Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stuffed Cabbage

This recipe is based on one from Barefoot Contessa at Home. Stuffed cabbage is a traditional Jewish recipe that uses ground beef and rice. Because I’m Southern and not Jewish, I added some Italian sausage to the beef mixture. Also, the original tomato sauce has raisins, but my take omits them. These are best for a weekend because, while easy, they take some time to put together. But the taste makes them worth the time. (The cabbage I used was pretty small, so this made 16 rolls. Bigger leaves will yield less.) Andy asked that we add it to our recipe repertoire!
1 head cabbage
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
Fresh thyme sprigs
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 lb. or 1 link Italian sausage, casing removed
1/4 cup uncooked white rice
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg

1. Remove the core from the cabbage with a sharp knife. Fill a Dutch oven with water, and bring to a boil. Add in some salt. Drop in the cabbage, and cook for 5 minutes or until the leaves are pliable. Remove cabbage, and allow to cool. Empty water from Dutch oven, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, sauté onions in hot oil in a pan for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and season with salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in red wine vinegar, brown sugar, tomatoes, and 2 thyme sprigs. Simmer sauce for 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
3. Combine ground beef, next 5 ingredients, and 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme.
4. Spoon 1/2 cup tomato sauce into bottom of Dutch oven.
5. Peel leaves from cabbage. Use a sharp knife to cut out hard rib from each leaf. Scoop out 2 Tbsp. of meat mixture, and place in center of cabbage leave. Roll up, tucking in the sides; place cabbage roll, seam side down, on top of tomato sauce mixture. Repeat procedure until the bottom of the Dutch oven is covered. Spoon more of sauce over top of rolls. Continue rolling and layering cabbage rolls and sauce in Dutch oven. Cover with lid.
6. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sort-of Beef Daube

This recipe was inspired by one in my current favorite cookbook, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. In her recipe, Greenspan explains that her offering is not technically a French daube, and my version certainly isn’t either. But her recipe inspired me to come up with this version, which has a lot less alcohol than the original. The consistency of the sauce and beef is perfect, and the dish pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes.
4 bacon slices, chopped
Canola oil
3 1/2 lb. chuck or bottom round roast, trimmed and cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
8 carrots, cut into chunks
4 celery stalks, cut into chunks
8 oz. sliced portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 (32-oz.) container beef broth
3 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine

1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven until almost crisp; remove from pot with a slotted spoon. Add 2 Tbsp. oil to bacon drippings in pot, and cook beef, in batches, in hot oil mixture until browned on all sides. Remove beef to a plate, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Add 1 more Tbsp. oil to pot, and sauté onions and next 4 ingredients until vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, and cook until liquid thickens. Stir in beef broth, beef, and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Throw in herb bundle. Cover Dutch oven.
3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Replace lid, and return to oven. Cook 2 more hours, stirring once more.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spiced Dried Plum Bread

The taste of this bread reminiscent of the plum cake my mom made when I was a child. It is great served toasted and spread with softened butter.
2 cups chopped dried plums
1/4 cup amaretto
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup chopped almonds

1. Combine plums and amaretto; set aside 30 minutes.
2. Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and zest. Gradually beat in flour and next 6 ingredients until well blended. Beat in orange juice, plums in amaretto, and almonds. Pour mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan.
3. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

This is my version of the original from The New Southern Garden Cookbook. Other than the cheese, which is the primary protein source, this is a pretty healthful soup. (Crumbled bacon would be a delicious addition.) It's different from other recipes I’ve had for this soup in that the veggies are pretty chunky and it includes potato, which contributes creaminess.
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 small potato, cut into chunks
2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets and then chop the stalks
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp. dried mustard
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup grated white cheddar or cheddar cheese
2 tsp. cornstarch

1. Melt butter in Dutch oven; add in onions and next 4 ingredients. Sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Gradually add in broth, and cook until thickened. Stir in thyme, dried mustard, and milk. Simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes and broccoli are tender.
2. Toss cheese with cornstarch; stir into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Baked Oatmeal With Apples and Almonds

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 apples, cut in half, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted salted almonds
Whipping cream (optional)

1. Stir together first 11 ingredients until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle almonds over top.
2. Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until set. Spoon into individual bowls, and drizzle each serving with a little whipping cream, if desired.