Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Modernizing Mom's Mediterranean Meal



Do not panic....there is dessert at the end of this post!!!


I am really excited to be part of Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 this month. Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 is an event where 24 food bloggers host 24 meals in 24 hours. The date just happened to fall when my sister was coming for a visit, so I thought I'd try updating a couple of my mom's recipes.

Coming from a family that was extremely proud of our Irish roots, it may seem a little strange that one of my mom's "company dishes" was cabbage rolls and tabbouleh. According to my dad, this stems from a few steakhouses in Tulsa where they (and my grandparents and aunts and uncles) would eat. I remember growing up thinking these restaurants....Eddy's and Jamil's...must be so exotic. The children were never brought along and they served mysterious sounding dishes like tabbouleh, hummus and cabbage rolls.
h and h
My meal adventure started at Hubbell & Hudson. It's a wonderful new-ish market in The Woodlands. If you are anywhere in north Houston, I strongly recommend making a trip. Even their produce section is drool-worthy...and I don't usually drool over veggies!
hummus
So, we started our evening with hummus. This is a great recipe from Martha Stewart. I've made it several times and one wonderful thing about it is that you can make it ahead of time. We ate this with veggies and homemade pita bread. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour and is so easy and SO much better than store bought!
pita dough
{We were so busy eating it, I only got a picture of the dough!}

To go with the cabbage rolls, there was tabbouleh. I don't know why I don't make this more, it's so fresh tasting and there's no heating up of the kitchen. Unfortunately, I don't have my mom's recipe for tabbouleh, so the recipe is another goodie from Martha. I use curly parsley in mine because that's the way I remember it. :) My only tip is, make it several hours before serving to let the bulgar soak up the olive oil and lemon juice.
tabbouleh
The cabbage rolls...just the smell of them make me think of my mom. Mom's recipe is really good, but it needed a little tweaking...here's why...
recipe
Every time I see this recipe card, I crack up: MSG!!! Can you even buy it these days?
cabbage rolls
Here's the tweaked recipe:
Mom's Cabbage Rolls

For the rolls:
12 large cabbage leaves
1 & 1/2 lbs. ground beef (round)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. green bell pepper, minced
1/3 c. onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. cooked long grain rice
dash cinnamon

For the sauce:
2 and 1/4 c. tomato juice
2 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 TBSP. picante sauce
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cook the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 5 minutes (add a few more leaves than you need in case of tearing). Drain. Rinse lightly under cold water.

Mix the ground beef, salt/pepper, cinnamon, bell pepper, onion and rice with your hands in a mixing bowl.

Fill each cabbage leaf with the meat mixture. Fold in edges and roll. Secure with a toothpick.

In a large skillet, combine the sauce ingredients. Place the cabbage rolls in the sauce. Cover. Bring to a steaming point on med-high heat. Reduce to low and cook for 45 minutes.
cabbage rolls drop
They were delicious! My dad went back for seconds and my husband had thirds! Even my 10-year-old who was a little hesitant about "cabbage rolls" liked them! I will make these more often!

OK....dessert! Are you still with me? I made this Honeyed Yogurt and Blueberry Tart with Ginger Crust. It was really the perfect ending to the Mediterranean meal! The yogurt was rich and tangy and the ginger crust was amazing! (The only changes I made were using 2% yogurt instead of non-fat and baking the crust for only 15 minutes.)
blueberry tart
The evening was a success! Fun was had by all...lots of food, wine and even a little American Idol video game playing! :)

Thank you, Foodbuzz for letting me be a part of this month's 24, 24, 24! It was a treat! And thanks to my mom, for the great recipes and the inspiration!

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