Sunday, April 25, 2010

Uniting & Helping to Stamp out Hunger Day 2

Every community has activists & those particular activists have those they help. The Austin area is full of such people. Anyone who picks up the Austin American Statesman each Wednesday very likely reads the Life & Arts as well as take in the weekly food column Relish Austin by Addie Broyles. Addie is indeed one of those community minded people who brings concerns to the hearts & minds of fellow Texans helping to make Austin a better place. More often than not I find myself jotting down or clipping a recipe out of the Statesman from the Wednesday paper. This week she has extended an invitation for a group of fellow bloggers to come together for the Hunger Awareness Blog Project.

Austin Food Bloggers met this past week to discuss blogging as well as cooking with food the Capital Area Food Bank Recipients would receive if they were a client at a food pantry in an effort to raise awareness of the hunger crisis in Central Texas.

The face of hunger in Central Texas & across America would surprise many. There are many folks out there working, trying to make ends meet & living on a fixed income, elderly or simply needing a stop-gap to fill a short term need. In helping those around us we ultimately help ourselves.
Average Food Bank offerings for a week that we will be cooking with are as follows:
2 cans spaghetti sauce
4 canned veggies
4 canned fruits
1 meat selection example: 1 lb. of ground beef (the Capital Area Food Bank said they receive everything from hams, chickens to pig trotters)
3 drink items (choice of lg. bottle of cranberry apple juice & or powdered milk
1 bag spaghetti or egg noodles
1 bag of beans
1 bag of white rice
1 package of jalapeno slices
1 ready-made dinner (example: Hamburger Helper)
1 bag/container of oats
1 bag of cheerios
5 lb. bag of potatoes
This list can be offset by many of the food bank recipients being able to use Lonestar/WIC to help modestly augment the food at local grocery stores or even the Austin Farmer's Market.

What could you do for your family for a week with this same food? How can you get involved in the Capital Area Food Bank?

My daughter & fellow blogger Bytes from Texas: One Longhorn's Adventures agreed to do this project together since our numbers are the same as a family unit. We shopped the food pantry items & made small Fresh Vegetable/Dairy WIC selections based on the guidelines for the WIC & SNAP food benefits program. We will be posting a weeks worth of Meal choices based on the Hunger Awareness Project list.

Any spice used can be altered or omitted. Spice & flavors can be so individual.

I am posting a main meal made with Rice, Spaghetti Sauce, a Meat portion *I use Ground Turkey, it was served with mashed potatoes. Our family makes potatoes with the skin on for more nutrition. We also used a portion of a large Cabbage & Onions purchased at the Austin Farmer's Market.


1 lb Ground Turkey
1 cup Rice, uncooked
1/2 cup bread crumbs (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 celery salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp.cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 Mexican oregano, Italian is fine
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 med. Onion, diced, reserve a few slices for onions
large cabbage leaves***
1 1/4 cups canned Spaghetti Sauce
Grind day-old bread in a blender(or break it up finely with fork before blending into meat), and add seasonings.
Mix bread crumbs, onion, rice & turkey well, combine all ingredients other than the cabbage.
Remove the core of the cabbage & then cut off while carefully removing the outside leaves, approximately 14-18 large leaves
Fill a large stockpot with salted water and bring to a boil & then reduce the water to simmer. Place the cabbage leaves into the Simmer for a few minutes and remove as the outer leaves begin to turn a bright green. (save the liquid as it can be used to thin sauce or add veggies & make stock for another meal.)
The object is to cook the cabbage for as little time as possible, but long enough to tenderize the outer leaves. Remove from the water and allow to cool on a dish until the outer leaves are still hot but are cool enough to handle.
Remove as many outer leaves as you can by cutting them or tearing. Reserve the rest of the leaves for other dishes or lining the pot when cooking.
NOTE: As you remove leaves, some will tear and otherwise not be suitable for using as a wrapper. Do not discard these, as they can be used to line the pot, or you can shred them to add to the filling mixture.
At the bottom of each leaf there will be a thick stem; sliver a slice off this to thin it out (I cut a V-notch to help with the roll process). The purpose is to make the base flexible so that you can roll it up.
Stuff each leaf with a healthy serving spoon of the filling mixture. Starting at the bottom of the leaf, roll up one turn, then turn in the sides of the leaf to cover the filling, then roll up some more until you reach the top of the leaf and have a little bundle.
You can now either place the rolls a slow cooker or dutch oven pan.
Layer the bottom of the Crockpot or pan with broken cabbage leaves (the ones that weren't complete or too small to use for rolling). Stack the filled cabbage leaf bundles on top of the bed of leaves, a single layer at a time. Top each layer with a few spoons of sauce or even tomato paste, and repeat with another layer of leaves, another layer of cabbage rolls, etc.
Stack the bundles in their layers carefully with the end of each leaf underneath (some people fasten with a toothpick but this is not really required). Finish off the final layer with any remaining filling.
Alternatively, you can bake these in the oven. Prior to baking I mixed in an additional pinch of cayenne pepper with my Spaggheti sauce & thinned it out slightly with the liquid I blanched the cabbage leaves in.
To bake, stack bundles over cabbage leaves in a casserole dish, pour on the tomato sauce, cover with foil, and bake in a slow oven, 300 degrees F., for about 2 hours.
Cover and simmer on the low heat setting of your stove top for 2-3 hours or in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours.
Whichever method you use to cook the cabbage rolls, be sure not to overcook, so test often and remove when the cabbage leaves are tender.

***My husband's Grandmother was one of the premiere cooks in a large family of fabulous southern cooks. She always said to buy or ask the produce manager for the leaves from the outside of the Cabbage which people often discard or pulled away from the Cabbage back years ago in order to only pay for a compact head of cabbage. Cabbages are full of Vitamins K & C as well as an excellent source of dietary fiber. Avoid the wilted or limp cabbage leaves. This combined with the nutritional goodness from the protien & the portion of mashed potatoes make up an excellent & healthy meal.


Chef E said...

What a brilliant idea- and it is so close to being a locavore purist on a similar plane...

I love cabbage rolls!

Dee said...

Chef E, I somehow knew you would agree! We Texas girls think alike! We enjoy those too. Next post will have photos of the Farmer's Market & the Square foot gardens at the Food Bank.

Gloria Chadwick said...

I love that you and Hornsfan are involved in this and helping to bring awareness about the hunger problem in Texas (and everywhere else.) Great recipe for cabbage rolls. :)

Dee said...

Gloria, we are very excited to be a part of this Blogger effort. Thank you.