>Clarissa’s Cabbage Leaves Stuffed with Meat and Rice (Golubtsy): A Recipe


These Cabbage Leaves Stuffed with Meat and Rice  are called “golubtsy” in my country and constitute one of the favorite dishes of the Russian-speaking people. Tim, a reader from Germany, tells me that a similar dish exists there, and I have also seen something very similar at a Chinese buffet. However, I strongly believe that my recipe is one of the most delicious out there. Just compare the photo of how they look when I make them to a picture I posted yesterday from one of the most popular Russian-language website.
And these are my golubtsy:

Since not everybody is interested in cooking and there are quite a few photos that accompany this recipe, I will fold the recipe itself under the jump break. Otherwise, it will occupy the entire homepage.

What you will need:

For the cabbage pockets:
– 1 lb of ground meat
– a big head of cabbage
– a medium tomato
– a medium onion
– 5 cloves of garlic
– 1/2 bunch of cilantro
– a cup of rice
– some salt
For the sauce:
You can either just use your favorite tomato sauce and avoid the aggravation, or make my favorite tomato sauce. To make it you will need:
– a small can of tomato paste. I use Hunt’s because it’s the best, in my opinion
– 2 carrots
– a can of canned beets
– carrot juice
– 1/2 bunch of cilantro
– a cup of sour cream

1. Take a tomato, an onion, 5 peeled cloves of garlic, and 1/2 bunch of cilantro.

Put them all into a food processor and blend until all chunks disappear.

2. Add the resulting mix to the ground meat. For ground meat, I usually combine ground pork and ground beef for most of my recipes. Then add salt to taste and mix everything up. This is how the whole thing will look as a result.

3. Boil some rice until it’s just al dente (make sure you don’t overcook it!) and add it to the filling.

It is very important to make sure that the rice is quite firm and not mushy when you add it to the filling. Mix everything up, and your filling is ready.

4. Take a big head of cabbage and carefully remove the 8 or 9 of the biggest outer leaves. Try to remove them without tearing them. Don’t be afraid, though. I’m the clumsiest person on the planet, and I managed to do it without spoiling a single leaf. It helps to make a cut at the top of the leaf where you see this really thick part joining the leaf to the cabbage.

5. Boil some water in a pan and plunge the cabbage leaves into the boiling water one by one. The goal is to make the leaves soft enough to be folded but not mushy.

Five to seven seconds in the boiling water are usually enough.

6. After you get the cabbage leaf out of the boiling water and let it cool down some, you will need to cut off the thickest part of the leaf. I draw a very uneven red circle around it in the next picture. I’m insanely proud of my technological sophistication right now.

7. Put some filling into the cabbage leaf and fold it like a little envelope.

8. Then, place all the folded stuffing-filled cabbage leaves into a pan. This is what the whole thing will look like:

9. As I said, now you can either pour your favorite tomato sauce on top and let the whole thing simmer on a very slow fire for about an hour, or you can make the sauce the way I do it. Mix a cup of beet juice (from a can of canned beets), a cup of carrot juice, a small can of tomato paste, and a cup of sour-cream. Pour it on top of the cabbage pockets. Add some diced carrots and beets. Put some fresh herbs (cilantro is what I prefer) into the pan, too. Let everything simmer for 1 hour. And you are done.

10. Don’t tell me this isn’t beautiful:


>Data Plans: Unlimited or 200 MB Per Month?


I just took this picture of my study space
to verify whether I will be able to take pictures with
my regular camera and post them to the blog since doing that
with my BlackBerry is something I can’t
afford to do any more until
the end of the month
Spanish prof recently posted a question as to whether it makes more sense to go for an unlimited data plan on her smartphone or to choose the 200 MB per month option.
Phone companies tell gullible customers like myself that they really don’t need unlimited plans and that all their data needs will be covered extremely well by the plans with pre-set data limits. AT&T has already killed its unlimited data plan (this is a company that is unstoppable in its desire to rip off customers), and now other companies are following suit.
As one of those idiots who fell for the “you-really-don’t-need-an-unlimited-data-plan-because-you-don’t download-that-much” mantra, let me tell you what the 200 MB per month means in practical terms. I use my BlackBerry’s Internet access to read and answer emails, blog and Twitter. I never watch any movies or YouTube videos. Never download any music, games, or anything else that can be downloaded. Never surf the Internet from my smartphone. Maybe once every six weeks I receive a .doc attachment and open it. I also take pictures and send them to my blog once or twice a week. When I do that, I always make sure that the photo is emailed in the smallest size possible.
And still, somehow, I keep exceeding those magical 200MB all the time. And then I have to pay extra for the next chunk of data. Of course, if you use your smartphone’s Internet access even less than I do, then, by all means, get the limited plan. The only question I have is why a person who uses it even less than I do would need it at all.