Friday, January 22, 2010

Yin and Yang

Day 22.

My mother is in town visiting today. She brought me a wonderful birthday present. I'm so excited about it! It's a turntable for cake decorating. :) Made my day. The unfortunate thing for Mom is that she's doing Weight Watchers, and can't "afford" the POINTS value of some of my dishes. On today's menu: A little bit of healthy and a lot of not. I served Mom homemade split pea soup -- but I'm sharing the recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls with you here, because they're more interesting. I I'll make split pea soup again this winter, so I'll have another chance to share my recipe. In the meantime, here's a little bit of healthy and a whole lotta not.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
makes 10 rolls


  • 10 large cabbage leaves
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 - 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 strips bacon

How it's Done:

  1. Drop the cabbage leaves into a pot of boiling water and let them soften for about five minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ground beef, rice, bread crumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, 1 cup cheese, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mash all the ingredients together.
  3. Open a cabbage leaf and mound about 3/4 cup filling in the center. Bring the sides in, completely encasing the filling. Wrap a slice of bacon around the cabbage leaf. Place parcel seam side down in a 9x11" rectangular baking dish. Continue this process until all the leaves are filled. Pour 1/2 cup water into the bottom of the dish.
  4. Cover the parcels with the canned tomatoes. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Remove foil, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese, and bake another 20 minutes. Serve.

And now for dessert. I've heard a lot about these strange apple pies baked in paper grocery bags. Always up for something new, I decided to try it out for myself today. The results were interesting. The pie was tasty. My only issue with it is that it lacks the crispness in a traditional pie crust. I wouldn't let this recipe dominate my apple pie repertoire, but it was fun for a change of pace. You can find the recipe here.

Here are a few pictures detailing my experience with this pie:

The pie bakes in the paper bag! Everyone you tell this to will warn you to keep a fire extinguisher handy, but as you can see, my bag didn't even singe. Not a bit.

When it's done, you tear the bag open and marvel at the pie. It's not a very pretty pie. It's rather rustic looking. But it's charming in its own way.
Then you dole it out and top it with whipped cream (freshly made, of course) and serve it with a warning: It's Hot. Be Careful!
And everyone oohs and ahhs over the strangely baked dessert. And you enjoy it. But then you go back to baking apple pie the usual way, saving this recipe for it's shock factor.

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