Stuffed Cabbage

Now is the time for homegrown cabbages with large dark green outer leaves to appear in farmstands.  Most often, grocery store cabbage has had all these lovely outer leaves trimmed, so when I find heads with lots of loose outer leaves, I am delighted.  I always separate 12 or 14 leaves as soon as I get the head of cabbage home, and put them into a Ziploc bag, saving the rest of the cabbage for other uses.  With these leaves that many people think are tough and throw away, I make one of our family’s long time favorite dishes, stuffed cabbage.  Other recipes may call them cabbage rolls. Mine is adapted from an old copy of Good Housekeeping Cookbook I have had for many years.

Cooking this one pot meal requires a few steps, and definitely more cooking time than most of my best loved dishes, but it is so worth it.  Just pick a time when you can do the preparation ahead of time, and plan on about 3 hours of baking.

Stuffed Cabbage

 Large head of fresh cabbage with loose outer leaves

1 pound extra lean ground beef

½ cup uncooked rice

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large onion, sliced

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes

juice of 2 fresh lemons

1 teaspoon salt

 ¼ teaspoon pepper

½ to 1 cup brown sugar, packed.

Ingredients that are listed twice are used at different times in the recipe.

 Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove 12 large outer leaves from cabbage head.  Bring a pot of water to boil and let leaves stand a few seconds to soften and make them easy to fold.  Remove, drain, and cool enough to handle.  On a cutting board, trim off thick part of each leaf.

Mix meat, rice, onion, eggs, salt and pepper.  Place a heaping tablespoon of mixture in the center of each leaf, fold up bottom, sides and top to make a small package.  Spray a large pot or dutch oven with cooking spray and place a few unused cabbage leaves on the bottom.  Place stuffed cabbage into pot, making layers with sliced onion.

On top, pour crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top.  Bring to a boil on top of the stove.  Bake covered for 1 hour.  Uncover, and bake 2 hours longer.  Makes 8 servings.

 

 

Trust me, it is worth all the trouble!  The little packages of meat and rice wrapped in cabbage are even good cold!  Children like to help wrap them up.

Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Lamb Chops with Balsamic Glazed Vegetables

I usually buy several small lamb chops which I season and sear before finishing them off in the oven.  Here, I have paired the chops with a mixture of roasted beets and turnips which I roasted before combining, then tossed with a honey and balsamic vinegar glaze. I made the glaze by cooking balsamic vinegar down to a thick syrup and adding honey.

Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Lamb Chops

2 large garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried French Thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3-4  lamb loin chops

Mix garlic herbs and salt with 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl. Add lamb; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavyovenproof skillet.  Add lamb; cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast lamb chops to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to serving plate, and let rest 5 minutes.

Roasted Beets

1 Bunch fresh beets (3 or 4)

Sea Salt and Olive oil

Lay a square of heavy duty aluminum foil on baking sheet.  Trim stem end and root of beets, scrub, and pat dry.  Leave small beets whole, halve or quarter larger beets. Drizzle olive oil over beets on top of foil, and rub the oil to cover surfaces.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Pull up edges of foil in a package and place in oven preheated to 400 degrees. Check by sticking a fork into beets after 30 minutes then continue baking until beets are tender. Open foil and cool until they can be handled.  Then slip the skins off and slice or rough chop beets.  I always roast beets separately when combining them with another vegetable to keep colors more separate.  Here, I have mixed them with roasted turnips.

Roasted Turnips

4 medium to large purple turnips

Sea salt and olive oil

Line a rimmed baking pan with foil.  Trip leaves and roots from turnips.  It is not necessary to peel them if they are fresh and skin is thin.  Wash and pat dry, then rough chop.  Toss in olive oil and scatter them on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt and roast at 400 degrees until turnips are tender and turning brown.  May be served alone or tossed with roasted beets after cooling slightly.

Glazed Rosemary Onions

I love it when a photo can just about substitute for the ingredient list in a recipe!  This dish has become an all-time family favorite side dish for any roasted or grilled meat.  It is simple enough to perk up weekday family suppers, great for potlucks, and festive enough to grace holiday tables. 

Since I have read everything in her Mitford series of books , it is no surprise that I have Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.  Even if you don’t read through cookbooks for fun like I do, you will want to spend time savoring this collection of stories and recipes.  I have adapted mine from “Cynthia’s Glazed Rosemary Onions”,  found on page 40. 

Glazed Rosemary Onions

8 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup  melted butter

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon  sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Place onion quarters in dish carefully and pour honey and butter over them. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Bake for 1 hour, or until onions are soft.

“Life and love. What wonderful blessings to have in our kitchen.”

Hobo Hamburgers

When Joe finishes a meal I have cooked for all 48 years of our marriage and says “I thnk this is maybe my favorite of anything you make”  – he gets a big smile and a hug and you get a blog post!  Honestly, the photograph doesn’t come close to showing what a great family meal this is.  At our house, it has been a meal for guests as well, because it can almost as easily be made for 12 as for two people around the table.  It also is a great make ahead one dish meal for busy weekends or to take with you for campouts. 

 Hobo Hamburgers

To serve 4 (adjust quantities as needed for additional servings)

4 ground sirloin or ground chuck patties

 8- 10 Small red potatoes  (or 3 peeled and sliced Yukon Gold potatoes)

Frozen mixed vegetables

1 onion, sliced thinly

Butter

salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco

4 squares of heavy duty aluminum foil

Heat oven to 400. Place squares of foil in a row to build hamburgers. Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Place one ground beef patty on each square of foil.  Season with salt and pepper and a dot of butter.  Layer evenly divided potatoes and 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, ending with onion slices.  Season each layer with salt and pepper.  Scatter dots of butter over top of onions.  Sprinkle with Worcestershire and a few drops of Tobasco.  gather up foil to close packet and place on baking sheet.  Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is done and potatoes are tender.  Serve with crusty French bread and a green salad.