Monday, December 5, 2011

Sugar Sugar

I came across this dance routine when I was viewing dance numbers that were choreographed by some local dance teachers. This dance is performed by two amazing little girls barely older than Jacelyn.
It just brings a smile to my face every time I see it, and the joy is noticeable on the girl's faces. However, my eyes are constantly drawn to the little blonde girl...she looks like she's having a blast!!

And speaking of sugar sugar...
This weekend we did a few sweet things: the kids and I made some Christmassy sugar cookies, we made up a gingerbread house,

and mom and I made up a batch of rice rolls. Well the last thing on that list isn't sweet per say, but in my family, it isn't Christmas without great-grandma's "Hallapse"...a traditional German dish much like a cabbage roll but made with pickled, or soured, cabbage leaves, long grain rice, and fresh side pork.
Now, rice rolls are an acquired taste, as much of German food is, and some love it and some hate it. I don't like the smell of the Hallapse cooking (or the after smell in my fridge), but the taste is sooo divine. They are truly amazing in my eyes, and there will never be a Christmas I don't make them. I'd make them anytime, but they wouldn't feel as special to me if I had them on hand. And the fact that I'm carrying on a valued family tradition and making a recipe that great-grandma brought with her from Germany, a recipe that needs no tweaking or adjustment, is comforting to me. What is your favorite traditional holiday recipe?

2 lbs fresh side pork
2 large onions
1 1/2 lbs raw long grain rice... I tried brown for a healthier kick and it was good
1 scant tbsp pepper
2 tbsp salt
2 large heads sour cabbage
*Note: tbsp used are the ones we use for soup*

Cut pork into 1/4 inch cubes and dice onions. Add water to rice to just dampen. Add all other ingredients except cabbage leaves. Roll mixture into cabbage leaves and layer in 1 1/2 gallon crock *(I layered mine in a 5 quart slow cooker and cooked on auto for 8 hours). Pour water over rolls to just cover. Put smallest leaves or any torn or leftover ones on top to cover the rolls and lay an inverted plate on top. Bake at 225 for 1 hour then lower heat to 200 for at least another 5 hours. After 5 hours check to see if rice is tender.
*Of course, if you are unlucky enough to not own a crock, and use a slow cooker like me, then omit the inverted plate part and the baking instructions.*

I swear to you, if you are a true German at heart like we are, or a wannabe who adores German food, you will love this recipe and will be as crazy about it as I am! Just be sure to stay on your own side of the bed with your tushie hanging out of the covers and facing away from your spouse at the end of the night.

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