Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beautiful Food

Farmer's Markets are the most beautiful, abundant places,  Golden corn, deep red tomatoes, blackberries sit in the sun next to somebody's apple pies, Northwest wines, along side snapdragon and sweet pea.  There is such abundance in the West, such pleasure for the eye, such scents: mint, basil, lavender.  The space labeled Pacific Northwest is a garden framed by azure mountains on one side and the deep blue sea on the other.

So this  dish arises from my own creative and  from this abundance.    Nothing is difficult, but there are steps.  You will be making stuffed cabbage.   A caution: read this recipe all the way through.   You can be caught unawares.

Here's what you need:  Brown or white rice that you will cook in a fruity white wine and a little chicken stock.  You'll need 1 cup of rice  and 2 cups of liquid.  Put it in a sauce pan with a lid,  bring the broth/wine to a simmer, and then add the rice, cover with the lid and let it sit for 45 minutes.  Check for doneness at 40 minutes.  

While the rice is cooking, poach the cabbage leaves.  Choose the biggest ones you can find from your cabbage.  You'll need a big leaf for each person you are serving.  Bring water to a boil and slip the leaves in for 1-2 minutes. You just want a quick cook.  The leaves will be a lovely soft green that maintains a little bit of crunch.  You'll want the leaves pliable enough to wrap around your filling.

You'll need 1/2 cup rice for each serving.  Saute about 1 cup of sweet onions until they are crispy.  
If you want them a little bit sweet, add 1 tablespoon sugar at the last to carmelize them.  Roast hazel nuts in the oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees.  Then put them in a processor, or a nut chopper, or chop them by hand.  You'll need a couple of tablespoons full for each serving. Saute about a cup of sliced white mushrooms and add those.  Dice a red pepper or two and peel and shred a couple of peeled carrots.  If you want a little protein, you can add some cooked, shredded chicken.  Or maybe some shrimp.   Mix all  of this together,  salt and pepper to taste. A little bit of butter, if you wish. 

Now comes the tricky part.  Add about 1/2 cup of the mixture  to the middle of a cabbage leaf.  You can add a few shreds of basil if you wish, maybe some mint, or dried lavender blossoms.   But I'd be too scared to try all three at once.  Choose one.  Either roll your cabbage leaf around the filling or make cute little  packages.  Put the packages or the rolls in a steamer, and steam them for a few minutes until the cabbage leaves shine.  Put them on an exquisite platter.

In the meantime,  cut 3-4 big beautiful tomatoes into quarters  and 1 medium-sized baked beet (Put the beet(s) in a small glass pan, add 1/2  cup water and bake at 350 for an hour or so. Cover them with foil. You'll be able to peel the beet and cut off the ends easily after they are baked. )  Add about half a cup of the wine, salt and pepper, and let the tomatoes and beet cook slowly for 15 minutes or so.  Pull out the tomato peelings and the seeds.

Mash them all together.  You are making the most beautiful garnet-colored, sweet and sour sauce.  Start with 1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice, and about 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Increase those amounts to suit your own taste buds.  Add the beautiful sauce to your exquisite platter.  And decorate them with edible flowers: Little baby violets, maybe. 

It's almost too much to take.


  1. Beautiful food and a luscious post. You're sooo good with food!

  2. I am going to make these right away. They sound wonderful and I can already see them thanks to the author!

  3. Thanks, Gals. I appreciate your contributions. Let me know how they go, Carol? Fondly, B/