Tuesday, March 12, 2013

last of the winter dinners

Cautiously optimistic spring is here, what with having gotten Snowquester (I’m allowed to say that since I leave near DC) over with. So I’d better publish these nice hearty winter dinners before it’s all salad, all the time!

I bought a cabbage. I bought some meat. I thought about making stuffed cabbage.

I thought about it… for awhile. Then, fate! In the form of Deb publishing a recipe for stuffed cabbage in Smitten Kitchen. So this happened. This good good goodness happened:


Though I didn’t follow Deb’s recipe (except for the sauce, which was mad easy and mad good- I used organic tomatoes which I think just taste fresher), it was pretty cool channeling her.

Here’s what I did:

- Cooked some brown rice (1/2 a cup raw)
- Caramelized a big sweet onion (mmm)
- Mixed those guys together with about a pound of meat from Lebanese Butcher. I rave and rave about that place in this blog, and this is one of their best: a mix of ground beef and ground lamb with awesome awesome herby seasonings. Probably parsley, mint… don’t know what else but it’s oh so good.
- Microwave-steamed 8 cabbage leaves (I am just morally opposed to boiling things, and I think the boil the whole cabbage then peel off the leaves technique leaves nearly-raw inner leaves and totally limp and dead outer leaves)
- Made Deb’s sauce (link above)
- Wrapped the stuffing with the leaves; threw in a little more cabbage from the inside, chopped up; and cooked the rolls per Deb’s suggestions


Then there was leftover lamb so I mixed it with red lentils and some brown rice that’d been languishing in the fridge and the last of some Trader Joe’s butternut squash bisque that I found a little bland and some cumin and curry powder and THAT was really good too!


Had some nice farmer’s market chard. Used some of it to make fish, which turned into a little bit of a situation:

chat with rach

And the rest I made into a splendid little quiche.


Once again, I began by caramelizing onions. Then I added lotsa mushrooms and some Swiss chard to that same pan, and let ‘em cook and get all lovely and soft. I whisked up some eggs with milk, salt and pepper, and a dash of hot sauce.

THEN, in the style of an Eating Well recipe, in lieu of making a crust (since I suffer from laziness and we had- and still have- a ridiculous quantity of phyllo dough in our fridge left over from a baklava project of my mother’s), I used a bunch of folded-over, brushed-with-oil phyllo dough.

Came out very nice indeed. We ate almost the entire thing in one night.


Sheila always gets to lick out the bowl the eggs were beaten in. Then she goes and fits on the improbably tiny shelf, next to the cupboard where she knows the cookies to live, and begs for more treats.


Speaking of more treats, the final recipe delight I have to share is CALZONES! Calzones are SO much fun to make and also REALLY easy. Best of all, they freeze bee-yoo-ti-fully, and are a complete meal in an efficiently small delivery system. The original hot pockets, if you will.

I will refer you to my original calzone post for the dough. That recipe works beautifully, and I’ll just add that this time for the 1 cup of white whole wheat flour I substituted 1 cup of oats, ground up, plus cornmeal to make that oat flour add up to 1 cup. Still great!

As for the filling… mmm mmm mm.


We got sweet Italian sausage at the farmer’s market, and it served as a succulent base for the calzones. I browned it, whole, in the pan, then took it out once it was all nice and blistery on the outside. Then I used those drippings to cook some mushrooms. While those cooked, I sliced the sausage into small pieces. When the mushrooms looked nice, I returned the sausage to the pan, plus some frozen spinach and a small can of tomato sauce. And that’s that! It made more than enough filling.

Plus some cheese to go on top! Mix of white cheddar, regular cheddar, and parmesan. Just what I had. All cheese is good cheese.


Into the hot oven they went. The really huge and overstuffed ones were made by Steve :)


Eaten at the kitchen table, still beautified from my sister’s flowers :)


And that… I thiiiiiiiink…. is the last of winter :)

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