Friday, October 18, 2013


Haluski is this incredible combination of potato dumplings added to pan-fried cabbage and onion. I found this dish whilst investigating another recipe and stumbling across a homemade noodle similar to spaetzl. My children all love spaetzl.

You start with finely sliced cabbage and onions sauteed in butter until golden and tender. 

Meanwhile, you grate 4 modest sized potatoes and combine it with some eggs, flour and seasoning and then drop this in small bits into boiling water. And, by small, I mean no more than a teaspoon as they will swell.

Were I to make changes to the recipe I think I'd want to have boiling chicken stock instead of water and then use the leftovers from the meal with the twice flavored stock and make a soup. I'm writing the recipe the way that I cooked it. I'll try to get a picture of the finished dish and add that later.

Haluski with Smoked Sausage
1 small green cabbage, washed and very thinly sliced (about softball size)
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and sliced very thin (about golf ball size ... my original called for 1 large onion)
1 stick of butter (I used a splash of olive oil before adding butter and didn't use the whole stick)
4 medium potatoes, washed, grated (not HUGE baking potatoes)
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
salt & pepper
2 12-oz. pkg. Smoked Sausage, sliced thin

First, wash and thinly slice the cabbage, placing layers in a colander and sprinkling with a little salt. As you slice more cabbage keep layering in the colander with a little salt. Peel, halve and thinly slice the shallots (you could use sweet yellow or red onion for this). Slice sausages and set aside.

I let these sit for a bit to remove a little of cabbage's water. Start a dutch oven on high with lightly salted water (I actually used about 1/4 cup of soy sauce). While waiting, grate the potatoes and combine with eggs, flour, salt and any seasonings. A little garlic powder, onion powder and maybe some nutmeg might be good here, but I just used the salt and pepper. Mix all together until combined well (just get right in there with your hands... trust me, works much better).

Heat a large skillet and add a small splash of oil and 2 to 3 pats of the butter. Let butter melt and begin to brown (adjust heat as needed so butter doesn't burn). Slowly add cabbage and onions/shallots, stirring and adjusting temperature as needed. Add butter if pan shows signs of drying out.

Once water is boiling, drop scant teaspoons of potato mixture into water, keeping them separated as you would for any dumpling. They will drop to the bottom at first, but will rise to the surface as they cook through. Resist the urge to pull them out as soon as they rise as these need a couple minutes to really cook through (my recipe said 5).

Drain thoroughly cooked dumplings and add to cabbage in skillet, stirring to combine (I used my Asian ladle strainer and took finished noodles directly from water to cabbage). Add smoked sausage and stirring to mix them in evenly. Continue cooking until sausages heated through, though be sure to watch so that the pan does not dry out.

Season to taste and serve. This dish makes a lot... like enough for 8 or more people. The potato dumplings would be good on their own sauteed in a little butter before serving as a side dish or in soup. 

I am definitely going to be playing with this dish as I can imagine just making the potato dumplings and giving them a toss in a little butter and cream with just a little cabbage and grated carrot and serving them with pork chops.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Project Wedding Present

My husband's niece is getting married next month, so we need a wedding gift. I was looking through her list at Target and saw she had chosen some Suzani decorated items and had a thought.

Instead of purchasing something everyone else has, I would get some Suzani embroidery and make a table runner, placemats and napkins. They would be unique to her.

The first step was to decide which embroidery to purchase. I chose a classic Suzani design pack due to it's similarity to the design from Target. I also used the Target ones to help with color choices, keeping to what she had chosen (plus if someone else purchases the Target ones, they will coordinate!). Above is my test stitch-out of two of the designs I decided to use. The long one had to be enlarged a bit and moved. The corner piece I only flipped and moved until it lined up in a way I liked. I've used this piece to guide my colors consistently through.

I did 4 designs on each placemat ... two on each side and the rotated and repeated on the opposite side.

Here is the first finished placemat. I think I've ironed this 10 times! There are four napkins all hemmed and pressed. I'm still deciding if I want to separate out a small piece of the embroidery to do on one corner of each napkin.

I've also begun the embroidery work for the table runner. Since it is so much larger I have more area to work with. I used another border design from the package and have a medallion and some other bits to chose from. I sketched a couple different layouts before choosing what I thought would look best. At present, it's time to re-hoop for the next set of designs. I may work up one side to the middle and then the other side, maybe putting a medallion in the very center. So far, I've only decided upon these two pieces for the ends.

Here's my workspace set-up. I'm using my Project Runway to do the hems and seams while the embroidery machine works. Some of these designs take 15 thread changes. So far the biggest has been 16K stitches and 30 minutes of stitch time. When I was working on Sunday, Steve often kept peeking over my shoulder as the machine worked. 

I've arranged these machines, shelves and tables three times now. I'm still not completely happy with the set up. Putting up the temporary table makes it hard to get to one side of the dining table. The big machine blocks the view of the TV for Steve when you don't want to miss the action of a game at supper time. Plus the latest move put my little dresser (lace/elastic storage) in front of the heat vent for the room, thus might have to be moved. I may reconsider the entire layout.

I currently have the table with the big embroidery machine, a commercial machine with it's own table, my dresser storage, two white shelves which hold my serger, my Project Runway machine and my straight stitch HD quilting machine. It also holds my iron, cutting tool box, embroidery supplies and ironing aides. Then there is my 10-drawer cabinet for thread, notions, and tools. Not to forget having a good size dining table, hutch, chairs, smaller cabinet for linens, and three more shelves along another wall. I definitely need to declutter this room again.

Probably, though, not until after this project is complete. Since I'm already working on the table runner and am ready to assemble the second placemat, I'm almost halfway! Then, maybe I will take another look at the room and sketch a few ideas.