Posts Tagged With: Gran’s recipes

Gran’s Cabbage Rolls

In our family, birthdays=food.

Every year for my Mom’s birthday, Gran would make cabbage rolls. Every year, it was a birthday treat she looked forward to. When Gran passed away, Mom decided that they were far too much work for a meal that the rest of her family would complain about and refuse to eat. So that was then end of them for a little while. Dad would try and bring her home ones from the store every now and then, but they never compared to her moms.

About 6 years ago, when I was looking for a birthday gift to get Mom, she asked me to make her cabbage rolls, then told me how to make them. That first year was a disaster. I didn’t bake them quite long enough, made them too thick and left the rinds in the leaves. Undeterred, she asked for them the following year, and gave me a few more pointers. The following year she asked me to make a few more so she could freeze some to enjoy throughout the year. Then Mr. Ginge caught on, and started dropping not-so-subtle hints that he wanted in on the cabbage rolls too. So it’s stuck. Every year, the week of my Mom’s birthday, I pick a day and it becomes Cabbage Roll Day.

I will warn you, this truly does require a whole day, or if you aren’t up for that, then a day for rolling and a day for baking. Try and pick a cooler day because it’s hot work, and believe me, since the last week of August isn’t always cool, it’s no fun to make these when it is hotter than hell in the kitchen . As I mentioned, these freeze and reheat beautifully, and the recipe doubles, triples, or ( if you are crazy like me) quadruples wonderfully.

If you’re wondering, that makes approximately 215 cabbage rolls.

Gran’s Cabbage Rolls

makes enough to feed an army.

  • 1 – 2 large green cabbages.
  • 2 lbs ( about 1 kg) of ground meat. Half beef and half chicken is our favourite.
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 tsp each  salt and pepper
  • 1 1.36 L (46 oz)  can of tomato juice
  1. Find the biggest pot you own, and fill it with water ( I use my canning pot). Peel the outer, rubbery leaves off your cabbage. Remove the core. I do this by carefully slicing diagonally around the core, three times. This makes a triangle around the hard core, which you then should just be able to yank out. Set the pot on the stove, dunk your cabbage into it, cover and let boil. Yes, boiled cabbage will stink up your house, and every member of your family will complain about it,  but it is a necessary step.  You will want to boil the cabbage until the leaves are tender and the leaves have become translucent.
  2. While your cabbage boils and smellifies your house, combine the meat, rice, salt and pepper. Smoosh it all together with your hands or a wooden spoon, then set it aside. This will help soften the rice a little bit before it gets baked.
  3. The outer leaves of the cabbage so cook first, and should peel away from the cabbage easily with some tongs ( if they haven’t already floated off) If they won’t peel away, then carefully lift the cabbage out of the water with a couple of big serving spoons into a big bowl, then carefully peel away the leaves, cutting away some of the core if necessary. When they are still hot, but cool enough to handle, cut away the tough rib. For the larger, outer ribs, cut the leaves in half.
  4. Scoop out 2-3 tablespoons (or larger if desired) of the meat mixture and roll into a thin sausage  shape. Place in on the boiled cabbage leaf, fold both sides over to cover then roll. Place seam side down and pack tightly in a roasting pan (see below), then continue with the remaining leaves, peeling from the cabbage as necessary. If you are finding that the leaves are getting too small or hard to roll, discard the remaining cabbage, and boil a second as above.
  5. When all of the meat mixture has been used up, heat the oven to 300° F. Pour the tomato juice over the cabbage rolls, just enough to barely cover the top, otherwise it tends to boil over and is murder to clean out of your oven. The juice will thicken up and create a lovely rich sauce.
  6. Cover them with the lid, then pop them in your oven for 6 hours, making sure to check them every 2 to top up the tomato juice.  In the last half an hour remove the lid to brown the tops a bit.

Slow Cooker Alternative

  1. Prepare the rolls as above. Pour a little of the tomato juice into the bowl of your slow cooker, then pack in the prepare rolls.
  2. Pour the remaining tomato juice over top, then cook on high for 8 hours. These cabbage rolls will be a lot lighter and will have a much runnier sauce.

Serve with some crusty bread and butter

-Mel

P.S. Please excuse the  terrible photos.

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I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck , On the Menu Monday,and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays ! Click the link for more great recipes!

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Categories: Main Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

When it comes to Gran’s recipes, often what I have to go on is a memory of what she used to make. Often they come up in the strangest times.

I was talking to Mom about some meat pies that I had made for Mr. Ginge, when she recalled these sticks that her mom used to make.

Gran was well known for her pies. Come the holidays she would always make a huge assortment; lemon meringue, raisin, blueberry, apple, peach, cherry, you name it it was probably there. One of my fondest memories was that as long as you ate your supper, you basically could go back indefinitely for pieces of pie. I’d wolf down my supper then rush back into the kitchen and then into the laundry  room ( she had acres of counter space in there. She made LOTS of pies) and choose my slice of pie. Usually blueberry or lemon, sometimes chocolate or raisin ( I was a weird kid).

Mom remembers her cheese sticks more than the pie. It was a treat that her whole family would look forward to. Since Gran would make so many pies at once, she was often left with some pastry.  She would gather it all up and roll it up with some cheddar cheese then bake it for a bit.  When the kitchen smelled of baking cheese, they would be pulled out. Grandpa would take his share, and Mom and her brothers would be allowed two sticks each.  Mom also remembers fighting over them, particularly if someone ended up with an end piece versus a middle piece.

Since I had some left over crust from making meat pies, I decided to make them for her. Her reaction?

“It feels weird to be able to eat more than just two!”

Gran’s Cheese Sticks

  • 1 9″ unbaked pie crust
  • 1 c sharp cheddar cheese ( like old or extra old)
  • pinch of salt.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly dust a sheet pan with flour. 
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8″/3mm thick.
  3. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese, then fold the dough in half, then half again.
  4. Roll the dough out again to an 1/8″/ 3mm, then transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with salt then cut into strips. 
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough will only be very lightly brown and slightly puffy.
  6. Let cool a little bit on the pan, then enjoy!
Sashi cats think they look tasty too!
-Mel
Categories: Appetizers | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Apple Sauce with Gran.

When I was younger, we often spent every weekend at my grandparents farm. Some of my most fond memories involve visits there. I have fond memories of how her kitchen would always smell amazing ( she was an amazing cook and I often get requests to recreate something that she made), and miss the old wall paper and table, that have since been replaced since she passed.

One fond memory I have is making apple sauce with her. Many of the fields on the farm were lined with apple trees. When they were ready, Grandpa would pile my brother and I in the loader and drive us out to one of the apple trees. We’d then hop into the bucket and he would raise us up so that we could reach the trees. I remember it seeming soooo high up (although I imagine it wasn’t), but we’d pick the apples from the trees and drop them in the bucket along with us. When we’d had enough, we’d carry our armful of apples back to the house and Gran would turn them into apple sauce for us. She’d boil up the apples that we’d brought in and we’d watch her press them through her sieve, and watch the apple sauce squish through the holes.

I always remember us picking soooo many apples, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Mom often tells how we’d come in with five or six puny apples for her to sauce, and she would send us home with a teeny tiny container of sauce to take in our lunches the next day.

She passed when I was ten, and it’s memories like these that I hold dear.

Last year, while helping out my paternal grandmother ( who celebrated her 90th birthday this year!) with a yard sale, I noticed that she had an apple sieve ( Dad says that he never remembers his mom using for apple sauce, but it’s just something I will always associate it with) for sale, and both Mom and I were overcome with nostalgia. Needless to say it made the trip home with me that day. And when I was given a some apples recently, I knew exactly what I was going to do.

Now there isn’t really a recipe for Gran’s apple sauce, it basically was pick some apples, boil them up and pass them trough the sieve, but there are a few things that made it special: The sieve, foever to be linked in my mind with apple sauce, and she would cook them with the skins on.  They don’t pass through the sieve, and they gave the apple sauce a pretty pink color (Note: I have found that not all apples will do this, so I guess it depends on the apple you are going to use).

Kinda reminds me of the aliens from War of the Worlds....no?

Gran’s Apple Sauce:

  • apples
  • sugar, to taste (optional, I use brown)
  • cinnamon, to taste (optional)
  1. Quarter your apples, trimming the stems and the blossom ends
  2. Put them in a pot, add some water and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Cook them till soft, and will pass through the sieve easily. This can take anywhere from 15-45 minutes depending on the apple you are using.
  4. Press the apples through the sieve, a few at a time, removing skin, cores, and seeds from the sieve as needed.
  5. Stir in the cinnamon and the sugar a couple tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired taste. Most of the time I find that sugar isn’t needed, however if you happen to be using a tart apple ( like I was) sugar is sometimes needed.
  6. Transfer to your desired containers and store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to  year.

Enjoy!

-Mel

Categories: Misc. | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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