Monday, March 19, 2012

The Big Bang (and Cabbage Rolls)

    Here lately I haven't had much sleep.  J being gone has turned me into an insomniac, and that should mean that my house is immaculate, and all of my projects have been completed, right?  Wrong!  Instead of being productive, I've been watching re-runs of "The Big Bang Theory" every night from the time Monkey goes to bed until about midnight or later.  The result is that I currently have "Soft Kitty" stuck in my head and I've invented a new game.  It's like those drinking games you see all over Pinterest mixed with the Harry Potter Workout Game.  The result is this:

  I'm actually not doing this to get into shape.  I'm trying to wear myself out in order to attempt sleep before a new day dawns.  Aka, my husband needs to come he can play my new game with me :-)

   At any rate, I'm still cooking, and I'd like to share something new.  The other night I made Stuffed Cabbage from Paula Deen's "Southern Cooking Bible".  I've never had stuffed cabbage before, and I admit I was a little unsure, but I think the end result was rather yum.

    Before I get into the recipe, though, I must admit something.  I was extremely distracted while making this (probably because I was watching the bloopers from The Big Bang Theory season 4) and I didn't really follow Paula's instructions.  So for the sake of accuracy, I'll give you her recipe, and then I'll let you in on how I botched it.

Here's what you'll need:

2 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 medium head green cabbage (about 2 lbs)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup cooked rice
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 tsp salt
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp paprika

Here's what Paula says to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13x9" baking dish.  In a medium skillet, heat the oil over med-high heat.  Add the onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Using a small, sharp knife, cut in a circle all around the stem of the cabbage and remove the core.  Place the cabbage in the boiling water.  After about 2 minutes an outside leaf will come loose.  Pull it off and our of the water using tongs.  After another minute or so another leaf will come loose.  Remove and repeat until you have 8-10 nice leaves. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels.  Cut out the thick part of the rib from the bottom of each leaf, but don't cut more than a third of the way into the leaf.  In a bowl, mix together the beef, cooled onion, rice, raisins, and salt.  With the stem side of the cabbage leaf facing you, place a scant 1/3 cup of the beef mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf.  Fold the bottom edge over the mixture and them fold the sides over and roll into a tidy packet.  Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in the prepared baking dish.  In a bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, broth and paprika and pour over the cabbage.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Serve the cabbage rolls with a big dollop of sour cream.

 Okay, so here's what I did differently.  First off, I wasn't reading through so I added the meat to the skillet with the onion.  Then I mixed the tomato sauce in with the beef, onion, rice, raisins, and salt.  That meant that I had no sauce to cover the cabbage with, so I improvised by mixing the beef broth and paprika with a jar of spaghetti sauce I had on hand.  The meal still managed to turn out rather well, and I had already cooked the meat which meant my cabbage only stayed in the oven for about 25 minutes instead of the full hour.  On another note, next time I will probably rule out the raisins.  They didn't taste bad, but texture kept throwing me off.  Plus mentally I kept thinking "Why am I eating raisins, mixed with meat, mixed with cabbage?"  Monkey enjoyed it, though.  She even asked for seconds, that is, once I removed the cabbage from her plate.  For a kid who likes coleslaw, she was not having that cabbage.

   Well, enough anecdotes about the cabbage, it's time for bed.  And hopefully by "bed" I mean "sleep", because I just discovered that our new pup snacked on J's power cord for his laptop, and now it's dead, and I can't watch The Big Bang Theory!

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