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Monday, April 02, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: April 2

My visit with my cousin in West Virginia was lovely! I haven't seen her in nearly 24 years. The last time we visited was when I was seven. Since then, we have both gotten married, she has had four children and I have had five. The last picture I saw of her children was of her eldest when he was an infant, and he's almost 19 now, a handsome, kind and intelligent young man in his first year of college. She has three other sons, a 14 year old, nine year old and four year old, who are all very sweet and handsome boys as well. What a pleasure to spend time with them. She is working on her PhD in psychology, and fortunately, her husband was able to get leave from the Saudi Navy to come and stay with the family while she is in school. It was a short visit, but we had a great time catching up and getting to know each other. I was even able to practice my Arabic a bit. I quite surprised my cousin, because I kept saying how bad my Arabic was, so she really expected me not to be able to speak, but she heard me talking to her neighbors in complete sentences and paragraphs. She said she couldn't believe it was me.

Since plane tickets for six would eat away at a lot of the money we have put away for the boys' schooling next year, Jerome and I were the only people they were able to meet. I brought pictures of the rest of the family, and I'm working on getting them to come out either for Thanksgiving or for a longer stretch around Christmas. Also, I suspended my Lenten fast while I was there, they are not Christian, and I didn't want to make their lives more difficult just because I was there.

Aside from staying up all night talking to my cousin, we visited with some of her friends and neighbors and they threw a traditional Saudi party the last night I was there, with so much wonderful food and all the women dancing and talking and laughing. I was made to feel so welcome, and Jerome was doted on by all who saw him. My cousin's husband has quite a sweet tooth, it turns out, and loves chocolate. It was determined that he adores cheesecake, so I made a triple chocolate cheesecake with my cousin for him, and then the next day made a vanilla cheesecake with strawberry topping that we brought to the party.

I'm glad to be home, but it was sad to leave them all. I arrived here just in time for Holy Week, and this is a busy week at our home. We are getting the house cleaned up and ready for the Paschal feast we are hosting Sunday. Thursday through Saturday, we have services every night, Saturday being the Great Vigil. I am very excited about the Vigil this year, because I will have something corrected that was in error. My baptism was invalid, it turns out, and so although my priest has told me not to hesitate to take communion, because I had a devout baptism of intent, we are going to rectify the sacramental issue and baptise me along with a young man from our church at the Vigil. Since the church teaches that there is one baptism, and no need to rebaptize, so long as three conditions are met to make the sacrament valid, this isn't actually a rebaptism, but a real baptism. My first was invalid, two out of three of the requirements were not met, so sacramentally, it didn't effect a change.

After the Great Vigil, we will have a mini-feast at around midnight. It will be quite a late night, so after we get the kids into bed, we will try to get some sleep and wake up to cook and do last minute cleaning. Rich's folks will be here, and they always pitch in to help, so we'll have many hands making the work speed along.

Originally posted July 27, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

Sausage and Cabbage Soup

I know it sounds awful, but it was really wonderful! And even better the second day. It took very little time to put together, and was very tasty. With two whole grain baguettes, it cost all of about $10 to feed us for three meals.

I made this for dinner on Saturday, and we had enough leftover for reruns for lunch the next day, including a babysitter, and a few more bowls for lunch on Monday.

16 oz Polish sausage, sliced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth (homemade or the box)
1 12 oz bottle hefeweizen (wheat beer)
1 pound thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and diced (I used red potatoes, yukon golds would have been nice, too)
1 medium head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
4 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
salt, to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Whole Grain Mustard
Sour Cream

In a 5 quart pan over medium heat, stir sausage often until lightly browned. Spoon out and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan (which I don't do, ever).

Add onion and garlic to pan, stir often until limp and slightly golden.

Increase heat to high, add broth, beer, potatoes, cabbage, carrots. Tie spices in cheesecloth and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover, simmer until potatoes are tender to bite, 10-15 minutes. Discard spices. Season with salt.

Stir in parsley. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve with mustard and/or sour cream as garnish.

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Welcome back, sounds like you had a lot of fun! Would you please consider posting your recipe for the lentil dish? I lovelovelove lentils and always enjoy trying new recipes.

Your menu sounds very good! The sausage and cabbage soup sounds excellent, i will definitely try it!

May I ask if either you or your husband is Arabic and where you are from originally? My ex husband is from Jordan and we have two children together, Jennah and Jacob. I love Arabic food, the culture, history, etc.

Have a very blessed week!

Hello Sherry,

Yes, my parents are from Saudi Arabi. Rich is a Western European mutt, German, English, French. Our boys have Arabic middle names, and of course, Amira is an Arabic.

I will post the Mejeddarrah recipe separately, later.

Thank you for the comments.
Your menu looks great!
Easter Blessings~
♥ Annie
My Life as Annie!
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