End of writer’s block (for now), beef and cabbage buns, some articles, and some news

Finally got over my writer’s block. Yay!!!

However, I think I will move these weekly posts to Wednesday anyway.

And a belated Happy Easter to everyone!


This is a new recipe I tried a couple weeks ago. It was so popular the first batch disappeared almost overnight and I made a second (double-sized) batch last week.

This is a slightly modified version of the recipe “Beef and Cabbage Buns” on page 16 of Lost Recipes – Kitchen-Tested Heirloom Recipes Too Good to Forget. I got it from the magazine rack, it was compiled by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated.

On a side note, the filling for this recipe can be made in multiple batch sizes, but not the dough. I tried making a double batch of dough the second time I made this recipe, and from now on I think I’ll just make multiple single batches of dough instead.

I’ve had a couple people claim these were pasties. As far as I understand the term, they’re not. Pasties are usually made with a non-sweet and non-yeast dough and the filling is usually a bit different too. According to the recipe in the magazine, these are derived from runsas, a type of enclosed sandwich brought to the U.S. by the Volga Germans.

Beef and Cabbage Buns

  • Dough
    • 3/4 c warm water
    • 1/2 c sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/4 c vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 3-1/2 c all-purpose flour
    • 2 packages rapid-rise or instant yeast
    • dash of salt
  • Filling
    • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
    • 1 or 2 large onions, chopped (depends on how much you like onions)
    • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and chopped into medium-size pieces
    • 2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • Salt and pepper
    • 8 slices good deli cheese (so far, we’ve used American, sharp cheddar, and horseradish cheddar, and had good luck with all of those)

For the dough, mix flour, salt, and yeast together. Mix all wet ingredients together, then mix into the flour mixture. Either beat with a dough hook for 4-6 minutes until shiny, or mix by hand and knead until shiny. (I tried the dough hook attachment on our Kitchenaid mixer with this recipe, and didn’t have a bit of luck. Hence the instructions for kneading by hand.) Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap and place somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size.

For the filling, cook the ground beef and onion until the ground beef is browned. Pour off any grease except for 2 tablespoons. Return all of it to the cooking pan, add in the cabbage and cook over medium heat until the cabbage wilts. Add the thyme and Worchestershire, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust two oven racks in the oven. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces, roll each into a circle about 7 inches across. (It works better to fill the dough if you drape it across a bowl, but it’s not strictly necessary.) Place a slice of cheese in the center of the dough, then top with 3/4 cup of the feeling. Gather up the edges of the dough circle and pinch in the center to hold it all together. Take the filled dough ball and place it on a greased cookie sheet with the pinched side down. You should be able to get 4 dough balls each on 2 greased cookie sheets.

Cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 20 minutes. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, swapping top and bottom cookie sheets halfway through the cooking time.



And now for some articles . . . .

“Red Menace: Stop the Ug99 Fungus Before Its Spores Bring Starvation” is an article from the March 2010 issue of Wired magazine. Written by Brendan I. Koerner, it discusses a new variation of the red stem rust fungi that has infected wheat since . . . well, since as long as we know about, given that traces of it have been found in Bronze Age archaeological sites.

Part of the Green Revolution of the 1960s was breeding rye genes that could withstand the red stem rust into current wheat varieties. Which was a good thing, as the rust can completely destroy a wheat crop that gets infected by it. (Yes, there are certain environmental conditions that are more favorable for stem rust than others, but the article doesn’t talk about that. As far as I know, one of the risk factors is damp weather.)

Over the decades, a variety of red stem rust has arisen in Uganda that can infect current wheat varieties. The article talks about how this new variant was identified, and current efforts to breed new wheat varieties that are resistant to it. The article also talks about how fast the new variant is spreading.

It’s a really good article, I highly recommend reading it.


The next article is from the March 10 2010 issue of New Scientist.

I have to admit, when Mom was reading the article and mentioned that it said obesity protects you from the effects of fat, I was . . . somewhat confused and very skeptical.

But it turns out that is essentially what Obesity: Food Kills, Flab Protects by Andy Coghlan is stating.

To expand a bit further — a lot of the health risks associated with obesity, such as clogged arteries, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, etc. may not be the effect of being obese as much as an effect of having too much loose fat particles floating around in your veins. It even looks like tying up those loose fat particles may be what your body is trying to do when it packs on the pounds.

And that fat in your blood comes from the food you eat.



And now for some news.

First off, I can happily report that regularly practicing the Tai Chi form I learned in college (or rather, a somewhat modified form of it — I could remember all of my old form, so I had to reteach myself part of it from a book and I know some of the stuff I’m doing now is slightly different than what I originally learned) is having the same effect on me that it did on college. My balance has slightly improved, and my knees have gotten quite a bit stronger.

Which I really appreciated, given that I was out picking rocks for six hours today and getting in and out of the truck all day makes my knees sore after a while.

Second bit of interesting news is some information I got from my sister-in-law. She is a naturopath and accupuncturist, and according to her Chinese medicine does have some recommendations for getting rid of the fuzzy thinking and lack of concentration that many people experience after chemotherapy.

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