For me, the easiest way to collect tender leaves suitable for stuffing was to core the cabbage, and boil the head. Remove when the exterior leaves are tender,peel them off, then return the head to the pot.Continue in this vein. There are other ways, but this way worked best for me.
Disclaimer: This is not a recipe you can whip up in 30 minutes. This is a Polish Grandmother Recipe. And anyone who is a Polish Grandmother, or anyone who has a Polish Grandmother, or anyone (like me) who lives next door to a Polish Grandmother, knows that Polish Grandmother Recipes can’t be completed in less than thirty minutes.
But was my time spent on the following recipe worth it? I thought so. Absolutely. And so did my panel of expert eaters, who demanded the recipe. Here are some tips I learned in dividing up the prep for this recipe into manageable bites.
I made the tomato sauce a few days ahead, and the meat mixture 24 hours in advance. (I’ve also made the stuffed leaves and frozen them before baking. After a six week hiatus in the freezer, I thawed them, baked them and then enjoyed them.)
Cut out the tough center vein.
The only thing that I found to be a pain in the rear, was peeling off the cabbage leaves as they tenderized in boiling water. That’s a big head of cabbage to keep extracting and plopping back into boiling water. Wear rubber gloves.
My girlfriend, Janet disagrees. Says its easy. While boiling the cabbage, simply flick off the leaves and put them in a pan as they become tender. No need to keep removing the head from the water. I asked my friend if she had actually tried this flick method. She said, no, she saw it on TV. Martha Stewart makes the preparation of Molten Lava Cake look as easy as making a PB&J. You see my point.
Place rolled leaves seam side down.
Another Disclaimer: Your Polish Grandmother’s recipe for cabbage rolls may be different than mine. After all, my Polish Grandmother is fictional, a character in my next novel. And she’s passed away, at that. In the book, however, memories of her integrity influence her granddaughters as they struggle to keep their Detroit diner afloat. I made several different batches of cabbage leaves and decided that this recipe is what my Babcia makes. To my palate, as well as hers and her granddaughters, they are exquisite.
Before covering in foil and baking.
My next-door neighbor, Krystina, is a non-fiction, flesh and blood, Polish Grandmother who was raised in Poland. Her cabbage leaves are smaller, more delicate and have less stuffing and ingredients than the recipe below.
Delicious, most assuredly, but they are different. She tsk, tsked my recipe. Said they were too bulky. Hey! It’s a big world! You can’t pick a battle with a fictional Polish Grandmother! Especially one who’s passed away and is not able to defend herself. There’s plenty of room for every Polish Grandmother Recipe for cabbage rolls on the web.
By the way, it’s that time of year. You’ll find my favorite holiday recipes by clicking the gold holiday ball in the right hand column.
A palooza’s defined as the art of throwing an extravagant, bawdy party with a bunch of friends. It’s been a fabulous year for apples in Northern Michigan–everywhere you turn there’s a roadside stand groaning under their weight.
So I’ve put together a palooza of some of my favorite recipes which incorporate apples–the recipe links may be found beneath the photos.
October’s also about Fall colors and, ugh, the election. I, and several of my cohorts, have developed a pre-election media disorder. After tuning into the latest, our symptoms vary. Some of us become nauseous, others develop a migraine. My neck breaks out in hives. But I can’t resist another peek–a big distraction when I’m trying to work. So Richard and I took a road trip to the Upper Peninsula to soak up the color and get off the grid.
Jack’s cabin and sauna.
Last week we stated in a friend’s cabin, south of the Cranberry Bog on the Black River. No electricity or running water, a wood-burning stove heated the cabin and fueled the heat for the sauna. The main attraction: There’s no phone service and it’s a forty-five minute drive away from the first WIFI bar. No excuses, I could focus on the synopsis for my third novel. (Book 2 is now in review with my publisher.)
Recipe on the back of a box of Trisket.
Of course, there are always distractions, this time a noisy mouse and the Seafood Tartlet recipe on the back of a box of dill-spiced Triscuits.
I like Triscuits–and these dill and olive oil crackers were fine for munching. It got me thinking about the rich smoked trout and salmon to be had in these parts. I’ve perfected a Smoked Fish Spread that is divine. Perfect, I had imagined, for stuffing into the recipe for the Triscuit tartlet shells. On the way back to civilization, I picked up a smoked trout, the size of child’s tennis raquet.
I made the Triscuit cups according to the recipe on the back of the box, but to my palate, they were not good. The joy to be had with a Triscuit is in the texture and crunch–both lost resulting from the egg wash soak and bake.
The Triscuit “tartlet” looks nice, but….
We ended up enjoying the Smoked Fish Spread with crunchy baguette slices, instead. It would also be yummy served in cucumber shells or phyllo cups, the ones that you’d find in the freezer case at a good grocery store. Or the dill-spiced Triscuits, uninterrupted.
Upon returning to the world of Wifi, I leapt into the latest news ravenously, as a dog would pounce upon a slab of bacon.
There are over a hundred billion stars in our galaxy. Says Google, at least. After perusing chocolate chip cookie recipes on-line this week, I’m guessing there are about that many recipes for chocolate chip cookies. Minimum. So do I really need to burden the web with, yet, another one?
It depends. What’s your taste in cookies? The following list meets my criteria for a superb cookie. If you agree, there’s a valid reason for the following recipe to be added to the chocolate chip cookie stratosphere:
#1. The cookie is fat, not flat, with a crispy crust and unctuous, moist, almost cookie dough filling.
#2.) Cookie is packed with the texture and crunch of walnuts, and a lava flow of creamy, melted chocolate.
#3) Cookie is served warm; precisely 10 minutes out of the oven. (Don’t get me wrong–these cookies are still yummy days out of the oven, but the chocolate chips harden.)
My recipe calls for wrapping the cookie dough balls individually, and then freezing them. Therefore, you can bake off the cookies on an as need basis, enjoying them hot from the oven every time. Besides, the recipe only works when the cookies are baked in a partially frozen state–one hour out of the freezer. When baking from a thawed state, the cookie falls apart.
I spent hours last week developing, and then refining, this recipe for my next novel, “The Welcome Home Diner”. It’s a recipe that Samantha, one of the protagonists, created. She wanted her diner to have a signature confection that would be their calling card. Prior to the novel’s opening, she’d worked as a baker at Manhattan’s Levain Bakery, which inspired the following recipe.
Levain is an establishment known for their gigantic, scratch-made, stuff-of-dreams cookies. And there are hoards of food bloggers, such as myself, who’ve spent hours copycatting their masterpieces. I’m pretty sure I got it down. Honestly. As a side-note, one cookie easily serves two.
By the way, I’ve found the ultimate blog for those who love food-centric books. If you’ve read this far into my blog, it could very well have your name on it . It’s called, Ivory Owl Reviews Every week, Rhiannan reads a food-centric book, and then posts her review on Friday. This week she reviewed “The Promise Kitchen”. This is very exciting for me since Rhiannan lives in Atlanta, just like Mallory Lakes–my food-blogging protagonist.
Ivory Owl has also hosted a book give-away for “The Promise Kitchen” that ends on Friday. So check it out!
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