wisconsin goodies

our friend leslie came to visit last weekend, and she brought us some delicious goodies from her home in viroqua, wisconsin: homemade ramp pesto and new glarus beer. since lately all i seem to be good for is taking pictures of food, it seemed appropriate to honor her gift with an homage to the culinary delicacies of wisconsin.

a few days ago i had made some ricotta cheese with another friend (blog post to come, don’t worry!) and added it to the pasta we made with leslie’s pesto. it. was. delicious.

and perhaps brian’s favorite part of the meal, leslie also gave usĀ new glarus honey bock, which apparently you can’t buy in minnesota (and only buy in wisconsin?). delicacies indeed! thank you, leslie!!

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stuffed cabbage, a.k.a. alien babies a la alison

for months, my colleague/friend rachel has been telling me about how fabulous the moosewood cookbook is. last night, i finally got around to cooking something from it.

i made stuffed cabbage. sounds a little weird, but we’ve had an extra head of cabbage rolling around our fridge for longer than i’m willing to divulge here, so i figured it was worth a shot. the recipe is actually in the link to the googlebook above, so i’m not going to mess with spelling it out here… you just get the pictures and my sparse commentary.

Cooking with cabbage was a very unique experience. My not-so-extensive cabbage background includes slaws and soups, so to core it, boil it, peel it apart, and use the leaves to hold all the stuffing ingredients was completely alien to me. Funny enough, the cabbage itself actually took on something of an incandescent, ghostly, and alien quality of itself, as well.

Here, I thought the cabbage leaves looked lacy, skin-like, and very eerie. I don’t know what to make of this picture… totally not appetizing. But how could I not include it here?! You must be prepared what you’re up against. Alien Skin, that’s what.

Once the cabbage is cored and boiling, you begin to sautee the onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in butter. Later, I added salt, pepper, and sunflower seeds.

Once all that jazz is sauteed up, you add a chopped tart apple, a pound of ricotta cheese, lemon, tamari, and some other stuff… I forget what it was now…

Then you take the ricotta-based stuffing and roll it up into the cabbage. Here, I thought the cabbage-rolls looked like little baby aliens–see, the stems are like spines! Again–NOT appetizing to look at, but I promise, it is delicious (plus later, it gets prettier). Spread some cashew-ginger sauce (in my case, almond-ginger) on top and stick it in the oven for a half an hour.

And viola! This dish was by far one of the most surprising, delightful meal I’ve made in a long time. It is tart, creamy, and sweet all at once. Next time I’d pare down on the ricotta–I don’t think the stuffing needs to be *that* creamy–but if you make this, DON’T LEAVE OUT THE SAUCE. It’s too good to leave out.
Now go make your own alien babies!