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So...What did You Cook for Sunday Dinner?

Yes, i've heard it's HOT in the entire rest of the country (120 in North Dakota!), even including the usually cooler northwest, but here in SF the fog has blown in, and as usual for late afternoon, regardless of the season, it's chilly.

So I used the chill as an excuse to finally follow Grandma Gertrude's "rolled cabbage" recipe to the letter. For years I've been winging it pretty successfully based on memory alone, but recently my mom gave me Grandma's hand written, food stained instructions. She was born in Riga, Latvia and lived to 100 - regal to the last. She was a great Jewish cook and her rolled cabbage is so delicious that I wanted to share it with my chowhound chef buddies.

Rolled Cabbage

2 pounds chuck - chopped
1 cabbage about 3 pounds - put in pot and steam with 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes -let cool & remove leaves.
Mix chopped meat with 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water and 1/2 cup raw rice, 2 eggs - salt & pepper.
Chop 1 large onion and the small inner leaves of the cabbage.
Place in a large pot with 1 cup cold water & cook for about 10 minutes.
Spread leaf of cabbage on board or plate & place one large tablespoon of meat mixture then fold leaf over on 2 sides & roll up -Place closely in pot on top of onion - cabbage mixture which has been mixed with 1 can of tomato paste, juice of 1 lemon and salt & pepper, and sugar to taste.
Then, after all the rolls are in the pot, pour the contents of a large can of V-8 on top so that so that it covers completely and add about 1 cup of water.
Let boil for 2 (!) hours (note: sorry Grandma, I'm simmering it for 45 minutes only. Boiling cabbage 2 hours? No wonder your apartment house smelled like that...)
Shake pot occasionally so that it doesn't burn and keep a steady but not too high flame.
Watch carefully and add water if it boils down too much.
When cool refrigerate. You should have several meals from this if you have and entree and cooked fruit dessert.
Hope you have success in this endeavor.

And, so what did YOU cook for Sunday dinner?

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  1. Both my and my DW ancestors also from Riga and have another stuffed cabbage recipe from the old country. If we keep this up they may need to have a separate Riga Board.

    Aunt Rose Stuffed Cabbage

    Large white cabbage
    2 large onions
    1 cup white raisins
    Juice of one lemon
    6-7 ginger snaps, crushed
    1 Cup beef stock (bouillon)
    1⁄4 Cup ketchup
    1 Medium can stewing tomatoes
    1⁄4 Cup red wine or sherry

    2 pounds chop meat
    1-6 Tbl water
    Handful of seasoning (now basically garlic, salt, pepper and parsley)
    Some breadcrumbs (what can I say that what the recipe says)
    1 Egg

    1. Mix all the stuffing ingredients to the desired consistency
    2. Remove the core from the cabbage and place in a large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender and the leafs separate easily
    3. Place a mound of meat in a cabbage leaf and roll
    4. Place the onions in pot and add the cabbage rolls on top of the onions in the pot
    5. Mix the the raisins, the lemon juice, the ginger snaps, the beef stock and the ketchup in a separate bowl and pour over the cabbage and onions
    6. Cover the pot and bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes
    7. Remove the rolled cabbage and carefully place the rolls and sauce into a baking dish
    8. Cover with the tomatoes and sherry
    9. Place into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes
    10. Cover the dish and cook for an additional 15 minutes (it may need 30 but test for softness).

    6 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I am so delighted to read Aunt Roses's recipe as my Nana made this very dish aand I assumed she was the only bubby in the world who used ginger snaps in her stuffed cabbage.I wonder where they got this recipe, I bet there weren't any ginger snaps in Riga.

      1. re: missclaudy

        I didn't notice the Ginger Snaps in the recipe...I'm going to have to try that....Thanks

        1. re: jfood

          Sounds so interesting with the wine and raisins and gingersnaps - I bet it is more complex tasting than my Grandma's. I notice that both Aunt Rose and my Grandma add water to the meat - I never would have thought of it on my own, but I bet it helps the rice cook and the texture did come out better than the way I had been doing it previously. Before using the water with the meat a lot of times the rice would not cook sufficiently before everything else was overcooked.

          1. re: niki rothman

            glad to help but never answered the question in the post.

            beautiful day in CT, DW and I were looking forward to a leisurely day floating in the pool (both daughters out of town) Then the in-laws called and asked if they could stop by to hang out at the pool. then a good friend called to say her DH (who just took a new job) was leaving town because he had early meetings on monday, so we invited her as well. Couple of trips to the market.

            Brie and grapes, BBQ'd strip steaks, filets and chicken, plus some fresh corn, big salad. Then to top it off our friend brought over a fantastic mixed berry compote for some great locally maded vanilla ice cream. Lazy sunday w DW turned into great BBQ with family and friends.


          2. re: jfood

            Wow man, Latvian ketchup, oh yeah!!!!!

          3. We had grilled Alaskan salmon in soy, maple, lime, ginger marinade/glaze. Dolmades with rice, tomatoes, herb filling. Cornbread with hot cherry peppers. For dessert, assorted ice creams/gelati: peach/plum gelato, peach ice cream (for me), coffee and Mexican chocolate ice cream for DH.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cheryl_h

              What a beautiful meal! The flavors seem to be so alive, almost like music. Question: what spices/herbs do you use in the dolmades? If they are fantastic, I'd love to have the recipe.

              1. re: niki rothman

                Thank you Niki, your enthusiasm is delightful. The dolmades are adapted from a couple of recipes. Basic spicing is allspice, cinnamon, mint, dill. The recipe is as follows:

                Grape leaves, number depend on size (I used about 25 fairly large leaves)
                2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
                2-3 tomatoes (I used smoked roasted tomatoes)
                1 ts ground allspice
                1 ts ground cinnamon
                1 cup long-grain rice
                about 1.5 cups chicken stock
                about 2 Tb tomato puree
                1/4 cup chopped mint
                1/4 cup chopped dill
                Juice and zest of 2 medium lemons

                Cook onion in olive oil until translucent, add rice, cinnamon, allspice, tomatoes. Cook about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock, cook another 10 minutes. Rice will be al dente (actually pretty hard). Remove from heat. Add chopped herbs and lemon zest.

                Place 1-2 Tb of rice filling on center of leaf, fold in sides, roll up loosely - rice will expand when fully cooked so allow for this. Give each grape leaf a little squeeze around the middle when rolled. This helps to spread out the filling and keep roll compact.

                Line large pot with grape leaves, fill with dolmades, seam-size down. Space closely, this prevents dolmades from unrolling. If you have more than 1 layer, use grape leaves in between layers.

                Mix tomato puree and lemon juice with chicken stock, pour around dolmades. Liquid should come halfway up the rolls, if necessary add water.

                Simmer over low/medium heat for about 45 minutes until leaves are tender and rice is fully cooked. Mine took a little longer, probably because my grape leaves were big, and took about another 3/4 cup of stock.

                Dip: 1 clove garlic, 1/4 ts salt, 1 cup yogurt.

                Chop garlic with salt, add yogurt. Plain yogurt is nice too. Or yogurt with crumbled feta and coarse black pepper.

                1. re: cheryl_h

                  I agree...thanks for this recipe. My sister makes great dolmades...she married a Greek 35 years ago!

            2. We had a salad of spinach, ham, warm hard boiled eggs, mango, avocado, and toasted cashew, with a little vinaigrette.

              4 Replies
              1. re: vanillagrrl

                Your salad contains so many of my favorite foods that I do actually eat a lot of - cashews=my fave nut, spinach=my fave veg., mango=my fave fruit, ham=my secret love. My husband does not allow it in the house. He still hasn't discovered the small Niman ranch smoked/no preservatives ham I hide in the back of the fridge for own my personal use! And who in their right mind doesn't love avocado I ask you?

                1. re: niki rothman

                  That's funny -- that's the exact ham I used, too. And the only people I ever met who didn't love avocados are midwesterners who never learned to trust them. One friend called them "hippie butter" and it took him a long time to accept the notion that they have "good" fat -- to him it was all bad. He's a little older and wiser now.

                  1. re: vanillagrrl

                    There is another wonderful no-presevative smoked ham - Beeler's. they have a website and sell through Whole Foods here in SF. Niman ranch no preservative beef hot dogs are so good too. But their andouille sausage is terrible - I just tried it and actually wrote to Niman in Oakland, CA for a refund.

                    1. re: vanillagrrl

                      When i was a kid we were pretty poor and only had nuts, olives, pineapple, coconuts and avacados for major holidays.And Usually only if they showed up in a holiday gift food basket from my father's job. So when i moved to SF, I ate my first artichoke and ate so many I can no longer stomach them at all. Ate plenty of avocados for the first time too but they remain a great favorite. One thing though - I've seen Bobby Flay on TV grilling avocadoes - now that seems over the top somehow, no?

                2. I made a chopped salad with corn scraped off the cob (leftover from fresh picked and boiled on friday) black beans, red onion, radish, cuke, 3 colors of peppers seasoned with spanish olive oil, lime juice, cumin and white balsamic. bruschetta from farmstand tomatoes, garlic, basil, kosher salt and spanish olive oil on squares of toasted armeian flatbread brushed with evoo, and grilled chicken breasts marinated in oil, garlic and fresh rosemary. also homemade blackberry cobbler from berries picked in my yard this afternoon. do I win???

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mujahideen

                    Grandma Gertrude would have wanted to win. She was very competitive. But I love your dinner. You and I do a very similar chix dish - I like to mix the toppings you mentioned and add dijon mustard to make a paste & then place it all in a plastic bag, & massage, leave for an hour & pour onto the baking pan. At a high temp (450) the chix will still brown. Actually, now that I think about it - I notice when I buy chix parts it's usually thighs, more juicy/tender/flavorful I think - then I pull off the skin - I like to save calories only when the taste won't be seriously affected - and with the mustard the skin wouldn't get crispy anyhow. Substituting tarragon for the rosemary sometimes would be a tasty alternative, no?

                    1. re: niki rothman

                      your chicken sounds yummy too! Alas I am not a tarragon fan. I do love thighs though--but my family rebeled against them. Do have trader joe's near you? They have these great bags of ice frozen thigh and breast meat--just great for fast dinners..... but my family said NO MORE THIGHS!! sigh

                      1. re: mujahideen

                        What do they have against thighs? maybe if you get them to specify what the problem is it would be possible to address by adjusting a recipe to please them (a recipe that contained thighs!)Coincidentally, I just went to TJ's - there are several in SF, and did buy some frozen thigh meat, also some frozen breast meat - which I use baked with TJ's excellent BBQ sauce poured on after the meat has browned.

                  2. We scored some awesome treats from the Farmer's Market yesterday. Tonight's dinner was sauteed scallops with mango salsa on habanero linguine, with wilted spinach and onions on the side. We cheated and had a store-bought chocolate cream pie for dessert.

                    It was 105 degrees here in Phoenix, Arizona.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: El Dupree

                      When I was a kid the giant sea scallops were plentiful (LI) and not priceless the way they are today. we would just quickly fry them in butter and a little garlic and serve with lemon and crusty bread - one of my most delicious childhood food memories.

                    2. Sundays are wierd here as SO gets back on his regular schedule. So more often than not the big dinner comes Friday or Saturday...

                      So this weekend our big dinner was something last minute as on Saturday morning a dear chow pal gave me some fresh roasted X-Hot New Mexico Chiles!! :)

                      So I made Carnitas (Using the braising method and seasoned with Orange Juice, Orange Zest, Garlic, and Cumin), Mexican Rice, Black Bean Puree and witht he Green Chiles I made a relish using chipped chiles, chopped roasted onion, mashed roasted garlic and salt. We ate in Tacos... but will be having burritos for lunch tomorrow! :)


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Dommy

                        Hey Dommy! Sounds like my favorite Cuban mojo - only I add a little oregano - delish!

                      2. All right. Funwithfood wants reports...

                        Bought a duck breast I'd intended to grill but decided at the last minute to prepare it Bigorre style as per Paula Wolfert's *The Cooking of Southwest France*:
                        - Score a moulard duck breast and cook it skin side down in a skillet, removing the fat as it's rendered, until the skin is golden. Sear the other side quickly, then set the breast aside.
                        - In a casserole (I used a well-seasoned cast iron chicken fryer), cook thinly sliced sweet onion and diced pancetta in some of the rendered duck fat.
                        - Add peeled and thinly sliced red-skinned potatoes, turn them in the fat, press down to form a disk, and cook until the slices begin to brown. Turn and press again, cover and cook over low heat. Repeat, adding a bay leaf. Repeat, adding salt and pepper. Repeat, adding chopped parsley and garlic.
                        - Slice the duck breasts crosswise. Place the slices atop the potatoes, season, cover, raise the heat and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

                        First course was a salad of chickpeas and olives on a bed of lettuce. Dessert was fresh cherries. Wine was Clos des Fées's 2005 Les Sorcières, an easy-drinking red blend (carignan, grenache and mourvèdre reportedly) from the Côtes du Roussillon AOC. Life is good.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: carswell

                          Yes carswell, I do love reports. (thanks for yours : )
                          (See my post regarding this on the Not About Food board.)

                          Great thread Niki, inspires me to cook...

                          1. re: carswell

                            So how was it?? It sounds divine. I bought this cookbook not long ago, but was put off by the fact that you need duck or goose fat for almost any recipe in the book. But this sounds so damned good and so damned unhealthy I may have to try it...

                            1. re: prunefeet

                              The dish was great in that unadorned, earthy kind of way. The key is to use first-rate ingredients.

                              You're exaggerating, of course, about the number of recipes in TCOSWF that call for duck/goose fat. Even so, what's to complain about? Duck fat imparts a subtle savour to whatever is cooked in it and, as animal fats go, is quite healthy (compared with, say, butter). And a little goes a long way: as I recall, the recipe called for a total of 2 tablespoons (not counting the small amount of fat rendered from the pancetta) for four servings.

                              1. re: carswell

                                I'll have to do it when my husb is out of town, he's a health nut...and I'll take another look at the cookbook too.

                            2. re: carswell

                              Duck still intimidates me...but one of these days...tell me, please, is it possible to crisp the skin and render out almost all the fat so you would want to eat the skin without having a pad of fat there? I'm intrigued but afraid..

                              1. re: niki rothman

                                The recipe calls for moulard duck breasts, which tend to be large. All the fat is located under the skin, which is why you score the skin. My single breast gave me between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of rendered fat, which is now sitting in my fridge awaiting other uses. A thin layer of subcutaneous fat remained after cooking. It was easily cut off the meat at the table. And it wasn't hard to cut or scrape the fat from the crisp skin. Fear not.

                            3. Okay...this is weird cause I made stuffed cabbage rolls today (my moms Romanian recipe..my grandma was from there).

                              My recipe is similar to Niki's. I use ground chuck, fresh tomatoes with skin peeled off,onions, a little saurkraut, garlic,lemon juice, brown sugar,caraway seeds,some V-8 juice, and cooked brown and white rice. After, I rolled up the cooled mixture in the blanced leaves, laid them in a dutch oven..poured the sauce over (which I thickened with a roux)and then cooked in 350 oven for 1 hour.

                              I had some meat mixture left over so I added two beaten eggs and some sour cream to it...put it in a 8 X 8 baking dish and added swiss cheese to the top along with a little sauce. Baked at 375 for 40 minutes. I called it a Rueben Casserole. It was very good!!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: melly

                                It's interesting that a lot of these old Eastern European gals somehow all discovered and adopted what must have been an exotic ingredient way back when...V-8. But the V-8 adds something special and delicious. I've tried it with just plain tomato products and don't you think the V-8 makes it better?

                                1. re: niki rothman

                                  V-8 has a TON of salt in it.That's why it's so yummy. My mom's high blood pressure dictated that she stop drinking her adored V-8.

                                  1. re: missclaudy

                                    They make a salt-free V-8 too! Maybe on their website you could find out where it's sold locally.

                                    1. re: missclaudy

                                      I buy the low sodium version...and I cannot give it up. My BP is fine.

                                2. My fridge is running seriously empty, with only some eggs and edamame to show from my last visit to the farmer's market. So I boiled the soy beans, sprinkled with salt, and popped those nutty-sweet darlings as an appetizer. Since I'm in the East Bay like you, and evenings are quite cool, I had a soft-boiled egg with buttered toast fingers. And now, as I type, I am having chocolate for dessert.

                                  Not a very inspiring menu, but for an egg-lover cooking for one with nothing in the fridge, a lovely, light way to finish the week.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Gooseberry

                                    Oh yes, the ultimate comfort food - soft egg and buttered toast. Have you tried Plugra butter? (TJ's) Ruth Laffler turned me on to it - I'm getting so picky about stuff I use every day.

                                  2. That sounds great! Will definitely make it when the weather gets cooler. Love cabbage, but have never made stuffed cabbage before.
                                    For dinner yesterday, we went somple- Grilled Steak, baked potatoes, garden green beans, corn and garlic bread. Comfort food, for sure!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: macca

                                      That is like a perfect meal! What kind of steak do you prefer? I like strip steak cooked on the highest flame - only until bloody rare. Recently, I discovered the most wonderful way to roast pots. - take a plastic bag, cut pots. into 1" chunks, toss with grapeseed oil (evoo is too strong) minced garlic, paprika, tamari, onion powder. Place on foil & a pan into toaster oven - top rack at 375 for 45 minutes - chispy and savory yet nice & soft in the middle - Pass the ketchup!

                                    2. Caught a nice bluefish sunday and brought it home to grill. Grilled it whole by seasoning the inside and out with salt & pepper, then filled the cavity with onions, parsley and thyme. Wrapped overlapping slices of bacon around center of fish then grilled for about 30 mins. My first time grilling bluefish this way and it was good, but i've done better. Enjoyed the fish with grilled eggplant and zucchini from my garden. Also, I picked my first red tomato's from my garden finally...worth the wait.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Infomaniac

                                        Oh wow, a survivalist! You actually caught and grew your own dinner. Marvelous. I seem to remember that blue fish is richly flavored, maybe the delicacy would emerge more without the strong flavored bacon competing with it. I wish I could catch my own fish - the freshness must taste like heaven. I do see older Asian men in droves fishing off the jetty near GG Bridge. I'm just too chicken to gut fish - sugh...

                                        1. re: niki rothman

                                          I have no problem gutting any fish except a bluefish. For me it's the worst fish to gut because you have to bleed them with a throat cut. Bleeding is important because of the high fat content and dark color of bluefish fillets. Removing the blood prevents further darkening of the flesh and decreases the number of blood spots and bruises. Removing the blood also slows the development of rancidity.

                                      2. We had a last minute pull-together dinner as we have been beating ourselves to death with yard work. No one (me) wanted to do much in the kitchen. It was an open-the-cupboards-and-stare kind of dinner.

                                        I had some good sized red potatoes, so I cranked up the oven (only 70 here) and roasted those off. Grabbed a can of chili of the shelf, crumbled some casera cheese, minced some green onion.

                                        Sauteed 1/2 an onion with some crushed garlic, added red and yellow bell, anchos, then added the chili and a dash of ground toasted cumin, and heated all together. Split open potatoes, topped with some shredded Kahlua pork, chili, and cheese and nuked till the cheese softened. Topped with greeen onions and crema.

                                        As my DH likes to say, "This really hits the spot." Real comfort food!

                                        btw, I've been fixing a cabbage roll recipe for years that combines Niki's and Melly's techniques. (came from a Stonebur Grains cookbook) It uses cabbage rolls like Niki's with a copius amount of grd nutmeg in the seasoning. Laid on a bed of sauerkraut that has been seasoned with tomato sauce and brown sugar, napped with t. sauce, then baked off. I agree with GG, these are better the 2nd or 3rd day!

                                        The weather finally has turned cooler here along the coast-just 58 this am, so now I feel like cooking again. Thanks, Niki for the reminder of how good these are!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                          Your "off the shelf" modesty is probably more complex and careful than a lot of folks' best efforts - and thanks for reminding me of something very interesting - Marcella Hazan's classic Italian tomato sauce: the only spice she uses in it is nutmeg.

                                          1. re: niki rothman

                                            It may well have been this recipe from early in my cooking years that started my love affair with fresh ground nutmeg!

                                            here is the recipe, adapted from Cooking with Gourmet Grains:

                                            1# very lean ground beef
                                            1 c. cooked barley
                                            3/4 c chopped onion
                                            1 beaten egg
                                            2 pinches salt
                                            dash allspice
                                            pinch nutmeg
                                            small clove garlic, minced ultra fine
                                            --mix together well and roll up in wilted, cored, cabbage leaves as usual.

                                            goes into the pan bottom:
                                            2 c sauerkraut
                                            16 oz tomato sauce
                                            3 t brown sugar

                                            bake covered at 350 1 hour. Best if served the next day; serve piping hot with sour cream as a garnish.

                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                              You remind me I have some fresh nutmeg nuts ready, willing and able to help the fresh spinach in my fridge make its leap toward immortality to become creamed spinach(did you read about my personal quark discovry?).

                                              I'll have to try your cabbage roll recipe - sounds delicious. I've never tried it with barley before.

                                          2. My boyfriend and I made dinner for ourselves and his two roommates last night. Barbeques (aka Sloppy Joes but heavier on the BBQ flavor), Minnesota Sweet Corn, a delicious green salad and seedless black grapes.

                                            Dessert was made by his roommate. Crepes filled with strawberries, kiwi, mango and whip cream.

                                            It was a fantastic summer meal! The corn is good eatin' up here in Minneapolis.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: MaggieB

                                              What kind of bread do you top with that sloppy joe? I don't really like the texture of hamburger buns - there must be something tastier - or maybe you toast them? The corn from the corner bodegas here in SF seems pretty poor quality for some reason this year. Kind of tough and not very sweet - I actually threw some away - just could not think of a use for it - and that is so unlike me...tough corn - pretty useless. Did you get the BBQ flavor from the grill or BBQ sauce? Fave sauce?

                                              1. re: niki rothman

                                                I use the Kaiser rolls from Bread Workshop in Berkeley. And the corn at the Berk FM is as sweet and tender as ever!

                                                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                                  You're right - I've got to get to the Civic Center FM this week - even if just for the sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes. I passed the Berkely Bread workshop last week when my mom was trying to drag me into Spenger's (ick!) and made a mental note to check it out. I think rw orange likes it too. It's funny but I haven't had a kaiser roll since I was a little kid - my father used to go to the NY delis on Sunday and buy pounds of "cold cuts" - ham, baloney, liverwurst, fresh white pork - which we would make into thick, delicious sandwiches with thin sliced swiss cheese and mustard on kaiser rolls - I MUST get some kaiser rolls. Thanks for reminding me!

                                                2. re: niki rothman

                                                  We used wheat buns from the grocery store bakery and they were pretty good. Thick and a little crusty on the outside and chewy in the center. No other way to eat my Joes than open face, too :) I suppose you could toast them - whatever suits you. I personally love it when the Joe Juice soaks into the bun. Mmm.

                                                  No grilling involved with this recipe. I can't really speak to exactly what was in the sauce, as my boyfriend concocted it, but mostly some Famous Dave's BBQ sauce (a new favorite for me being a somewhat-recent transplant to the Midwest) and a few other things (maybe a little mustard or ketchup for tang, that sort of thing).

                                                  I should actually say these were Sloppy Toms. We pan fried the ground turkey with onions, garlic and a jalapeno from the garden.

                                                  It's a simple meal to prepare but it just hits the spot for me, especially in the summer. My boyfriend grew up eating "Barbeques" that his dad prepared using a homemade BBQ sauce. It's a family favorite!

                                                  1. re: MaggieB

                                                    I actually made my cabbage rolls with half ground turkey and half Niman ranch ground beef - mixed. It was so beefy tasting and yet more healthy - I'm going to make that my standard ground beef formula from now on.

                                              2. App: homemade garlicky chickpea spread with crunchy breadsticks, martinis, way too much wine.

                                                Dinner: It was hot, but I turned the oven on anyways. Broiled salmon fillet with sweet/savory Asian-type glaze that I invented from random stuff in the fridge. Came out fab. Boiled sweet corn...no idea where it was from, I just bought it at Stop and Shop since it was on sale. It was very yummy.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: CookingGirl

                                                  Yeah, there's something about salmon that just clicks beautifully with teriyaki type sauce - I guess that's why the Japanese tend to use it so much as opposed to cooking other fish that way - so very healthy too (to counteract the martoonies - ahem)

                                                2. Two of my kids are off backpacking in New Mexico, so it was just me and my oldest who is home for the summer after his first year at college. At his request we had:
                                                  Fried chicken
                                                  Potato salad
                                                  Creamed corn (Zuni recipe)
                                                  Peach-blueberry crisp (topping from one of the Green's cookbooks)
                                                  My son wanted to learn how to fry chicken (his favorite) so he handled the chicken portion of the meal while I sat around drinking a glass of wine. It was quite relaxing!

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: pcdarnell

                                                    Wow...wish I would've been there!

                                                    1. re: pcdarnell

                                                      My God, you cooked the quintessential all American Sunday dinner. How do you fry your chicken? I think your crisp sounds fabulous. I have the Greens and Zuni cookbooks too, and i love creamed corn - I'll have to try that recipe.

                                                      1. re: niki rothman

                                                        I learned this method of frying chicken from a friend who learned it from his grandmother in N.C. After years of doing the buttermilk soaking bit, I now do this:
                                                        Rinse the chicken pieces(I use thighs and drumsticks only)and lay them out on butcher paper or parchment or whatever you have. I don't dry them, just shake off the water. Season them with garlic salt (Lawry's in the green-capped container)and alot of black pepper on both sides. Heat about 3/4" of oil (I use Crisco canola) in a heavy skillet, cast iron or enameled cast iron. Dredge the pieces, about 2 at a time, in a brown paper grocery bag in which there is all-purpose flour, amount dependant on the amt. of chicken you are frying. Only dredge the pieces that are ready to cook when the oil is ready; don't dredge them ahead of time. Place the pieces in the hot oil, skin down, then turn every 5-7 minutes until cooked through.
                                                        Drain on paper towels and serve.
                                                        The corn recipe is super easy, and takes only about 5 minutes if you cut the corn off the cobs ahead of time. I posted the recipe here last week with an article on Zuni, but just reading the description of cutting the kernels from the cob is so beautiful that it's worth looking in the book for it.
                                                        The crisp recipe is from the Fields of Greens cookbook. I make a double batch of the topping and keep it in the freezer and then I have it ready anytime for whatever fruit I have on hand. This is especially handy because I can make any size I want without breaking out the food processor each time. Last night I made just enough for my son.

                                                        1. re: pcdarnell

                                                          I prefer the dark meat too. I'll try your method if sounds neat and easy! And I do have both those cookbooks so I'll read the recipes. Zuni and Greens restaurant are actually both only a few minutes from where I live here in SF.

                                                          1. re: pcdarnell

                                                            I wonder why Alton Brown says to leave the dredged chix out for 30 minutes prior to frying?

                                                            1. re: melly

                                                              I didn't see that show, but I'll try it next time on a couple of pieces to do a comparison. Usually when I bread any food I hold it in the refrig for a while prior to frying because it is supposed to make the breading stick better, but I don't have any problem with the crust on the chicken the way I do it. They guy who gave me the recipe swears the key is the paper bag. I used to use a zipper-type plastic bag for shaking the chicken in the flour, but I am no longer allowed to do that. I'm not sure how much of this is science vs superstition!

                                                              1. re: melly

                                                                I dredge and let it stand about 30 minutes and then dredge again and fry. It is a better crust, to me anyway.

                                                              2. re: pcdarnell

                                                                Recently, there was a thread about oil for frying and people convinced me there was some health concerns about using canola oil at high temps. Since then, according to advice they gave me, I've been happily frying with grapeseed oil from Trader Joe's - I actually think it has a delicious subtle almost buttery flavor.

                                                          2. I grilled a pork loin roast (rubbed with rosemary, olive oil, lemon, thyme, sage, and garlic) and roasted some potatoes alongside the pork. (Still too damn hot here to cook much inside.)Served with creamed spinach and watermelong for dessert.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                              Hi hungry Celeste! Where do you live? That is the perfect combo rub for a pork loin. What temp do you roast at? I love creamed spinach too and ate some at the Boston Market with my husband and his mom this weekend - the $7 meal of 1/2 roast chicken (brined - I could tell), creamed spinach, corn muffin and mashed pot. with large lemonade - was actually all really delish. I was shocked!

                                                              1. re: niki rothman

                                                                try subbing allspice for the sage in the garlic-lemon-OO-rosemary rub. From Julia, it's terrific!

                                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                                  Hi Toodie jane!
                                                                  You are right, I should use allspice more frequently - the Carribbean people use it a lot and it gives a lovely, very subtle frangrant quality to savory dishes. And recently, my best friend's girlfriend who is Jamaican made a family recipe dessert for me that was strangely addictive - cream of wheat or semolina - in a stiff pudding spiced with allspice and quite sweet. I recoiled at first then believe it or not, I couldn't stop eating the squares of it into which she cuts this pudding after it cools down and firms up. It had a funny name - which I have to ask her to remind me.

                                                            2. How sweet of you to share your family recipe! I have made stuffed cabbage a bunch of times but your recipe is very interesting, esp the steaming of the cabbage (I always have trouble getting the leaves off intact) and the raw rice. Can't wait until the weather cools to try this out!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: prunefeet

                                                                You're so kind. It helps if you cut a little "V" off of the toughest stem end of each leaf - this is very important, and pack the rolls close together, seam down, and place a heavy plate on top before covering the pot - keeps the rolls from floating around and conceivably falling apart while cooking. I notice one thing my Grandma does that I would never have thought to do - adding that water to the meat. It all came out the best I ever made it. (I used about 2T sugar = she said "to taste")

                                                              2. The heavens smiled upon us this weekend when our local supermarket (Market Basket in Woburn, MA) was selling lobsters for $4.99/lb! Naturally, we bought way too many and had serious leftovers, so last night I made lobster rolls and corn on the cob. I even have lobster salad leftover!


                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: BJK

                                                                  I can't imagine buying lobster for 4.99 a pound. We get dungeness crab for that sometimes..which I love. Can I come live with you?

                                                                  1. re: BJK

                                                                    How did you prepare the lobsters?

                                                                    1. re: BJK

                                                                      NY Times Sunday "Escapes" section has a big article on lobster rolls in New England. You can read it free online for a week. I was drooling! Which school are you: mayo or melted butter?
                                                                      Can you believ it I've never eaten lobster? But I want to - badly.

                                                                      1. re: niki rothman

                                                                        Given the ridiculously cheap price, we bought WAAAYYYY too many lobsters (I'm talking 20+!), albeit little ones (1 - 1.5 lbs each), so there was really no way for us to cook all of them. So, for no additional charge, the store cooked them for us, and they were all still nice and hot when we got them home.

                                                                        And while I'm very ready to try the hot-butter-style lobster roll, I went with the more traditional (around here) cold mayo.


                                                                    2. - Gallo Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
                                                                      - Vine ripened Van Zandt County tomatoes with kosher salt and Hellman's mayonnaise
                                                                      - Grilled Central Market top sirloin
                                                                      - Walla Walla Sweet Onions sauteed in butter
                                                                      - Pan fried Yukon potatoes
                                                                      - Parker County peaches

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                        PERFECT! Steak, REAL tomatoes with Helman's (bring out the Helman's and bring out the best), and ripe peaches! This is one of the meals that makes me glad I'm American!

                                                                        1. re: niki rothman

                                                                          We've put men on the moon and built cities in the desert but tomatoes only taste like tomatoes 6 weeks out of the year.

                                                                          Hellmans. There is no substitute!

                                                                          1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                            I grow tomatoes every year with very little success since it is usually cold and foggy all summer here. I'm lucky to have them ripen by October. But this year, even though we all complained about the miserable heat, I had ripe tomatoes in July for the first time EVER!!!!! I am a happy girl.

                                                                            1. re: Scagnetti

                                                                              I'm going to write George Bush and complain about that very issue!

                                                                              1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                Maybe it's the global warming (he's of course personally responsible for) that is allowing us to have such a windfall crop of tomatoes this year! (g)

                                                                        2. We met some friends at the LA Farmer's Market for lunch yesterday, which as usual lasted from a little past 1:00 until almost 4:00. Mrs. O and I got pretty much the same thing, the sliced pork plate from the Korean BBQ: lots of very tender thin slices of grilled marinated pork piled onto a mound of rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds, with a choice of three side dishes. I got kimchi, seaweed salad and glass noodles. Huge lunch, really, for all of $9-something. Had a limeade and a blackberry gelato for dessert about an hour later...

                                                                          So we were NOT craving much for supper. There was some leftover chicken mole, which I was going to accompany with a salad, but Mrs. O said, "Can we just have the salad?" which was OK by me. I had a bag of leaf lettuce, a couple of boiled eggs, an avocado, and one steamed baby beet from a package of them I'd gotten at Trader Joe's (new product from Melissa's, and really good). I garlicked up the salad bowl, tore up a mess of the lettuce, sliced up everything else (hot tip: you can slice baby beets with your egg slicer!) and shredded some mozzarella over the top, and we ate that while we watched the citizens of "Deadwood" commit acts of kindness and cruelty...

                                                                          And there was enough left for my lunch; in fact, it's calling to me right now.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            When I read that about slicing beets with the egg slicer my mouth actually fell open - I've been having a lot of fun with this fancy "genius" brand little slicer from QVC.COM - mushrooms and strawberries are somehow more wonderful when sliced all uniformly - it just turns me on - not sure why. Hot tip indeed. If you wanna new little slicer this one features a locking handle that lets you operate it one-handede and metal blades instead of wires - $10.

                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                              You know, there's a jar of "no preservatives" kimchee untouched for months in my fridge. You remind me just how delicious it would be with some charred but rare steak (I've got some skirt and strip steaks in the freezer) - later in the week after we finish Grandma's cabbage rolls.

                                                                              1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                I love that stuff, in just about every form I've tried it. I've had some that was a tad too challenging for me, but for the most part my German component recognizes it as just another version of sauerkraut, and I tend to crave it fiercely. On our previous outing to that BBQ stand I mentioned, I picked kimchi for all three of my side-dishes!

                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                  The Mollie Stone markets in SF sell that no preservative kimchee i a mild and a hot variety. Next time you're in SF you should try the mild one - that's the kind I prefer too.

                                                                            2. Niki...do you live in N. Dakota? My cabbage roll making Romanian family immigrated to Canada and then ended up in N. Dakota. Mom was born in Bismarck.

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: melly

                                                                                I live in SF, CA, but my father was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, and we have relatives from there to Alberta.
                                                                                My husband's family is Romanian/Jewish and they love stuff like charred eggplant and mamaliga (cornmeal mush) and that stewed veg. dish. which I can't remember the name, can you? wish I had known my husband's grandmother - she was frum - orthodox with a wig and was a fabulous Romanian cook. She permanently traumatized him by once a week bringing him along to the kosher butcher where he had to watch the chicken getting its head cut off. Now, sometimes he jokes around about cutting off my head. I don't know whether he's being funny or pathological. Just kidding, he's a total sweetie. But sometimes that little joke of his does creep me out...

                                                                                1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                  Can't recall it..but I am going to call my Aunt. My mom passed away.
                                                                                  She made a great goulash.

                                                                                  1. re: melly

                                                                                    I'd love a great goulash recipe. If you choose to post it, please post it under its own heading so it doesn't get lost in this now very large thread :)

                                                                                    1. re: melly

                                                                                      I'm so sorry to hear about your mom passing away. Mine is in her 80's and so far is healthy. It sounds like your mom was also a good cook.

                                                                                      I looked for the Romanian vegetable stew in my favorite Eastern European/Russian/Armenian cookbook - "Please to the Table" by Anya Von Bremzen (James Beard Best Cookbook of the year award). She features a very similar recipe but the name is different. She says it is "mouthwatering" Great for vegetarians too.

                                                                                      Slice eggplants thin and brown in o.oil on high flame. Brown chopped peps. and onions. Sieve tomatoes. Mix in sugar (a little). Layer into a heavy pot and on each layer sprinkle garlic salt, black pep., flat leaf parseley, torn basil, minced garlic, garlic salt.

                                                                                      Cook covered over low heat - 1 1/2 hrs.

                                                                                      I'm definitely going to try this. Maybe serve with rye bread and unsalted butter.

                                                                                      1. re: melly

                                                                                        You know what? The word "ghivetch" just popped into my head. I think that may be the stewed veg. dish. Please ask your aunt if that sounds familiar.

                                                                                        1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                          My Aunt and Uncle are on vacation...but I'll find out as soon as they get home!

                                                                                          Yep..mom owned several restaurants and a health food store with a deli in it..I mean, over the years she did. She was a great cook. (She died on 9/11/01 in a hospital bed in Billings, MT). I think she saw what happened in NYC and said "that's it..I am outa here".

                                                                                  2. I had my CSA produce to use and because the heat had subsided I could finally use my oven:

                                                                                    -arugula, corn and tomato salad with basil vinaigrette
                                                                                    -swiss chard and komatsuna lasagna
                                                                                    -cantaloupe sorbet

                                                                                    1. This was a special weekend for us as we started to get significant amounts of tomatoes from our garden. Our big dinner is usually Saturday evening, with lighter fare on Sunday. This Saturday we had grilled bacon wrapped scallops skewers, grilled garlic jumbo shrimp, basmati rice, grilled zuchini w/ balsamic, freshly squeezed lemonade (w/ a pinch of salt for flavoring). Sunday supper was orzo pasta salad (cooked pasta, fresh thyme,fresh shucked corn, mexico midget tomatoes, grilled red peppers, pieces of grilled zuchini leftovers, champagne vinegar, olive oil, pepper, salt, quesadillas with oaxaca cheese, sliced avocado and sliced brandywine tomatoes.

                                                                                      1. I made a Bittman recipe--shrimp stir-fry--that I found disappointing, but my guest did not, so ... :)

                                                                                        Home-grown tomatoes, yummm ...

                                                                                        1. This sounds something like my stuffed cabbage, but I use a combination of sausage and chuck, and I cook the rice first. I top it with sauteed onions very well browned mixed with tomato puree instead of the v-8 juice.

                                                                                          I didn't cook yesterday, because I made pulled pork, chicken salad, potato salad, pasta salad, cole slaw and cookies for my part of a family picnic for 120 on Saturday.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: sheiladeedee

                                                                                            I used to use cooked rice because the raw rice would seem to take forever to get fully cooked. And by then the cabbage would be overcooked. What I just discovered from my Grandma's written recipe is that the best way to go is raw rice and then add about a cup of water for 2# meat - that gives it water for the rice to absorb as it cooks. the rice came out perfect this way. When I used cooked rice it got kind of gummy. Check it out.

                                                                                            1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                              Interesting, I will. I also use cooked barley sometimes. And sometimes if I'm cooking something else I'll brown the ground chuck and sausage ahead of time; this cuts down on the baking time quite a bit but makes the use of cooked rice necessary because there isn't time to cook it before the meat is dried out... I have tried a lot of different methods and ingredients, and have never met a cabbage roll I didn't like, except one which used oatmeal as a binder. It was dreadful, all mealy.

                                                                                          2. I usually make an extra effort for Sunday dinner, this weekend it was just a reheated burrito as I'd been out walking, noshing, and drinking some beers.

                                                                                            1. Broiled local bluefish brushed with mustard, lime juice and lime zest. Beautiful young corn from a nearby farmstand. Tomato-avocado salad with snipped chives and sherry vinaigrette. A bottle of crisp Provencal rose, Chateau Moutete.

                                                                                              Thanks for sharing your grandmother's recipe. You had given me your personal version, as did many others here, when I asked for help learning to make cabbage rolls last winter. I made 3 different batches -- of course never following any one recipe but combining bits and pieces -- yum, I have to agree with the poster who said they'd never met a cabbage roll they didn't like. I used coarse bulgar instead of rice and it worked out great -- not sure I noticed any difference.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                I'm glad I was able to give you my version last year. But I have to share with you now, my Grandma Gertrude's recipe above is the best by far - of course she would agree if she was here to discuss it! The trick, I think that makes her far above my own previous attempts is the V-8 with lemon juice and sugar, and putting some water into the meat (2/3 cup for #2)- helps the raw rice cook. One thing I didn't mention was that I used half Niman ranch ground beef and half very good (Berkeley Bowl) ground turkey - it tasted so beefy - yet there was no fat at all floating on the top of the pot when it was done.

                                                                                              2. it was my buddy's annual pig roast this Sunday - nothing like a fresh pig roasted for 30 hours. And when I say fresh, the pig was slaughtered Friday afternoon :-)

                                                                                                Beer straight from the keg and Cuervo Tradicional Tequila were the beverages of choice - my head is still swimming 2 days after the fact.

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Biggie

                                                                                                  I've only had whole roast pig once and it was at a Philipino couple's 25th. wedding anniversary. Honestly, it wasn't that notable for fine flavor - just kind of generic meat. Since, I've decided that I must be missing the really good Philipino food - somehow every time I've had it it's been just kind of bland and greasy. Not that your pig was in that style of cuisine - did they spice it or serve it with any sauces? Was it wonderful? Will Owen makes a great pork roast that cooks for many hours at a very low temp, called Kalua pork I believe.

                                                                                                  1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                                    the booze killed peoples' taste buds, but the pork was naturally sweet and melted in your mouth. I brought a batch of my Carolina-style mustard BBQ sauce - it did the trick.

                                                                                                    1. re: Biggie

                                                                                                      Got a recipe for your BBQ sauce?

                                                                                                      1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                                        I'm trying to remember off the top of my head I'm not 100% on the sugar & vinegar combos, but it's more to taste anyhow - it's a modified version of a recipe in Steven Raichlen's "BBQ USA"

                                                                                                        1 small onion, minced
                                                                                                        2 TBsp butter
                                                                                                        1/2 cup brown sugar, or more to taste
                                                                                                        2/3 cup cider vinear, or more to taste
                                                                                                        1 cup mustard
                                                                                                        1 cup water
                                                                                                        1 Tbsp hot sauce, or more to taste
                                                                                                        Salt and Pepper to taste (I use homemade smoked salt & pepper)

                                                                                                        Sautee the onions until soft in the butter, then add all the other ingredients. Don't let it boil, but stir and simmer until it's all combined (10-15 minutes for me, since I like it a little thickened). I then puree it all in a blender, since it annoys me when the onions clog my squirt bottle for the sauce.

                                                                                                        Tradition calls for plain yellow mustard, and Raichlen calls for dijon. I usually use a mixture of the two. The original recipe also calls for the use of white vinegar, but this sauce was made for pork, so why not use cider? Hot sauce is supposed to be tabasco-style, but I usually use sriracha. Go easy with the onion if you puree it like me, since it does over-power if you use too much.

                                                                                                        Since most people don't smoke their own salt and peppercorns, you should probably use the regular stuff :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                                          Hi biggie, I just noticed you say dijon/yellow 1:1, and I totally agree with you about hot sauces - I find Tabasco unpleasant and actually have used a quart bottle of sriracha in a year - it's that I like the slightly sweet/garlic taste instead of T's sour note. and I agree about the onion too. I often will process all my veg. except the onion & garlic - it's so easy to process a little to far and you get metallic (!) tasting mush. I give you the credit - you are the only one besides me who has ever mentioned that here. One last hot sauce question. For Mex. food, the sriracha is just the wrong taste. What hot sauce would you recommend?

                                                                                                        2. re: Biggie

                                                                                                          Hi biggie! Thanks for the recipe. What kind of mustard do you use? And is this book you mentioned your fave BBQ bible? If not, could you recommend the best one? I'm getting a hibachi for outside my back door (apt. house living in SF - no deck/no yard, but whatta location anyhow!) Where are you from?

                                                                                                          1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                                            Trader Joe's has has a really good roasted red jalapeno hot sauce. http://www.hotsauceworld.com has reviews by those who've bought it - I'd browse there, make some purchases, and see what you like. Next year I think I'm going to do a small garden with various chiles, and start experimenting with making my own hot sauces.

                                                                                                            As far as mustard goes, I turn off my "mustard snob" mode, and use a combo of French's yellow and French's Honey Dijon.

                                                                                                            I'm from MA, so it's impossible to find good BBQ, so I decided I was going to make my own. I use just about all of Steve Raichlen's books (BBQ Bible, BBQ Bible: Sauces & Rubs, BBQ USA, How to Grill), for inspiration. Most of his stuff is designed to be cooked on a grill, but since I use a Texas-style smoker, I had to learn my own technique.

                                                                                                            From there, it was a lot of trial and error, but all the results have been delicious.

                                                                                                    2. Well, this Sunday was my parents' 45th anniversary/70 birthdays party. I catered. So we had:
                                                                                                      1/2 roast turkey (rubbed in Penzey's Northwoods seasoning), boneless pork rib roast, and two eye or rounds, all cold and sliced
                                                                                                      Artichoke-caper spread, olive tapenade, fig-caramelized-onion spread, horseradish spread
                                                                                                      Assorted breads and rolls
                                                                                                      A gorgeous tray of a dozen cheeses from a friend who is a cheese saleman
                                                                                                      A fruit tray with ripe cantaloupe and honeydew, cherries, grapes and figs
                                                                                                      Homemade pickled mushrooms, purchased olives and pickled onions
                                                                                                      Cold roasted tomatoes and peppers, steamed asparagus, steamed green beans with basil
                                                                                                      Hard Italian sausage
                                                                                                      Almond-raspberry cake and chocolate cake, with ice cream and berry compote.

                                                                                                      It was good. There were leftovers, but not quite enough.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                        Wow, it sounds better than good, it sounds AMAZING. Hope you took pictures... (Guess I'll check your blog.)

                                                                                                        1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                          Oooh, what a fine, fine - nay, out-standing celebratory meal! Was the almond raspberry cake anything like linzer torte (my favorite dessert of all time). If you took photos, I'd love it if you could post them.

                                                                                                          1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                                            My sister took the pictures, so I'll post them when she sends them to me.

                                                                                                            The almond cake was actually a new recipe for me, the Martha Stewart wedding cake one from Baking with Julia. I brushed it with amaretto syrup, then filled with raspberry jam, raspberries and plain buttercream, frosted with buttercream, and decorated with marzipan flowers. The cake was just a tad sweet for my taste, though with a wonderful almond flavor - and after spending $15 on all that almond paste, I daresay it should. Very moist. I was pleased with the recipe.

                                                                                                            1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                              Do you live near SF? I found 8 ounces of marzipan/almond paste for $4 at a supermarket (not Cal mart - the other one - I can't remember the name) on the east end of Laurel Village shopping strip mall on California street 2 blocks west of the Jewish Community Center. I bet Cost Plus (World market) would have inexpensive almond paste/marzipan too.