Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cabbage with Beef and Pork

Cabbage is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is rich in Protein, Thiamin, Calcium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

Cabbage is commonly found in any grocery stores, it is inexpensive, but most people don't include it in their diet. Why? Maybe they don't know a good recipe? Here is one, it is easy to make, doesn't cost much money, and most importantly- it is healthy.

In Serbia, we eat a lot of sour cabbage, especially over winter months. In the spring time, when fresh cabbage is available again, we switch to making this meal, which we also call "sweet cabbage", indicating that is it not sour, even though there is nothing sweet about it.

You can vary the measures depending on what you have and what you like. if you like carrots or tomatoes, add more. But in the ballpark, this is how it goes...

1 cabbage
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 steak, cut into about 1in pieces
1 pork chop, cut up
1 carrot
1-2 potatoes, cut in quarters
1 bell pepper, sliced
3 roma tomatoes
oil salt and pepper
bay leaf
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp paprika water

Saute the onions in a little bit of oil over medium / high heat for a couple of minutes.

Add beef and pork. Stir. Add more oil if needed. Brown the meat, add salt and pepper. You may also use seasoning salt, but this is optional.

Split the cabbage head into two halves and core them.

Cut the cabbage and cover the bottom of the crock pot with these pieces.

Add a layer of meet, onions, potatoes and carrots.

Place bell pepper slices over the meat layer.

Cover everything with one more layer of cabbage.

Grate the tomatoes and discard the peel.

Pour grated tomato over the cabbage. Add salt and pepper. Add water so that the water level would be about 1in below the top of the cabbage/ tomatoes. Cook on high for 6 hours. This can also be cooked on the stove as well, over low heat, covered.

When the cabbage is done cooking, transfer some water from the meal into a separate cup and mix with flour and paprika. Mix well, then transfer back into the crock pot and stir. Cook for 15 more minutes.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Grow your own cabbage:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strudel with Jam and Walnuts


Yeast preparation:
2 tbst bread flour
2 tbst sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
200ml lukewarm milk

500g bread flour
1 egg
zest from 1 lemon (grated)
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter, softened

1 egg yolk

1 jar jam (17oz/480g)
150g ground walnuts

Warm the milk to be about the temperature of your finger. Mix flour, sugar and dry yeast. Then add milk into it and mix. Allow it to rise (should take about 15 minutes).

Add all dough ingredients and the yeast mix into the mixer. Mix until the dough is uniform.

Transfer the dough onto a clean surface where you previously sprinkled a little bit of flour. Divide the dough into 4 parts.

Stretch the each part of the dough with a rolling pin to about 1/2 cm thickness. Then spread the jam and sprinkle ground walnuts. You can use any jam you like. We had raspberry jam and it worked very well.

Roll it.

Transfer the rolls into a pregreased pan. You can grease the pan with butter, margarine or just oil. Once the rolls are in the pan, apply the glaze.

Bake at 400F until golden brown. This can take 20-30 minutes depending on your oven.

Allow it to cool down, then cut into slices and serve.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Grilled Eggplant Salad

This refreshing side dish is perfect for grilled meat. Its easy to make and its delicious.


1 eggplant, cut in slices
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Slice the eggplant and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper on both sides of the slices.

Grill the eggplant over medium heat until the slices get grilled marks. Then flip and grill other other side as well.

Prepare the dressing- mix olive oil, chopped parsley and garlic. No need to cut the eggplant. It will fall apart on its own. Mix and serve.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sarma ala Zorana & Mama (Serbian = Сарма)

Sarma one of the most common Serbian dishes. Sarma in Turkish means "wrapping". Although we wrap many different kinds of leaves, sarma commonly refers to wrapped sour cabbage leaves.

Sarmas in Serbia are made with smoked pork ribs and absorb a nice smoky flavor as they simmers for a long time. Since it is not easy to get good smoked meat here, my mom and I made this experiment to see how we can make good sarmas with ingredients you are easily found at the supermarket. Of course you will have to get sour cabbage at a specialty store. We found this at the Rose Market, a Persian store in Mountain View.


20 sour cabbage leaves (whole)
2 yellow onions, minced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs ground beef

0.5 lbs ground pork

1 smoked polish sausage, 1/2 shredded in the food processor, and 1/2 sliced

1.5 cups white rice

8 bacon slices, 3 slices minced, and 5 sliced left whole

1/4 cup oil

2 tbsp paprika

1.5 tsp Vegeta or another vegetable based seasoning
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves

several dried red peppers (optional)

Prepare all the ingredients- mince onions and garlic, cut up the bacon and shred 1/2 of the sausage.

Heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough, add bacon and allow it to cook for several minutes. Bacon should not be crispy, so don't overcook it.

Add onions and garlic, and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the meat: ground pork, ground beef and shredded sausage. Now, it is important to stir the meat well and break up the lumps, especially if your meat was previously frozen.

When the meat looks cooked, add rice and mix well.

Now that you have a good mixture of onions, garlic, meats and rice, add paprika, Vegeta, salt and pepper. Be generous on paprika and pepper, but do not go overboard with salt, as the cabbage leaves are already very salty. Mix well.

Turn off the burner and allow the meat to cool down a bit while you prepare the cabbage leaves.

Take the cabbage leaves out of the jar carefully, so that they don't rip. Rinse them and stack them into a plate. If any leaves are very large, you may cut them in half.
Get your crock pot ready. Please a couple of slices on bacon on the bottom, and any smaller or ripped cabbage pieces. Cabbage is not necessary here unless you have some pieces to spare.

Now you are ready to wrap sarmas. Make an assembly line- cabbage leaves on the left, meat in the middle, and crock pot on the right.
1. Hold one cabbage leaf in your left hand. Place about 2 scoops of a meat fill with a wooden spoon.
2. Fold the cabbage leaf
3. Fold the two sides
4. Wrap tightly
5. Praise your sarma
6. Place it into the crock pot

In order to get good at sarma wrapping, you need a lot of practice. Here is a short video of my mom wrapping sarmas that might help you start.

Once you cover the bottom of the crock pot, add some sausage slices in between sarmas, then stack the rest of the sarma on top. You will need to make a second level.

When you are done with the second level, use the leftover sausage slices to put in between the sarmas on the second level, add the bay leaves as well, then cover the sarmas with the remaining cabbage leaves, bacon slices and dried peppers if you have any. Dried peppers are not a traditional way of making sarmas, but they add a great flavor and I would recommend adding them to this dish if you can find some. But please, don't use the spicy ones, this dish is not meant to be spicy, as it has a great flavor already that should not be overpowered by a hot pepper.

Rinse the flavors from the pan with water, and then use that water to fill the crock pot.

Fill to water to almost over the sarmas.

Cook on low for 9 hours.

Serve with fresh baguette on the side. Sarmas are good reheated, and taste even better the next day.

Also see collard greens sarma.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I was driving through Gilroy today, and thought I'd stop at one of the street vendors and buy some fresh strawberries. So, I bought a box full of them. They were not only good tasting, but also looked so pretty, I wanted to put them on my blog. So, here is an easy recipe for a good desert.

semi sweet chocolate chips

Wash your strawberries and dry them with a paper towel.

Melt some chocolate in a pan on the stove top, or microwave. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Use low heat. It is best if you can melt chocolate over boiling water (ex. double boiler), just to make sure you don't overheat it.

Look at these strawberries! They are huge!

When the chocolate is melted, dip strawberries in, and place them onto a tray.

Leave them in the refrigerator for 23-30 minutes before serving in order to solidify the chocolate.

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A double boiler is a great tool to have. It is great for cooking things that cannot stand high temperatures, such as melting chocolate, boiling milk, making fondue, even cooking foods high in vitamins. Double boiler consists of two parts- bottom part is filled with water and heated on the stove top, and top part contains the food item you need to heat (ex. chocolate). Since water will boil at 100C (212F), the top portion of the pan will not experience any temperatures higher than that. This will ensure that your chocolate does not burn, which is easy to do.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancakes for brunch- a great way to start your weekend!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together in your mixer, blender or by hand.

Heat some butter in your frying pan over medium to low heat. When it melts and starts to bubble, poor the batter in to cover the bottom. I use my smallest pan. Still, the size is large enough so one of these pancakes is just enough for me.

When the bottom is golden brown, your pancake it ready to be flipped. You might meed to add a little more butter before you make the next one.

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup. If you have some berries, they also go well with pancakes.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grilled Scallops


1.5 lbs large scallops
2 bell peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil
grated peel of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper

Mix all the marinating ingredients in a blow.

Add scallops and mix all together. Cover and allow to marinade for a couple of hours.

When you are ready to fire up your grill, thread, scallops, pepper and pineapple onto skewers.

Cook on preheated grill for a couple of minutes on each side. Scallops will change color slightly to opaque. Do not overcook them.

Serve hot with other grilled veggies and fresh greens on the side.

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