Friday, November 30 –
Did you miss me? I missed you. I let this blog dinner slide into being about a week late, and I felt guilty the whole time. But I’m all caught up now, I promise!
This dinner was just BestestFianceEver and me and it was wonderful. I started with the stuffed cabbage by prepping all of the veggies, spices, and stuff for the filling. I used somewhere between one cup and one and a half cups of ground lamb – it was one large handful. Then half a chopped onion, half a cup of rice, then two teaspoons of each of the spices. Mixed altogether and let sit while I prepped the cabbage. We only bought a half of a head of green cabbage and we boiled each leaf for a few minutes each until they were pliable. Then I filled them with the meat stuffing, wrapped them as carefully as I could, and set them at the bottom of another pot. BestestFianceEver had the genius idea of using the hot water from boiling the cabbage to pour over the cabbage rolls. I ended up using just over two cups of that water to almost cover a double layer of rolls. I dumped a couple of scoops of chopped garlic over the top and turned the heat on and let it simmer for an hour. (I never did see where the lemon juice in that recipe was supposed to go…)
While we were waiting for that to cook, I chopped a little cucumber, a little tomato, a few leaves of mint, a radish, and a green onion, mixing them altogether. I put on a sprinkle of parsley, a dash of olive oil, and a good squirt of lemon juice. I let that mix marinate together for about a half hour. Then I shredded some lettuce leaves and scooped the tomato mix and set it on top, pouring the juices over the whole as a salad dressing.
To round out the dinner I decided to make baked fried eggplant. Not necessarily a true Gaza Strip recipe, but it kept with the theme and it was less calories than doing true fried eggplant.
When there was only ten minutes left on the cabbage rolls I toasted some pita in the oven next to the eggplant and set the slices on the plates next to the salad mixture. A scoop of sour cream for my plate, a few cabbage rolls for each, and we were ready for dinner!
The salad was a bright, sharp flavor that cut nicely into the cabbage/meat flavor. The cabbage rolls were flavorful and filling. I would definitely make them again.
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.webgaza.net)
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 spring onions
- 1 Radish
- Green mint
- 1 loaf of pita bread
- Dressing: Lemon, salt, and olive oil
Fattoush Preparation: Cut the vegetables into small – medium size pieces. The lettuce, parsley and green mint should be cut in small pieces. Cut the pita bread into squares of 1 square cm each and either fry them until golden brown or roast them under the grill. Add the bread to the vegetable mixture. Add lemon, salt, and olive oil to taste.
Malfouf – Stuffed Cabbage
- Medium Cabbage
- 1 ½ cups ground lamb
- 1 medium diced onion
- 1 cup short grain rice
- Garlic, you need few whole garlic cloves peeled and some minced.
- Optional, you may use whole head of garlic with the peel in between the layers
- 2 to 3 teaspoons of the following spices: Cumin, Caraway, Coriander, Cinnamon, Salt and Black Pepper. You may all the above spices or omit whichever you do not like to use.
- Cooking oil
- 1 cup Lemon juice
- 1 cup water or as needed
Preparation: Wash and drain rice. Mix up the ground meat, diced onions and rice; add cooking oil and the spices (Cumin, Caraway, Coriander, Salt and Black Pepper) set aside. Prepare your cabbage leaves by separating the leaves from the cabbage head. Cut away stems, save them and use them at the bottom of the pot. Boil the leaves a few at a time in boiling salted water until they are soft enough to roll. Prepare stuffing of meat, rice, salt, pepper and the above spices. Cut the leaves to form a cigar size roll. Place stuffing on each leaf, fold sides toward center and roll up from bottom into a cigar shape (similar with stuffed vine leaves). Do not over stuff; make sure that you have space for the rice to expand inside the cabbage rolls. Press together firmly. Place layer of the saved stems. Place the whole garlic heads in between the rolled Malfouf. Sprinkle with salt, caraway and cumin in between layers. Add water, boil then simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. Half way through the cooking time add crushed garlic on to. Let simmer. Simmer gently until rice is tender in barely enough water to cover. Invert your pot in a platter. You may serve this dish hot or at room temperature, depends on your personal taste.