a delicious dinner in the works.
When I got Steff Deschenes’ Eat the Year for Christmas I went a little post-it crazy and marked up the whole book (really, the whole book) with all of the days that I wanted to write about. Today is absolutely one of them.
Cabbage is amazing. It is second to only mushrooms as my favorite veg, likely because I grew up eating a lot of cabbage. Cabbage is a staple in Russian and German cooking, which is where I find my heritage. In honor of that heritage, I will celebrate today by sharing my family recipe for halupsi (the rest of my family spells it haloopsi, in case that’s any more familiar for you). Halupsi are cabbage rolls. The name, we think, is a corruption of the Russian word “galupsi,” which is what they call their cabbage rolls. My ancestry is all German, but several of the recent generations were German nationals living in Russia before immigrating to the US (I’m third and fourth generation on my mom’s side; dad’s side goes back to almost pilgrims). The recipe sort of straddles the two cultures, but whichever it is, it is soooo good. I usually make a double batch (leftovers of this are amazing).
- 1 head of cabbage
- 1 lb. of ground beef
- 1/2 cup of rice, cooked and cooled
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes in the juice
- 2 small cans of diced tomatoes in the juice
- 1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste
- Canola or other vegetable oil
Soften cabbage leaves by cutting off of head and immersing in boiling water for approximately 2 to 3 minutes and then drain. Mix the ground beef, rice, chopped onion, part of the diced tomatoes (the large can and part of 1 of the small cans) and salt and pepper together.
Spoon the mixture into the cabbage leaves, fold the leaves around the filling. Place in a covered roaster or large frying pan, add approx. 1/4 cup oil (I usually do this on the bottom of the pan) and the rest of the tomatoes.
Bake in a 350º oven for 1 to 1½ hours until rice is tender (the cabbage may brown a bit, I usually cook them for about 1 hour 15 mins and they’re prefect). Check for moisture as it is baking and add more tomatoes and juice as needed.
Evidently, these are a thing. I, however, just stumbled on to them. And I just had to put my own spin on them.
Really, it came to me in a late night snack search. I decided I wanted a sandwich with toasted bread, but after I put the bread in, I found out there was no lunch meat in the fridge. The closest thing I had was a package of deli slices of prosciutto and salami. I knew making a sandwich with those would be ridiculously rich. I considered peanut butter and rejected it. I considered eggs and rejected that idea too. What to do? Then I saw the Roma tomato (which I prefer the flavor of over standard hot-house tomatoes until summer rolls around) sitting on the kitchen island that needed to be used before it got too soft. Bingo.
After the toast popped, I spread a thin layer of mayo, topped that with sliced tomato and sprinkled a bit of sea salt and granulated garlic. (The second time I made this, I sprinkled the garlic on the mayo before adding the tomatoes.)
I figured the garlic could mix with the mayo to make a simple alioli. Bingo again! But what really topped it off was topping the tomato with a few slices of the salami and prosciutto. Heaven. Paired with a little pickle on the side, the tang balances the fat of the meat and the sweet of the tomato.
According to Eat the Year, today is National Corn Chip Day. To celebrate, I thought I’d share my family’s super simple taco salad recipe. Now, I know you’re thinking, how hard is taco salad that you have a “super simple” version. Well, this is not your ordinary taco salad. This, my friends, is the perfect mix of “I want good food” and “I’m too lazy to do anything more than dump stuff in a bowl,” i.e. big bang for your cheap college dollar. The only equipment you need is a big ass bowl and either tongs or salad servers.
For a family of 5 (with a bit left over), in a big bowl, mix up:
- 1 large bag American style salad mix
- About half a bag of tortilla/corn chips (preferably broken into bite size pieces)
- 1 can of ranch style beans, with the juice in the can
- 1/2-3/4 can pitted black olives (to your own taste), without their brine
- 3/4 bottle Catalina dressing
- 1 pkg grape tomatoes (or, 2-3 diced tomatoes)
Once it’s all in there, stir and serve. Could it get easier than this?