Stuffed cabbage is a nostalgic meal for me. My Grandma Boden made the best stuffed cabbage. Unfortunately she never wrote down her recipe. A few years ago, my step-mom made a recipe from her Jewish Cookery cookbook, and her stuffed cabbage tasted almost exactly how I remembered Grandma’s tasting. The original recipe calls for adding water to the sauce, which I did, but I like my sauce thicker, so next time I’ll leave the water out. I confirmed with her after I made the recipe that she too leaves the water out. The sweet and sourness of the sauce go really well with stuffed cabbages. While it’s probably not Grandma’s exact recipe, it’s as close as close can be:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2/3 c. cooked rice
- 1 egg
- 1 onion, grated
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 head of Savoy cabbage leaves (savoy cabbage is more tender and pliable), leaves removed and washed (or 2 heads of regular cabbage, don’t use the dark green outer leaves as they are tough even after cooking)
- 1/2 c. lemon juice (+ a bit more)
- 1 c. brown sugar (+ a bit more)
- 3 c. tomato sauce (about 24 oz. preferably Del Monte, because that’s what Grandma used)
- Combine meat, rice, egg, grated onion, grated carrot, and salt.
- Soften cabbage leaves in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes; then drain. I used about 20 leaves, but depending on the leaf size and how much meat you put in each one, you may need more or less leaves. If the ends of the leaves are tough, remove the tough part.
- Combine the lemon juice, brown sugar, and tomato sauce in a mixing bowl.
- Working with one leaf at a time, place a leaf on your work surface. Depending on the cabbage leaf size, place a small mound of meat (about the size of a medium sized meatball) at the bottom of the leaf (closest to the end where the leaf was attached). Roll the leaf, tucking the sides in securely, like you roll an egg roll.
- Place stuffed cabbage closely together in a heavy pan. Add sauce. Cover and cook over moderate heat for 30 minutes; then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 more minutes. Remove the lid and place in a 350 oven for 20 minutes to brown the top–mine didn’t brown, but were still delicious.
- CROCKPOT: prepare stuffed cabbage as above except put stuffed leaves in crockpot, cover with sauce and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
The March 2008 issue of Gourmet came the other day, and I decided to make the recipe for zucchini rice gratin. It was really good, but from start to finish, it took nearly 1.5 hours, which in my opinion is far too long for a side dish. The one thing that really bothered me about this recipe is that it is advertised as a quick dish for taking 25 minutes, but you must look closely at the recipe, because that’s 25 minutes of prep time, but nearly 1.5 hours of total time. I’d have to give Gourmet an F for misleading its readers. Overall we liked the dish, but given the time it takes to make, I probably would only make it again if we are having guests over.
- 1/3 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 1/2 lb zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 lb plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
Cook rice according to package instructions.
While rice cooks, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking pan. Toss tomatoes with 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another baking pan.
Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and tomatoes in lower third, turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.
Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, thyme, 1/4 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then top with remaining zucchini. Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake in upper third of oven until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Zucchini Rice Gratin:
We got this great curry cookbook by Nancie McDermott over the holidays. So many of the recipes sound so yummy, and this week we tried the fresh green curry. I did make some changes to the recipe, and it turned out delicious. More importantly I conquered my fear of cooking with fish sauce! I know it’s strange for someone who loves Thai food to hate fish sauce. It’s not that I hate fish sauce per se, in fact I don’t have a problem eating dishes with fish sauce at Thai restaurants. The operative phrase is AT the restaurant. In the past when I’ve used the fish sauce, it’s made the whole house smell, and for someone with an sensitive sense of smell, that’s not a good smell. Anyway, I decided to buy the Thai Kitchen variety instead of one of the Asian varieties found at the Asian grocer. Much to my surprise no smell! Maybe the Asian store variety one I had before was just super strong.
I added chicken to the recipe, but you can add beef, tofu, or just keep it veggies.
- 1 lb. chicken, cut into strips
- 1 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped (I used green pepper because red peppers were $2.38 each)
- 1 shallot
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 inch piece of ginger
- 1 serrano chili
- 3 TBSP water plus 1 c.
- 3/4 c. cilantro leaves, divided
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 2 TBSP fish sauce
- 1/4 basil, chiffonade
- Heat nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute until nearly cooked through. Remove chicken from pan.
- Meanwhile combine the shallots, garlic ginger, serrano, 3 TBSP water, and 1/2 c. cliantro in a food processor and pulse until smooth paste.
- After chicken is removed from pan, add coconut milk, green curry paste, 1 c. water, brown sugar, and fish sauce, and bring sauce up to a simmer. Add chicken, potatoes, and eggplant. Bring to a boil then add the red pepper and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. The eggplant starts to break down and thicken the sauce as well.
- Garnish with remaining cilantro and basil.
- Serve over rice.
Fresh Green Curry:
It’s that time of year again….for corned beef that is! Corned beef is the perfect crock pot meat, because it cooks long and slow (8 hours) and comes out perfect every time. I found a Russian dressing recipe for Reuben sandwiches on the Closet Cooking food blog, and yesterday I crocked the corned beef, and then we had the most delicious Reuben sandwiches for dinner. -s’s only complaint is that I didn’t put enough corned beef on his sandwich!
Corned Beef Ingredients:
- 1 flat cut corned beef with spice packet that comes with it (point cut is fattier)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 c. matchstick carrots or chopped carrots
- 4 garlic cloves smashed with back of knife
- Add corned beef and spices to crock pot; top with onion, carrots, garlic, and enough water to cover the meat.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Rye Bread
- Russian Dressing (See below)
- Sliced Corned Beef
- Swiss Cheese, sliced
- Heat skillet on medium high heat. Assemble sandwich: take rye bread, spread dressing, add sauerkraut, then the corned beef, then the swiss cheese. Place another slice of bread on top. Butter the top of the bread, and place the sandwich butter side down in the hot skillet. Butter the other side of the bread, and when the bottom is golden brown, flip the sandwich and cook until golden brown and cheese melts.
- 1/4 c. mayo
- 4 tsp. ketchup
- 2 tsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Combine all ingredients
I keep experimenting with sauce for fish tacos (attempt 1, attempt 2, and attempt 3). I found this one at epicurean.com, and it’s is a winner!
Chipotle Sauce Ingredients:
- 1/3 c. sour cream
- 1/3 c. mayo
- 2 TBSP lime juice
- 1 TBSP chipotles in adobo
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- Combine all ingredients.
Fish Taco Ingredients and Assembly:
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Fish prepared however you want (frozen fillets, fresh grilled etc.)
- Tomatoes, chopped
- Grated cheese
- Avocado, chopped
- Chipotle Sauce
- Cilantro, chopped
Baja Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sauce:
On Friday, the kiddos and I were at the grocery store, as I needed to pick something up for dinner. I was going to make a taco salad with one of those roasted chickens, when all of a sudden, our oldest requested burgers. I thought about it, and said ok, but then I was too lazy to put everything back, so I decided to make Santa Fe Burgers, and boy were they tasty! The burgers had a salsa mayo, roasted poblanos, caramelized onions, and guacamole…I forgot to add the pepperjack cheese, but we didn’t miss the cheese!
- 1 polbano, roasted and sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- Olive oil
- 1 lb. hamburger, formed into 4 patties
- 2 avocados
- 2 TBSP onion, minced
- 2 TBSP tomatoes, choped
- 1 TBSP cilantro, minced
- 1 TBSP jalapeno, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 c. mayo
- 1/4 c. salsa
- POBLANO AND ONION Roast poblanos on the grill or under the broiler until charred on all sides. Transfer to a ziploc bag and let steam for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove skin and seeds, and slice. Meanwhile, saute onion in some olive oil until onions caramelize.
- BURGERS: Form Patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill.
- GUACAMOLE: mash the avocados with a fork, then add onion, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- MAYO: combine mayo and salsa. You can also substitute chipotle peppers for the salsa.
- Assembly: spread the salsa mayo on the bun, add burger, top with poblano peppers, onions, and guac. Enjoy!
Sante Fe Burgers: