Category Archives: |Ramble

Feast of Leftovers: Cabbage and Bean Soup


I wrote a few Feast of Leftovers posts in the past – and well I think I will keep adding to that theme! This isn’t really leftovers – but it is emptying my fridge of some extra items so here goes! I get most of my visits from people looking to make soup with search terms like : Prime Rib leftovers

There are of course many ways to makes cabbage soup, so I won’t claim this adds anything new to the soup pot! And I do tend to make things up as I go along. Still this one does stick a little more to the recipe as written – but then again don’t let that stop you from experimenting!

(I have a Sour Cream Biscuit recipe here if you want something to go with the soup. Easy to make while the soup is simmering!)

Starting: All about the base…

All soup depends on the base its starts from. In the case of cabbage soup I start with fried onions. Cabbage isn’t an exciting flavour so I like to add some flavours to wake up the taste-buds. Garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaves, hungarian paprika, fresh ground black pepper and spicy sausage! Of course if you are vegetarian you can delete the sausage and add some hot red pepper flakes or a dash of your favourite hot sauce.

Ingredients: Chop chop chop

Cabbage soup requires some chopping so lets begin
3 large carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
1 large parsnip peeled and sliced into rounds
3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1 large cooking onion (yellow onion) chopped
1/2 head of a large cabbage shredded (or 1 small cabbage) This is about 4-6 cups of shredded cabbage.
fresh parsley finely chopped (don’t over do it – so 1/4 cup at most)
2 stalks celery chopped into small pieces

2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (slightly crushed with mortar and pestle if you have one – but crushing not required!)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (sweet)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste

6-8 cups chicken stock (low-sodium) (or vegetable stock for the vegetarian crowd!)
Hot water (fresh boiled)

1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of white beans rinsed (size of can up to you!)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 or 2 spicy sausages diced (I prefer Chorizo – a spicy Portuguese/Spanish sausage but any will work)
OR for vegetarian version some hot red pepper flakes to taste)

Part 3: Bringing it all together
In a large soup pot (minimum 6-quart/6-litres) heat the vegetable oil until hot (medium-high heat)
Add the onions and slowly saute the the onions for 10-15 minutes. You do not want the onions to brown! This is a slow frying of the onion to release the sweetness of the onion. Reduce the heat as required to keep from burning/browning.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the caraway and paprika and mix the spices into the oil (about 30-seconds)
Paprika burns easily so you don’t want a high heat – medium should be good.
If you are adding sausage add it now. If it is fresh sausage then cook until completely cooked. If you are using dried/smoked sausage the cook until heated through. If you are not adding sausage add a pinch of hot red-pepper flakes to the other spices.

Add the minced garlic and when the smell of garlic hits your nose then add all the hard vegetables (potato/carrot/parsnip and celery if you are adding some)
Saute the spice and vegetables for a couple of minutes. If the vegetables are sticking add 1/2 cup of hot water.

Once the vegetables are well coated with the oil and spice base (and the sausages for you meat lovers!) then add your chicken/vegetable stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves. Bring this to a boil. If you are using a salt-free stock you will want add some salt at this stage – no more than a teaspoon. Remember the sausages will be salty too!

Now add the cabbage to the pot. Don’t worry if it seems full and the stock doesn’t seem to be enough – as the cabbage cooks and softens it will release liquid into the soup.

Let this come to a boil again – and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are the desired softness. Taste the broth – remember you are adding the canned tomatoes which will add some hidden salt!

Now add the rinsed canned beans and the diced tomatoes. Add the minced parsley if desired. Bring back to boil and then set to a simmer. Stir in the ground pepper.

Remove from heat and let the flavours blend for 10-15 minutes before serving. Remove the bay leaves if you see them.

Feast of Leftovers: Sour Cream Biscuits

Oh the joys of harvest and fresh local vegetables. After the excess of candy and treats, some simple hearty vegetable soup is what the day requires!


As always I have extra sour cream and since I have a large pot of cabbage and bean soup – what any soup needs is a nice freshly baked biscuit. And I love sour cream biscuits. Simple and easy to make – and helps get rid of that sour cream sitting in my fridge. I posted another version of sour cream biscuits that uses vegetable shortening. These use lard – and lard makes the best biscuits. Yes rendered pig fat is a a culinary blessing!
(I will post my cabbage and bean recipe soon – my other soup recipes are: Prime Rib, Turkey)

4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt (or less if desired)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Lard (at room temperature!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk

parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the sour cream with the egg until blended.
Place lard in large bowl, and cut with knife into small cubes. Now dump in the dry ingredients!
Use a pastry cutter to blend the shortening into the flour mixture until the mixtures has a course pea-sized texture.
Add the sour cream and cut mixture until it is course crumbs.
Using clean dry hands knead dough 6 to 8 strokes; if dough is too dry and not binding together, slowly add a bit of milk a teaspoon at a time. The mixture should just bind together without being too dry or too moist!
All of the above should be done fairly quickly to avoid over-working the flour and activating the gluten! (which would make the biscuits tough…)
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Lightly dust with flour if it is sticking to the rolling pin. Fold in half, and then fold in half again.
(Yes that would now be a quarter – but this is cooking not math class!)
Now roll out once more to about 1/2 inch thick and cut biscuits (no bigger than 2 inches wide!)

Place biscuits on parchment paper in a cookie sheet. The biscuits should just be touching each other – this will make them puff upwards more than then expand sideways!
Brush the top with any left-over milk to make the tops brown evenly.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (until desired golden brown on top)

Let cool a few minutes – and then enjoy!

These biscuits are not only excellent with soup but also really tasty with butter and your favourite jam.

Don’t Look – You Might See…

I’m the lonely soul
You never see
You never hear
I’m the lonely soul
Walking past‎
On the street
I’m the lonely soul
Love is not my fate
I’m the lonely soul
Walk on by
I’ll disappear ‎
I’m the lonely soul
Don’t you fear
I’m never here
I’m the lonely soul
There is no sound
Just the wind dying.

Ramble: I’m a Creep

and I’m a creep
I’m a wierdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.

Ramble: Relationship Advice from a Single Man

So here I am thinking about relationships and how to be a good partner. How to be a good man in a relationship. Fair warning I am single. I am terrible at starting relationships. At heart I am rather reserved and inherently shy – and well that just don’t fly with the ladies. My version of badass is adding extra hot-sauce to the chili I just cooked.

So without further sad puppy delay, here are my life lessons of being a good partner:

Fight Fair

All couples fight. Conflict is part of a healthy dynamic and growing relationship. Successful couples do not fight less, they simply fight fair. Adults in a relationship communicate their own feelings and needs, and ask about their partner’s feelings and needs. Adults do not judge their partner feelings and thoughts as faulty. Now yes it is true that in a relationship women are more likely to bring up problems for discussion, while men are more likely to withdraw at the first hint of conflict. And when a man turtles, then women tend to move the subject toward a critical note, which simply makes things worse. In a fair fight, avoid personal attacks especially ones armed with a “you” statements —“You’re so inconsiderate!” “We’re going to be late because of you!”—which lead to defensive responses and counter-attacks. Whenever possible stick to “I-statements,” such as “When (this happens), I feel (frustrated, angry). What I needed was…”

Your Partner isn’t Your Child
Partners need to speak as equals – no matter how much of an expert one thinks they might be! Mansplaining is not required. Talking down to a partner will create resentment! Never ever belittle what your partner feel/thinks/values. If we make the other feel inadequate, we threaten their independence and sense of self. We all hate feeling like we are being managed/monitored – how much worse is that feeling when it is supposed to be someone that loves and respects us? That doesn’t mean we cannot have boundaries that we should expect our partners to respect – but it means we need to be clear about those ahead of time and we need to respect each others boundaries!

Ask Your Partner for Advice
If you want your partner to trust you – tell them honestly what you are feeling/thinking and ask for their input and advice. If you learned your partner was asking/telling other people about personal thoughts/feelings they hadn’t shared with you – might you not  think you are not a priority in the relationship?

Show Appreciation for What Your Partner Does
Most of us won’t ask for it but we all enjoy a dose of well-deserved praise. We each need to feel our partner is proud of us and they see our contribution to the relationship. Yes men do tend to be more act-focused in displaying affection; and women tend to be more verbal and touch oriented. Taking an action for another – be it putting away the dishes/laundry, leaving out a cup of tea, or making dinner, these are all acts of affection and kindness for another. Just as a touch on the arm can be a sign of connection, doing small things is a way of showing care for another. Acknowledge those acts, and remember to say please and thank you!

Always be Open to Physical Affection
In general women require a sense of emotional intimacy to engage in physical love, while men generally express emotional intimacy through physical acts. In both cases the physical connection can overcome emotional disconnection. Turning away from a partner’s physical touch can feel like emotional rejection. Sex should never be expected/demanded as a right of a relationship – but physical intimacy of touch, hugs, holding hands are required to maintain emotional intimacy! Sitting knee to knee while talking over a tough issue can keep you connected to each other’s anxiety levels and remind you that you do indeed love this stubborn mule who shares your life!

Don’t Try to Change Each Other
Humans are not redecorating challenges! Any person can change, but no one appreciates being forced to change. In fact (as cliché as it is…) we can only make real change by changing ourselves! Any relationship in which a partner cannot be themselves, is a relationship that will fail. No one wants to feel that they have to pretend to be something they are not – sometimes you have to accept that your partner is just “that way” and remember the things you enjoy about your partner! Communicate openly and honestly about your needs – just remember your partner has needs and

Decide Together
Finances are the number one source of disagreement in any relationship! Generally this is because spending a large amount of money affects how you will spend your time, and what other choices you are able to make as a couple. Anything that affects the other partner will impact the affection you have for each other! If you are partners then you need to be aware of each others choices, and as much as possible share the making of those choices.

Seeking and granting forgiveness strengthens relationships, and in the long-term leads to greater satisfaction in one’s partner. BUT apologizing cannot be empty words. Saying I am sorry is not enough. An apology must show understanding of why the partner was upset and an acceptance of responsibility for what was done. A true apology always acknowledges harm. And the last part in healing is asking “how can I make this better?”. When an apology is sincere and forgiveness is given, then that means all sides must let go of the past – no dredging it up in a list of “past sins sinned” (See Fight Fair).

Turn to One Another
The concept of “turning to the other” is put forward by many relationship coaches. It is contained in each of the earlier points but I wanted to state it explicitly. At its core the act of “turning to the other” shows the need for the partner AND displays vulnerability to the partner. The natural response when we are show vulnerability by the one we love – is to protect and cherish that vulnerability. It is the cat showing you his belly. And yes a cruel partner may just gut you – but then that means you need a new partner!

The most important part of any relationship is communication. Communication is not a passive activity, but one that requires active engagement of all parties to the conversation. One person talking is not communication – it is a broadcast.

If you want your relationships to last and grow stronger then you need to do this!

Repeat each part as required.

And as my full disclosure shows keep in mind I am a single (aging!) man who hasn’t had an intimate relationship in years. Those who can do – those who can’t write up pointless blogs!


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