I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Still Chilly


....Okay it's not snowing but it's not the heat wave the NYC weather lady bragged about the other day. 84*? hah! Try 53*...the ocean is cold, so the air stays cold. Gale blowing in from the east at 40 mph too right now.

Hi guys! I hope you didn't have the snowstorm, but those of you out west got clobbered, huh? That nasty weather is now here, just rain and wind, but still...

Ive been doing a smidge of spring cleaning, mostly using up winter pantry stuff. I made the beer chicken again---this time used thighs, much better!

And I used up a bunch of canned goods making Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage. A winter-y dish for a chilly wet weekend.

I love old-fashioned comfort foods like some people love chocolate. I only make stuffed cabbage about once a year, which is silly because it is easy and makes loads for fill the tummies of people with hectic schedules, aka my kids and friends. I admit I do not know if it is ''healthy"...probably not, the good stuff never is, is it?*

Filling: you need a family size pack of good ground beef, 1 1/2 - 2 pounds? or 1/3 ground pork, not sausage, to 2/3 volume beef.

 I add lots of spices: Caraway is the main ingredient. 1/4 cup or more, be lavish!

Plus, to taste, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper, regular pepper. Hungarian paprika. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, dill. Pinch of salt.


Chop one large sweet onion, 5 cloves of garlic. Microwave in 2 minute increments with a t. of olive oil until golden.Or saute in a small pan. Cool, add to meat mix.

Two cups of cooked, cooled white rice. I am lazy, so two bags of Success Rice in the microwave for 6 minutes. (ignore their 10 minutes instructions, we want the rice not quite done)

Drain well! Fluff.

Mix in with ground beef, onions  and spices with one egg. Remember the mixing in the sink trick so clean up is easy...

Make casserole sauce: 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 C. beef broth; 3 T. of  honey or sub Splenda. Some lemon juice.  Parsley, a smidge of garlic powder, black pepper. Cover loosely and microwave for about 6 minutes, stir a few times.

Meanwhile: wash and core a green cabbage. Pick a nice big one!

New trick I learned is to steam/ boil it, removing the outer layers as they parboil. I just pluck them off with a  tongs. [Yes this is tedious, I do it while I machine sew on my quilts, because I get bored in the kitchen. But, you know, keep a close eye on it all,lol.]

 Lay the leaves on paper towels to cool, then cut out the thick middle stem of  each leaf. Just the first inch or so, leave the leaves as intact as possible.

Put a couple ladlefuls of sauce in the bottom  of a large casserole.

Spoon 1/3 of a cup [= large meatball size?] onto one end of a leaf. Roll up, tucking in edges.

 You're making little pillows. Set each roll seam side down in the casserole dish. Today/'s batch made 24 rolls, approximately.

Use up all your leaves, set aside leftover filling and cabbage core for now.

Spread the rest of the sauce on top of the cabbage rolls, cover with foil and bake
350* for one hour to 1 1/2 hour, depending on size of the pan.

You'll see thru the glass of the dish when it gets bubbly and caramelizes. I wasn't fast enough with the camera! Someone was hungry!

I didn't have extra sauce so I made separate sauce more or less same as the first sauce batch. Be sure to make it sweet.

Serve two or three rolls on warm plates, with sauce spooned on top, plus sour cream and parsley. My family likes steamed broccoli on the side...they love their veggies.

Oooh, that first bite! When your fork cuts into the roll, the fragrant spicy steam wafts out. 


Now back to the unused stuff....If you used all the beef mix, sliver the cabbage and put it in a smaller bake dish, drizzle olive oil . Roast for 30 minutes. Another yum! OR saute the beef/ rice mixture til brown, spoon on chopped inner cabbage core. Add more caraway, salt, pepper, a bit of the tomato sauce. Stir it up and save as leftover for snacks. Yummy!

On reflection, after doing a taste test with a foodie friend, we decided next time to add toasted pignoles/ pine nuts, and chopped golden raisins to the beef filing. Maybe adds a little middle eastern twist?

Probably, if this all seems too much!!!! your supermarket or a good Kosher deli will have stuffed cabbage ready made. But trust me...homemade is better.

Based on recipes online and the handwritten notes of my mother-in-law, SH.

*You could healthy-ize by using ground chicken or ground turkey and brown rice or quinoa. Kale for the leaves?



....gone to the beach....