy sauce in with it and simmer until the onions are transparent
- Mix the rice and burger together
- Bring salted water to a boil and throw the grape leaves (pick large, young, unsprayed ones; you'll need about 4-6 per person plus some for the bottom of the pan) in for about ten seconds
- Lay a few of the wet grape leaves on the bottom of a 9x13 pan
- Roll spoonfuls of rice-and-burger mixture into the grape leaves like egg rolls or burritos
- Lay the rolled-up leaves into the 9x13 pan
- Pour about two cups of the hot water left from boiling the grape leaves over the rolls
- Bake for an hour at 350°
- Serve with sour cream (I put deviled eggs and fresh cherries on the table as side dishes)
Update: I just added a step that I'd forgotten ... if you don't pour some hot water over the stuffed leaves before baking, the rice will be awfully hard when you take it out of the oven. :P