Saturday, May 9, 2009

Still Alive

Yes, I am still alive. And more importantly, so is the garden!
Last weekend, Hubby and I harvested these MONSTER cabbage heads, some wax beans, green beans and tomatoes. We used two of the heads of cabbage to make sauerkraut. We've still got one head in the fridge to make MORE sauerkraut (cuz you know, we didn't just give away a quart size jar to the Petersons), and I made Polish Golabkis (pronounced Hah-lup-key) with the other one. What's a Golabki? It's a divine stuffed cabbage roll. I LOVED the meat filling that went into these. I'm planning to use it in lots of other recipes. :-) WHY Golabkis? Hubby's family has Hungarian roots and several of the foods he ate as a child (and considers comfort food now) are Eastern European, whether it be Hungarian or Polish. Since we had the cabbages, I figured "why not try something new?" Recipe at the bottom of the post...
This weekend, we got 9 more tomatoes (with tons more still ripening on the vine), more beans, a head of iceberg lettuce, quite a bit of green leaf lettuce, our very first strawberry EVER and all kinds of things flowering.
BEANS! I am an absolute green bean fanatic (and a new wax bean fanatic), so I can't tell you how ecstatic I am with the bean "crop" coming out of my backyard! I personally like to cook my beans with a little bit of garlic salt and beef bouillon. I know it sounds crazy, but the bouillon gives it that meaty flavor that southerners love without the bacon or ham hock.
Iceberg lettuce! It's kind of funny - I don't remember planting iceberg lettuce. :-) But that is definitely what this is. Maybe there was a rogue seed? Maybe I didn't keep good records? Either way, we'll eat it!!
Our very, very first ever, in six years of planting gardens, STRAWBERRY! I can't tell you how much money has been spent on strawberry plants that went down Abbey's hatch before they ever had a chance. I personally ate this berry yesterday and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO good! Super sweet and juicy. Unfortunately, it might be our only berry this year. None of the other plants have any flowers on them and Hubby just recently informed me that strawberries are perennial. He said that we were unlikely to get any fruit this year, but the harvest next year would be pleasing. :-( I want berries NOW!!! :-( I will try to be patient and wait for next year. In the mean-time, if I see any more flowers on the plants this year, I am going to do the world's biggest happy dance. :-)
What? Did I take a picture of a Muppet?? NO! That's one of our corn plants! Hubby is currently calling them Dwarf Corns, cuz they're only about 3 1/2 ~ 4 feet tall and they already have tassels on the tops and silk forming. :-) After it's incredibly slow start, we might actually get corn this year! So far, of the 3 corns planted, two have "flowers" with silk. The other one is considerably smaller than the other two, so hopefully it'll catch up.
Our jalapeno plant is also doing well. There's probably about 12 peppers on it right now with 2 that are near picking stage. :-)
After the RIDICULOUSLY slow start that the snowpeas had this year, I was pretty sure we wouldn't get anything from them, but today I saw several of these flowers. I'll be cautiously optimistic for now. :-) I would LOVE to get some snow peas!
SO! That's your "Farm" report for today. In place of the cabbages we picked last week, we have only planted a Poblano pepper so far. I know! I'm disappointed in us too! I have some broccoli transplants that I might try to get in the ground tomorrow. I also need to start more seeds for beans (green and wax again), radishes, carrots and maybe some more cucumbers. I'll let you know!
And now...

1 small cabbage
olive oil for drizzling
1 jar spaghetti sauce
salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the filling:
1/2 c long grain rice
1/4 c chopped mushrooms
2 T butter
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
2 t chopped fresh parsley (yes, I used garden)

1) Cook rice according to package directions. Once the rice is cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to prevent it from cooking further or clumping.
2) Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until golden brown.
3) Add the pork, beef, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the meat is browned all over, then removed from the heat and cool slightly.
4) Bring a stock pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the whole cabbage for 10-15 minutes, or until you can insert a knife into the center easily, but the leaves are not too soft (I found it was easier to cook the cabbage evenly to put the lid slightly ajar on the pot - it trapped in the steam. Took 20 mins.). Lift the cabbage out of the water and leave to cool slightly. (I'm not real patient, so I rinsed mine in cold water until I could handle it)
5) Preheat the oven to 375. Add the rice, egg, nutmeg and parsley to the meat mixture and stir to combine well.
6) When it is cool enough to handle, separate the cabbage into individual leaves. Use the tough outer leaves to line a 13 x 9 inch pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
7) Place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the center of each of the remaining leaves, folding over the edges and rolling to form a tight package.
8) Arrange the rolls in a single layer on the oiled cabbage leaves in the dish. Pour the spaghetti sauce over the top and dot the remaining tablespoon of butter on top. Cover the dish with foil.
9) Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until the rolls are tender. Serve immediately with spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce on top.
The recipe initially called for a can of diced tomatoes. Hubby and I both thought they were somewhat lacking, so we heated up some spaghetti sauce and served that over them instead. YUMMY!!!! If you want to be "authentic," skip the spaghetti sauce in the above recipe and use a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes. Trust me though...spaghetti sauce...YUM....

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