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Stuffed Cabbage Bolognese

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

A couple of months ago, the kosher culinary school that I attended sadly closed down. I remember bumping into another alumni and we shared our disappointment in the school’s closing. “Do you realize,” she said, “that our diplomas aren’t going to be worth anything anymore? Don’t you care?” I thought for a minute and realized, that no, I didn’t care, because it wasn’t really worth anything to me to begin with.

Being a Chef isn’t something you learn and file away in a drawer. It’s something you become, irregardless of schooling. A true chef never stops learning. They are constantly honing their skills, reading, watching and improving. I don’t need a piece of paper to show that I went to culinary school. The love that I put into my dishes, the effort that I put into my technique and the taste of the finished product is all a testament to my knowledge and understanding of food.

And still, I have a hard time calling myself a Chef. I have so much more to learn. I’ve never worked a restaurant kitchen. Never smoked a piece of meat. Never butchered anything. OK – never butchered anything correctly. Forgot how to break down a fish. Have yet to make a Thanksgiving turkey. Chef? I think not.

I so strongly believe this, that in the hundreds of cooking classes I’ve given around the country, I refuse to wear a Chef’s jacket and wear an apron instead. I feel like I’m a cook, just like my audience, and we’re learning together.

It’s this attitude that has allowed me to learn about interesting dishes and techniques, not necessarily from other Chef’s, but from average cooks. I’m always open to chatting about food and recipes, and hearing what’s cooking in other people’s kitchens. I’ve come home with amazing recipes from people I bump into in the supermarket, or on the train. I belong to lots of Facebook cooking groups and I love to browse through the Pages and see what’s cookin’ in other peoples kitchens.

Alas, and getting back on track here… that’s precisely how this recipe happened. I saw a recipe for an unstuffed cabbage with noodles made by Danielle Cooper Lader on the What’s for Supper Facebook page and it looked so amazing that I had to try my own version! I used my Bubby’s amazing cabbage & flanken soup recipe as my starting point and just went from there! It’s kind of a cross between lokshin and cabbage and stuffed cabbage, both popular Hungarian dishes that I grew up eating. And you know me and mashup recipes. This one is a winner!

In five years of blogging, this is my first time posting on a Saturday night, I just really wanted to get this up for you in time for the seconds days of the Chag! Soooo much easier than stuffed cabbage, and dare I say even more delicious. Chag Sameach!

Related Recipes:

Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken
Passover stuffed cabbage
how to stuff cabbage
spaghetti squash bolognese
veal marsala bolognese

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Zucchini Mechshie with Tamarind & Prunes

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I’ve talked a lot about mechshie (a Syrian dish of stuffed vegetables) on my blog, especially around the holidays. I decided to keep up the tradition, and for the third year in a row, I’m sharing a stuffed vegetable recipe in honor of Sukkot. The tradition of eating stuffed foods on Succot is symbolic of an abundant harvest season. Since the wheat is harvested in Israel during the fall, we stuff foods to symbolize our desire for an overflowing harvest. This is popularly done with stuffed cabbage, or holipches, which some say are also made to resemble the scrolls of a Torah.


Ever since I married into a Sephardic family, I can’t get enough of my mother-in-laws delicious mechshie dishes! I’m slowly learning to cook different variations, adapting my favorite recipe with the additions of tamarind, pomegranate molasses and different types of vegetables and dried fruit.

When I spotted beautiful globe zucchini in the market, I just knew I had to turn it into some kind of mechshie. The small, round zucchini were perfect for filling, and I decided to work in some tamarind paste, an ingredient essential to Sephardic cooking. It adds a hint of sourness to the sweet dish, a perfect pairing with the plump dried prunes.

So let’s get stuffin’!

More Mechshie Recipes:

stuffed baby eggplant mechshie
zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”

More “Stuffed” Recipes:

corned beef arancini
Passover stuffed cabbage (replace potatoes with rice)
collard stuffed sweet potatoes
sausage and apple stuffed butternut squash
spinach stuffed mushrooms
stuffed chicken roulade
Israeli stuffed eggplants

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Passover Stuffed Cabbage

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Stuffed cabbage is just one of those foods that is synonymous with tradition. The smell and taste of the meaty cabbage rolls in a sweet tomato broth evoke a feeling of nostalgia and memories of Bubby’s kitchen. Well, at least my Bubby’s kitchen.

Bubby always made the best stuffed cabbage, and still does. When I want a taste of bubby’s holipches, I whip up a batch of her cabbage soup with flanken. It’s got all the flavor of stuffed cabbage, without the stuffing.

Although if you want to go ahead with the stuffing, I’ve got you covered. Once you’ve stuffed your cabbage rolls with meaty filling, you’ve got to simmer it in a sweet tomato sauce with a few of Bubby’s secret ingredients. Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in later.

Now when people think of Kosher for Passover stuffed cabbage, they assume it’s a dish eaten by Sephardim because it contains rice. No Siree! I’ve adapted my grandmother’s recipe so that Ashkenazim everywhere can enjoy the sweet taste of stuffed cabbage without the rice!

The secret to my Kosher for Passover stuffed cabbage is mashed potatoes. We always have leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge over Pesach, and what better way to use them than to bind and soften the meat mixture for the stuffed cabbage filling!

Truth be told, my favorite part of holipches is the cabbage. In fact, when my mom’s stuffed cabbage rolls would fall apart in the pot (don’ t worry, I’ll teach you how to avoid that!), I’d fish out all the cabbage and leave the meatballs for everyone else!

Well, now that I’ve teased you with all this has going, head on over to my guest post on The Nosher for the recipe! 

Related Posts:

How to stuff cabbage video tutorial
How to stuff cabbage
Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken

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Meat & Rice Stuffed Baby Eggplants

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

As we approach the last days of the holiday of Sukkot, I wanted to share a nontraditional “stuffed” recipe, for those looking for a change from traditional holipches/holishkes (stuffed cabbage). If you’ve always wondered why Hungarian style stuffed cabbage is served up on Sukkot, it’s because we want to celebrate the abundance of the harvest season. Fall is when farmers harvest their wheat in Israel, and stuffing vegetables with filling symbolizes their desire for a year of overflowing harvest. Although it is customary for many to eat stuffed cabbage, any stuffed recipe is well suited to honor this custom. You can stuff grape leaves, zucchini, peppers, or even fruit for dessert!

As I mentioned in this post, I was first introduced to the idea of mechshie when I married into a sephardic family. My mother in law taught me to prepare various dishes of meat & rice filled vegetables – each with it’s own unique flavor. Having grown up with these traditional Syrian dishes, my husband loves when I surprise him by making them. Although my twist on tomato & zucchini mechshie (which I’ve dubbed “mechshie ratatouille”) is my all time favorite, this lighter stuffed eggplant version is a close second.

If you want to go the traditional route, but you’re overwhelmed by the idea of making stuffed cabbage, try my Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken. It tastes just like stuffed cabbage, without all the work! You can even leave out the flanken and make mini meat & rice balls instead.

Related Recipes:

zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”
globe zucchini mechshie with tamarind and prunes

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{Mechshie} Meat & Rice Stuffed Vegetables

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Growing up in an ashkenazic home, it just wasn’t succos without my mother’s holishkes (stuffed cabbage). I had never even heard of sephardic dishes like stuffed grape leaves or eggplants until I married into a sephardic family. My mother in law loves to prepare authentic Syrian dishes like mehshie (pronounced mechshie). She stuffs everything from artichokes to onions, each with it’s own unique twist.

After being married for a few years, I finally decided to learn how to prepare some of her signature dishes, so I could make them for my husband. She lovingly shared her family recipes, teaching me how to prepare each and every dish. When two of the recipes seemed similar, I asked her why I couldn’t combine them. I soon learned that the mere thought of combining two types of stuffed vegetables was deemed sacrilegious!

Of all my mother-in-laws mehshi recipes, stuffed zucchini’s is my favorite. It’s simmered along with dried apricots in a sweet tomato broth. The apricots become melt-in-your-mouth soft, and together with the zucchini pulp, create a delicious sweet and tangy sauce. Tomato mehshi is treated in the same way, and being my husband’s favorite, I decided to combine the two in one pot. I also opted out of the dried mint, because in my world, mint and meat just don’t mix. Although this dish is a heresy to my mother-in-laws traditional culinary roots, it is a delicious modern twist on a old world custom of eating stuffed foods on the holiday of Succos. So lets get stuffing!

Watch me make mechshie with TorahCafe here:


Watch on TorahCafé.com!

Related Recipes:

globe zucchini mechshie with tamarind and prunes
savory baby eggplant mechshie

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