This is an old story from my stint as a cooking columnist in the new at the time Misphacha magazine. I hope it was worth bringing out of storage.
At a wedding, unusual in it’s opulence with simple elegance, I found a treasure. The tuba and French horn were accompanied by the bassoon. The fish laden stream ran under the bridge where the chuppah was held. The smorgasbord consisted of a Chinese, dessert and fleshig tables. It was to be a delicious meal. Each appetizer had a large fruit salad beautiful crafted on a generous plate with fresh mushrooms in a delicate sauce, and a large “American” salad with a choice of 2 dressings made from fresh ingredients on the table.
Anticipating ingenuity, I was not disappointed when given the choice of a large almond encrusted salmon slice or fried dough thin as tissue–paper tied with a scallion string looking like a bundle filled with seasoned rice as the appetizer. Experimentally, I tried the dough. Cutting into the delicate dough I was surprised to find the rice was actually nuts, chopped saute vegetables and herbs mixed with roasted liver chunks.
It reminded me of an uncomfortable situation I had just experienced.
Leah is a professional devoted teacher known for her caring and giving yet quiet personality. So I was surprised when another friend, Sara in true distress called complaining to me how Leah, the teacher, had caused her grief. The teacher had not been supportive of Sara’s needs; in a place where only the teacher could help out. Although I tried to not accept all the information as complete truth, I sympathized with Sara. Feeling close to Leah, I decided to speak to her and ask if she could “just give a little more of herself” to Sara who was in need. The teacher quietly accepted the reprimand with out a word. Yet pain was reflected in her eyes.
Only later, I learnt that Leah the teacher had not only been quietly helping Sara during this period, but without even Sara knowing, Leah had been quietly giving assistance to her for almost a year behind the scenes. I was mortified that I had judged Leah unfavorably. Yet I had found a pearl hidden in an oyster. After apologizing to her, I was relieved to see Leah’s sad eyes brighten.
Like the delicacy of the hidden liver with its abundance of treats, there are people who do not reveal all their jewels but are a real treasure.
Barley stuffed cabbage rolls with pine nuts and raisins
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Baking Ti me: 45 minutes
Preheat oven to 375* (175°C).
1 large head green cabbage cored
1Tbls olive oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
3 cups cooked pearl barley
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup raisins
2 Tbls pine nuts
2 Tbls copped fresh parsley
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup apple juice
1 Tbls cider vinegar
1 can crushed tomatoes
Preheat the oven to
Steam cabbage head 8 minutes cool slightly remove 16 leaves from cabbage head; discard remaining cabbage. Cut off raised portion of the center vein of each cabbage leaf set trimmed cabbage leaves aside
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion; cover and cook 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat; stir in barley, raisins, pine nuts and parsley. Stir in half of the salt and pepper.
Place cabbage leaves on a flat surface spoon about 1/4 cup of the barley mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold I edges of leaves over barley mixture; rollup. Arrange cabbage rolls in bottom of a baking dish.
Combine the remaining salt and pepper, apple juice, vinegar and tomatoes. Pour it evenly over the cabbage rolls. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until the cabbage is softened and slightly browned.
Sack of vegetables
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
1/3 cup vinegar
¼ cup scallions, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups flour
2/3 cup water
4 cup mushroom, diced
4 cups green cabbage, chopped
2 Tbls scallions, chopped
2 stalk celery. chopped
2 sprigs thyme and or parsley, chopped
2 Tbls sweet red wine
2 Tbls soy sauce
2 tsp ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbls roasted peanuts, chopped
Oil for frying
12 strings of scallions
Mix all the ingredients of the sauce together. Set aside
Mix the flour and water in a bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, knead 5 minutes. Cover dough, let rest 3 minutes.
Heat a large pan with the oil over a medium high heat. Add mushrooms, cook 3 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Stir frequently. Add the cabbage and cook another 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in the scallions, celery, wine, herbs soy sauce, ginger, salt, the sesame oil and garlic. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the roasted peanuts. Mix and set aside.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface. With a large drinking cup, stamp out circles.
Spoon 2 tsp of the mushroom mixture into the center. Bring the dough up around the mixture and twist. Pinch the middle of the covered sack to seal. Place on a large baking sheet dusted with flour, cover loosely with a towel to prevent drying.
In a small size pot, fill ½ way with oil and boil. Drop each sack into the boiling oil and fry for 3 minutes or until brown. Don’t overcrowd the pot. With a metal strainer, take out sack when done and drain. Before serving tie the green part of the scallion around the pinched part of the sack. Serve warm with the dipping sauce on the side.
Fresh Cherry Cobbler
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Baking Time: 55 minutes
½ of a regular Pie dough (frozen or otherwise)
1 egg lightly beaten
4 cups pitted fresh cherries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbls cornstarch
1 Tbls lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbls chilled butter (or margarine) cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 375* (190°C)
Cut the pie dough into 8 strips. Arrange the strips into a woven design on a baking sheet coated slightly greased. Brush dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake it for 15 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. Cool on a pan or rack for 10 minutes. Treat gently it is fragile.
Combine the cherries, 1 cup sugar, the corn starch, juice and salt. Let it stand 15 minutes. Spoon the cherry mixture into 8 inch baking or pie dish slightly greased. Top with the butter. Bake at the same heat as before for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Gently place the crust on top and serve warm or cooled.
##Tip:## The vegetable sack can be transformed into the liver surprise in the story by adding already prepared liver cut into small pieces and added with the peanuts.
##Tip:## The Vegetable sack can also be baked, saving a lot of calories. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20 minutes or until golden.
##Tip:## You can use frozen egg roll wrappers instead of making them as described as above.