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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cabbage casserole brings back memories of school lunches--kaalilaatikko

Today I made a casserole that was a favorite school lunch in Finland for my husband.  It tastes a lot like cabbage rolls, but is much easier to make, perfect for a busy day like today.

First, I shredded a head of cabbage and boiled it for five minutes, then drained it and added two tablespoons of brown sugar.  My recipe called for two tablespoons of butter, but my arteries are still recovering from all the rich Christmas food, so I only put a half tablespoon.  Then I was to add 1/4 teaspoon of marjoram, but didn't have any...oregano was a close substitute, but I added less because it has a stronger flavor.  A dash of salt, and the cabbage layer was ready.  

Meanwhile, I mixed a little over a pound of hamburger with a cup of cracker crumbs.  The recipe called for bread crumbs, but once again I had to substitute with what I had on hand.  Two eggs and a 1/2 cup of milk made this mixture ready for layering with the cabbage.  I'm not sure I should post a photo of raw meat, but in case you  are interested:

Next, I sprayed a casserole pan with cooking spray (you could butter it if you would rather).  Then, starting and ending with the cabbage mixture, I layered in the ingredients.  Cabbage, meat, cabbage, meat, cabbage, and then the casserole went into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about an hour.  

 Next time, I would make sure that no bits of cabbage were sticking up on the top of the dish, these got a little overdone.  To go with the casserole, we had Lingonberry preserves from Ikea and some beautiful blue potatoes.  I love these blue potatoes, they look so dramatic and have a great flavor.  Today I boiled them, but they are best drizzled with olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven.

Everyone really enjoyed the food, except for the six-year old, who may possibly still have a stash of Christmas candy somewhere....

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