Kaki! You know, I make new dishes all the time, constantly testing out different techniques and flavors and ingredients. Buuuut there are also those handful of dishes that I make over and over again. Here are the recipes on our … Continue reading
Kaki! We’re together on this one: oatmeal for breakfast is where it’s at. Healthy, tasty, easy AND quick… it’s hard to beat! My normal oatmeal breakfast is: 1/3 cup rolled oats 2/3 of a ripe banana, smooshed up (I just, … Continue reading
Kaki, Merry Christmas! 🙂
It may be 74 degrees outside, but we’ve gotten into the Christmas spirit alright. My dad and I started a new Christmas tradition last weekend that I’m super excited to share. We busted out an old family cookbook (itself assembled as a Christmas present years ago) and made my grandmother’s recipe for Holubky, or Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls.
Now, these sounded intimidating; Dad and I set aside many hours on a Sunday afternoon to assemble them and let them simmer to their glorious, tomato-y conclusion. But actually they turned out to be easier than we’d imagined (especially with two people). The cabbage turned out to be a great natural wrapper; since they are already cup-shaped, they’re pretty easy to roll up.
We did make some adjustments to the recipe. We doubled the filling, which turned out to be a good call; we had a little filling leftover but just formed them into meatballs and baked them. We also used a seasoned rice (Zatarain’s brand, if I remember correctly), and the spices were a nice addition to the filling. We sauteed the onion in a little olive oil before it went into the filling as well. And we left out the short-ribs; Dad consulted his brother who confirmed they weren’t really made that way when they were growing up.
One of the greatest parts of making these was that my other Grandma was visiting us that weekend, whose family is Czech. It was really neat to compare notes of the slight differences between regions; Grandma said they used to bake theirs, but that the filling and sauce were just as she remembered them.
I personally hadn’t had these since a family reunion many, many years ago, but they taste just as amazing as I remembered. The tomato sauce is incredible, you’d never imagine the flavor it could take on in such a relatively short time. And the cabbage loses all of its cruciferous aroma, so there’s no worry of co-workers complaining about your leftovers. If they last that long.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Holubky)
Serves about 9
- 1 large head cabbage
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups rice (with seasoning if using packaged)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bags deli sauerkraut (or 2 cans if you can’t find the bags)
- 1 1/3 cup tomato puree (at minimum; just get a bottle of at least 11 oz and pour it all in)
Add an inch or two of water to the bottom of a pot fitted with a steamer basket (keeping the water below the steamer basket itself naturally). Cover and bring to a steady simmer.
Using a sharp knife, cut deeply around the core of the cabbage and twist to remove from the rest of the head. Place the cabbage, core-side down, into the steamer basket. Cover the pot and steam for 10-15 minutes, until the leaves begin to be easy to remove. (Check water level occasionally to make sure it hasn’t simmered itself dry.) (TIP: Use tongs to gently push each leaf off of the head, starting at the edge of each leaf; it sounds like using tongs to pull the leaves off would be easier, but instead they’re just easier to rip that way.)
While the cabbage is steaming, prepare the filling: in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-heat. Add the diced onion and saute for 5-7 minutes, until translucent. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In a small pot, combine 3 cups water and the rice and bring to a boil. Once boiling drain rice and add to bowl with onions (reserving cooking water if using seasoned rice).
To onions and rice add the pork and beef, eggs, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Once several cabbage leaves are soft enough to peel off of the head, remove them to a cutting board. Cut away the spine of each leaf.
To fill: slightly overlap the edges that were to either side of the spine. Add two heaping tablespoons of filling and fold the split side of the leaf over the filling. Fold the sides over the filling, then roll to the whole edge of the leaf. Place cabbage rolls on a large plate until all are filled. (TIP: as the leaves get smaller toward the center of the head, just use less and less filling per roll. Combining two small leaves to make one roll is possible, but is really more frustration than its worth.)
(Once all of the cabbage leaves are filled, if you have leftover filling just form them into meatballs and bake them separately.)
Drain the pot used to steam the cabbage. Drain the sauerkraut and rinse thoroughly. Place the rinsed sauerkraut in the bottom of the pot. Layer the cabbage rolls over the sauerkraut.
Pour tomato puree over the cabbage rolls. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add water to nearly cover the rolls (using the seasoned rice water if reserved).
Cover pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Serve 3-4 rolls per person. DEVOUR! 🙂
P.S. In addition to the interesting Hungarian vs. Czech cabbage rolls discussion that this inspired, it also hit me that this filling resembles boudin, the Cajun meat-and-rice sausage. Ah, peasant food knows no bounds.
Cauliflower. My word, it is SO good. And this past week I proved it to myself all over again.
Exhibit A: Cauliflower and Green Onion Stir-Fry
I haven’t made too many stir-fries recently, and that is about to change. I LOVED this, though I naturally made some changes from the linked recipe. I didn’t have rice wine, so used white wine. Didn’t have a wok, so just used a big saute pan. Doubled the ginger. Frankly, I think this is a great base recipe, to which you could substitute many different roasted vegetables in place of the cauliflower. The sauce with the green onions and caramelized onions would be so good with pretty much anything. (Oh, and, um, maybe I eat like a crazy person, but I got 3 servings out of this, not 4.)
Exhibit B: Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
Okay, so this did take a while to make. Should have guessed that when it was adapted from a slow-cooker recipe for a Dutch oven. And I had put off making it forever because wilted spinach just isn’t my thing. So instead of fresh spinach, I just added some frozen chopped spinach at the end of cooking time. SO, so good.
Exhibit C: Crispy Cauliflower Leaves
So, I prepped the two cauliflower heads for these recipes at the same time, and for one reason: that meant I had double the cauliflower leaves leftover. Kaki, if you’ve never roasted cauliflower leaves, now is the time. It’s just a toss-in-oil, salt-and-pepper method; I roasted them while roasting the florets for the stir-fry (so, also at 450*F, and for 30 minutes).
Let’s make up some cauliflower goodness the next time we’re together, okay?
Kaki! Thanks so much for the lovely cookbooks you got me for my birthday; Deb’s I’ve been meaning to get forever, and The Food Lab, so far, has made my nerd heart go pitter-pat with all of The Scientific Method that’s going on. Loooove it.
I’ve made a lot of really good stuff this past month, some of which you could actually also eat! For example:
Guurrlll, this turned out so good, and kept perfectly in the fridge for well over a week. I will say the filling was a bit odd, as I used peanut butter, not almond butter per the recipe, and the flavor pretty much took over. Which I dig; give me a chocolate-peanut-butter-combo any day of the week. But, even so, I think playing around with the filling flavor will probably happen as some point. Currently thinking maybe adding Nutella? Or almond extract, maybe? Espresso powder? Still brainstorming there.
This was tasty, if not earth-shattering. I was surprised that you could add all of those whole spices and never fish them out again; turns out the peppercorns and cloves are actually okay to eat! The cardamom pods, chiles, and bay leaves, not so much. Interesting lesson, that.
I so wish we could share this dish, Kaki, because it is easily in the Top Ten of everything I’ve made this year. Alas, it builds a lot of its flavor from the lamb, so veggifying it would be quite a feat. I don’t know, maybe lentils and chickpeas? The flavors of the spices, the olives, the golden raisins and the sweet potato topping are just phenomenal, worth some experimentation for sure. Meat-eaters reading this should just Pass Go and Collect An Amazing Meal.
Five stars! All of the stars! I was shocked that this came out so tasty, since it’s a riff on a recipe for chicken braised in milk that I made last year and was thoroughly meh. This take, however, with the succulence of the coconut milk and the chicken, and the inspired addition of star anise and lemongrass, blew my mind with how good it was. Next time I’ll make it with just skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, as the dark meat didn’t turn out as well as the breast meat. Kaki, it is sooo good, how can we also veggify this so you can experience how good it is? Let me know if you come up with anything.
How was your Halloween, my dear? Can’t wait to see you next weekend!
Until then, happy cooking,
Kaki, I’m having a moment with some pasta.
Not with the extravagant, doused in tomato or cream sauce pasta. No, I’m loving the “add only a few ingredients and spaghetti and magically oh my-God-this-tastes-amazing” pasta. Some of my favorites:
You can add anything to this. A clove of minced garlic in the sauce? Do it. Dried instead of fresh herbs? Yes. Omit the cheese from the sauce? Shockingly, yes. Tons of veggies to the pasta to make it a freakin’ complete meal? Go for it. And the sauce you just assemble in a mason jar, cap it up and shake to bring it together, pour it over the pasta and dooooone. (But one note: 2/3 a cup of olive oil seems a bit extreme to me. I recently used 1/2 cup and it worked just fine.)
This recipe sounds crazy, but works great with any number of substitutions. As long as you add more delicate veggies closer to the end of cooking, you can add any that your heart desires. I’m not sure I’d add meat to this dish, since it would essentially just simmer away, but in a pinch you could brown meat first, let it drain off to the side, and add it back in at the end. Also, Beth’s tip about breaking the spaghetti in half to help avoid “large nest of noodles surrounded by unincorporated veggies” syndrome is inspired, I use it all the time now.
Also, my Fastest, Easiest, Laziest Dinner would be great over some pasta (it’s also great over a baked sweet potato).
Any simple pasta recommendations, Kaki? I’m all ears and tastebuds.
Kaki, my, it’s been a bit “meh” around here. I’ve spent the past month going from one mediocre dish to the next. With some I think, “Caitlin, you tried to make that too healthy.” With some I think, “Caitlin, you … Continue reading