Rebelling against a suggestion – a reason to finally make homemade cabbage burgers
I’ve been blogging at SCB Citizen for 2 1/2 years now. Each January, WordPress sends me a summary of the past year’s blogging – how many posts (114), number of page views (about 20,000), the top sites referring people to this blog (Facebook, Urbanspoon, WordPress and fellow bloggers Country Chicken Girl and Apt. 11D) and the most prolific commenters (Suella Hanlon, Rick Myers, Kathi Manville, Val Newman and Sue Fehn – thank you!).
The year-end report also gave me the five most-viewed blog posts in 2011. Only one of them, The new Nebraska license plate, was written in 2011. The report commented that my writing “has staying power” and suggested that I write about those pre-2011 topics again.
Three of the top five posts were written in 2010: Tis the sssssseason, Blankety-blank tumbleweeds and Sugar factory tour. I could definitely see more posts about snakes and tumbleweeds in my future. If I visit the sugar factory again, I’d surely write about that.
But the blog topic rounding out my top five for 2011, which was written in 2009, I HAVE NO INTENTION OF WRITING ABOUT AGAIN!!! It’s the same post that made the top five last year – Gettin’ my Runza on. Ugh!
Now, I have nothing against Runza. It’s the fast-food joint I visit most often, when I eat fast food. I figure I might as well support a uniquely Nebraskan chain restaurant in this world of increasing global conformity and loss of regional identity. The local Runza restaurants have also been rock stars in terms of corporate sponsorship of local fundraising efforts.
But it’s fast food. Fast food never tastes as good as slow food.
This point was driven home to me last winter, when I tasted a homemade cabbage burger for the first time at the Scottsbluff winter farmers market.
In my personal 1-to-10 continuum of cabbage burger tastiness, with 10 being best, a Runza rates about a 2 and a reheated Gering Bakery cabbage burger rates about a 5 compared to the taste of a real homemade cabbage burger – a 9 for the farmers market version I had.
I was SO looking forward to getting a cabbage burger fix when this season’s winter farmers market started up (every other Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. in the greenhouse at Aulick’s TLC). Alas, the health inspector blocked most vendors from selling that particular treat. Something about preparing meat in an unlicensed kitchen. I understand the reasoning, but BOO! What was I to do now?
Learn to make my own cabbage burgers! And blog about it in hopes of knocking my Runza post out of the top 5 in 2012!
I proceeded thusly:
Step 1: Buy a pound of ground beef, a head of cabbage, some whole-wheat flour and some onions from the farmers market.
Step 2: Dissolve 2 tsp. sugar and a packet of dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water, mix in 3/4 cup cooled scalded milk and 1 Tbs melted butter, then mix and knead in 2 cups of flour (half whole wheat, half white). Let rise 30 min. (Note: this proportion left me with more filling than I could fit into the dough. I probably could have doubled the dough recipe and come out about right.)
Step 3: Brown the ground beef, then stir in about a cup of diced onion, three cups of shredded cabbage and a cup of water and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. This step is very close to what my mom calls “schnipfully hamburger” – a term perhaps derived from a German word used in my family generations ago. UPDATE: let the filling cool before making the burgers.
Step 4: Roll out the dough and cut into pieces
Step 5: Add a couple of spoonfuls of filling to a dough square. Last winter, one of my farmers market cabbage burgers was a fusion cabbage burger – it contained jalapeño peppers and was oh-so-tasty. I decided to replicate this with pickled peppers. (Note to self: mince the peppers next time, and use fewer of them.)
Step 6: Pinch opposite corners of the dough together
Step 7: Pinch the seams together, form into a rounded shape and put seam-side-down on a buttered cookie sheet. Top with pepper slice (optional). Let rise 2o min.
Step 8: Bake at 375 for 30 min. Cool on a wire rack.
Step 9: NOMNOMNOM!
As I was working my way thorough the steps, I was thinking to myself, “Gosh, this is a lot of fuss. Why not just slap the filling between a couple of slices of bread?”
I later answered my own question. The aroma and flavor (a 10 on my cabbage burger flavor scale) of the perfectly-crusty bread baked around the meat filling could not be matched by the bread-slice option. Also, it would be a lot messier. The well-made homemade cabbage burger can be easily eaten with one hand. (Aha! Homemade convenience food!)
The size I made those cabbage burgers – starting with dough squares about 6 inches across – was perfect. Each leftover burger just fit into an empty farmers market goat cheese container. (I’ve saved approximately 46 hojillion of those containers to date.)
Here’s hoping my slow-food cabbage burger post beats the page views of that 2009 fast-food post this year!
UPDATE: almost forgot to include a link to the blog at my friend’s dairy, which includes a good explanation of “what’s a krautburger?” (AKA cabbage burger).
Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw