Family Favorites · New Favorite

Runza

I know Runzas are a staple to my Nebraska and Kansas friends but not something we grew up with in Iowa.  A few years ago I was watching the television show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where they visit Lauer-Krauts  in Brighton, Colorado.  A friend and I made the trek to Brighton to try one of their krautburgers and they were delicious, but frankly, too far a drive when you have a craving.

This recipe was close to what we experienced and I decided to give it a try.  It was very good and I would love to try making them with either a mixture of fresh cabbage and sauerkraut or simply with sauerkraut.  Growing up in Iowa, Mom’s homemade sauerkraut was amazing and I now love all things kraut!

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RUNZA

Makes 10 Runzas

Dough:

1/4 oz packet of dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups bread flour
12 tablespoons salted butter
2 teaspoons salt

Filling:

1 pound lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons salted butter
1 Vidalia onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 head cabbage, chopped

  • To make the dough, combine 3/4 cup of very warm water, a pinch of sugar, and the yeast in a bowl. Let it sit until it blooms. If you’ve never done this before, pop yourself some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show. You’ll know what I mean when the “blooming” begins. Okay, maybe it’s not that cool…
  • Add 3 of your eggs and whisk with your yeast mixture.  Add 2 cups of your flour to the liquid and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Add the butter, the sugar, the remaining flour and salt and mix well.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.  Place the dough ball in a buttered bowl and let sit for one hour at room temperature.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour.
  • Remove the dough and divide into 10 equal portions. Roll into separate balls and let sit covered while you make the filling.
  • Speaking of the filling, get your ground beef sizzlin’ on a skillet.  Season as desired with salt and pepper.  Cook until lightly browned, then remove the beef from the skillet with a spoon and place it in a bowl, leaving most of the grease behind.  Add your butter to the skillet and begin sizzlin’ your onion.  Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes or so.  Add your garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Add this whole mixture to the bowl with the beef.
  • Next, using the moisture still in your skillet, get the pan nice and hot.  Add your cabbage and stir constantly until the cabbage is lightly browned and translucent-ish.  It may seem like a lot of cabbage at first, but it shrinks down substantially.  Add the cabbage to the beef mixture.
  • Flatten your balls of dough with a rolling pin.  Each dough saucer should be about 8 inches in diameter.  Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of filling in the center of each dough-saucer and pull the edges together and pinch to enclose the filling in the dough.  To avoid a thickened dough-seal, I actually cut off the excess dough with cooking shears.  If you don’t do something like this, you’ll find a doughy center as you take your first chomp.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° while the runzas sit and rise for a bit.  Brush some of the egg (your remaining egg of the 4 you originally had) on the top of each runza to give it a nice browning while in the oven.  Cook the runzas on a greased baking sheet for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe from Highheelsandgrills.com 

Family Favorites · Holidays

St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage is an Irish-American tradition, not one commonly found in Ireland. None the less, it is a tradition many of us treasure and cook only 1 time a year. I prepare this dish in my trusty Crock Pot and it’s perfect every time. This time I chose to omit the carrots and go with a basic beef, potato, onion, and cabbage meal.

Pair this dish with Irish Soda Bread and a beer (green) and have yourself a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

1 raw corned beef roast (3-4 pounds)
1 head cabbage washed and cut into wedges
8 red skinned potatoes, washed
3 carrots (optional)
2-3 medium onions (optional)
1 cup water
salt and pepper

  • Place corned beef brisket in crock pot and top with vegetables, water, salt and pepper.

  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • If you like your cabbage a bit crisper, you can add the cabbage 2-3 hours before serving.

 

Czech Heritage · Gluten Free · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Cabbage Slices

Several weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a recipe for roasted cabbage and I meant to copy or print it.  Short story, short…I forgot.  This week I was in the mood for roasted cabbage and…no recipe. After a quick Google search, I found a similar recipe from Martha Stewart for Roasted Cabbage Wedges.

The recipe calls for caraway OR fennel seeds and I AM a caraway seed lover but decided to do a few of both. The fennel seeds won, hands down!  The fennel gives a nice touch to the roasted cabbage where I didn’t feel the caraway enhanced the flavor. My Czech ancestors would probably roll over in their graves if they heard me admit that!

Great recipe to pair with pork, Bratwurst or for a vegan dish.

ROASTED CABBAGE SLICES

1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices
Coarse salt and pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Place 1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices, in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Brush the cabbage slices with 2 tablespoons oil.
  • Season with coarse salt and pepper, then sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
  • Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40-45 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Family Favorites · Holidays · My Roots

Irish Soda Bread…St. Paddy’s Day Tradition

Let me just say that I will eat almost any ethnic food any time, any where.  While I’m not truly Irish, my family would say that we are part ‘Scotch-Irish‘.  Like every good American, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day eating the traditional corned beef, cabbage and Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Soda Bread is tasty and simple.  The key is to make sure the bread is cooked through by testing with the ‘hollow sound’.  It’s delectable served warm with butter, but I love a piece drizzled in honey.

This St. Patrick’s Day:

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
–Irish blessing

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet.
  • In large bowl, combine flour with soda, sugar, salt and cream of tartar, mix well.
  • Add buttermilk; with fork, stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn out dough only lightly floured board. Knead lightly until smooth, about 1 minute.

  • Shape dough into a ball; place on cookie sheet. With hands, flatten into a 7″ circle. With sharp knife, cutting 1/4 inch deep, mark into quarters.

  • Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden-brown and loaf sounds hollow when rapped with knuckle.
  • Remove loaf to wire rack. Brush top with butter; cool completely.

Yield: 1 loaf

Nicaragua

Hiking and a Picnic … Kicking back in Nicaragua

Our tummies were full from breakfast and we were off to another local coffee farm, followed by a wonderful picnic lunch at a local river.

Our ‘back of the pickup’ excursion to the picnic location

Our local transportation was either by foot or in the back of a pickup. I love the open air experience, reminding me of riding in the back of my Dad’s 1958 Chevy Pickup around the Iowa farm.

The final leg of our picnic excursion was by foot, across a pasture and down to the local river for swimming, bird-watching, and howler monkey scouting. The weather was sunny and gorgeous. Local cattle watched the gringos pass through their green pastures with a curious eye.

The final hike down to the river bed was shaded by a canopy of beautiful trees, bubbling waters and water falls.

River bed in Nicaragua
Waterfall at local Nicaragua river

We put down our packs, marveling at the tremendous work it took for our hosts and staff to coordinate and transport all of the fixings for our gourmet lunch by the river. While our lunch was being prepared, some of our group enjoyed soaking in the river while other settled in on the rock of choice enjoying the splendor of our surroundings.

After relaxing for a bit, lunch was served.  (I am yearning a ‘do over’ as I write this.) The grilled kabobs, rice, cabbage salad, Pico de Gallo, homemade tortillas, and juice were delicious. Everything tastes better when enjoyed in the outdoors!

kabobs, cabbage salad, tortillas and rice at our river picnic
Fresh Pico de Gallo

Again, our tummies were full and….what’s that noise. Howler monkeys! This was our first experience hearing and seeing them. My dinky point and shoot camera was up to the challenge to capture a silhouette of these funny creatures.

A rain storm was moving in and we got moving, too! A quick hike back to the truck for our ride back to Finca Esperanza Verde. Free time awaited us…what to do? Hike, siesta, read? Decisions, decisions!

Family Favorites · New Favorite · New Traditions

Refrigerator Crock Salad…a slaw with many faces

My Mother occasionally made this salad, often with fresh ingredients from her garden.  The last time I made this recipe was 15+ years ago for a Christmas party.  This week I resurrected the recipe and tried it out in several ways.  Each combination was wonderful.

Refrigerator Crock Salad

1)  Side dish to barbecue ANYTHING

2)  Pairs very well with fish and would be GREAT on fish tacos

3)  On a sandwich (daughter Sarah’s fiancé, Kyle, put it on a turkey, cheese, and ham salad combo sandwich).  Sounds incredibly weird, but delicious!

Besides being delicious, this salad keeps in the refrigerator for several days.  In fact it just keeps getting better and better.

REFRIGERATOR CROCK SALAD

1 head green cabbage
2 green sweet bell peppers
2 red or orange sweet bell peppers
4 carrots
2 onions
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 cups white cider vinegar
2.5 cups sugar

  • Shred cabbage, peppers, carrots, onions in a large bowl.  Soak in salt water for 2 hours.  Drain well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar and the sugar.  Pour over shredded ingredients and refrigerate.  Let sit for a minimum of 3-4 hours before serving.