Tangled Up In A Twist Of Fate 116/ One for Jenny, computer woes and odd bits
Posted on September 8, 2013
Jenny Hansen, the Cowbeller from Texas wrote a post about Grandparent’s Day. I mentioned that I was adopted into a Polish family. Actually, there was a variety some Hungarians, Italians and others but mostly Polish. I learned to cook at the knee of my Grandmother and my godmother. This led to a question about a recipe for cabbage rolls and perogi. Perogi are not my strong suit. I referred Jenny to that Polish girl who made good, Martha Stewart. But cabbage rolls are my strong suit. I’ve watched relatives and restaurants get them right and screw them up beyond belief. Before I lay out the recipe I’ll give some history and hints.
When I was a kid my Grandmother made cabbage rolls or golombki. The basis was the meat. At the time, the Fifties, veal was inexpensive, pork was cheaper than chicken and beef in my neighborhood came in basic cuts. You got steaks in T-bone, porterhouse and filets. Hamburger was sold in supermarkets. We didn’t have a supermarket. We had Lou’s market across the street. carried canned goods and some vegetables. He had cold cuts but for steaks we had to go to Broad Street. There was a market that had chickens in the window. Inside there was a man with a bloody apron and sharp knives, he cut meat. My Grandmother would buy chunks of veal, pork and beef. The ratio was two parts pork and veal and one part beef. She ground the meat herself. She had a hand grinder that put the meat out in two ways, coarse or semi-mush. She ground the meat and ran an onion through the grinder. She added eggs, she eye-balled that depending on how the meat felt. She mixed in cooked rice, about a third weight of the meat. She wrapped the meat in steamed cabbage leaves and cooked them in a covered roasting pan. It looked like your grandma’s roaster, blue with white speckles only smaller. She cooked them in an oven without temperature control until they were done. They were fantastic.
Okay, let’s look at today. You go to the supermarket. A stop in produce should yield cabbages, medium with some green leaves. The heads should be firm. Pick up a large onion and a head of garlic. Don’t sweat the garlic, it’s a minor addition one or two cloves. On to the meat counter. Think of how many you’re going to feed and how much storage space you have. I figure three pounds of pork and one and a half of beef. Ground veal is near missing. If you want to skip the math, buy meatloaf mix and pork. If you’re ambitious get chunks there might be a chance at getting veal stew meat. Coarse grind it in your food processor and when the meat is done reduce the onion and garlic to pulp and juice. Add an egg per pound of meat. Refrigerate. Cook the rice. There are three schools of thought my sister’s; mix in raw Minute Rice, par cook the rice until it’s aldente, or fully cook the rice. Take the outer leaves off the cabbage. You can immerse it in boiling salted water or steam it. Remove the leaves carefully. Let them cool on towels. Mix the ingredients. Cook them covered in the oven until they’re 150 degrees internal.t they’ll get to proper temp. The liquid you cook them in has divided my family into three factions, water, stock or tomato sauce. Okay, here’s a proper recipe:
31/2 lbs. ground pork
12/2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion finely minced
2 med cloves of garlic mashed
11/2 C par-cooked rice
2 med. cabbages cored, large green leaves removed
4 C Beef and Chicken stock
3 eggs beaten
Bring a large pot with salted water to a low boil.
Add ne or two to the water
When the leaves begin to loosen them take them off the head and let them dry on a towel you don’t want to get them too limp
Mix the meat, onion, garlic, rice and eggs. Mix well.
Lay the leaves out, if the veins are too thick cut them out.
Use diapering skills and put a scoop of meat mix in the center of the leaf and fold the leaf around it.
Place the dark green leaves on the bottom of the pan, put the rolls seam down on the leaves.
Continue until done.
Cover tightly, if you have any dark green leaves left put them on top and seal with foil.
Put the pan on a 325 oven until 150 internal let it sit for teen, twenty minutes.
Serve with rye bread and butter, use leftovers quickly.
Monday I was ripping CDs to my computer library. The computer spit out the disk and froze. A trip to South Windsor CT was due. He fixed it and added a button on my Windows 8 page to load CDs. I loaded an MP3 player and it didn’t work. I e-mailed the company Machspeed and got a lame answer. Their layer is great for jazz and linear music because it plays in alphabetic order.
9/7/36 was Charles Hardin Holly’s birthday. He would have been 85.
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See you in the funnies.
In my family it showed. I don’t resemble anyone. I’ve always thought that a local Native American tribe dropped me off.
Love the food memory. 🙂 I used to make cabbage rolls, years ago. My favorite part was always the slightly sweet sauce (the recipe I used was tomato based).
I began using tomato-based sauces but got away. Sometimes I add a small squeeze of tomato paste, I buy it by the tube. Too much tomato is a bit institutional. Yeah, I made them in massive amounts with a quart or so of tomato sauce per pan. As for sweet, I’ve never tried them that way.
What fond memories! How lovely that you watched your grandmother make the cabbage rolls. My husband’s family is Polish but my husband was too busy playing outside as a child and only showed up in the kitchen when all was ready to be consumed! 🙂
It paid off. In my family the women were good but unimaginative cooks. I was the older of two kids. My sister was a really bad cook. But she was more popular.
Tom, so much in this post . . I never knew you were adopted! And I can’t think of cabbage leaves without knowing how good they were for me breastfeeding my babies. A long story and details for another time but for someone who ever really knew her grandparents, and always suspected I may have been adopted, it’s always strange to see where the circle meets, if it does at all.