As you may or may not know...
I am a cabbage roll junkie... But sometimes I just don't want to spend an hour trying to get the cabbage leaves peeled without tearing them and it is this huge, long winded process that I thought I wanted to cut down. It was also in the middle of the summer that I decided to go balls to the wall and make soup. Foolhardy? Absolutely. Worth it? Absolutely. I was really craving golabki, I eat the stuff nearly all year round if I can get away with it... but didn't want to wrap stuff or peel the leaves as I said, and this really is the faster way to get these flavors.
I don't have some fantastic story about how this came to be. I know it isn't an original idea, I did see something similar on YouTube by a woman named Noreen, but that was some years ago. I wanted to come up with my own idea and even maybe a little bit of goulash flavorage or stuffed pepper to add to the dish.
So there are a few things, one of which doesn't need to be pointed out at all but I am going to own up to it anyways... It doesn't look perfect. There, I said it. But looks can certainly be deceiving, right? The fact of the matter is, I did not want to change the integrity of the meat. In the original dish, the meat is placed in the cabbage raw and cooked inside... searing off the meatballs would have completely changed the flavor profile, and I have seen it done the same way for Italian Wedding Soup where the meatballs were not seared. Now, this doesn't mean to say it would make it disgusting, it just wouldn't be the correct flavor profile. If you want to sear your meatballs for presentation, by all means, I am just saying that this way is closer to the original flavor.
Second thing is that regardless of whether you make them as rolls or soup, this dish tends to get greasy from the fat that comes off of the meat. This is one soup where i don't mind it so much, but if you want to get rid of the fat, let it cool completely and then skim it off when it is solid, but leave some for flavor. Or you can boil your meatballs in water and reduce the amount of fat, but again, it would change the flavor profile.
I promise you that this will make you very happy if you are a cabbage roll fanatic like myself. The flavors are rich and hearty, and your belly will be nice and padded by the time you eat what you've served to yourself.
Prep time shouldn't take more than 30 minutes tops between the chopping and the making of the meatballs, cook time is about an hour but is more of a set and forget type of thing (You really only have to get up three times to stir). It serves at least 10 people
This was just a quick one!
I know this was just a quick blog post, but I wanted to get something up so you all didn't think I forgot any of you. My husband just had his surgery not too long ago and I am finding it a struggle to cook for one person since I am a nurturer and like to make people happy with food. Things will even out eventually.
Until then, my friends, I just hope you enjoy the recipes I am able to bring. I have a few that I need to redo from my old blog and such, plus three or four more things already made that I completely forgot about. You'll see :)
Until then... Happy eating, happy belly, my foodies.
Every time I mention the name "Slumgulean," people give me that puzzled look wondering what in the world I am talking about, and there is a story behind it and how it has been a part of my family for a long time. The answer to the question is that Slumgulean is a struggle meal; a poor man's breakfast/dinner that my grandma used to throw together in order to feed four boys and use up some ingredients that she had readily available.
Back in the day, my grandfather worked for Ekrich, delivering their product as a truck driver, and my grandparents would end up with a butt ton of sausage and balogna to eat throughout those years. One of the ways my grandma would fix smoked sausage would be to throw it into her Slumgulean and it would be stretched out with other ingredients that were inexpensive but nice and filling.
She would slice the sausage up and fry it along with the taters, add some other ingredients and round it off with some eggs, and boom! My father always spoke fondly of it and how he could never quite get it to taste just like hers... Hell, I can't ever get anything to taste just like my mom's, but that is because it differs from individual to individual, even if you think you added the exact measurement of each ingredient within the recipe.
I have had so many variations of this dish and have two or three favorite combinations of what is essentially a "garbage hash." It is not as unique as some might think, really, but it is special enough to me that I decided to write this blog post to honor my dad's original post on the old site, and to honor my grandma because she cooked with love. In fact, my dad had written his blog post right before the final crash of Foodie-zoo, and it would not sit well with me if I didn't say something about it.
It is true that my dad had a limited bank of recipes that he cooked and tasted awesome... He made the BEST home made bread, his biscuits were like fluffy little clouds, his beef stew and his chili were to die for, and his breakfasts were awesome. It was one way that him and I bonded, as I had bonded with mom over the stove too. When it came to the hash, he always brought grandma up and how hers was the best.
I don't remember the first time that he made it for me... I had always assumed he put his nasty, canned corned beef hash into it... You know, the stuff that looks like canned dog food and smells like it too? Yeah, so you can probably imagine that I wasn't even interested in trying it for the longest time. In fact, I refused to even look at it when I was a kid because of how my mind associated it with the stuff in the can.
I believe I was a teenager when I actually began to pay attention to some of the things that he cooked. The first things were his breakfasts, of course, and how he taught me that you do not need milk to make the perfect, soft scrambled egg that was still fluffy and tasty. I watched him throw various things into a pan, and I actually gave myself a chance to smell it and enjoy the aroma. When I tried it, I was in for a pleasant surprise... It was good... I mean, REALLY good.
Him and I would talk from over the counter since the kitchen at my mom's house is not that big, and he would tell me stories about grandma or grandpa, adventures in truck driving and such. There was a hilarious story about how grandpa would truck drive and smoke in his sleep, shifting gears with one hand and puffing on an invisible cigarette with the other. My dad would take a clothes pin and stick it between the forefinger and middle finger, and sure enough, Grandpa would "puff" on the clothes pin... We're talking about the round ones, not the ones with springs. I am sure if dad had done that one, there would have been hell to pay.
As it was, my grandpa would wake up with the clothes pin between his fingers and he would get mad and cuss.
My dad also told stories about my grandma and how she would knock people upside the head with a fireplace poker for cussing in her house. I guess that she was a spitfire while she was alive and she had all the respect in the world for it and for the fact that she was also the sweetest person alive when she wasn't provoked into being irate. I don't remember anything about her, I don't remember ever seeing her or cuddling her, but my dad explained to me that she loved my older sister and me to the moon and back, we were the apples of her eye because she had wanted granddaughters so badly after raising four boys. I wish I had gotten to be around her longer than three years because she had a wealth of things I could have learned from her, like quilting and knitting. I am happy to say that I at least have the legacy of her hash browns, even as insignificant as it may seem to others. It means the world to me to be able to connect with my grandma.
So if you are up in heaven listening to my thoughts as I type this blog post out, grandma, know that I am so glad to have a recipe to share with the world because you made one up.
Ingredients per two people:
2 TBSP Canola or Vegetable oil
1 TBSP Butter
6 oz of whatever meat you want (optional, I usually choose bacon if I have it, or breakfast sausage. I have seen dad use ham and smoked sausage before.)
1 potato of any size, shredded, sliced, or diced
1/8 cup of sliced or diced onion
1/8 cup bell pepper (Optional)
1 slice of whole wheat or white bread, torn into small pieces
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and paprika all to taste
1 egg. beaten
1 handful (About 1/2 cup) of cheese of choice (Optional)
I hope that this recipe makes you as happy as it has for three generations of my family. Maybe you will find yourself telling stories while cooking it in the future. It is a small bit of comfort in these days where we are uncertain as to whether we can safely feed our families and be able to put some nutrition in, even if it isn't what a fitness guru would call "healthy eats." The point is to line your belly when you are hungry, and this stuff is super filling and very delicious.
Have a good day, my friends and...
It's already cold in the mitten state.
It has been cold for the last several weeks and it is shifting into the time where making soup and stew is a weekly ritual. I happen to like a lot of different soups, but had been craving something I hadn't had in at least seven or eight years. Broccoli cheese soup is my absolute favorite soup for a few reasons...
One, I love broccoli, and I love cheese.
Two, It fills me up for a while.
And three, it makes me warm when it's cold.
I never really used somebody else's recipe because I thought it would be easy... I was right, but still, I should have looked at a recipe or two for some idea of ingredients besides the broccoli and cheese. To add cream or not to add cream? What cheese works best? Do I have to blend it? So many questions that I had in my head.
I wish I had some kind of awesome story to tack on with this recipe, but I don't. This wasn't something from my childhood, just something I sampled from a certain bread restaurant that we all know, and I found it way too salty so I made my own. Simple as that. What else is there?
So instead of a story about soup, I am going off on another tangent for a minute because I feel like the ending can be compared.
Right now, life is rough. You already know that I miss my dad and that I cannot say enough about that, but other things are happening too. Being an adult can suck sometimes, and right now, that is how I feel. I mean, we all get hit with it from time to time, and sometimes even all at once. For me, it's that every time that Bruce and I have something fixed, another thing is broken. Every. Single. Time. For instance, I swallowed my pride to talk to my mom about my car. I didn't exactly ask for money because I don't feel right to, but I did gripe about it. She gave us the money, and we got all the big things fixed that needed fixing; the muffler, the suspension, and some other important things that make the car safe to drive. We get that fixed and it's running great! I mean, there is still a little work left on the muffler, but it's so much better and we can actually hear ourselves think when we're on the highway, and relax instead of having our hearts in our throats in the hopes of not being pulled over for noise violation and get slapped with a ticket. All of that is great, right? Hallelujah! (FOREVER GRATEFUL!!!)
But then, bad news comes. "Hey, my uncle is in a coma, we need to come to the hospital." -- That was the day before my birthday that we went. "Hey, let's take you out to eat." Can't enjoy my food, dad isn't around to call and wish me a happy birthday, Bruce's uncle is on HIS way out and reminding me of Daddy, and then all kinds of little things: the water pressure being out of whack, not getting a hot shower and only getting cold bird baths from the sink... Stuff clogging, stuff breaking... People asking for money you don't have and you feel like a terrible person for letting them down. You start to wonder why on earth it's all happening at once and just want to yell at the air for being polluted.
And then you get a reminder of little things that don't suck. Being hugged by your spouse and cuddling up while asleep because the weather is cold, wrapping up in an afghan your late grandmother knitted because it's like being hugged, and eating a bowl of soup because it is also like a hug.
That is why I wanted to make soup. So I did...
Life is not all peaches and cream, but you can still dream of the cobbler they can make.
This is not diet food... But it is healthier than it could be.
I want to preface this recipe with a few things... First, I wanted to make it gluten free and not use a roux as a thickening agent. Two, I wanted it to be a little easier... Three, I wanted it to still be creamy, but I didn't want to add heavy cream. Little changes!
Putting it together...
Okay, potatoes? Yogurt?
Yes... You read the text right!
First, the taters... The taters replaces the starch that the flour in the roux would have given you, which helps the cheese to bind into the soup. I tested this out because I would like to pass it on to those who are on a gluten free diet can enjoy it too. (See, I DO love you. :P)
The greek yogurt is because I put sour cream instead of heavy cream, and I wanted that tangy flavor. The creaminess of the yogurt makes it more decadent.
I loved it with the changes!
I can honestly tell you that it still filled me up, that it tasted great, and that I couldn't even tell there were potatoes in there. The only reason I cannot call it diet food is for the fact that cheese is pretty fatty. But you CAN cut down on some of the fat so you can feel LESS guilty, and still feel like you did nothing out of the ordinary to your soup.
I normally don't use turmeric in my broccoli cheese soup, and that also helps because it enhances the flavor of the broccoli in all the right ways.
Some updates and other Stuff!
And that's all she wrote.
Marie Barone isn't the only one...
I have been holding onto a secret for quite some time… or rather, secret recipe.
Did you ever watch the show, Everybody Loves Raymond? Marie Barone was one of my favorite characters. I mean, she could cook some beautiful foods, though she was very secretive of this. One recipe in particular got my gears moving and my curiosity on high alert. It was steak pizzaiola, a name that I memorized and thought about quite a bit.
Carne Pizzaiola means “meat in pizza style,” and is mostly made with cheaper cuts of beef, but can be other meats such as chicken. Basically, it is a wide range of combinations that you can use. The best way to put it is that the meat is a replacement for pizza crust. I have no idea on where in Italy this dish was first made, or even when, but I thank the Italians for such lovely fare.
I decided to look a recipe up and you’re probably going to giggle at where I found it at… I hijacked Martha Stewart’s recipe for her easier version (she has both that and traditional). I made it the first time several years ago, but right away I decided to change what I saw because her recipe seemed so… well… herbless? She was using round steak, which is quite lacking of flavor to begin with, and there wasn’t much in the way of even Oregano. I don’t even remember if she used it or not.
I thought about how I like my pizza in general and went for it. My family gobbled it up, including my very picky dad who didn’t like flavor much (aka, he had a bland pallet, the poor man). Guess what? It’s actually very easy to make, and you don’t even have to tenderize the meat because it’s a slow cooked, one pot/pan meal!
Totally optional but worth it, refined method:
Serve with pasta or bread if desired!
Note: I omitted the paste because that is how I like the sauce, so it might look different on my plate than it will look on yours if you use the paste.
The best part of this recipe is that you can play with it, adding what you like on pizza. If you are so inclined to add mushrooms, or other meats, or what have you. I like to keep it simple, closer to traditional. If you use a different meat, your cooking time might change, Chicken breast is better added back into the pan close to the end of the sauce cooking so it doesn’t dry up, chicken thigh would probably work better.
Funny story about a different protein that I used once for this recipe… My dad absolutely loathed venison. He swore up and down that he would be able to tell if it was deer or not. My sister asked me to cook dinner for a Christmas gathering, perhaps a few years back, knowing that dad would throw a fit if he knew it was Bambi in the pan and not Heifer. Challenge accepted. I made one of my best batches of pizzaiola that evening, making sure I was there before everyone else so dad wouldn’t see the venison before it was cooked. It turned out so tender and delicious that dad ate seconds… I had fooled him into eating deer meat!
When I told him a year or so later that we fed him Bambi, he said, “I knew it all along,” in that tone of voice a kid gets when they find out they’ve been duped.
And I laughed and laughed. (I kid)
With that all being said, I bid you good day and:
When I was a little girl, my mom tried to make cabbage rolls because she wanted us to try new things. I remember watching her prepare them in a completely different manner than I do, but only because she didn't know how to do it from scratch. She used ground beef and minute rice she didn't cook, egg to bind, maybe salt and pepper, then wrapped in the cabbage leaves and poured some off brand of spaghetti sauce over them before baking, as opposed to the way I do it. Needless to say, we were a bit young to understand cabbage rolls and it wasn't very popular in our household. Mom got discouraged and never tried it again.
I was running my old blog and was looking for ideas on what to do for a post, and then I fell asleep while watching Martha Stewart. The episode I woke up to was the one where she was making cabbage rolls, and I thought back to my childhood when mom was trying to get us to eat them. So thus, I went looking for a good recipe through my family, as opposed to online, because I really wanted to pay homage to my mom and my great aunts. My grandmother ended up handing me a cookbook that had a receipt in it, and I opened it up... It was right on the page with cabbage rolls! Thanks, Grandma! It was funny because she didn't put the receipt there knowing that I wanted to do this.
I brought the cook book home, and then I took the recipe there, the methods I saw Martha doing with blanching the whole head of cabbage and peeling leaves, added seasonings I thought would work besides just paprika and parsley, and cooked it on the stove instead of in the oven (another method I saw Martha use). If you cannot tell, her shows are my guilty pleasure. Don't hate.
What ended up happening was beautiful. Not only did I make something that I used to loathe and really liked it, but I bonded with my mother over it, as well as my grandmother. It just goes to show that food isn't just about sustenance, but also the joy that it can bring and the memories. The best part of having done these that first time was the look of enjoyment on my mom's face, she ended up liking my version so much that sometimes she would go and buy the ingredients and say, "Hint, hint."
Fair warning to those of you who have never made these before, they are a labor of love. You have a lot of prep work to do just to get them from point A, to point B, but it is completely worth it in the end. Golabki (Pronounced Golumki) are made different by people in Poland, as well as those of us in the US who love to make it. The recipe I saw on a youtube channel ran by an infamous former talk show host, well... She used mushrooms in hers. I wrinkled my nose but to each their own (besides, I am allergic).
Either way you look at it, these are high on the list of comfort foods to eat and enjoyed by many.
I hope you enjoyed this reblog as much as I did with making it. Please do enjoy this comfort food, it is one of the tastiest things if you like cabbage!
This is a story that started off with a broken oven, and a husband issuing the line that he doesn't know is a challenge to his wife, "My mom made it this way." That's right, my oven did not work, and somehow, I was supposed to roast a few acorn squash for supper one day, and he had to go and tell me the way his mom used to make it... Now, I don't know about how you would have felt being issued such a challenge, but I lifted my chin and accepted it because that is how I roll.
I had a hard time, naturally, trying to figure out how to do this... I had to pick the best alternative method of cooking the squash. I had a toaster oven, a Nuwave oven, and a microwave... The microwave was automatically a no, and the toaster oven, while it would have been good if there was much room in there, and the Nuwave works more like a broiler, but there was enough room for two, halved squashes.
I picked the Nuwave. It isn't necessarily my favorite method of baking things, but that Nuwave has done me many great services whenever there is an oven fail. I managed to make a delicious dinner despite the adversity I faced in the kitchen. And my husband? Well, he was all over that squash.
If you are using a normal oven...
Preheat to 175 c/350 F
In a large mixing bowl...
Combine sausage, sugar, seasoning, milk, bread crumbs, and egg. Use hands to mix well.
Brush squash halves with....
Olive Oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Form sausage into four, equal balls....
And place each into the cavities of the squash halves.
Bake for an hour or until sausage is cooked through, and squash is tender.
If using a Nu-wave - bake for 45 minutes or until the same results are achieved.
Let me tell you that when I first ate a bite of this, I was kind of shocked at how delicious is was. It has a nice, sweet and savory thing going on! I absolutely loved it, and it wasn't exactly as Bruce's mom made it, but it was still Bruce approved. If I can get the man to eat veggies, I am a happy wife.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have! I certainly had fun making this one and taking up the challenge that he issued. A word to the wise, men, telling your wife, "But my mom made it this way," is not cool, man... I say with amusement. But I digress, please do give this one a try even if you are not a fan of squash, you might be surprised!
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.