CABBAGE ROLLS

Recipe shared by Marg Power (Toronto, Ontario)

If someone was visiting from Nova Scotia, Mom would always have a batch of these ready – and not simply because she was a wonderful hostess (which she was), but because they were requested. Cabbage rolls were a mainstay at family get-togethers, and especially at Christmastime when my parents would have a lot of company drop in. Mom confessed that these were a lot of work to make, but not because they’re particularly difficult but because she made so many! (Twenty-plus roasting trays full of cabbage rolls was not unheard of!) Filling and delicious, you couldn’t eat more than a couple if you wanted to save room for dessert. Today, my sisters and I carry on the tradition and make these at Christmas too – but not nearly as many. This recipe makes about 24 cabbage rolls, which are best served with fresh bread and a simple side salad.

2 large heads of cabbage
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 ½ – 2 cups long-grain converted rice
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon crushed red chilli pepper flakes
1 large can tomato sauce
4 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 – 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 – 2 teaspoons onion powder

  1. Boil cabbage leaves about 2 minutes or until soft (See note below for removing leaves) and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  3. Cook rice as directed on the package, but reduce the cooking time by about 5 minutes, so it’s slightly undercooked (it’ll continue to cook later). Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat with the spices and seasonings. Continue to cook and stir the meat until no trace of pink remains. Drain any fat then stir in the par cooked rice, cans of crushed tomatoes, and ½ the can of italian tomato sauce
  5. Spread the remaining half-can of tomato sauce in a very thin layer in a 9×13 baking pan.
  6. Lay the slightly cooled cabbage leaves flat and add about 1/3 cup filling to the center of the leaf. Fold in the sides and roll the cabbage up. Place the rolls seam side down in the pan. Repeat with remaining cabbage.
  7. Pour tomato juice over the cabbage rolls and sprinkle more of the spices over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 90 minutes. Remove foil cover and return to the oven to cook for a further 75-90 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Note: To remove leaves from the head of cabbage, cut approx ¼” off the bottom of the head and place the whole head of cabbage in boiling water and boil for about 2 minutes. Peel off the softened leaves and then place the remaining head back in the boiling water and repeat until all of the leaves are removed. Remove any tough stems/veins from the cooked leaves.

GOULASH

Recipe shared by Oliver Knaus (Vancouver, British Columbia) 

Mom’s an East German farm girl but admittedly learned this doozie from a Styrian Austrian. There’s a lot of flexibility in all this so by all means, listen to your heart (and stomach) as you try this a few times.

  1. Start with a pound or two of cubed meat. Traditionally this means beef or a split of beef and pork. Personally, I like to cut the cubes down to smaller pieces than the supermarket sometimes does. Then, a chopped onion or two. What’s critical is that your mound of chopped onion be roughly the same size as your mound of meat.
  2. Use a teaspoon or three of unsalted butter (never cook with salted butter, jabronis) to pan-fry the onion. Once the onion begins to soften if not brown, you can start with the meat.  Oil your pot with canola and drop in the meat. Stir the uncovered meat frequently enough to avoid sticking.
  3. You’ll note that a lot of moisture will get cooked out of the meat and build up at the bottom of the pot.  The exercise here is steaming all that away.  
  4. Once the moisture has all cooked off, your onions should be about done browning and can be removed from heat.
  5. while the pan is still warm, sprinkle paprika powder (non-spicy) over top of the onions liberally (usually it’s 3ish tablespoons but you’re looking mostly to cover the surface of all the onion).
  6. As the paprika sets into the onion, add a tsp of white vinegar and stir thoroughly.
  7. once the pot is clear of meat moisture and only the beef/pork remains, add a quarter bottle of red wine to the pot that should still be at the medium heat setting.  Stir vigorously in order to get all the meat to absorb wine before too much of it steams away.
  8. As soon as the meat has all been well-exposed to that vino, pour the contents of your onion pan over top into the pot
  9. Add enough water that the ingredients are covered in full.  It’s meant to be a stew so don’t make it too soupy but don’t be afraid you’ll water it down either. We can troubleshoot that later if need be
  10. Bring the covered pot to a simmer then reduce heat while maintaining it for roughly 45-60min (I say 45, mom says 60). Overall simmering time 90min
  11. At the end of that time frame (you’ll cry how good your kitchen smells) we add a chopped bell pepper (or a half of one if it’s big) and two tablespoons of tomato paste.  Stir into the mix.
  12. Continue simmering for another 45 minutes (or 30 if you went with mom’s option in step 10)
  13. Now, and ONLY now, you may add salt to taste.  Traditionally the amount is going to be a little less than you added in paprika in step 5.
  14. Taste.  Here’s the kicker….if it feels like it needs way more salt or paprika go ahead and add some.  If it seems like it only needs a touch more, leave it be. See step 15
  15. Never eat goulash the same day you make it.  Let it sit in the fridge overnight or at least six hours.  Then the flavours will have had a chance and you can taste it again.
  16. Serve over the starch of your choice (quinoa, rice, potatoes, dumplings, etc.). I’ve even done it over a cut up avocado, oh my). Top with sour cream if ya like, but I’ve never found it necessary. 
  17. As to substitutions, I’ve tried this with skinless chicken thighs and that is your best white meat option.  You may also try with lentils for vegan, or ground meat if you’re on a budget, but I do not endorse the results.

BROOKDALE MANOR SUNDAY SPAGHETTI

Recipe shared by James Brett (Las Vegas, Nevada) 

A long tradition of mine has been to invite friends over for a Sunday evening gathering of my now-infamous spaghetti sauce that, when prepared well in advance, has a very rich and tasty sweet flavour that complements fresh pasta, topped by a good sharp parmesan cheese and accompanied by some freshly baked buttery garlic bread.

1 cup pure extra virgin olive oil
cloves from one head of garlic – peeled and finely chopped to yield a scant ¼ cup
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped to yield 1 cup
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
2.2 lb (1 kg) 85% lean ground beef, preferably organic
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
5 dried bay leaves
½ cup soft brown sugar, or more to taste
1 large can tomato sauce
2 large cans chopped, stewed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano type – drained of excess juice
1 small tin of tomato paste

  1. Using a large cooking pot and over medium heat, carefully bring the olive oil to a frying/browning temperature and place garlic in oil first
  2. Let the garlic sauté with the oil in a calm sizzle for a few minutes, stirring frequently
  3. Carefully drop in the diced onion, add the salt and stir frequently to cook and soften onion to a ‘pre-brown’ state (do not burn or brown the onion!)
  4. Once the onion and garlic have nicely softened and sautéed in the olive oil add in all of the ground beef and with a large wooden or similar non metallic spoon, ensuring that the beef and onion/garlic are mixing up and continue stirring while starting to brown the beef, still on a medium to low medium heat
  5. Do not cook the beef too fast!
  6. Within the first minute of starting to cook the beef, add in all of the spices; basil, oregano, bay leaves and brown sugar
  7. Continue to stir often until the meat has browned and cooked nicely, for approximately at least 10 minutes
  8. Ensure that the canned stewed tomatoes are drained of as much tomato juice and discard the juice add in the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste and continue to stir constantly to ensure all ingredients are well mixed together
  9. Once the completed sauce is well mixed together, lower the heat to a low simmer temperature
  10. For the richest possible sauce at your first serving, cover the pot with a well fitting lid and let the sauce simmer on a very low heat for at least two hours, while stirring regularly every 15 to 20 minutes
  11. Sauce should continue to cook and ‘bubble’ while simmering!
  12. Remove from heat about 30 minutes prior to serving and keep the saucepan covered 

TO SERVE – Right before serving, stir the sauce vigorously but carefully to ensure all the wonderful oily juices are mixed back into the sauce. (Caution, as the sauce will still be very hot, the saucepan contents could splash and burn). Serve the sauce over a bed of fresh pasta (drained and that has been pre-tossed with extra virgin olive oil for extra flavour and to prevent the pasta from sticking together). Top your pasta and sauce with freshly grated Parmesan or similar sharp cheese.

STORAGE NOTES: Extra sauce should be cooled completely before placing in freezer containers and it can be easily frozen to be enjoyed later. To reheat, ensure the sauce is defrosted thoroughly by leaving out at room temperature or placing the frozen container in warm water for 3 to 6 hours. Then place in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a nice, hot serving temperature.

MARY JANET’S CINNAMON ROLLS

Recipe shared by Mary Janet MacDonald (Port Hood, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia) 

These cinnamon rolls have been a favourite in our house for so many years. They started way back when our 7 children were young. We didn’t have a lot of money so I would bake everything for their lunches. These iced cinnamon rolls came from a time when I brought home Pillsbury iced cinnamon buns to bake – they loved them so much – but I knew I just couldn’t afford to buy the Pillsbury buns as much as we’d like to. So I decided to use my biscuit recipe and try to make something similar – and thus – the recipe was born and became a family favourite. It just tickles me to know that people are making them and loving them – and I’m so darn proud that Gluggable likes them too. 

4 cups flour 
2 tsp. salt 
6 tsp. baking powder
2 heaping Tablespoons white sugar 
½ cup shortening or butter (your choice)
2 cups milk (2%) 

For cinnamon filling:
⅓ cup butter, softened
1 cup (or a little more) brown sugar 
2 tablespoons cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and have your cookie sheet ready with some parchment paper lining your pan. Mix the above together (with your hands). 

Add ½ cup shortening (or butter – your choice) (make sure it’s at room temperature) and blend it into the flour with your hands until crumbly (mealy). Make a well in centre and add 2 cups of milk. With a fork – scrape all the flour into the milk and combine until all the flour is absorbed and you have the dough nicely combined. 

Sprinkle a little flour onto your counter and form the dough into a ball and place on the floured surface. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the dough and on your rolling pin and roll out til about ½ inch thickness. You can use butter (or I use Becel because it’s nice and soft) and spread some all over the surface of the rolled out dough – just like you were spreading peanut butter on the surface of a slice of bread. Now add some brown sugar – sprinkle enough on – probably more than a cup – maybe a cup and a half until all spread out all over the surface and right to the edges. Now sprinkle cinnamon over the complete surface – don’t be shy. 

Roll up the dough like a jelly roll. With a serrated bread knife cut off both ends of the roll (these pieces you can cook on your second pan) but for now – cut your slices about ¾ inch thick and place on the cookie sheet. (I use a stoneware 9×13” pan). (I find they scorch easily in a metal pan – or perhaps you might want to try a lower temperature if you are using a metal pan. You’ll make about 15 cinnamon rolls. 

Bake for 18 minutes on middle rack (18 minutes in my oven – yours might be done at 14 minutes – check often). 

While they’re baking – make the frosting/glaze: 3 tablespoons butter or Becel; 2 tsp. vanilla, about 2 cups icing sugar, and a little bit of milk – stir and if too thick add a bit more milk until you have a nice consistency – similar to peanut butter. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls. Delicious!

GRILLED CHEESE TOASTIE

Recipe shared by Anna Walner (Vancouver, British Columbia) 

When I think of comfort food I think of two things: melted cheese and grilled bread. This can come in the form of simple melted cheese on buttered toast, which is basically what I survived on through my university days, or can take on more in depth flavours when made in the form of something like a Welsh Rarebit. Even a cheese calzone is another version. Growing up we called it a Cheese Toastie and making it in our old cast iron pan (always cast iron) might have been my first foray into the kitchen. It’s an easy dish to change up by combining different types of cheeses – anything that melts well and doesn’t have too much moisture will work. I have perfected it for myself and to this day it’s what makes me feel comforted on cold winter nights when I’m stapled to the sofa in my sweats. One might think you don’t need a recipe for a Grilled Cheese sandwich, but my version has a secret ingredient that changes everything.

Tip: Some people swear by spreading mayonnaise on the outside of the bread instead of butter for grilling because it creates a better crust. They aren’t wrong, but I prefer the flavour of all butter. If you do go the mayo route, use a good one like Hellmann’s

2 thick slices day-old sourdough bread
Salted butter, softened (see note below)
1/3 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup fontina cheese, grated
3 or 4 tablespoons tomato jam (recipe below)

  1. Spread both sides of each slice of bread with butter.  
  2. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-hot cast iron pan.  
  3. Place both slices of bread in the hot butter. 
  4.  Scatter cheese over top of each slice. 
  5. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until cheese starts to melt and the bread is starting to toast, about two minutes.  
  6. Remove the lid and spread the tomato jam on one slice, then flip the second slice of bread over top, so the jam winds up in the middle of the sandwich.  
  7. Continue cooking until the cheese is fully melted and the bread is nicely toasted.
  8. Remove from heat, cut in half and consume immediately.

FOR THE TOMATO JAM – This tomato jam will change your life. Use just the way you use ketchup. This recipe can be easily doubled. A water bath will make it shelf stable so it can keep up to a year.

1 – 28 ounce can of best quality plum tomatoes (datterini/datterino tomatoes are ideal, if you can get them)
3 fresh fresno red peppers (see note below), seeds removed and sliced.
¼ cup fish sauce
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
½ cup vinegar
⅓ cup white sugar

  1. Drain the juice from the cans of tomatoes into a blender.
  2. Add the peppers, fish sauce, garlic and ginger and puree until smooth.
  3. Pour into a medium sized saucepan and add the tomatoes.
  4. Using a hand blender, pulse the mixture a few times so the tomatoes are still a bit chunky.
  5. Simmer on medium low for 90 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a thick, jam like consistency. 
  6. Turn off the heat and let it cool in the pot.
  7. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Note: If you like it spicy, increase pepper count to 4 or 5. I like the gentle kick delivered from 3 peppers as I find too much heat just masks other flavours.