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"Dolma" comes from the Arabic word for "something stuffed". Stuffed grape leaves are an example.

When I was a senior in High School our entire family went to visit 3 families in California that were friends of my parents. The father of one family was a producer for Walt Disney and wanted to make a film about a Chihuahua and he wanted to name it after my father, whose nickname was Cricket. That was interesting. The gentleman was neighbors to Ronald Reagan. Anyhow, the next family were of Greek descent. They put on a feast that was incredible including stuffed grape leaves and then we were entertained by belly dancing. It was over the top!

Sweet potato-chickpea dolmas with spinach and crispy mushrooms.

4 small, sweet potatoes about 2 pounds total

2 T. pine nuts or slivered almonds

1/2 lb. mushrooms

2 T. extra virgin olive oil divided

1/4 t. sea salt

1/4 t. fresh ground pepper

2 T. lemon juice divided

3/4 c. cooked chickpeas or 1-15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 T. tahini

1 small clove garlic minced

2 small shallots thinly sliced

1 pound spinach rinsed, and large stems removed

1/2 t. ground cumin

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. allspice

1/4 c. apples diced small

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake 45-60 minutes or until tender. Unwrap and allow to cool while you toast nuts in center oven until golden 2-3 minutes.

Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel and trim and toss with 1 T. olive oil, the salt and black pepper and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until mushrooms are golden with crispy edges. Cool to room temperature and toss with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Put a sweet potato into 4 large ramekins. Cut a slice horizontally from the top and gently spread out the sides of the potatoes to fit the ramekins. Scoop out 3-4 T. of flesh from each potato to create a space and season the inside of each potato with a little salt. Set aside.

Transfer scooped-out potato to the bowl of a food processor and add chickpeas, tahini, 1- 1/2 t. lemon juice, and garlic. Puree the mixture until the consistency of thick hummus and season the salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium-low. Add shallots, and sauté until translucent, then stir in the spinach, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook until the spinach is wilted and tender. Add the apples or currents, toasted nuts, 1- 1/2 t. lemon juice, and salt to taste.

Divide the sweet potato chickpea mixture among the four sweet potatoes and put an equal amount of the spinach mixture on top of each.

Cover loosely with foil and bake 15 minutes or until potatoes are hot all the way through.

Reheat mushroom and spoon over the spinach mixture and drizzle tahini over each, if desired.

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