While I’m visiting my in-laws in Taiwan with my family, I’ve asked my long time blogger friends to blog-sit for me like asking a good friend to house sit when you go on vacation. They have prepared wonderful holiday recipes for Just One Cookbook readers so I hope you will enjoy reading their recipes. My blog sitter today is Sandra of Sandra’s Easy Cooking.
Sandra is originally from Southeastern Europe, country formerly called Yugoslavia and she moved to the US about the same time I did. As she’s a mom and a fellow food blogger, we got to know each other very quickly with our common background. I even asked her to be my “mentor” because she was always helping me with all kinds of questions I had when I first joined Foodbuzz, an online food community. I want to thank you, Sandra, if I may use this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done to guide me in the blogging world.
Her site, Sandra’s Easy Cooking, features easy and healthy meals that all of us can appreciate to live healthy life. You will be surprised that some of the dishes she creates are so easy that you would read the recipe again to see if you have possibly missed something. Her food photography guarantees that her meals are very appetizing and her meal presentation looks like it came from 4 star restaurants. I used to write numerous comments about how colorful her dishes are, until I figured she was probably tired of reading the same comments from me. But to me it is always so joyful to see such beautiful colors on a plate because the Japanese believe having multiple colors on a plate means there are different nutrients for the meal.
I hope you will enjoy getting to know Sandra if you haven’t known her and learn to cook easy, healthy and delicious looking meals! You can also visit her online at Twitter and Facebook, and purchase her cookbook “Sandra’s Easy Cooking: Savoring the Sweet Moments.” Please welcome Sandra with her mouthwatering holiday meal.
Welcome Sandra! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am mom of three kids, wife of a wonderful and funny husband, friend and foodie. I love art, photography, writing and cooking!
Please tell us a little bit about your blog.
On my blog you can find any cuisine and dishes that are not time consuming. I said that my meals are affordable because if you go out in a restaurant for a meal you will pay good amount of money for one family of 5, and if you cook home it takes not even half of that, and of course the meal is home-cooked, made with love and care! My vision for every meal is to balance the whole plate!
How do you feel about your own food blogging experience so far?
I love blogging, and as much as it takes time to publish one post it’s also so much fun. I met online so much good people, no they are incredible people, that my experience is fantastic. I can thank you and many for support and love that you all giving me!
If you can give one advice to a new food blogger, what would it be?
Study, follow and pay attention what other successful bloggers do. If you want to make yourself stand up be kind, and of course if you are food blogger look for the angle to see how your photo will look, because photos are very important. Also if you feel like blogging became to much and overwhelming, take a break and continue when you can!
What would you advise to a new cook or someone who wants to start cooking at home more?
Let’s put it this way..it’s easy turn on the car and take yourself to a nice cozy restaurant..right? However the beauty of home-cooked meal is something that you can’t compare to the restaurant, no matter who is cooking behind those walls. Honestly you can take 1 hour to cook a meal, or 30 minutes but when your family and friends taste it and you see the expression on their face how delicious it is..well, that is priceless!
Thank you Sandra! From here I will let Sandra take over and show us what she prepared. Enjoy!
Hello Just one Cookbook Readers,
I am Sandra from Sandra’s Easy Cooking and while Nami and her family enjoying their Taiwan visit, I will share my recipe with all of you. Got to tell you that I am beyond the words excited to be here at this beautiful food website. For me this is not only an honor, but you should see my smiley cheeks when Nami asked me if I could guest post. I adore her personality and once we start talking way back in March or April, even if we grow up in different parts of the world I noticed that we have so much stuff in-common besides the family and foodie life. She is one of the foodies that I would love to meet and spend the weekend just talking and laughing :)…sigh! Maybe one day when kids get older!!! 🙂
Now let me share something about my recipe. As much as it seems complicated, I have to say it’s not so much…maybe because I grow up eating it, and also I believe the first time when I made it was 12 years ago. Originally you have to make it with already pickled cabbage/or Sauerkraut but not shredded. It is a pickling process that many people in parts of the Balkan or Southeastern Europe prepare few mounts in advance to have it ready for the holiday season. What I am presenting today is a much faster version of pickling but similar to the original and got to say extremely tasty.
Since it is Nami’s blog and as you all know she is doing wonderful step by step instructions I had to do it too, but not very often you will see it on my blog. I admire her that much more because it is really not easy to do those steps to bring the method of food preparation closer to you.
I hope you try it and like what I’ve shared today! Hope your Holidays are happy and cheerful! Stay safe!!!
Thank you Nami for allowing me to share my recipe on your blog. It is an honor and privilege to be even asked by you!!! Thank you again my friend! Have a fun time on your vacation!!!!
Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma)
- 1 head cabbage
- 2 cups vinegar
- ½ cup kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 ½ Tbsp Vegeta -European spice
- 1 onion (minced or shredded; keep some for later use)
- ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 Tbsp Vegeta -European spice
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc)
- 2 cups sauerkraut (shredded)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 4-6 slices Hickory smoked Bacon
- ½ Tbsp red paprika
- ⅓ cup parsley (minced)
- ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 4 Tbsp tomato sauce
- Wash the cabbage and take the middle root by carving it out. Boil the whole cabbage head by putting it in a large pot, pouring over hot boiled water mixed with vinegar and salt. Let it boil again for next 40 minutes or until the cabbage is softer on a touch.
- Once the cabbage is softer on a touch, cover with the lid, turn off the heat and let it sit in a sour and salty hot water for next 30 minutes or until you are ready for the next step.
- In a large bowl, combine the meat mixture by adding ground beef, vegeta, shredded onion, ground black pepper, and at the end rice.
- Now separate the cabbage leaves and cut the thick root on the back of the each leaf because of the easier folding.
- Put cabbage leaf on your palm and add about 1 ½ Tbsp meat mixture (smaller meatball).
- These instructions are important because if you don't roll and wrap cabbage rolls correctly they will open up and meat will get out. Once the wrapping is over go on the next step.
- Boil 2 cups of Beef stock + 3 cups of water with 1 Tbsp Vegeta; set aside.
- In a large pot add a bit of minced onion and olive oil (or any on your hand) and place each roll on the bottom of the pot. If you have meat leftovers, add them on the top. Put shredded sauerkraut, few garlic cloves, then the rest of the cabbage leaves on top. Over the cabbage rolls, put few slices of bacon or any smoked products, sweet paprika, a bit more chopped garlic, parsley, and about ½ Tbsp ground black pepper.
- Now that you layer everything correctly, put it on the stove and slowly pour the beef stock. The liquid needs to go over the cabbage rolls at least an inch. Turn the heat on high until it boils again. Once it's boiled, cover and turn the heat on a medium-low and let it cook for the next 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes, mix all-purpose flour with 2 Tbsp of tomato sauce. in a bowl. Combine it well and add about 3 Tbsp of water. Stir until lumps are gone and you are left with smooth and thin texture.
- Turn the heat on high. If you need more water, it is good time to add more and boil before you add roux. Pour the roux little bit at the time, but do not stir, kind of do the moving the pot in a shaky motion just to combine the thin roux with the liquid to make like a thick sauce. If you see the lumps in the pot, use the wooden spoon to mash it. Add 2 more Tbsp of tomato sauce for the color and taste.
- Serve the dish with mashed potatoes because the sauce and creamy mashed potatoes go together perfectly.