Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

I am possessed by someone’s Eastern European Grandmother

It has been a while since I have done anything productive towards gaining skills for our post apocalyptic society. Well, FAIL on my part.

In recent months I did brush up on my rock climbing skills and if per chance the apocalypse involves having to climb a wall with hand grips, I am your woman. I can tie the knots and yell “On Belay!” and everything. One thing that I do seem to lack is a great amount of arm strength. Oh baby like strength, why do you plague me?? Fortunately, I went out and picked up some weights to help out with that. Those weights come in the form of cast iron cookware. For crying out loud.

Yesterday, I began the process of figuring out what to do with cabbage. I get a box of vegetables every two weeks and they seem to really want me to eat cabbage. Last week I made some cole slaw which was fine and allowed me to use a hot little Christmas gift item, the Julienne-er. I julienned some carrots. No big. How much cole slaw can you really eat though? So with the next two heads—yup two more heads to go—I decided to make some stuffed cabbage. I looked up a recipe and found one on this site along with a whole lot of information on stuffed cabbage. One fun fact is that in Croatia 97% of women over 25 eat stuffed cabbage. I’m Croatian. I’m over 25. It’s true! The down side is that 97% of Croatian women over 25 can also tuck their boobs into their skirts. Okay, I am not entirely sure of the numbers on that fact. So I set off to stuff some cabbage. It’s easy! In just 17 hours you can have enough food to feed an entire village!

I went for the Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage complete with zaprashka. I made a couple changes that might horrify Hungarians but I stand by. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, but I stuck with pork. Sorry pigs. I also used brown rice. Also for the side of mashed potatoes, I mashed potato and celery root. That might not be exactly the right taste combo, but I had a lot of celery root. This is how I cook these days. It’s all based on what starts to take over my refrigerator. Pears anyone? I didn’t read the recipe all the way through, and I began it too late in the evening. I didn’t make the rice until I read that the rice needed to be cooked. I was a bit of a disaster. I got the whole thing on the stove to cook (approximately 75 lbs of cabbage, meat, and iron cookware) at about 9:00 p.m. SO! At midnight, it was all done minus the final stage of making the zaprashka which is a sort of gravy made out of the juices from cooking and added back in at the end. I hauled the pot off the stove, questioned the ability of my refrigerator shelf to hold the weight, looked briefly at the porch with a thought that in the winter outside is like nature’s refrigerator. Then, with brief roommate consultation, he pointed out that outside was like nature’s freezer. So I tossed it in the fridge and went to sleep. Oh by the way, boiled cabbage smells exactly like boiled cabbage. This is not a plus.

Day two of the cooking process. I tossed my iron dutch oven into the American oven and cooked it for about 30 minutes. Then I made the gravy and added it back in and cooked it for another 30 minutes. I also discovered that while leaning into the oven to deal with a 75 lb iron pot, I come very close at times to toppling over. This was a problem with making bread and even more so now that I was making much weightier food. Also, my necklace, which is made of metal gets hot and starts to burn my neck. Dangerous times folks. Dangerous times.

Upon completion I patted myself on the back for how I had taken a simple head of cabbage and turned it into a high sodium, meaty and unhealthy meal. Thank you Hungary! It is a great comfort food though. I also have enough of it to feed about 8 more people. Come by?

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Now have bread, yum. Bread.

It worked! I feel as though my dough was a little too sticky but the resulting bread was really good! I believe that the hardest part of making this bread is getting the dough into a 450 degree pot and then 30 minutes later taking the lid off of ridiculously heavy and hot pot. I used to have pot holders, but now I seem to only have pot holder. Additionally, I am unclear as to what the tipping point for my oven rack is and I was very sure that as I slid the rack out to put the dough in that I would tip the rack and it would fall towards me and suddenly there would be far more pain and injury that I am able to handle. Due to this I burned the edge of my hand. Fear will always be the enemy. The next time I do this I will try a trial run of pulling out the pot to put the dough in before it is hot to see how sturdy this oven is. I will also buy new pot holders.

Another side note is that when the bread comes out of the oven it crackles like a bowl of rice crispies. Not sure what the cause of this is. I will check the internets and figure out that tidbit of info.

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No Knead Bread: Want Bread

Well it has only taken me three years to get around to doing this. It looks like my time-line is pretty spot on. Realize, what should be done, wait three years, act! So I am in the extremely hands-off process of making the No-Knead Bread recipe from the New York Times article, adapted from Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery. I used active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. The adaptation suggested using 1/3 teaspoon of dry yeast instead of 1/4 teaspoon of the instant. I now realize that I need a more extensive set of measuring spoons because I have no 1/3 teaspoon. Instead, I measured 1 teaspoon and then using my very scientific eyeballs, divided that into 3 equal piles. We’ll see if that works. I also realized part-way through taking these pictures that I needed to change the settings on my camera so that everything is not blue.

So it’s 3 cups regular flour (sub wheat flour if you wish)
1c. + 5/8 c. water
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. instant yeast or 1/3 tsp. active dry. Mix and wait.

Whilst I wait, I put a note on it alerting my roommate that it has the potential to become bread so that he doesn’t think I have gone insane and just forgot my goo in the pantry for 18 hours.

I also took a picture of the endless endless rain. This is further proof that my project of learning lifes kills is not in vain since it is clearly arc-building time outside. So someone build an ark and invite me on because I will be really useful!

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