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Oct. 19th, 2010




Gołąbki, or Polish cabbage rolls, are tasty little packages that resemble a meatball simmered in broth while wrapped in a cabbage leaf to help hold it together.

Despite how it looks, it is not pronounced anything like Go-lab-ki; the little tail on the A and the cross on the L make a difference, and the closest I can approximate it in text is ‘Go-lump-kie’ or ‘Gwumpki’, which made Googling it very interesting. Phoenetics + Text Search Engine = Not Your Friend.


The Wiki, with photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go%C5%82%C4%85bki

The recipe!

1 lb ground meat (I used beef, can also add in pork, veal, or venison)
1 cup uncooked rice
1 med onion
3 cloves garlic
Thyme, Salt & Pepper to taste
2 eggs
1 cabbage (Green or Savoy)

1cp brown sugar
1 cp apple cider vinegar
Beef Stock
Bay Leaves

Start a large pot of water boiling, half full.

In a saucepan, sauté minced garlic and finely chopped onion until translucent, but not browned. Set aside to cool to room temp.

Core the cabbage and place it whole in the boiling water. As the leaves loosen and soften, use tongs to peel the whole leaves free of the head, and set aside. Continue until the whole head is separated. Discard water, reserve pot.

Combine meat, sautéed onion and garlic, rice, spices, and egg in a bowl, and mix well.

On a cutting board, place a cabbage leave curved side down, so it’s more of a cup. Place two tablespoons of meat mixture in the leaf, then fold in the sides and roll up the leaf, to form a package. You can affix with a toothpick, if you like. Repeat until you are out of the meat mixture.

In the large pot, place the unused cabbage in the bottom to help protect the rolls from sticking. Nestle the rolls on top, with the loose end tucked underneath. Stack them if need be.
Mix the vinegar with the sugar, with a bit of a heavy hand on the vinegar, until the lumps are mostly gone. Add to the rolls and then top off with beef stock until the rolls are covered. Sprinkle in some broken up bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme.

Simmer gently for a minimum of one hour, upwards to two. It’s not a fine science and they won’t be ruined if you just have to finish that load of laundry/show/dungeon.

Serving size is usually one roll with extra cabbage from the pot, with a large spoonful of broth over the top.

- You can use water if you don’t have beef stock.
- I’m the only one I know who uses this sweet-sour broth. It’s usually tomato based, but my mom didn’t make it that way, so I can’t tell you if it’s any good.
- The broth is adjustable, so if this is too sweet, you can leave out some of the sugar, or vinegar, or whichever.

Jun. 27th, 2010



Water Melon Pickles

Water Melon Pickles

Rind Prep:
3 qts watermelon rind
3/4 cp salt
3 qts water
2 qts ice cubes

Pickling Medium:
4 1/2 cp honey*
3 cp white vinegar
3 cp water
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 thinly sliced lemon
6 1” cinnamon sticks

Pare pink and waxy green outer covering from the rind, leaving only the inner white rind behind. Cut into 1” chunks. Mix salt and water until salt is dissolved, and then add ice cubes. Cover the rind chunks and let rest 4 to 5 hours.

Drain and rinse the rind, then cover with cold water and simmer just until slightly tender.

Combine water, vinegar and spices (in a cloth bag), boil 5 minutes. Mix in honey, pour over the rind (do NOT remove the spice bag), and rest overnight.

Heat rind in the above mixture until boiling and simmer until the rind is translucent.

Pack hot pickles into clean, hot, pint jars. To each jar, add 1 piece of cinnamon from the spice bag. Top with pickling medium, then immediately seal via a boiling water bath.

* Honey can be reduced for a less sweet result.


Bread & Butter Pickles

Bread & Butter Pickles

2 qts sliced, unpeeled, cucumbers
1 qt sliced onions (1 b or 3 med onions)

Sprinkle with salt, let stand 1 hour. You will need approximately ½ cp for 3 batches of veggies. Drain and rinse in cold water. Add to jars, leaving 1/2” head room.

Pickle Juice (Brine)
2 3/4 cp vinegar
2 3/4 cp sugar
1 tbsp celery seed
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp mustard seed
20 whole cloves

Bring the above to boiling, and then add to jars filled with vegetable mix, leaving 1/2” head room. Process and seal immediately.

NOTE: Mom usually tripled the veggies for a batch, but only doubled the juice. 

Pickle Tips: http://www.pickyourown.org/makingpickles.htm


Dilly Beans

Dilled Green Beans

4 lbs whole green beans
5 cp vinegar
5 cp water
1/2 cp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper per pint jar
1/2 tsp whole mustard seed per pint jar
1/2 tsp dill seed per pint jar
1 clove garlic per pint jar

Wash beans, drain and cut to fit in the pint jars*; leave 1/2” of head space. Add seasonings. Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Add liquid to jars, leave 1/2” of head space. Add lids, boil for 5 minutes in a hot water bath, and seal.

*No idea how many jars you’ll need. I’ve eaten the results of this recipe, but not made it yet. It’s on the to-do list.

Aug. 13th, 2009



How to make salad… quick, fast, and in bulk.

A lot of people who try to switch to eating more salad get annoyed at the time it takes to make it up each time; often they don’t have time to do it in the morning. But, with a bit of pre-prep, a salad becomes as fast to put together as a sandwich.


Start with:
1 head of romaine
1 head iceburg lettuce

To this, you can also add leaf lettuce, butter head, a spring mix, and/or spinach… I recommend at least one other type, but be careful! Too many extras and you’ll make a mountain of greens. I usually add 1-2 ‘others’, such as a butterhead and spinach.

Clean out your kitchen sink, and fill it half-full of water. Add enough ice so that the water is chilled but the ice mostly melted.

Start with the romaine; slice off the base. Pile a handful of leaves on top of one another, and rip off the top half of the leaf, before the rib gets too thick. Tear these into bite-sized pieces and drop into the water, being careful not to pinch too hard. They rip easily, and bruise if you bear down too hard. For the bottom half, strip the leaf off each side of the rib, and discard the rib. Add these to the water.  You don’t –have- to discard the ribs, but they can be bitter. Ripping the leaves as opposed to cutting them? Cutting them tends to bruise the edges, and the leaves seem to be more forgiving to ripping than to a blade.

For the butterhead / leaf lettuce, just cut off the base and rip away; these don’t have thick ribs to remove.

For the spring/agrula-type mixes and the spinach, just toss loose into the sink.

Lastly, for the iceberg , just core it and then slice in a grid pattern vertically through the head. Iceberg leaves are forgiving to the knife, so do not need to be torn. Into the sink it goes!

You should now have a pile of leaves sitting in a very cold sink of water. Stir these around.  The reason for this is three-fold; to get the dirt and pesticides off the leaves, to get them evenly combined, and to make sure that everyone gets a dunk in the cold water to firm them up. Ice water, as opposed to plain cold tap water (especially in the summer months), really does wonders to perk up their texture. However, by the time it’s mixed, most if not all of the ice should be gone.

 Now comes the fun part; getting it out of the water. If you have a Salad Spinner, you’re all set. Load and spin off as much water as possible. After doing this by hand for years, I finally got one of these a few weeks ago… and it is a beautiful thing.

 If you don’t have one, load up your spaghetti colander and let drain, then shake and get as much water as humanly possible out of there! You want the leaves as dry as you possibly can; this will add a lot of shelf-life to your mix.

 For storage, I use ziplock bags. If the mix is still damp, line the bottom with a folded paper towel. My usually 4-head blend tends to make about 3.5 gallon-sized bags worth, loosely packed.  

I was amused, after doing this for years, that our friend Jamie Oliver recommends this technique for several days worth of greens at a go, but he likes to line his crisper drawer with paper towels and loads it up with loose greens for quick access.

 Personally, I learned this technique when I was making the salad base for Lennie’s, in Bloomington, IN. Making 50 to 75 lbs of the stuff a day kinda drilled it into your head.  If you go, try the Lennie’s Original Sandwich, it is Om Nom Nom good. I used to bake the bread for it!

 Now, for quick use, you can prep some of the veggies ahead of time, like celery and broccoli. For these, do only a couple days worth at a go, because once they are sliced the lifetime of the veggies shortens. For things like tomatoes and cucumber, I recommend just doing them daily, or at most every-other day (half of a tomato one day, use the other half the next). If you can stand it, cucumber stays better, longer, if you leave the skin on the unused portion.  Eggs can be hard-boiled, peeled, and kept in water (to prevent from going rubbery) for a few days, or sliced/chopped and kept sealed for quick use.

 For work, I grab a Tupperware bowl, fill it with greens. Then I grab a tomato, put half aside for tomorrow, and slice the other half into 8ths. I grab my cucumber (washed), slice off some rounds, peel and all, and both go on my salad top. I might add some broccoli florets if I have some, or baby carrots, or some celery…  bits. Lastly I usually toss on a pinch of seeds, like sunflower, and a protein. The protein can be half a can of drained tuna, some leftover chicken breast, chick peas, eggs, etc. Mixing a bit of protein and a small amount of fat (like from cheese, seeds, or egg) in with a much larger portion of veggies makes the salad ‘last’ you longer, and you get hungry again much slower.

 So, in the end, it’s toss in the greens, chop a tomato and cucumber, grab handfuls of this and that, and go!

Jul. 12th, 2009



Buttercream Icing

Originally from Wilton.com:

Wilton's Buttercream Icing

Our Buttercream Icing recipe is perfect for spreading or decorating. Follow our instructions to make it the ideal consistency you need.

Source: 2003 Yearbook
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk

Makes: About 3 cp of icing.

Instructions - Medium Consistency

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.


If color isn't an issue, replace the 1/2 cp shortening with equal parts butter and skip the butter flavoring. Also, add a touch of almond extract, about half as much as the vanilla.



Black Olive & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Originally from BBC Food.

Notes: Do not skip the truffle oil. I've tried it with and without, and it makes a HUGE difference.



Simple White Cake

Originally found on Allrecipes.com, Simple White Cake.

Makes 12 cupcakes or one 9x9 pan, scales well.

1 cup - White sugar
1/2 cup - Butter
2 - Eggs
2 tsp - Vanilla extract
1 1/2 cp - All-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp - Baking powder
1/2 cp - Milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.



Add a bit of extra milk, and beat the heck out of the batter between eggs. Batter should look like fluffy Coolwhip when it's ready to pour.

Jul. 11th, 2009



Stuffed French Toast

12oz9oz6ozCream Cheese - Softened
4 T3 T2 TMarmelade or Apricot Preserves
2 tsp1.5 tsp1 tspCrystalized Ginger - Chopped Fine
1/4 tsp1/8 tsp1/8 tspNutmeg
1/2 Cp1/3 Cp1/4 CpAlmonds - Toasted, Chopped
  6Slices of Bread
2 Cp1.5 Cp1 CpMilk
2 tsp1.5 tsp1 tspVanilla Extract

1. Beat together cream cheese, marmelade, ginger and nutmeg. Stir in almonds.
2. Grease a large rectangular pan generously.
3. Place one layer of bread.
4. Spread cream cheese mixture on the bread layer.
5. Place 2nd layer of bread.
6. Mix eggs, milk, and vanilla.
7. Slowly pour over the top, evenly.
8. Cover and chill overnight.
9. Bake uncovered 30-35 mins at 350° until golden brown.

Provided by Becca on July 4th Trip, 2008.



Southwest Fiesta Salad

1 each of Green, Red, Yellow & Orange Bell Peppers, finely diced
1 Onion, minced
2 cp Frozen Corn, thawed
2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Cucumber, Seeded, diced
3 stalks Celery, diced
1 Large Tomato, seeded and diced

1/4 cp Olive Oil
1/4 cp Red Wine Vinegar*
1 tsp Cumin*
1 tsp Garlic Powder*
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine the Salad makings in a large bowl, will make plenty. Look for a good balance of ingredients, you may need to add more of one type (such as tomatoes). Combine the Dressing Ingredients, mix well, and then pour over the chopped veggies. Stir well, and it is best eaten after it has rested a few hours. Serve with tortilla chips, Tostitos 'Scoops' work great, and you will need about 2 bags worth for the entire salad.

*Last time this was kind of bland, and needed a bit more zing. I am going to try doubling the vinegar and upping the spices a touch.
** I may try adding diced grilled chicken breast to this in the future.

Provided by Becca, July 4th Trip, 2009. Given to her by her daughter, Rachel.

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