It is funny how there are traditional foods that you grow up eating on a regular basis. You LOVE these foods. Yet once you are an adult, for whatever reason, you only make them once in a great while. I guess for me it depends on how complicated or intense a dish is… I wonder if that means I am a lazy cook?
Take cabbage rolls for instance: they are not “hard”, maybe a little fiddly, but not hard. We all LOVE them, yet I only make them about twice a year. Maybe I don’t make cabbage rolls as often because while the taste is heavenly, the smell of cooking cabbage has never been one of my favorite smells.
I have found the perfect little trick for helping with the initial sulfur-like smell of cooking cabbage! I always add a whole cut-up lemon or lime and a couple of bay leaves to the salted boiling water. This does two things: helps with the smell, and bumps up the flavor!
Many cabbage roll recipes have very thick tomato gravy that they are cooked in. Honestly, that is how Granny’s original recipe was. I tweaked the recipe, though. Now it has a savory, thinner beef gravy with just a hint of tomato.
I think one of the greatest lessons I learned from my grandma is to view a recipe as more of a guideline: To read it through, and then think about whether it can be improved upon or changed up to fit with my family’s tastes and dietary needs. Sometimes the improvements work… sometimes, not so much! I hope that you both are never afraid to try something new, change something up, look outside the box – you never know, you could be creating your new favorite dish!
Love you like a crazy loon, boys!