There are two things you should try over the next week or so, and that includes stuffed cabbage rolls and being kind to those who may differ from you politically. I know, I am going there. But, this isn't a political rant, I promise! Although I never mention it here, due to mainly wanting to keep this space light and carefree and a fun place to pop by, the current state of things in our country is on my mind and in our home discussions frequently. We both get our daily news fill (Kyle from AM radio on his daily commute and me from watching the news or reading a mixture of articles). Sometimes, I'm not sure what to make of it all, but there is no doubt that there is plenty of division in our country right now.
My heart has been heavy, and after having a rude encounter at the dog park yesterday, and witnessing some driver and a motorcyclist almost getting in a fight on the highway last night (driving in Austin can be a mess), I came to the realization that we need to be kind to one another, no matter how the other person is treating you. My first reaction is to be defensive and rude back, but that doesn't help anyone. Small acts of kindness really help in a time when there seems to be so much division. If there is one thing I hate, it is labels. Political party labels, race labels, labels on Christians, on women, on men. I've learned we can't judge someone or assume anything without truly knowing them or what they stand for. We would all be happier if everyday we set out to be kind to the folks we interact with daily.
Here's some ideas: Smile at the barista behind the counter and ask about their day. Be a courteous driver and let people in while they are driving in traffic. Go out of your way to hold the door open for someone. Smile to strangers.
There were some uplifting stories that I have come across recently and wanted to share, including a firefighter who helped a Boston Marathon runner at the time of the bombing who are now getting married (!), the Tonight Show comically found common ground between both political parties, and this $450 tip left by a Trump supporter to a waitress in DC. Oh and unrelated, but puppies!!!!
So anyway, back to a much more fun topic: food. When I was at the farmer's market again last weekend with my blogger friend Haley, I spotted these beautiful red cabbages and just had to get them. (Although, I'm not sure why they are called red cabbage when they are clearly the most gorgeous shade of deep purple.) I have never done much with cabbage before, but I had heard of stuffed cabbage, which is traditionally an Eastern European dish made with a flavorful tomato sauce base. I soon wondered if I could make it with an Asian-flavored twist, similar to what one might find stuffed inside a dumpling.
It was delicious! I used soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, and plenty of garlic. After it baked in the oven, it came out steamed similar to a dumpling. They were like the cutest little pockets of goodness. I served it with extra rice, but that's not necessary since there is already rice stuffed inside. I think this would taste even better with ground pork too.
Asian Stuffed Red Cabbage
- 2 medium red cabbages
- 4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked rice
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 diced scallions or 1/2 chopped onion
- 1-2 carrots, shredded (optional)
- 2 tbl. soy sauce
- 1 tbl. sesame oil
- 1 tbl. sriracha
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 cup water
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Slice the core off the end of the cabbages and carefully pull off the outer leaves. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the water. Mix together with a spoon or clean hands until fully incorporated.
Scoop a large spoonful onto the middle of one of the cabbage leaves. Add another spoonful if the leaves are large, but make sure to leave enough room for the leaves to fully wrap around the filling. Roll up tightly.
Place the rolled and stuffed cabbage seam side down in a large 9x13 or similar size baking dish. Continue rolling the cabbage until the filling is gone.
Pour the water over the cabbage, and cover tightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until meat is cooked through in the filling. Sprinkle with more red pepper flakes or Sriracha if desired. Serve with rice, or by itself!