quinoa stuffed cabbage- a gluten free galumpki

stuffed cabbage, galumpki

I love putting quinoa in unexpected places. If I put it out somewhere expected, like in a bowl on the dinner table, no one would eat it. Myself included. But here, the quinoa blends seamlessly into the salty sausage, caramelized onions and it just loves being all snuggled up in a warm blanket of cabbage leaves.

I know, some folks still aren’t on the quinoa train, but this dish is sure to convert them. It even got the thumbs up from my inked up ex-marine brother who seldom strays from cheese steaks and meatballs. And he is way too cool to give an actual thumbs up.  It was more like “This is good”.

I interpreted this as an enthusiastic thumbs up.

stuffed cabbage-Easter

Gulumpki

Disclosure this is yet another one of my grandfather’s traditional Polish dishes that I have successfully butchered and healthified.

Ingredients

1 pound sausage, casings removed

1 cup cooked quinoa (about ½ cup uncooked)

1 cup chopped onions (1-2 small onions or one large onion)

1 head of cabbage, about 3 pounds

1 cup tomato sauce

Directions

Trim the stump off of the cabbage. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. During a full boil, add the entire head of cabbage and boil, rotating if necessary, until the leaves begin to loosen and fall off. This will take approximately 6-8 minutes. Using a  large slotted spoon, carefully remove the head of cabbage. Allow to cool while you prepare the sausage. Begin cooking the sausage in a hot skillet.  When evenly browned, remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spatula. Add the diced onions to the pan. Fry the onions in the sausage fat. (If you are hesitant to fry things in pork fat, feel free to wipe the pan out and cook the onions in olive oil)

When the onions are fragrant and nicely browned, add the sausage back into the pan along with cooked quinoa. Gently heat and mix all ingredients together. Season with black pepper or any herbs you may have on hand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once the cabbage leaves are cooled, begin by laying a large leaf out and slicing out just the hard white core in the center. Scoop some of the sausage-quinoa mixture in the center of the cabbage leaf and roll it up like a burrito. Repeat for the remaining cabbage leaves.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan and arrange the cabbage rolls on top. Any extra cabbage leaves can be layered on top of the rolls. Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with additional tomato sauce.

stuffed cabbage-Easter (2 of 1)

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Balsamic Apples and Roast Pork with Speckled Mustard

Balsamic Apples and Roast Pork with Speckled Mustard

“If we are what we eat, then I only want the best.” Ratatouille

When my husband and I started dating, we woke up every morning at 4:30am to squeeze in an early morning weight lifting session at the gym. On the weekends, we climbed mountains, ran marathons and biked until our cheeks were too sore to sit.

At one point, our living room furniture was replaced with Pilates balls and an exercise bike.

6 years and two kids later,  our running routine involves barefoot games of Sharks and Minnows and our weightlifting regimen has been replaced with tickling tournaments and kitchen dancing with two thirty pound toddlers.  We push a mammoth double stroller up steep hills while singing lullabies as the sun sets on the suburban sidewalks.

And although many things have changed over the years, 2 things will always be the same.

1. We will always love each other.

2. We will always eat great food together.

Happy Anniversary Steve, I love you and I will always make your favorite dinner for you…

Balsamic Apples and Roast Pork with Speckled  Mustard

So it’s like a grown up fancy-pants version of hot dogs slathered in mustard with a side of applesauce. Except it’s really not that fancy. It’s pretty simple, with only a few ingredients, most of which may be hanging out in your pantry.

Start roasting the pork in the afternoon while you go outback and rake leaves into colossal piles or stay at home in your jammies and build forts out of couch cushions and warm blankets and watch each others hair stand on end with static… or whatever else you do on lazy Sunday afternoons.

The Newlywed Version (adapted from Men’s Health)

1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter

2 Boneless Pork chops

2 apples, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

1  Tablespoon bourbon or whiskey

Side of good quality grainy, country style Dijon Mustard

Sauté garlic in olive oil until softened, add the pork chops and cook on medium-high heat for 6-10 minutes. As it cooks, whisk together the vinegar, whiskey, and a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the mixture to the pan, filling in the spaces between the pork chops. Turn the pork chops over and stir the apples, cook for another 6-10 minutes until done.  Serve with mustard and a side salad.

The Family Version:

Pork Loin Roast, 2-3 pounds

4-5 apples, chopped

2 cloves garlic

4 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

5 Tablespoon whiskey or bourbon

Preheat oven to 375. Place pork loin in a roasting pan and add about an inch of water. Salt and pepper the roast generously. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 2 hours (or more, depending on the size of the roast). Whisk together the whiskey, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl.

When the pork has cooked for 2 hours, remove from oven and pour 3-4 tablespoons of the vinegar mixture over the pork. Cook another 30 minutes uncovered, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees with a 3-5 minutes resting time. Toss the remaining vinegar mixture with the chopped apples in a skillet and saute until tender.

Slice pork and serve with Balsamic apples and a generous portion of speckled grainy mustard.

This pairs really well with a salad made up of fresh Asian pears or apple slices and toasted walnuts all tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.