Wednesday, April 20, 2022

On a (Cabbage) Roll


Who's hungry? 

These are sweet and sour cabbage rolls that feature lemon juice (the sour) and raisins (the sweet). I left out the rice and just went for a meat and onion filling. I also used a brown sugar replacement so that it wouldn't be too many carbohydrates for the diabetic. I don't think anyone noticed. I've also made this with soya ground beef from time to time. 

The recipe I used comes from Traditional Jewish Cooking by, Betty S. Goldberg. I'll share the recipe as printed.


1/2 cup long grain rice

1 cup cold water

1 head green cabbage (2 1/2-3 lbs)

boiling water for the cabbage leaves

1 pound lean ground beef (mince)

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I used already ground because I'm vulgar)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 egg graded large

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, cut up. Reserve the juice

1 cup chopped onion (in addition to onion above)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup dark raisins

additional salt, pepper, lemon juice, and sugar to taste


In a 1 quart pot, bring the rice and 1 cup of water to a boil. Reduce the heat just enough so that the water keeps boiling, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. The water should be absorbed but the rice will be not quite tender. Set aside to cool. 

To soften the cabbage leaves, plunge the whole head of cabbage into a pot of boiling water large enough to accommodate the head completely. The whole head of cabbage must be covered by the water. Turn off the heat. Allow the cabbage to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the cabbage, cut out the core and carefully peel off 12 leaves. You can also place the cabbage in the freezer overnight, or microwave it for a minute on high. 

Shred the remaining cabbage and set aside. 

For the filling, use your hands to mix together the ground beef, rice, optional salt, pepper, 1/4 cup onion, and egg. If you like, cook a small amount so you can taste and correct the seasonings. 

Divide the mixture into 12 even sized mounds. Shape each mound into an oblong and place it on the center of the leaf. Fold over the top and bottom, then overlap the sides making a tight package. Cut out the tough ribs as necessary to make the leaves fold easily . (Note: I put the filling at the bottom and roll them like dolmas, but do whatever feels right to you). 

Place the shredded cabbage, tomatoes and juice, chopped onion, lemon juice, brown sugar, and raisins in an 8 quart pot with a lid. Set the cabbage rolls down gently on the mixture. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce to a gentle boil (I'd say a simmer will do it) and cover the pot. Cook 1 1/2-2 hours. The cabbage leaves around the meat should be very tender. Taste the sauce and correct the seasonings. 

To blend the flavors, turn off the heat and allow the stuffed cabbage t to rest about 15 minutes before serving. 

She suggests three per person, but I'd figure 4-5 depending on what you serve with it. 

Everyone full now? OK, let's move on to clothes. 

Back in the mid-80s I had a boxy, cropped cotton knit sweater by Carole Little. It was stripped in green, red, and black and had giant embroidered cabbage roses on the shoulders. It was hideous, and perhaps that's why I loved it. The weather in Chicago is even more unpredictable than Omaha, and for several years, until it finally fell apart, I wore it layered as required. In the era of oversized, embellished sweaters it was a reasonably normal looking wardrobe item. I've searched online for a replacement, without success. 

My mother hated that sweater almost as much as she hated my dark green men's wool overcoat that reached my ankles and made me look like a child playing dress-up in adult clothing. I didn't care, it was warm and made me look sufficiently strange that no one messed with me on public transportation, or leaving work late at night. 

Despite threatening to dispose of both items, she never followed through likely knowing I would have been seriously angry as they were bought with my own money. I was living at home and taking care of her, which I did until she died in 1992 (when I promptly moved across the country before her body was cold) but if she appreciated the help she never said. She did however have opinions about my clothing. It didn't matter. 

Generally, I didn't like Carole Little's clothing lines, particularly the St. Tropez West collections as they felt a little old for me at the time, but I loved that sweater. I still don't feel drawn to her pieces when they turn up in thrift stores but every once in a while something reminds me of  my beloved sweater and I succumb to handing over cash for it. 

It was probably the roses. This was a two piece set, though the top really is too much for 2022 with shoulder pads that make me look like an (American) football player. Here's the set worn together back in November.
I can appreciate over-doing something, but I think the pieces work better alone. 
By the 90s when the long skirts were everywhere, I was dressing much differently, and mostly vintage. I hated that long sweater over a long crinkly skirt look. By then I lived in Boston and everyone wore black. It would be a decade before I started wearing bright colours again. No idea what became of my green overcoat, but by 1993 it was replaced with a black wool overcoat with giant rounded shoulders (Think Scully from the X Files) that I bought with a generous employee discount when I worked at Jordan Marsh. That lasted until I moved to rural Nebraska where a black overcoat would look very out of place unless you were a priest. 

I like the skirt part of this set very much. It has a drawstring waist making it useful as my stomach has a tendency to bloat up even thinking about eating. In warmer weather it will look great with a tank top, or cheesecloth blouse. For now I'm keeping the top half simple with a black bodysuit and interesting necklace made of polished, semi-precious gemstones. 

I'm not sure the blouse will see much wear, but who knows? 

A better peek at that necklace. I have a shorter one that was my mother's, but this is a long necklace I've doubled.

Moving along, I found these absurd knit trousers at Goodwill and once I stopped laughing decided to purchase the physical shitpost pants. 

2019 was a "step" alright. Looking into the future...
The volcano image reads, "I'll have a good time. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well."

Positive affirmations for volcanoes...

I'm not big on memorabilia, but if I was looking for something to sum up the waning days of 2019 pre-covid a volcano congratulating itself for a good explosion feels...appropriate. I don't know whether to wear these or get a giant poster frame, and hang them as art. 
I do have some restraint when it comes to oddball clothing, but these were too good to leave at the store. Less than five bucks. 

Easter was a quiet day at home watching it sleet and snow. Even had a bit of hail. 
I'm sure this 80s Laura Ashley dress would have looked better without a poloneck beneath it, but it was freezing here. I didn't plan to wear this dress, but my first two choices were too big now that they might be a hazard working in the kitchen, so I went with this dress that was just merely big, not dangerous. 
I hate plunging backs though I could get away without a bra now. 

Don't worry, I'm not going to do that. No one needs to see that!

Here's the start of our Easter hail. Thankfully didn't do much damage.
In a typical year velvet wouldn't be part of my wardrobe in April, but here we are. 

This is a home sewn set (not by me) that I picked up and put back a few times before finally buying it. About three dollars for the set, so really couldn't complain. I have to wonder if it was a costume as it feels rather "Little House on the Prairie" to me. It isn't antique though-they didn't have cotton/polyester blends on the prairie. 

The back has ruffles as well and whoops-its snowing (Charlie's Dead, Showing next week's washing, etc,)! I have so many slips but never the correct length.

I overexposed the photo to show the black brooches on black. These are reproductions. My necklace is Victorian Jet.

Very pleased with this outfit even if I required a velvet jacket in April. By the end of this week we'll be back in the 80s though hopefully without severe weather this time. I can do without the tornadoes. 

The belt is every bit as heavy as it looks. It isn't operculum, but rather a heavy glass meant to look like it. I have an operculum brooch that almost looks identical, but smaller. 

I wish all my clothes were this easy to wear. I'm tempted to have a dressmaker copy it in other fabrics, sans the ruffles. Maybe I just need to visit the Mennonite clothing shops. 

I've been waiting two years to wear this dress. It was the last thing I bought before Covid hit the US in 2020. It was in terrible condition, but I patiently soaked it several times, repaired the seams, buttons, hem etc. and then waited for a day to wear it. Like everything else, it got a bit big on me, but I'm still thrilled with how good it looks. Mr. Dino was known for these wild prints on somewhat conservative clothing. Something for middle class mothers to wear (well, not mine because she always wore trousers). The wool sweater coat is also vintage and has a Made in the USA label. Don't see many of those anymore. 
Vintage Johannessen shoes and a Morris Moskowitz leather handbag.

Today was so dreary outside that I didn't put too much effort into getting dressed as I'd be hiding it beneath a raincoat. 
Another dress I wish were a bit longer. 
I know this is hardly considered a short hemline, but it feels a bit too youthful for me. I made certain to wear it with vintage old lady shoes lest I risk it being too racy...
Yes, they're support hose. 

And that's about it from here. School is back in session for the last five weeks and then Danny will be off to France in June. Hope you're having a great week.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Did Somebunny Say Easter Eggs?


Holiday Time! With Easter and Pesach overlapping this year, I've been a busy bunny. Dan wanted to colour some eggs, which these days he can take care of alone. We'll have a dozen hard boiled eggs to get through after Easter (the dye is food safe) but that's not a problem as everyone enjoys devilled eggs, egg salad, or even, an egg loaf. What's an egg loaf you ask?

Why this is! Egg and Olive loaf to be specific, from a 1973 issue of Gourmet Magazine.
You Will Need:

12 hard boiled eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup pimento stuffed olives, diced
2 tablespoons minced onion
Salt and pepper
(I added some radishes from the garden to be extra fancy)

Peel the eggs while still warm by running under cold water. Place in a bowl with the butter and with a potato masher, mash them coarsely. Stir in the rest. Line a loaf pan with buttered wax paper and pack in the eggs. Chill several hours before serving in slices.

I made that back in 2010, but I can't remember if we liked it. I didn't go out of my way to make it look good! 

Also cooked this week...

Sicilian cauliflower with chickpeas, capers, anchovies, and fried raisins. Quick and easy, everyone enjoyed it. 

 Most weeks I do some sort of stir-fry, this one was green beans, red peppers, and tofu. I added some ginger, garlic, and onions as well. Again, quick weeknight cooking but better than anything I could purchase pre-made in the freezer section of the grocer. 

Now that everyone's fed, let's move along to the clothes. 

I'd prefer a longer dress, but the print was too good to pass up. 
It reminds me of Colonial American fabric, though it would have likely been on a lighter background like this image I swiped off the internet
I wore my antique mourning brooch, or as Dan calls it, "Some dead guy's hair". He doesn't really appreciate the concept of mourning jewelry. 

I enjoyed the outfit even if I felt like a good wind might expose my behind to half of Omaha. 
It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last.
What are you looking at, pervert?

I had hoped this skirt would work for me as I have a good deal of brown in my wardrobe, but unfortunately, it didn't. I have it pinned and belted here, but as the day wore on it kept twisting around and looked lopsided . It was too bad, but I'll be moving it along as it has a nice bit of swing to it and on the right person will be a great piece. I am however keeping the odd little tee shirt even if the stripes on such soft fabric seem to bend and warp with every move. 

Cute bakelite sailboat brooches.
The shirt is originally Chicos, and the belt is Michael Kors, neither of which being the sort of thing I'd buy unless I was thrifting. 

The belt came with a bunch of branded logo crap hanging off it, which I removed. It is bad enough on handbags, but I definitely don't need all that stuff swinging from a belt. I don't know about you, but I'm not usually impressed by brands that sell in outlet malls-at least not enough to worry about signaling what brand I'm wearing. It isn't Hermes.  

Another dress that's just a bit shorter than I'd like, but was okay for an unseasonably warm 89 degrees F. day that ended with wild storms, a couple tornadoes nearby that didn't do much damage, and some hail. It was a strange night with the weather radio going off, tornado sirens in the neighbourhood, but in the end, very little actual rain. We're still in very dry, windy conditions facing wildfires and very dangerous conditions. There's a wildfire raging in the wildlife refuge and you can smell it and feel ash on your skin when outside for more than a minute. It is going to get worse if summer is as dry as projected. I've lived in Nebraska for 21 years, and this is the worst I can remember for fires. 
Anyway, 89 degrees F. is a bit warm for this time of year, but I found something sleeveless to wear with a cardigan for indoors where it is always too cold. 
The belt is a vintage Vera scarf I had that was a rather perfect match. I'm going to unpick the elastic on the waist as it hits in an annoying spot and would probably give me an extra inch or so in length. I've never gone in for flounces and ruffles, but something about this dress spoke to me. I think I had something like it in the 70s that was probably a hand-me-down from the 60s via my sister or cousins. 

The brooch is missing several stones and is horribly chipped, but I'm reluctant to fix it up-I rather like the aged look of it though seeing the photos I have to say it doesn't look quite that damaged in person. Well, it might, my eyes are terrible! 

You've seen all these pieces before

Vintage shoes

Tapestry belt

Some things just work so well together that I'm loathe to try styling it differently. 

You've seen this dress before as well. This time I made a belt from a sash belonging to a blouse. 

Vintage shoes are thrifted, handbag was my mother's
Tonight was the first night of Pesach (Passover) and we had a seder. Not a big affair, but we went through the entire ceremony unlike most years where we cut it short. It was nice, and relaxed with just Dan and myself. I don't get to spend a lot of time with him now, so I appreciate what we do have. This spring break has been lovely, we've even found time to do some birding. There's pelicans migrating in now and it is such a sight to see that many of them at once. 

I didn't snap photos of the meal because it wasn't anything you haven't seen before, though I did a chuck roast rather than a brisket, cabbage slaw and a potato pudding from a mix. I'm not grating potatoes anymore. We'll have a week of not eating wheat, barley, or oats. Some traditions allow rice and beans, some are okay with corn, and so on. It is 8 days, no one will die of malnutrition from going without corn.

And tomorrow, we'll do Easter.  

I hope you have a lovely holiday no matter what you celebrate, or a nice Sunday if you don't.