Sunday, February 28, 2016

28 February 2016

It has been over a month since my last post, but that's due to a shattered right humerus and surgery. I slipped on some ice and tried to catch my fall on January 23, the weekend before my birthday. Since then, I have been back and forth to my orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta, and I have had enough X-rays to glow in the dark. After some initial hope the break would heal on its own, I finally had surgery on February 11 at Norhtside Atlanta. The procedure was supposed to last under two hours, but once they got in and found the extent of the damage, surgery took four and a half hours. I emerged with 21 screws and two plates in my right arm, so needless to say, cooking has not been an option. On this past Friday, however, I was released to use my right arm for light tasks, drive and work half days beginning on Monday. I will also be doing Physical Therapy for a month or two to regain a full range of motion and, hopefully, to overcome a frozen elbow. After five weeks
of very painful home confinement, I am ecstatic to begin my road to
full recovery.

On the positive side, the past few weeks have provided some much self reflection. I have been overwhelmed with the cards, prayers, flowers, rides to appointments, edible arrangements and home-cooked meals provided by our friends and neighbors. Even though I could not cook, I have had some of the most delicious meals prepared by others. The generosity and kindness will not be forgotten, and I hope to repay some of this thoughtfulness when others are experiencing hard times. Other than my personal agony, the ordeal has been almost as hard on Jeff who has taken time off to care for me and do things that were impossible with one left hand. In addition, I have to acknowledge the support of my team at Grant Design Collaborative. Not only did they keep our projects moving, they even rose to the occasion to bring in a new client! I would be lost without their talent and commitment to our work. So the biggest conclusion is I am one lucky man, and my life is blessed beyond measure. Canton is a very special community, and there is no place like home.

During my recovery, I spent a lot of time watching television and, of course, cooking shows and food documentaries. I learned a lot and took a lot of notes (as many as I could type out with one left hand). One dish that looked especially appealing was Hungarian stuffed cabbage, and I have been thinking about this recipe for a few weeks. For tonight's Sunday Supper, my first since surgery, I decided to cook this dish along with a few special touches. The original recipe called for a plain tomato juice base, but I wanted it to be a little thicker and spicier. Therefore, I replaced the tomato juice with Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix and added some traditional spices found in the same drink. I guess I will call it a Zesty Bloody Mary Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. The Zing Zang and other bloody spices add just a little kick, and it certainly qualified as
comfort food.

Tonight is also Oscar Sunday, and I usually cook a more elaborate meal for the awards ceremony. Obviously, my chopping and dicing right arm was not totally up to the task. In a nod to one of my favorite nominated movies, Brooklyn, I did bake some traditional Irish Soda Bread and added some Italian ingredients to the cabbage rolls. Those of you
who have seen the movie will understand the connotations, and if
you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It is beautifully filmed
and acted.

For dessert, I made one of my favorites, a Meyer Lemon Ice Box Pie. The way I see it, I deserve a great pie after the past few weeks. Tomorrow, I look forward to getting back to work for a few hours, and it will be wonderful to be out and about in a hometown that overflows with love and kindness.

The Menu:

- Zangy Bloody Mary Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

- Sour Cream Marinated Cucumbers

- Irish Soda Bread

- Meyer Lemon Ice Box Pie

The Recipe – Bloody Mary Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground grass fed beef
1 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 cloves, minced
½ white onion grated
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1¼ cups of white rice, par boiled
kosher salt to taste
16 - 32 ounces of sauerkraut, to taste
1 cup Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 head green cabbage, cored
6 slices smoked bacon (optional)


Preheat oven to 325° F

Separate the large outer cabbage leaves and cook in a steamer for
15 minutes until softened but still intact. Remove and place on kitchen towel to cool. Chop the remaining cabbage core into four-six
small wedges.

In a large bowl, mix the beef, pork, paprika, fennel, black pepper, garlic, onion, celery, chile flake, celery salt, coriander, and rice until well combined. Season with kosher salt.

Cut the toughest part of the core out of each cabbage leaf, then one at a time, place 1/4 - 1/2 cups of the mixture onto the core end of a single cabbage leaf. Gather the sides up as you roll like a burrito to enclose
the sides.

Place each cabbage roll into a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray,seam side down. Pack each roll while leaving and fill any small spaces with the cabbage heart wedges.

When the casserole dish is full, top the rolls with the sauerkraut and some of it juices. Mix together the Bloody Mary mix, tomato sauce and Worcestershire, and pour it over the top until the liquid comes 1/2 to 3/4 up each roll. Lay the slices of bacon over the top, if using.

Cover tightly and bake in the oven for 3 hours, until rolls are hot
and tender.
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