Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


When I heard that the popular blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook (MGCC) was going to publish a cookbook through the Herald Press last year, I was very excited to order a few copies!  I have been reading the blogs of  Judy, one of the authors,of the blog My Front Porch, for many years. Through her blog I've been connected many of the other MGCC authors' blogs. Except for one American, they are all Canadians of Mennonite descent, who were taught the traditional recipes of their heritage from their grandmothers and mothers and are now passing those recipes down to a new generation in a new way over the internet.  They also cook favorite contemporary recipes with a wonderful flair by using the bounty of their country's produce in imaginative and delicious ways. Many of those those non heritage recipes are also included in this cookbook, along with an occasional gluten-free recipes. 

Here are the cookbook authors in a group photo from their web site, posing in the beautiful Fraser Valley in British Columbia. Remarkably, they almost all first met through blogs, when they began to see and comment on the traditional Mennonite recipes they fund in each other's posts.  Eventually in 2008, Lovella, of the blog What Matters Most, had the idea to begin the popular Mennonite Girls Can Cook (MGCC) website, where they pooled their efforts together, each taking turns posting a recipe on alternate days. On Sundays, one member will post a very uplifting and spiritual "Bread for the Journey" post.
Another remarkable sign of their faith and generosity was that they decided from the beginning of the MGCC blog, that if they were ever lucky enough to have a commercial cookbook published of their recipes, they would donate all their profits to a charity that would help feed those in need. When this became a reality they chose a shelter that feeds and provides services to street children in the Ukraine.


One of the reasons I was so excited to buy their beautiful cookbook was that although they are mainly of German Mennonite descent, their ancestors lived as refugees for a time in Russia and the Ukraine before coming to North America. I immediately saw a Ukrainian style to many of their traditional dishes and it made me very nostalgic for my maternal grandmother's cooking.

My Grandmother standing by her garden, circa 1960's

My grandmother came to the USA as a very young woman in the early 1900's, from an area outside of the city of Kiev, in the Ukraine. The first time she saw the ocean was the day she had to board a ship in Germany for the voyage to America! When she arrived in New York City she went through the process of immigration on Ellis Island.  I can never visit the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island without thinking of her, and what her experiences must have been.  She settled in the coal mining region of Pennsylvania and soon married my grandfather who was also of Ukrainian/Austrian descent.  Sadly, my grandfather was killed in a mine accident, leaving my grandmother with six children to raise by herself, when my mother was only three months old!  


I have such fond memories of visiting my grandmother when I was a child.   She always enjoyed our visits and had little treats waiting for us. I remember all the incredible fresh food we ate at her house-fresh eggs, freshly picked vegetables, pears, grapes and berries--all picked from her large garden and cooked on her black cast iron coal and wood stove.  My grandmother always had a pot of delicious soup or stew simmering on the stove top and something good baking in the oven.



Stuffed cabbage rolls ready to go into the oven

In a cookbook full of culinary memories, as I found in the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Cookbook, the first thing I chose to make was stuffed cabbage rolls, called " holubschi" in Ukrainian. My grandmother made these often, as cabbage was a staple in her garden.
To save this blog post from being longer than it already is, I won't post the entire recipe from the cookbook here, but you can see another full version on the Mennonite Girl's Can Cook website at this link.  It includes a handy tip on how to bypass pre-cooking the Savoy cabbage! While you are on their blog look around at more of their wonderful home style recipes and I'm sure you will also become a fan of theri blog.


The cabbage roils after simmering in a low oven for two hours.

The stuffed cabbage rolls were absolutely delicious!   The long cooking process really incorporates the sauce into the rolls and makes them very soft, slightly sweet, and "melt in the mouth" good!  My Italian born husband, who did not grow up eating cabbage rolls, enjoyed them as much as I did!


I know I will be making these stuffed cabbage rolls many times, as well as the paska, borscht, perishky and vereniki recipes from the Mennonite Girls can Cook Cookbook, as they are all wonderful heritage recipes I have not tasted for many years since my grandmother passed away. I also know I'll enjoy many of the other more contemporary recipes included in the cookbook, such as chicken enchiladas, rhubarb orange sticky muffins and coconut prawns, as they are all family favorites of the authors, and look so good in the color photography that accompanies each recipe! You do not have a Mennonite, Russian, or Ukrainian background to enjoy this cookbook--you only need to enjoy good, simple and delicious home cooking!

Please remember, if you purchase this cookbook, all the author's profits are donated to feed and shelter children!

Can anything better than that?

I'm linking this week to "Foodie Friday" on Michael's blog Designs With Gollum, "Friday Food with Nicole's Mom Trends blog, Beth Fish Reads for her "Weekend Cooking Party," and Beverly's Pink Saturday event of her blog How Sweet the Sound as some of the cookbook ladies are wearing cute pink aprons you can read about on this link.

 Go on over to these wonderful blogs and see some scrumptious posts!


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62 comments:

Barbara F. said...

Hi Pat these look delicious. I love stuffed cabbage, but being lazy I have a recipe for unstuffed rolls, just layers in a pot that I make when it is cooler. I will definitely check out their blog, it sounds wonderful. xo,

Melissa F said...

Those look really great, and healthy!

Linda Chapman said...

What an awesome post!! I loved reading every word! Food does indeed bring back fond memories!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I just came from their blog! I've followed them for a long time and even have one of my sons looking at their blog for recipes! I haven't bought the book...YET! I know I should just order one! I love all of these wonderful ladies! And I've enjoyed reading about your family! ♥

Marilyn said...

Nothing better than Eastern European meals!! When I was a child we called thise delicious dish "Pigs in a Blanket"!!
Wonderful Post!!
Marilyn

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Very nice post, Pat... I've always heard that the Amish and Mennonites are GREAT cooks... There is a sandwich shop not far from here which is run by the Mennonites... Their sandwiches are delicious.

The Cabbage Rolls look wonderful... Makes me hungry...

Glad you are enjoying the cookbook.
Hugs,
Betsy

Marg said...

Thanks Pat for stopping by and promoting a cookbook from the hearts of women who love to share their life stories through cooking.
It's been a project in the making...and it is now complete and we can sit back and smile at all the memories that we all cherish.

From the Kitchen said...

What a wonderful review! I am always up for a good cookbook, especially one like this that will help so many. I enjoyed hearing about your grandmother. Those cabbage rolls look delicious and sure to please my Polish husband.

Best,
Bonnie

Vee said...

Love this post! I had no idea that you were anything but a delightful Irish gal. How fun to learn about your grandmother and what a neat connection to this style of cooking.

(I know! Isn't today a corker? ☺ I mowed the lawn, weeded the flowerbeds, tidied up the yard and all without any misery whatsoever. So glad that this nice air is extending as far south as NYC!)

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I've been following and enjoying their blog for a while! I haven't had stuffed cabbage in a very long time, it looks great:@)

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I have been following the Mennonite girls cooking for quite a while now! Funny thing...I am making stuffed cabbage tonight for dinner!! Yup...pulled a bunch of giant leaves from the cabbages in the backyard garden. Yours looks delicious!!
♥ Susan

nanny said...

Cabbage rolls are one of my alltime favorite dishes....wish my husband would eat them!
I can't wait to have this cookbook in my hands, thanks so much for sharing the link!
My mother made wonderful cabbage rolls....she simmered hers for an hour or so....oven is even better!

Anne said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your little bit of family history, the food bit wasn't half bad either!!

GardenofDaisies (Gayle) said...

A very worthy cause! My daughter has a Russian-American boyfriend at the moment. I could make these cabbage rolls when he comes to visit.

Jo said...

I love the photo of your Grandmother and her gardens.
The stuffed cabbage brought back memories of my dear sweet mama too, she prepared stuffed cabbage also, I haven't fixed in a while, so it's time, gonna have stuffed cabbage SOON! This looks delish, and once again I enjoyed your post so much! YOU ROCK!
~JO
LazyonLoblolly

Carol said...

The stuffed cabbages look fantastic, Pat. I am of similar descent, we called them holupsches and they are the main reason I learned to cook, to duplicate my Grandma's. I'll have to order the book, it's a great cause and great recipes. Your Grandma sounds wonderful!

Ginny said...

I did visit this blog, and the recipe looks delicious!! I used to make stuffed cabbage rolls, but with a light lemon sauce and regular cabbage, not savoy. I have never had savoy cabbage, must try it! It took me awhile to find your grandmother, she seems so tiny in the picture. She must have been a woman of great strength and fortitude!!

Cindy said...

Hi Pat,
What a great post!
I have friends who get together with their family members and make holubschi, I had never heard it called that until recently. I had always known it as cabbage rolls. My mother used to make it and she is not even close to being anything other than born and bred American. Your holubschi looks wonderful, I love the ground beef and rice variety, the rice only one, not so much. It just is not very tasty.
I lived in the Fraser Valley in BC for many years, I wish I had met these wonderful Mennonite ladies before I moved away.
I will look up that recipe now!
Hugs, Cindy

Old Kitty said...

Wow!! What a lovely piece of family history! And I had to strain to find your grandma amidst her wonderful garden! LOL! Yay for your amazing grandma! It's so wonderful to read about her and about your happy memories of her. Lovely!!

And yay for the Mennonite Girls!! LOL! I'm only laughing as I'm getting tongue tied saying Mennonite! Love it!!

Enjoy your amazing cookbook and recipes! I hope that these wonderful Girls continue to create more cookbooks and preserve more wonderful memories for you! Take care
x

La Petite Gallery said...

I just laid on the floor kicking and moaning. I love the cabbage rolls, Briskit with kasha varnishke,etc. My Husband and I were in Russia and tried to find the village near Keiv where his parents came from. You need a special passport to go from one town to another. We never got there, RED tape. He was very upset.
Now I am going to make the cabbage rolls tomorrow. yvonne

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I don't make these very often but when I do, they are similar to these, with rice and ground meat inside. These are true comfort food in the cooler months.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Great post, Pat! Your grandmother must have been a truly amazing woman to be widowed with six children, the youngest three months and just to survive... I can't even imagine. Makes any whining I might want to do seem very petty. Thank you for all the inspiration you gifted us with today! blessings ~ tanna

Chatty Crone said...

I have been looking at their website for a few years - one of the best cooking websites. Now a book! Thanks.

ARLENE said...

Another great post, Pat. I love the MGCC blog and those cabbage rolls look incredible.

Emily Rittel-King said...

Oh my gosh. I have to make cabbage rolls now. Yummy. I bet the cookbook is good, too. I'll put it on my wish list.

Lovella ♥ said...

Pat. .how absolutely generous of you to do such a kind post on the book/blog. We are so thrilled everytime we hear someone has made something from the book and it has been enjoyed.
That was one of the things I don't think we had any idea would feel so surreal.
I feel a tad teary!. .in a good way.
Thank you so much for helping spread the word!

ButterYum said...

I haven't had stuffed cabbage in eons. Thanks for reminding me of those wonderful times as a child when my mother would make huge batches of them. I should make them for her some times soon.

Love the photo of your grandmother - fantastic.

:)
ButterYum

ellen b. said...

Hi Pat! What a wonderful tribute to our book. Thank you so much for the shout out. Cabbage rolls are one of my favorite, too. We call them Golubszi YUM!
Blessings...
It was fun to see your grandmother in her garden and to hear a little about your history...

Sarah said...

Stuffed cabbage looks delicious. It's one of my favorite dishes ~ real comfort food for me.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Pat...how nice of you to give our blog and book such a kind review. And your cabbage rolls look fabulous!

I so enjoyed reading of your family heritage...and your memories of your grandmother. Food and memories seem to go hand in hand!

Thanks for spreading the word about MGCC...the blog and the book!

Blessings,
Judy

Pondside said...

The book is a treat, the recipes are fool-proof and the reading between the recipes is inspiring. There will be a continent-wide run on cabbage after this post!

Annie said...

How I love cabbage rolls! One of my all time favorite foods.
In Russia they add saurkraut to them and sometimes raisins.
My grandfather was also a miner in Penn. and died from lung disorder in his late 40s leaving my grandmother alone as well.
These are the people who built the nation.
I love the photo of your grandmother.Thanks for sharing.

Ola said...

sounds like a very typicalcooking where I live:) My Mother often makes these rolls, I do not why, when it is very hot outside:)

Houseelf said...

Yum! Savoy cabbage is my fav veg. especially with a slowly roasted beef and gravy. Your cabbage rolls sound great. They look a little like the stuffed vine leaves in Lebanese cooking.

Pie Lady Pat said...

Ah, wonderful cabbage rolls! These look delicious. I make my own occasionally but more often pick them up at a lovely little deli/lunch place, the Euro Stop, owned by a woman from Romania. Every variety of cabbage roll has it's own twist and taste. I love them all! Thanks for this great post!

Grandmother said...

What a nice connection between these women and your family history and thanks for the heads up re: the website.

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

Gosh I love these, better known as pigs in the blanket. I wanted to pop over and tell you, how much we loved Brooklyn. YOur recommendation of the pizza tour was awesome. Great day, and I really love your neck of the woods.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Pat, what a marvelous, marvelous post about our Mennonite Cookbook friends! I loved every word.

My grandfather came through Ellis Island in 1910, he was from Austria-Hungary! His older sister was already in New York and she brought him over when he was about 19 I think. He ended up eventually moving west but had relatives who stayed in New York. I never got to meet that side of the family, sadly.

I've been considering what to write about today on my blog, and I think I shall feature your post. Check back later!

Ruby Jean said...

Just stopping by from Pink Saturday...Thank you for sharing this lovely cookbook... I have heard of them but I don't believe I have visited their blog...I will certainly be buying a cookbook...especially knowing that it serves such a GREAT cause...
Have a beautiful weekend..
Blessings
Angelina

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Pat.

I am absolutely thrilled that you featured this post for Pink Saturday. I have been reading the blogs of Judy and Marg for years now, and they are two amazing ladies.

I have cooked recipes from MGCC blog, but I have been slack to order my copy of their book. You have motivated me to get going on this.

My mother made stuffed cabbage rolls when I was a child, and I can still remember each wonderful bite. Yours look so good. Did you save one for me. Ah, who am I kidding. I couldn't stop with just one.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Ok girl...come on over and cook some of these for me.

OOH my goodness im starving now :)

I loved your photo of your grandmothers home. Wonderful.

Hugs
Claudia

Maison Mutt said...

Mr Mutt would love this dish! Wonderful post. Happy PS
Wag, Niki

KarenHarveyCox said...

Stuffed cabbage was always a favorite growing up. My mom is an amazing cook and her sauce was divine. I am going to copy this recipe and give it a try.

Karen

Kathleen said...

This Irish gal has made 100's of those. We used to have a Polish Dinner Dance every year at church, and we made them all day long! My Ukrainian husband loves them, me, not so much.
Your s look delicious, and I love Ellen b., she is one of the gals in the book. A real sweetheart!

The Gathering Place said...

I also enjoy the MGCC blog. The cabbage rolls look delicious and I think I might need to try them. I think it is wonderful to keep family heritage recipes alive. Good job!

Nicole Feliciano said...

Thank you so much for sharing on Momtrends. I love checking out all the Friday Food submissions. This is all new territory for me--and that is why I love the linky. Who knew about the talents of the Mennonite? Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing.

Claudia said...

I love everything about the post - your connections to the book and the recipes. The affection and pride for your grandmother. I am trying to think if I ever made stuffed cabbage - I do love it at a Ukranian restaurant in Minneapolis - it is splendid. And I think it stayed off my radar - but you just may change that.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a great resource...thanks for the info!

HaPpY pInK sAtUrDaY!
Sarah

mrs. c said...

i love those girls, I have been reading them for several months and love their recipes. We go to a Mennonite farmers market at every summer for the last 3 or 4 years and get all kinds of produce that I make into relish, chow chow, dill pickles, and salsa. I AM going to make these cabbage rolls! I never cooked mine in the oven but they look amazing. Thanks for sharing the info about their cookbook, what a great gift for some of my cooking friends!

Only Cute Things said...

Hi Pat these look delicious,Those look really great!

xoxo

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a wonderful post, Pat! I remember the MGCC blog was one of the first I discovered when I started blogging and always enjoyed reading it. I also enjoyed reading about your grandmother.

I love cabbage rolls also but have never tried making them myself.

Margot said...

I'm so glad to hear the "girls" have come out with their own cookbook. Those cabbage rolls look delicious.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I had no idea The Mennonite Girls came out with a cookbook. I need to look it up. Those cabbage rolls look scrumptious!

Donna said...

Stuffed cabbage rolls remind me of my mother, mmmmm so good. I enjoyed reading about your family, Pat, and love the photo of your grandmother.
Growing up in PA and living in the Amish and Mennonite area (my husband is Brethren) we have some excellent cooks in the family.
I love the MGCC blog!

Hugs,
Donna

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

There are some great looking food pics here... now you have me thinking what do I want to make tonight?

Joy said...

Lovely stories -- thanks for sharing them. And the cabbage rolls look yummy!

Vicki said...

Love hearing the stories. Those cabbage rolls look amazing. I clicked on the link and added the recipe to my recipe box. YUM!
Here's My WC

Beth F said...

Thanks for linking this to Weekend Cooking. What a great post. Wow. I'm especially glad to have read this because my grandfather was born in pre-Revolution Russia and my husband's grandparents came over from Ukraine. We both grew up eating rolled cabbage but our family recipes are different. His grandmother used no tomato, my did. I'll have to check out the cookbook.

Sheila said...

Hello Pat - cabbage rolls are so wonderful and I can't wait to try this recipe. Vee is mailing me a gently used cookbook - I was the lucky winner of her draw. I plan to buy more cookbooks though. I think they'll make great gifts for my friends! those Mennonite Girls Can really Cook...as Vee once said...

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hi Pat, I've been following this blog for a while too and I just love it! They are such a nice group of women! I'll be ordering their cookbook too!

Have a great week!

Mary

Willow said...

Pat, this is a wonderful post! I'm just back from visiting my grandson (and his mama) and catching up with everything and everyone.
That one lonely American author? She's the MGCC blogger who I know face to face (through connecting up via our blogs)!

Nance said...

I'm a food blog freak! And Ukrainian cooking is a genre with which I'm only familiar in literature. So I think I'll have to do the recommended poking around...lucky me!