My random thoughts are endless, and to prove it, I was recently pondering cabbage rolls. How did I come to love stuffed cabbage rolls? Where did I learn to make them ? Scary stuff isn’t it?
In my late teens, I worked at a popular retail department store along side a much older woman named Alice. Alice was a feisty Polish-American woman who never forgave her husband for passing away before their 50th Wedding Anniversary. I adored her. Every potluck event she provided stuffed cabbage rolls, and each time she reminded me that the best cabbage rolls were made with tomato juice, not tomato sauce, and raisins, not brown sugar. At the time it meant absolutely nothing to me. Turn the clock forward, and I realize that I have been making Alice’s stuffed cabbage recipe for close to thirty-years. I am always struck by the influences which at the time seem uneventful, with no meaning that somehow later in life have real meaning and influence.
This year I took a walk on the wild side. I was inspired to make a new style of cabbage rolls. With that mind, I took a boldly flavored pork filling using a host of Chinese flavors including, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, cilantro, chili garlic sauce and baked the cabbage rolls, tightly foiled, in a savory broth. What I got was a nutritionally dense cabbage roll, that had the Asian flavors of a spring egg roll that had been steamed and dipped into the sweet chili garlic sauce.
Definitely not your mothers cabbage rolls but, still delicious. If you are looking for something a little different with a little more pizzaz but not more comfort, then I encourage you to go for it.