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?