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Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi)



This recipe takes me back to my Mom's kitchen and early years of marriage when I wanted to make something fancy. We called them Galopse ( a variation of the Polish name for them, while others call them by the Ukranian, Holuptsi). Although we don't have these that often any more, (mainly because we have so much to choose from today) I still do enjoy that "comfort food" flavor. It's a good make-ahead meal because they are always good re-heated. Cabbage rolls are great for pot-lucks and very economical. This recipe makes 12-18 rolls. Sometimes I form a few meatballs for those who don't care for the cabbage.

Ingredients:

Rolls / Filling:
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage
  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 grated onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ chopped pepper, any color
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups water (approx)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (or 2 teaspoons better than bouillon)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (according to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can tomato soup (optional) 
  • 1 bay leaf
Method:
  1. Place cabbage in a large pot of boiling water and peel off leaves as they become soft. Set aside. If you are using regular cabbage, cut around the core before placing it in the water.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook onion and pepper in a small amount of oil until tender. 
  3. Mix flour and half of the water in a sealed container until well blended and add to onion/peppers. While cooking, add the rest of the water and stir until smooth and bubbly. Add bouillon and tomato paste. For more sauce, mix more flour and water and add another bouillon cube for flavor. Adjust amounts according to desired consistency and add salt and pepper according to taste.
  4. Mix raw meat, salt, pepper, onion, sour cream and cooked rice. Place a few tablespoons of meat mixtureonto each leaf, fold ends and roll up. Place close together in roaster.
  5. Pour sauce over cabbage rolls, tuck in bay leaf and bake at 350° F for 1 1/2 hours. 
  6. Once cooked, remove rolls to serving plate. If there is not enough gravy, add a can of tomato soup to the liquids in the roaster and bring to boil. With the soup you can also adjust flavors by adding some milk or cream.

Harvest Brown Bread

Tucked into the bread section of my Mennonite Treasury Cookbook is a stained and worn piece of paper with the recipe for our family favorite brown bread. I got it from a friend in the late seventies and is simply known as Ruth P's brown bread. I often wonder what happened to Ruth, one of those people who was part of my life for a time and who I haven't heard from in twenty years. But I think of her whenever I bake her bread and hope things have gone well for her and her family.


  • 2 Tablespoons fast rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 large tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups white flour (plus 1-2 additional cups in step 5).
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Prepare yeast mixture by dissolving sugar in lukewarm water...add yeast and let stand ten minutes.
  2. In large bowl, dissolve salt and honey in warm water...add yeast mixture.
  3. Mix together the three types of flour. Add flour slowly to mixture in bowl and beat well.
  4. Add oil and sunflower seeds.
  5. Knead in enough white flour to make dough smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until light. 
  7. Punch down and form loaves. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
  9. Yield 4 medium loaves

    *When using instant yeast, add to flour in step three and omit step 1, proofing yeast in sugar water.)


I gave you the recipe as it is written, but since I always use my Bosch machine to mix bread, my methods and amounts differ slightly. I usually do one-and-a-half times the recipe, and make a few little loaves for the grandkids.

Summer Fruit Pies



Although several great recipes for pies have been posted already, I will add some more pictures and ideas so that we have more to glean from. Below I have the general pie pastry recipe for 1 double crust pie. This will fit a regular or a deep dish pie plate.

BASIC PASTRY ( for double crust pie)
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or lard
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
Method:
  1. Combine flour, salt and shortening in medium sized mixing bowl.
  2.  Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender until pieces are the size of large peas. 
  3. Sprinkle with water and stir with fork, in circular motion, until there are no more lose crumbs.
  4. Press together with hands and shape into a ball. Divide in half. 
  5. Turn out on floured surface, pat and shape with hands into circular shape then roll out a little larger than your pie plate. Roll onto rolling pin and unroll into pie plate. Bottom crust should come up higher than edge of pan

FRUIT FILLING – (deep) double crust
  • Brush unbaked bottom crust with slightly beaten egg whites, to keep from getting soggy. Fill with fresh or frozen fruit. (approx 6 cups) Sprinkle with mixture of sugar and flour that is WELL MIXED. (Amounts will vary depending on tartness of fruit and taste preference) I just shake or tap the pan so sugar disperses a bit.
  • Cover with second crust. Fold top crust over and under bottom crust, so that you can pinch the two layers together as you flute them.
  • Brush with beaten egg white and cut small slits. Bake at 400 F for 15 min. Turn down to 350 F and bake for another 50 min. or until juice bubbles out through slits.


Filling Suggestions:
  • blueberries - sprinkle with some lemon rind, mix ½ cup sugar and 4 Tbsp flour
  •  peaches and nectarines – mix  ½ cup sugar, 3 Tbsp flour and 3 Tbsp tapioca
  • blackberries – sprinkle with lemon rind, mix ¾ cup sugar, 4 Tbsp flour and 4 Tbsp tapioca
  •  apples – mix ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp flour
FREEZING PIES:

If you want to make up some fruit pies in the summer while the fruit is handy and get the work over and done with, I would suggest multiplying the recipe:
  • 1 pound (1 pkg) of shortening or lard, 
  • 5 ½ cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 egg, 3/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp vinegar 
Divide the pastry into three or four balls and divide each ball again, so that you can make 3 large double crust pies or 4 small double crust pies to fit 9-inch foil pie plates.

Don’t forget to brush the bottom crust with an egg wash and then again the top.
Because the foil pie plates are smaller, use a little less fruit (4 – 5 cups) and a little less sugar mix if you want them slightly on the tart side.

Freeze pies first to freeze the egg wash on top, then transfer into plastic bags, or do the top egg wash just before baking. Note: a frozen foil plated pie will easily transfer into a glass pie plate later.

Extra Tips:
* Don’t knead pastry, rather handle as little as possible.
* If the pastry tears as you transfer it, don’t re-roll, rather patch and seal with egg wash later.
* Don’t add more liquids because it will give a tougher crust.
* Baked pie keeps up to 5 days in the fridge and can be re-heated. Pie can also be frozen raw and baked later.

Salsa

Since there's an abundance of tomatoes and peppers out there right now, I thought I would share my salsa recipe. It's a recipe I got from my sister Kathy about twenty years ago and is a staple at our home. I cook up a large batch in fall and we enjoy it year-round.  This is a zippy salsa; if you prefer yours on the mild side, remove all the seeds and ribs from inside the jalapeno peppers.

 

Salsa
  • 10 cups tomatoes (peeled, chopped and drained)
  • 8 small jalapeno peppers chopped (remove seeds for less heat) 
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green peppers 
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/3 cups vinegar 
  • 1 can 12 oz. can tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling salt 
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Ladle into jars; tighten lids and process for 20 minutes in hot water bath.
*Optional : Stir in 1/3 cup cornstarch diluted in cold water and simmer for several minutes to thicken salsa before filling jars.



*This also makes a wonderful, tasty fresh salsa.  Place chopped veggies in a large bowl.  Mix vinegar, tomato paste, herbs and seasonings and add to chopped vegetables. Stir to combine.  Keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.


Schaubel Zup (Green Bean Soup)

My mom made a soup like this when I was growing up, but it wasn't one of my favorites. Recently I decided to revisit this green bean soup and found that it’s actually better than I remember. The broth, with a little sweet cream in it, reminds me of the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden. How much better can it get? Here is the recipe – a combination of ideas of how my Mom made it and a recipe in the Mennonite Treasury.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb smoked ham hock
  • ½ dried red hot pepper
  • 10 black pepper kernels
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 - 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 6 cups chopped (frozen or fresh) green beans
  • summer savory
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or beef) if needed, for extra flavor


  1. Cover ham bone with about 8 cups water in large pot. Tie spices into cheesecloth and add to pot. 
  2. Bring to boil, take off scum, and simmer about 1 hour. 
  3. Take out ham bone. Add vegetables and cook another hour. 
  4.  While vegetables are cooking and after ham has cooled somewhat, remove ham from bone, chop into bite size pieces and return to pot. 
  5. About ½ hour before it’s done, add a handful of summer savory, tied together for easy removal. If you can’t get summer savory, use a tiny sprinkle of thyme. Adjust flavors with bouillon if needed.
  6.  Add ½ cup sweet cream or sour cream, before serving. Enjoy a trip down memory lane.
To make this soup with farmer sausage, simply cook  peeled and chopped sausage along with vegetables for an hour. You can also pre-cook the onion, then add water, sausage and vegetables. Use bouillon cube and summer savory for flavor.

Quick Blueberry Streusel (Platz)

It's blueberry season, or soon will be, for those of us living in this part of the country. As a child I reluctantly used to go picking in the summer to make some spending money, but now I find it very relaxing to get out there among the rows and rows of berries. Especially with some good company, to eat, enjoy the sun and anticipate the desserts that will come.
This delicious crumb cake is the easiest and quickest you will ever make, with the base and crumb topping made of the same mix.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg beaten with fork in meas. cup, then filled to 1 cup with buttermilk
  • 2 cups blueberries
Method:
  1. Mix butter into flour and sugar with pastry blender until well blended and crumbly. 
  2. Set 1 1/4 cups aside for topping. 
  3. To the first, bigger part of the mix, add baking powder and soda, then stir in combined egg and buttermilk 
  4. Spread into greased or parchment paper lined 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with 2 cups blueberries and reserved crumb mixture. Squeeze to make crumb clusters as you drop them by handfuls.
  5. Bake in upper part of oven (important)  at 375F for 35 - 45 min. Cool or serve warm with ice cream.

Blueberry Oat Bars



It's summer time and today I'm happy to share with you a blueberry bar that can't be resisted.  I tasted this last year at Berry Bounty Farms which is a family owned and operated berry stand, just a few kilometers down the road on Chilliwack Central.  They also love to use our MGCC recipes.
This is one stop you can't miss.  Check it out and you will be greeted by a friendly smile, a fresh glass of raspberry juice and a sample of baked goodies.

Blueberry Oat Bars
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 5 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp almond flavor
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  3. Bring blueberries and orange juice to a boil in a sauce pan.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.  
  5. Whisk in cornstarch and boil, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.
  6. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate or cool up to 30 minutes.
  7. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy. 
  8. Add almond extract.
  9. Mix in flour, baking powder and oats until mixture is crumbly.  
  10. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture for topping.
  11. Pat remaining crumb mixture into cake pan.
  12. Spread cooled blueberry topping evenly over crust.
  13. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
  14. Bake 30-40 minutes until lightly browned.  

Light & Runny Strawberry Jam

When I first started making jam many years ago, I was confused with the many suggested ways to cook (or not cook) jam. Some said to cook until done, some said not to use pectin, others called for too much sugar . . . you get the idea.
Being a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t just wing it and have the jam turn out a little different every year. I wanted it to be exactly right … not too sweet, not too hard, not too runny. . . so I've worked on it over the years and got it to where our family likes it, runny enough to use a spoon to spread a scone or fill that little hole on a Zwieback for Sunday Faspa.

Tools/Accessories:
  • blender or immersion blender
  • good quality, large stainless steel pot
  • wooden spoon
  • canning funnel
  • clean jars and new lids
Suggested amounts of ingredients needed for 24 - 30 cups of jam (12 - 15 pints):
  • 1 - 15 pound flat of strawberries
  • 4 kg sugar (10 pounds)
  • packages Certo light brand pectin OR 4 packages (other) regular pectin crystals
  • 4 teaspoons soft margarine

Ahead of time:  Wash jars and rings. While  jam is cooking, sterilize jars by heating in a 225° F oven for 10 minutes and keep warm until needed. Heat rubber lids in a small pot of boiling water and keep hot.

Berry Prep: Wash berries before stemming. Crush about 3 cups of berries at a time. With a good blender, pulse for 5 seconds, stopping to shake fruit to the bottom so as not to over-blend OR  fill an ice cream pail - a third full - and use an immersion blender to crush. If berries are very ripe you can use a potato masher. Pureed berries should still be of a thick and slightly chunky consistency. Collect crushed berries in a large bowl or ice cream pails until done. I usually do this in the evening and refrigerate the berries to cook the next day.  (15 lbs of berries will make 4 batches - or about 30 cups jam)

Measure and set aside seperately:
  • 6 cups mashed berries 
  • 4 1/4 cups sugar, separated
  • 3 tablespoons Certo light (or 1 package regular pectin crystals) mixed with ¼ cup sugar
To cook:
  1. Place fruit and pectin crystals mixed with 1/4 c sugar into a large pot. (Pot should only be about 1/3 full.) 
  2. Place over high heat on an element that keeps the most consistent heat,  and stir constantly with wooden spoon, until it comes to a bubbling boil.
  3. Stir in remaining 4 cups sugar. Continuing to stir, add 1 teaspoon margarine to keep the foam down and cook until mixture comes to a full, rolling boil again. (you can hear it) Set timer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down slightly if it splatters too much, but keep the boil. 
  4. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes until clear and shiny. Crush any large floating berry pieces with a fork against the side of the pot if needed. Ladle hot jam into jars until 1/2 inch from rim. Cover with lids and screw rings to seal.

* The jam will be runny until it's completely cooled.
* Important note: Freezing the jam (once it's cooled) keeps it fresher tasting and it’s not necessary to seal the jars. Even keeping sealed jars refrigerated keeps the flavor fresher tasting than just having it sit in the pantry.
* You can freeze blended berries in 6 cup proportions, ready to cook in the winter, but you will need a bit more certo. (I freeze in 9 cup proportions, add 6 cups sugar and 1 package pectin with thawed mixture. This makes about 12 small jars)

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 This is one of my favorite pancakes. If you like lemon, ricotta cheese and blueberries..you will love these fluffy pancakes. It doesn't take long to whip them up and if you have a griddle you can cook them all at once.

Batter: 
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium size bowl combine the ricotta, egg yolks, milk, and vanilla. The ricotta I used was quite dry but if your brand happens to be on the runny side, just make sure to drain the liquid.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture, mixing gently just until combined.
  5. Whisk in approx a cup of the egg whites to fluff up the dough, then fold in the rest of the egg whites just until combined.
  6. Heat griddle to medium high, brushing surface with a little butter. Using a ladle scoop the batter on the griddle. Using the back of the ladle push the dough outwards a bit on each pancake, so you don't end up with too thick a pancake.
  7. Cook pancakes approx 4 minutes, then flip over and cook until golden brown, approx another 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of your pancakes.
  8. Serve with lemon sauce, blueberries, a dollop of ricotta cheese and dust with icing sugar and a little lemon zest. Decorate your pancakes as you wish:) I couldn't resist having a little fun with them.
  9. Yields 8 to 10 pancakes. 
Lemon Sauce: you can make this ahead of time and reheat just before serving.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened.
  3. Stir in lemon juice, zest and butter.
  4. Serve warm.
  5. Yields: 2 cups

Lemon Basil Carrot Bundles


Here's a veggie plate suggestion fresh from the garden.  The carrots can easily be prepared in advance and reheated at the last minute.  They taste as good as they look!
  • 8 large carrots (about 2 pounds)
  • 8 stems of green onion
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  1. Pare or scrape carrots. Then cut into strips about 3 inches in length.
  2. Cook carrots over medium heat until tender crisp.
  3. Remove from heat.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. Place onion greens in a covered dish in the microwave.  Cook on high for 30 seconds.  Cool and use limp onion greens as ropes to tie the carrot bundles.
  5. Gather carrot strips into eight bundles.
  6. Tie each with a green onion stem. Trim off ends of carrot bundles to even out lengths, if desired.
  7. Place bundles in a shallow bowl and drizzle with lemon basil mixture.
  8. Cover and chill until serving time. 
  9. Reheat in the microwave oven for about 3 minutes or until piping hot.
  10. Serve on a bed of steamed fresh green peas, if desired!
Serves 8


Enjoy!