Cooking and sewing my way into the New Year

My building is converting from oil to gas heat on Monday. The boilers will be off in my building so I won’t be able to cook. I decided to do much of my cooking today and serve some of it for Shabbat dinner.

My family traditions are often a bit idiosyncratic, to say the least. Apparently Sukkot and Purim are the traditional times to serve stuffed cabbage.  In my family, that’s what we ate on Rosh HaShanah. Tzimmis is a traditional Sukkot food, in our house it shows up to mark the beginning of the Jewish year. My grandmother used red dishtowels for dairy dishes and blue for meat unlike the rest of the known kosher homes in the universe. I don’t follow all family traditions slavishly but when the High Holiday season approaches I NEED stuffed cabbage and tzimmis.

Lyear I made a memorable tzimmis with flanken bones. This year I cut up London broil into chunks for the tzimmis.


I make tzimmis in the turkey roasting pan. I’m telling you this so you get a sense of the sheer volume of meat and vegetables that I cut up. this pan can hold a 30 lb turkey. It took 90 minutes to get everything chopped up.


Here is the sky-cam view.


After everything is cut up you cook it covered, and then uncovered to dry up the juices.  I put two gallons into the freezer and we are eating the rest tonight.


I also made stuffed cabbage.


Getting the leaves off the cabbage is usually the worst part of the job. I know that some of you will write to me telling me that if I put the cabbage in the freezer for a few days the leaves will peel off like the bark off a birch tree. I don’t think I ever have room for a large head of cabbage in my freezer, especially not before a holiday. I actually tried the frozen cabbage method a couple of times and it did not work for me. I used the old fashioned steam the cabbage in a big pot method. I did a serious job of coring the cabbage before steaming and that seemed to make a huge difference.

I got every leaf unwrapped.

I mixed the chop meat with rice, lots of spices, including a bit of cayenne pepper this year.


I know that my buddy Ann will look at the mixture above and tell me that it looks great except for the raisins. I think the raisins are mandatory.  Ann, if I ever make you stuffed cabbage, I will leave out the raisins, but only because you are a good friend.


All stuffed and rolled up foods are done the same way. You plop the filling in the middle, fold the east and west sides of the wrapper over the filling and then roll up.



You then stew all of the cabbage rolls in a sweet and sour tomato sauce. Thanks to my friend Alan Divak the sour is provided by sour-salt rather than by vinegar.


I ran out of cabbage leaves and just tossed a few meat balls on top of the pot.


Stuffed cabbage is pesky food. It does make my kids, at least the two who love to eat, really happy so I make it for them.

We need to eat well during the holiday but a girl also needs a new dress or two for the new year.

Both dresses were made with the same sort of irrational fabric-love that those of us who sew occasionally fall victim to.


I fell for this orange textured knit.


It looks like what adults were wearing in the early 1970’s. I wish I had white low heeled pumps with thick heels and lots of brass hardware to wear with this dress. If I had a matching pillbox I could be a stewardess for a Florida airline.

The next dress recalls the late 1950’s. I bought the fabric at P+S Fabrics while I was on jury duty. It was on the 75% off rack.


Unlike my usual quick and dirty dressmaking methods, this dress is underlined  to give the silk a bit more body. I also had stitched the armholes and the neckline.


Yes, it needs a serious pressing. I also have to hem the dress. It’s a dress that wants to be worn with pearls.


Shabbat Shalom!


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