Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage

OK so last week my dad told me they were making stuffed cabbage and that sounded so good, I thought about it all week and decided to give it a go this weekend (mind you mine is made with meat and eggs and they are vegan so, as good as I'm sure their dish was, mine is quite different...)

This was SOOOOO GOOD!  I can't begin to describe.  I wasn't even sure if I liked stuffed cabbage, to be honest, it has been a long time since I had it and who knows where that was and if it was good.  But as much work and care as this recipe took (this is another afternoon-long cooking project), it was worth every second.  Brandon and I ate until we were stuffed.  It is like a Polish (or German or Hungarian) version of meat loaf... but wrapped in cabbage... and the SAUCE is so good... and with mashed potatoes it is like a slice of heaven in every bite... YUM.  I want to eat it now, for lunch, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day... HAHAHA no just kidding.  But we do have a lot leftover so we can eat it for another dinner and I can possibly take some for lunch as well this week.  NICE!

I looked at so many recipes and read so many comments, I am not quite sure where my final recipe comes from.  I took what I liked from each and this is what I ended up with.  The sauce is close to the one used by Ina Garten.  It was killer.  I wont change it next time at all.


1 large head savoy or green cabbage
1 28 oz can sauerkraut (optional)


1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground sausage or pork
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 generous cup COOKED rice
1 tsp. dried thyme


2 T good olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans crushed tomatoes, with their juices (I used one can crushed tomatoes and 1 can crushed tomato in thick puree)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2-3 T brown sugar
generous pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 T fresh lemon juice


1.  With a paring knife, cut out the core of the cabbage, and immerse cabbage head in pot of boiling water.  Boil for about 15 minutes.  Peel off the leaves one at a time with tongs, being careful not to tear them, and set aside.  (I got the largest cabbage head you have ever seen from the farmer's market yesterday... it didn't really fit in my pot at first... but I made out OK!)

Ha! yes it is huge. The picture doesn't do it justice.  Anyways..

2.  Saute the diced onion (1/2 cup) and minced garlic cloves (4-6) for the filling in a T. or so of oil, until translucent (you could probably skip this step but I thought it would add flavor to the filling... like I said... whatever I did worked so I would do this again!)

3.  Meanwhile, start the sauce by heating 2 T. olive oil over medium low heat, and then adding the minced garlic (4 cloves)  and diced onion (1 cup), until softened.

 4.  Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices.

 5.  Then add the vinegar (1/4 cup) and the brown sugar (2-3 T).

6.  Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste, and turn the heat to low.  Let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes while you make the filling.

7.  While sauce is simmering, make the filling.  Combine beef, sausage (or pork), eggs, rice, green peppers, sauteed onion and garlic, bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper. 

8.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

9.  Now we can assemble cabbage rolls.  Lay out a cabbage leaf, cut the triangular rib from bottom of leaf. 

10.  Scoop a half cup or so of filling into middle of leaf, across spine, and roll upwards toward top of leaf, folding edges under.

11.  Repeat until all filling is used up.  I ended up with 11 stuffed rolls.

12.  Pour a cup or so of filling in the bottom of a large dutch oven.

13.  Pour in sauerkraut (drain it first), if using.

14.  Add a layer of stuffed cabbage rolls, and then cover with more sauce.

15.  Put in remaining rolls, pour in remaining sauce and, if necessary, add water to cover the rolls.

16.  Cover with tight fitting lid and cook at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until meat is cooked.  Mine was done in an hour and 15 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes (trust me) and enjoy!

Sausage , Garlic, Tomato and Cream Pasta

This is one of my staple recipes that I make at least once a month.  It is very satisfying on a cold night.  The only problem with it is I have a hard time stopping!  I can eat several helpings and still wish I had room for more.  It is also very simple and an easy weeknight meal.  I made this dish for my mother-in-law and she also loved it. 


1 lb. pasta (I like cartwheels or Rotini with this dish)
3 T. light olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb. sausage 
1 (28 oz) can Italian whole peeled tomatoes
2/3 cup cream
2-3 T fresh diced parsley

Parmesan for serving


Heat oil over medium heat in cast iron pan (or other skillet).  Crumble sausage into oil and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until brown, add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2/3 of the can of cut up tomatoes with their juice (I usually do not use the entire can but you could).  Simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes are cooked down.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Meanwhile, boil water and cook pasta until al dente.  A couple minutes before the pasta is done, add the heavy cream and turn the heat to high, cooking for 3 minutes or so to thicken the sauce slightly.

Pour sauce over pasta and add parsley.

Toss well to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

Buttermilk Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is TO DIE FOR.  I want to swim in the batter and roll in the icing.  Really I do! Why I made this on a Thursday night is beyond me... I was reading my book during lunch at work and the main character had a piece of spice cake and my fingers darted to my keyboard to browse the internet world of spice cake... it was like I was entranced.  After 20 minutes of internal struggles on the way home in the car, and passing two supermarkets that had the only ingredients I needed (butter and cream cheese... and hence GUILT) I finally spun into a Stewarts at the last minute, doubtful they would have either, let alone both of these things.  That they did, was a sign.  Sigh.  So spice cake:



2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
2 T. ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
8 T unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 lb powdered sugar, sifted


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Prepare a pan by spraying it well and lining the bottom with parchment.  You definitely don't want to skip this step!   (I used a 9 inch round, you could use an 8 inch square or whatever else you want, just adjust baking time)

3.  Sift together dry ingredients in mixing bowl of stand mixer.

4.  Beat in butter and buttermilk for a few minutes until fluffy and creamy.  (NOTE: you can make buttermilk by adding 1 T of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk.  Here I used about 2/3 of a T for 3/4 cup milk).

5.  Add eggs and beat a couple more minutes until thick.

6.  Pour into prepared pan.

7.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.

8.  Cool on cooking rack.

9.  Meanwhile, make icing by combining softened cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.

10.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar and mix until mixture holds soft peaks.

11.  When cake is cool, ice it with a spatula.

12.  Cut and serve.  (Icing will firm up on the fridge).


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Indian food follow-up

Here are a few of the Indian dishes we made at my ladies' cooking night last week that were particularly good and worth sharing. 

Chola Tikki (chickpea patties)


I cup boiled chickpeas (we used canned)
3 medium potatoes, boiled, cooled and peeled
2 T. shredded fresh ginger
1 T. chopped cilantro
2 chopped green chilis, seeded
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice

oil to shallow fry

For Serving

Plain yogurt
Cilantro or other chutney


Mash potatoes and chickpeas.  Add other ingredients and mix together.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  With oiled hands, form into patties, about 1/2 inch thick.  Heat oil in flat bottom saucepan on medium high heat (oil should cover surface of the pan generously) and fry until golden brown on both sides.  Serve hot with yogurt and chutney.

1.  You can bake these in the oven instead of frying them.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, brush with oil on both sides and bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes on one side.  Turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes on the other side. 

2. You can make the patties 2 or 3 days ahead.  Keep them refrigerated.

 Chicken Tikka Masala

This came out spicy and delicious!  Very good.

Note: The recipe calls for skewering the chicken and grilling or broiling it.  I did not want to grill and do not have a broiler so I sauteed the chicken with the garlic and jalepeno and then let it cook in the sauce.  This worked wonderfully.  Although I am sure grilling it would add some more authentic Indian flavor, I am not sure it would be worth the trouble.  


1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken (I used half theighs and half breasts), cut into 1 inch cubes


1 cup plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 piece (about 1 inch long) of minced ginger
6 bamboo skewers  (if you are grilling)


1 T unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalepeno, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


(If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water)

1.  Make the marinade (mix all ingredients together) (look at all the pretty spices!)

2.  Let chicken marinate at least 1 hour (on skewers if you are using).  I marinaded over night and the chicken was so tender and wonderful!  I recommend it if you have time.

3. Melt butter on medium heat.

4.  Add garlic and jalepeno, cook one minute.  NOTE: I used 1 jalepeno for a double recipe and it was quite spicy so you may want to only use a half a jalepeno here!

5.  Add chicken (unless you are grilling or broiling it). Let it cook for 10 minutes or so (or until cooked through), stirring frequently.

6.  Stir in coriander, sumin, paprika, garam masala & salt.

7.  Stir in tomato sauce (it is smelling really good now!).

8.  Simmer 15 minutes.

9.  Stir in cream (it starts looking really good now!).

[ if you are grilling or broiling the chicken, do that now, turning occasionally, and add it to the sauce and simmer another 5 minutes).

10.  Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice, naan or pita bread.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Indian food, and other stuff

So I am starting a ladies' cooking group and for our first get together, I thought it would be fun to make Indian food.  I love Indian food and have wanted to get into making it for awhile, but always read a recipe, and then realize I do not have the ingredients and shy away.  But Friday I ended this cycle of defeat and went to one of the many Indian groceries in Albany and stocked up on spices and now I have the pantry to make Indian food regularly.  I am seriously pumped.  So to warm up for ladies' night, and because I was so excited by my new array of spices, I decided to try out some things.

There are several great Indian food blogs out there.  Here are a few to check out:

A great vegetarian one: Manjula's Kitchen
A vegan one my dad and stepmother love: Holy Cow Vegan
Another great one: eCurry

Here's what I made yesterday:

Masala Chana Dal (get the recipe here):

Aloo Posto (potatoes with poppy seeds) (recipe here):

And Khasta Paratha/Parotta - a type of Indian Bread from the Holy Cow Vegan blog -- it involves a lot of folding and refrigerating and thus you need to plan for it but the result was so worth it!  Here is the recipe.  Here are some pics from the process:

Yay Indian food!  I am making Chicken Tikka Masala tomorrow and a Naan bread for the cooking extravaganza, and other food will be on the menu as well.  It should be great!

Anyways, life is good in Voorheesville.  I have been knitting again!  Here is a hat I knit for Brandon with Reindeer on it:

Very cool.  He loves it :)

And I made Sourdough bread this morning... it will be delicious with sausage, tomato and cream pasta tonight!

And to finish off, some pics of the animals, who are loving life -- laying by the fire at night and in the autumn light coming through the window in the day -- what's not to love?

so cute!

-- Anya