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Aug 7, 2006 12:44 AM

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. The original comment has been removed