Monday, September 17, 2012

Braised Cabbage Rolls

A classic :) Pigs in a blanket, stuffed cabbage, cabbage rolls... Whatever. Comfort food!

  • 1 hard headed cabbage
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 1 package stuffing, prepared (I used whole wheat "for chicken" stuffing)
  • 1 onion, diced and sauteed
  • 2 c red sauce


1. Blanch a head of cabbage. Core the cabbage 2-3" deep. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add cabbage (cored side up) to boiling water. Gently loosen leaves one at a time with tongs or wooden spoons. I removed about 15 leaves before the leaves became too small to use for wraps.
2. Add blanched leaves to a cold water bath, then set aside in a strainer.

3. Make cabbage stuffing. Mix ground sausage, sauteed onion, and stuffing with hands.

4. Stuff cabbage. Add a heaping spoon of sausage mixture to a piece of cabbage. Set it right over the more rigid spine of the cabbage leaf. Then fold the softer end over the sausage (effectively folding the leaf in half) and roll the cabbage into a nice little blanket. Repeat with all leaves until sausage/stuffing mix is gone.

(If you run out of leaves before stuffing, make meatballs and let them simmer in the sauce.)

5. Cover with red sauce, bake at 300 for 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gnocchi in Tomato Basil Sauce

I'm not Italian, but that won't stop me from making a big Italian family dinner on Sundays!


  • 9 whole potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes.

2. Once tender, remove from water, peel, and mash quickly. While mash is still hot, add eggs and flour and mash again.

3. On a floured surface, with oiled hands, need the mixture for 2-3 minutes until you have a loosely formed dough. Grab a hunk, roll it into a 2 foot play dough snake, and cut it into 1/2" sections. Mark one edge with a fork (optional... and tedious) and set aside onto a cookie sheet.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add gnocchis to boiling water and cook 8 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Drain and finish in sauce for 2-3 minutes.

Tomato Basil Sauce- quick, easy, delicious!

  • 1 can of tomato puree (23 oz)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until clear and tender. Turn heat to high, add red wine and saute 1 minute.

2. Reduce heat to med-low, add tomato puree and torn/chopped basil leaves and let simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add gnocchi to sauce, let simmer 2-3 minutes more. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

This soup has such a strong mushroom flavor- it's unlike any mushroom soup I've ever had. Absolutely delicious!

  • 1 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 c port
  • 1 1/2 c half & half
  • 1 dollop olive oil

1. In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, melt butter and add olive oil. Saute onions 12-15 minutes, until clear tender. Add mushrooms and saute an additional 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook another 1 minute.
2. In a separate small pan, heat 1 c chicken stock and simmer dried mushrooms until rehydrated.
3. Add rehydrated mushrooms and all chicken stock to the large pan. Simmer and let flavors combine for up to 15 minutes.
4. Remove approximately half of the soup and puree in a blender. Pour the puree back into the soup, and stir in port and half & half. Salt and pepper to taste.

I served it with quickly broiled french bread and swiss cheese.

Apple Crisp

We've had a chilly couple of days now, so I'm obviously getting geared up for fall favorites! We went to an orchard last week and I came away with two pecks of apples- Macintosh and Yellow Delicious. I briefly stewed the cored, peeled, and sliced apples with white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and lemon juice.

THEN I topped it with this oatmeal crumb topping :)

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil an 8x8 glass baking dish.

Combine oats, sugars, cinnamon, and butter. Line the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of crumb topping.

 Layer 3 cups of stewed apples into the dish.

Top with remainder of crumb topping.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, until top is crisp and the sides are bubbling up.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Herbed Butter Fish and Corn Soup

 Herb-Butter Ingredients:
  • Three 5 oz filets
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 squeeze of lemon
  • 1 spring of each: sage, rosemary, thyme; fresh and finely chopped. 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • A dash of cayenne powder

Preheat the oven to 425. Finely chop those herbs and garlic while the oven preheats. For as haphazard as I am in the kitchen, I am a stickler for chopping!

Rub the salt into the chopped herbs and garlic.

Mash herb-rub into softened butter. Add a squeeze of lemon and a dash of cayenne and stir. (At this point, you may save the herbed butter and refrigerate for later use.

OR Slather it onto a few pieces of fish (you can see I've used salmon and tilapia) and bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes. Don't put the rack too close to the bottom of the oven or the butter will start to smoke something awful. (Learn your lessons well, folks).

Corn Soup Ingredients:
  • 5 ears of corn, husked and kernels sliced off
  • 1 finely chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and saute onion and garlic for about 15 minutes on med-low heat. Add the corn and turn the heat up for as long as it takes you to sweep the floor (after making a giant mess with the corn...), about 2-3 minutes. Cover the corn with water and let come to a boil for 5 minutes.

 Turn the heat off and let sit 10 minutes. Transfer half of the soup to the blender and puree for 15-20 seconds. Add the puree back to the pot, stir in half and half, and salt and pepper to taste.