Matthias’ Tips for Living in the U.S.

We had a nice dinner with Matthias tonight at our favorite restaurant in Regensburg – Exil. On the way back after stopping off for ice cream and espresso (bummer that our favorite ice cream place closes up shop for the winter!), he revealed two secrets to American life to us:

  1. When you’re in line at Starbucks, pay attention to what the guy ahead of you orders. If they’re out of it, they’ll make him fresh batch and offer it to him for free to thank him for his loyalty and patience. Then you just order the same thing and they’ll give it to you for free as well; after all, they have to treat all their customers the same way.
  2. When you need to reschedule a flight you’ve already booked, call up the airline, but never accept their first offer to re-book. The first offer Matthias got on a recent re-booking request was something like $200. He told them he’d think about it. When he called back a couple days later, it was free to re-book.

Maybe I could develop this into a regular feature here on the ol’ Regensblog.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

This one is far more than the sum of its parts. Don’t get squicked out by the rice and noodles – the small amount of rice only serves to add some body and richness to the sauce. And the smoked paprika isn’t just me being fussy; the smoky flavor enhances the beefiness of even humble ground beef. Serves 6-8.

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves chopped garlic
14.5 oz or 400g can tomato sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 small head cabbage, cored and chopped, tough ribs discarded
1/3 c uncooked rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 (14 oz) can beef broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large skillet, brown beef, onion and garlic in oil over medium high heat until pink is gone. Drain off fat.

In a large mixing bowl combine the tomato sauce, Worcestshire sauce, cabbage, rice, salt, pepper and paprika. Add meat mixture and mix all together. Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour broth over mixture and bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Stir, replace cover and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve hot over buttered noodles and top with sour cream or Greek yogurt.