Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 3: Certified Naturally Grown

Though today is drizzly, we have had the opportunity to get a lot of seeds and starts in the ground over this past week. In fact, the drizzles are helpful. The dry bean seeds appreciate a bit more moisture :)

There is more to plant yet, so I think I'll show off the (finally!) fully planted fields in next week's post. 

This week I'm all about the Certified Naturally Grown inspection that happened at the farm last Saturday. 

The Certified Naturally Grown program has a lot in common with the Organic Certification program. It asks growers to follow identical guidelines regarding soil inputs, allowed pesticides and herbicides, etc. 

The big difference is the inspection itself, which is peer to peer or community based. No official inspector comes out to the farm for a CNG inspection, instead the inspections are performed by other CNG farmers or, as we chose to do it this year, by farm customers.

So, five Wintergreen Farm CSA members came out to the farm last Saturday to get a behind the scenes look at our growing practices.

They spent about two hours at the farm.

Much of it at this table
going over ten pages(!) of exciting CNG provided
forms like this one.
They also got to walk the entire fields at our Wintergreen Foods location.

They listened attentively as we talked about our growing methods.
Scott isn't always a talker, but if you get him going about soil
fertility, you better be ready to listen :)
They even smelled our compost! The form said to and they dutifully verified that we truly are not spreading a big pile of raw manure on our fields. 

And in the end, one of our inspector/customers wrote this:

Reads: "Andrea and Scott care a lot about doing things in a thoughtful
manner and really display a commitment to the beneficial farming
practices outlined in this checklist--it's hard to farm in the U.P. of MI,
and they are making it work!"
Which pretty much made my day.

This week's share will include: Mesclun (it's extra spicy this week, with a bit more cress than the last two shares had), Arugula, Pea Shoots, Braising Mix, Radishes (either French Breakfast or Easter Egg--there might be a couple daikon to choose from too), Pac Choi (this is a full sized variety called Joi Choi), and a choice of Fresh Herbs.

As you can see, the shares are still heavy on the leafy greens. As I've mentioned (and you've probably noticed), it's been a cool and wet June. The weather makes for challenging planting, but happy greens!   

Hopefully members are finding delicious ways to eat all the greens that have been in the shares thus far. I've come up with a simple pasta salad recipe (which would be perfect at a 4th of July picnic, you might want to double it to feed a crowd) to add to the list of excellent greens dishes I am sure everyone has been making. 

The sharp feta and sweet cranberries in this salad pair especially well with the assertive arugula and extra spicy mesclun members are getting this week.

Fourth of July CSA Pasta Salad 

  • 12 ounces pasta (I always like bowties for pasta salad) cooked according to the package directions and rinsed in cold water to chill
  • 1.5 ounces arugula (about half of what is in the share) roughly chopped
  • 2 ounces mesclun (again, half the share quantity) roughly chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or mint
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                                                                        
Toss together the chilled pasta, greens and herbs, cranberries, and feta.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Toss the dressing over the pasta and greens to coat. Serve immediately or chilled for up to 24 hours.

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 2: Rain Rain Go AWAY!!

Remember last week when I mentioned that it has been a challenge to get everything planted between rain showers this year?

That was something of an understatement.

Normally, our main planting push starts in early June and tapers off by the end of the month. This year, we started putting plants in the ground on time.

And everything we've put in so far looks great:

Including potatoes,

early cabbage,


and purple kohlrabi.

But right after planting season got under way, it started to rain.

And it rained.

And rained.

And continued to rain, to the point that as of today we've already gotten about 30% more rain this month to date than we normally get for the entire month of June.

It's not like we haven't seen any sunshine.

What's that bright thing behind the clouds?
It's just that the sunny spells we have seen have been brief and bookended by rain showers.

Though Scott does a masterful job of contouring the fields for good drainage, there is a certain point when there just isn't anywhere left for the water to go.

See, it's full.
Which is why Seda and the tractor got stuck in this mud hole when we tried to sneak in between raindrops and plant some things on Saturday. The field (in the background, where we planted squash into black plastic) sheds water to the edges to keep the growing space nice and fluffy, but the tractor has to turn around somewhere...

At least someone is enjoying the mud :)
We haven't reached a point of crises yet, but we are getting a bit concerned.

We have a lot of planting yet to do for the season.

Like these trays of plants, plus many many more.
So if you notice we seem extra tired at pick-up the next couple weeks, you'll know why. 

Thankfully, there is plenty of good stuff coming out of the fields for shares right now and, so long as the rain slows down and we are able to get the planting finished up in the next couple of weeks, members will see good solid shares all season long (though the timing of some items might be a little different than you're used to).

This week members can expect the following: Mesclun (salad mix), Braising mix, Radishes (a choice of french breakfast or small daikon), Spring Onions, Pea Shoots, Sorrel, Fresh Herbs, and optional Hakurei (we're still harvesting from the planting that got hit by root maggot, the next planting should be ready in two to three weeks)

Most of the items in the share should be familiar from last week's share. The big newcomer is pea shoots, which are a new item for us this year.

The pea shoots are a variety called Usui, from Kitazawa Seed. They are grown for their leafy tendrils, rather than their pods or seeds, and they're quite tasty raw or cooked.

 Because of their newness, I decided to feature the pea shoots in this week's recipe, pea shoot polenta, which is nice as a simple side dish or light lunch.

Pea Shoot Polenta

You can pair most any greens with polenta in this way, but the fresh grassy flavor of pea shoots is particularly tasty.

  • 1 cup cornmeal (small or medium grind, you don't need a special "polenta" kind)
  • 4 cups water, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter 
  • 1 to 1.5 ounce freshly grated Parmesans cheese
  • 1.5 - 2 cups pea shoots (the amount in the share), roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly

Bring four cups of water plus half a teaspoon salt to a boil. Bring an additional cup of water to a boil separately, you may need it later. When the four cups of water come to a boil, whisk in the cornmeal. Stir constantly for 3 or 4 minutes to break up any lumps.

Continue cooking the cornmeal at a simmer for about 40 minutes, until it has lost all of its grittiness. Stir at least every ten minutes while it is cooking. Keep a close eye on the polenta as you may need to add more water as it cooks. I usually add more water whenever I see the polenta start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Use the water that you heated up earlier for this, to keep the temperature from swinging around too much in the pan.

Once the polenta is smooth, stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted completely. 

Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in chopped pea shoots and spring onions.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week One: Slow and Steady Starts the Season

Spring came on time this year. I have to admit, that kind of surprised us. It doesn't usually do that.

Once the snow melted, we were poised for a rapid upswing in temperatures like the spring of 2012, but that definitely didn't happen.

Instead spring has been slow this year, evenly coolish without being cold and with only occasional flashes of heat.

We've been enjoying lots of coastal weather, with fog coming in most mornings to remind us that we live just a few miles away from Lake Superior.

And turn the fields into this kind of lovliness.

Though it has been a bit of a challenge to get into the fields to plant seeds and set out transplants between rain showers, what has made it in so far has thrived in the calm spring weather.

These Chinese cabbage and cabbage starts couldn't
ask for better weather to grow in.
In other words, it has been an excellent spring for growing lots of normal spring crops, like the greens and radishes that are featured in this, the first share of the 2015 season.

This week members can expect: Mesclun, Baby Pac Choi, Daikon Radishes, Hakurei Salad Turnips, Sorrel, Kale OR Braising Mix, and a choice of Fresh Herbs.

Most of the items should be familiar to returning members, but some might be new for new members, so here is a brief tutorial:

Mesclun is salad mix, it contains leaf lettuce and other salad greens. This week's mesculn has baby kale, three kinds of mustard, and chrysanthemum in addition to the leaf lettuce.

Baby Pac Choi is a leafy green, but the stems are where it shines. They're mild and substantial, perfect for stir fries.

This week's daikon are on the small side. If you remove the greens you could trick your family into thinking they're about to bite into a white carrot. Not that I would be so tricky, these things are spicy ;) If you don't like the heat, cook them briefly as in the lo mein recipe below.

See, it looks just like a carrot. (Everyone blogs with a radish
on hand, right?)

Hakurei are the greatest thing ever. You can eat them raw in salads or cooked lightly. While they are botanically turnips, they have a radishy texture and a taste all their own. If you need some ideas on how to cook them, check out our hakurei pinterest board.

Sorrel is a sour green that can be used in salads (though I find it overpowering, which is why we don't mix it into the mesclun) or cooked. I always favor cooking it. It's great with other assertively flavored herbs and creamy cheeses. For lunch today we had an omelet with sorrel and chive blossom filling and a bit of muenster cheese. Omelet filling is one of my favorite uses for sorrel. Start by sauteing the sorrel in a little olive oil, it will almost melt as it cooks, then add your other ingredients.

In this case chive blossoms pulled off the flower heads, which
I didn't cook at all before putting in the omelet.
I think most of you are probably pretty familiar with kale.

Braising mix is a mix of greens for cooking. This week's mix includes baby collards, dandelion, mizuna (a mild spiky mustard), orach (a purple spinach relative) and the Asian greens senposai and yokatta na. Use it in any recipe that calls for any type of cooking green.

This week's herbs will mostly be chive blossoms or mint. Ask at pick-up if you need some ideas for using these up!

As always in the spring, the share includes a lot of greens. I know greens are not go to ingredients for a lot of cooks and can often be tough for members to use up. I always find myself telling members to "just throw them in stuff" like spaghetti sauce or scrambled eggs. We definitely do that this time of year. We also cook a lot of lo mein, which is a great way to eat up almost any quick cooking vegetable.

Lo Mein with Greens and Daikon

If you like the sound of this recipe but are going gluten free, you can make the same thing with rice noodles instead of the lo mein.

  • 8 oz dry lo mein noodles (lo mein is a chinese egg noodle similar to linguine, in a pinch you can substitute linguine)
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small (about the size of a garlic clove) knob fresh ginger, minced
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (We just discovered a chili infused sesame oil we've been using in this recipe. Use that if you like heat and can find it!) 
  • Daikon radish (three small, as in the share, or one medium) scrubbed and chopped into bite size pieces.
  • A large handful of baby pac choi and/or braising mix, roughly chopped.
Prepare the noodles according to the package directions.

Stir together the peanut oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, and hot sauce. It will seperate like a salad dressing, but don't worry. It will mix up on the noodles in the end.

Heat a small amount of peanut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the daikon and cook until it is done to your likeing. I prefer it just barely heated through so that it is still crisp but loses its radishy edge (which, sadly, gives me heartburn...)

Place the roughly chopped baby pac choi/braising mix in the bottom of a large serving bowl.

When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and immediately plop them on top of the greens. Their heat will wilt the greens. Then pour the sauce over and add the cooked daikon. Stir everything together well and serve.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Reaping the Harvest of Community Support

Some of you might have noticed products from Wintergreen Foods available for sale this past fall and early winter.

Like these ready to eat carrots.

Or these vending machine snacks.
If you missed them, no worries. You'll see plenty more products from Wintergreen Foods on the store shelves this coming season. Last fall was just the beginning.

We started with a soft launch of a few products, most notably Crinkle Cut Carrots, Coleslaw Mix, and Fruit and Flax Leathers, to figure out the logistics of this new aspect of our business and determine the smartest way to proceed. This year we'll increase production of the three products we began selling last year (Expect to see Fruit and Flax Leathers available year round starting this September!) and launch a few new ones, including Baby Greens, the first round of which is already growing in the hoophouse.

The baby arugula looks like this right now.
It has been just over a year and a half since we (made what some have described as a crazy decision and..) purchased an old restaurant and began the process of turning it into a produce processing facility. We're thrilled to be over the initial logistics hump and ready to expand our product availability, but we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do before we achieve the objectives that led us to take on this (crazy?) project.

As produce farmers, we do not wish for the fruits of our labors to become luxury items. We grow good food that everyone should eat more of. At the same time, we do wish for ourselves and our food growing colleagues to earn a living wage for our hard work. At first glance these two objectives, affordable healthy food and better pay for farmers, might seem to be in opposition, but we don't think they are.

We think that businesses such as Wintergreen Foods, businesses which aim to pool the fruits of regional agricultural production and provide an avenue for growers to share resources when it comes to marketing products, are the key to making a greater variety of affordable healthy foods available to everyone and get consistently higher pay for farmers.

And we are by no means the only folks who think so. It seems that even John Cougar Mellancamp agrees with us. 

But what does all of this produce processing and wholesaling mean for Wintergreen Farm? Will anything change for our market customers and, most importantly, our CSA members--who have supported us from the beginning and are a major factor in the success we have enjoyed thus far as farmers in the Upper Peninsula?

The answer is mostly no.

But before I get to the small things that have and will change on the direct sale side of our business, I'd like to make something clear. We are eternally indebted to the core group of CSA members that has grown with us as we have built Wintergreen Farm. We could not be farmers without you and we never could have undertaken the somewhat lofty project that is Wintergreen Foods without your support.

The major changes that Wintergreen Foods will bring to our CSA program have already taken place. Last year we added a winter share option, something that was only possible because of the cold storage space at Wintergreen Foods, and this year we've seriously streamlined our CSA pick-up locations so that all of our CSA distribution will take place on one day each week. As Wintergreen Foods product distribution expands in the next few years, Wintergreen Farm CSA members are likely to see more changes similar to the changes that have already occurred: more CSA season options (we're toying with the idea of an early spring share) and more streamlining of CSA distributions.

With those small changes, in the forseeable future we will continue serving our CSA members as we have since 2008, and we humbly hope that our members will continue to appreciate and support our efforts as farmers so that we can bring healthy food to not only them, but the region as a whole.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 8: Forgotten Alliums

Check out all this garlic we left to dry in a dark corner of our bar/barn last September! We completely forgot it was there. Now members get to eat it.

My camera can take spooky night vision pictures.
The winter radishes that showed up in the last share were intentionally held back to add some variety to the later winter shares, but holding back the garlic (and a few onions!) that will be included in the eighth and final share this week was entirely unintentional. Our allium harvest was more than a little disappointing this year, but we harvested what we could when the time came and set it all out to cure. Like the good optimists that we are, we then proceeded to harvest our more successful crops (like winter squash, carrots, rutabaga, cabbage...) and tried to put our failures out of our minds. Apparently we succeeded.

Along with the garlic and onions members will receive the following this week: Cabbage, Rutabaga, Onions, Carrots, Dry Beans, Fresh Rosemary, and Winter Squash.

The winter squash will be nutty delica and/or eastern rise. Both are kobocha or Japanese Pumpkin type squash with dense, sweet, relatively dry flesh. Both are good simply baked and eaten with a bit of butter, but they also lend themselves to more interesting preparations. Like Kabocha no Nimono or Kabocha Salad.

The majority of the dry beans that go out this week will be a type called Hutterite Soup Beans. These beans have a lovely smooth, almost waxy texture and a not-too-strong beany flavor. I like them in a very simple soup. Combine the soaked beans (I like to quick soak beans), some water or stock, dried greens (if you haven't used all of the dried greens you got in the 7th share, use 'em now), onion and a bit of chopped rutabaga or cabbage and simmer everything together until the beans are tender. Add salt at the end because cooking beans in salted water tends to make them tough. A bit of rosemary would be a lovely addition here.

I am sure that more than a few of you have a back log of rutabaga eyeing you in your fridge. I confess that, at times, I too am daunted by the baga. However, Scott has found a simple solution. About a week ago he picked up a rutabaga, washed and trimmed it, then slow roasted it whole in the oven. The result was a rutabaga with the texture of a baked sweet potato and a lot of delicious flavor. A few folks have asked me about recipes that hide the rutabaga flavor, this isn't one, but it does transform the flavor into something seriously yummy.

Slow Roasted Rutabaga with Maple Syrup

This recipe, with its maple syrupy goodness, is sweet and appealing. However, this is not the only way to use slow roasted rutabaga. Get creative!
  • One whole rutabaga, washed and trimmed but not peeled
  • Two Tablespoons butter
  • One Tablespoon maple syrup
  • A pinch ground nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Place your whole, trimmed rutabaga directly on your oven rack and roast until tender, about two hours.

When done, the skin will be crisp and pulled away from the flesh,
which will have turned somewhat golden.
Let the rutabaga cool off a bit. In the meantime, melt the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Once it is cool enough to handle, pull the peel away from the flesh of the rutabaga and cut the flesh into thick slices.

Arrange the slices on a large plate and drizzle the maple butter over them.

Like this.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Roasted Cabbage and Michael Phillips

Scott got to meet one of his farmer-heros yesterday, at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference. His name is Michael Phillips. He is an apple grower and he really is an inspiration.

We've had his book "The Apple Grower" for several years now. It's dense with information and real life farm experience. Scott purchased his more recent book "The Holistic Orchard" at the conference and got him to sign it.

Before I geek out farmer style too much, I'll throw up a link to his website (also the website of his wife, Nancy Phillips, a super awesome lady in her own right) and move on to the share description.

Here is the link to learn more about Michael and Nancy Phillips.

As for the share, it will include the following: Carrots, Rutabaga, Cabbage, Uncle Dave's Dakota Squash, Honey Bear Squash, Winter Radishes, and Dried Greens.

I thought very seriously about skipping the cabbage this week, especially because week six was rescheduled and I know that more than a few members are feeling buried in cabbage. I decided not to for a couple reasons. First, there is only one leafy green vegetable (at least only one that I know of--let me know if I've missed something) that can be boxed up in November, put in cold storage, and pulled out two and a half months later just as crisp and delicious as it was when it was packed up. That rocks. It needs to be embraced. It deserves to show up every week in the winter share. Also, I became part of a "What should we do with all this cabbage?" conversation with a couple members last week in which one of them mentioned that he likes to roast his cabbage much the way I roast Brussels sprouts. Why didn't I think of that? I had to run with it. (I did, you'll see the results below.)

Other, less leafy, things are gracious keepers as well. The winter radishes that will show up in the shares this week are mostly purple daikon. Our winter radish harvest was a little smaller than we'd hoped this fall. They mostly drowned in all the late summer rains. Those that didn't drown were devoured by deer. Who knew? At least that was our only major deer loss this year. Anyway, we knew they would keep well so we hung on to a box of them to provide a little variety for the later winter shares. They are still sweet and hot. If you aren't sure what to do with them, check out this apple radish slaw recipe from 2013. If you don't like the heat they're also great cooked, which mellows them. Roasted, sauteed or braised with other root vegetables are good ways to go.

And, of course, a good way to keep green leafy things usable in the winter months is to dry them (did you see how I tied that all together there?). Members will receive a small package of dried mixed greens (mostly kale and chard) this week. They're not seasoned in any way, so they can be used in all sorts of recipes. I like to toss dried greens into scrambled eggs, spaghetti sauce, cheesy grits, or soup.

Which leaves me back at cabbage. Last week I suggested stuffed cabbage, which I hope you agree was a pretty yummy idea. It is also pretty time consuming. Roasting cabbage is definitely not time consuming.

Roasted Cabbage
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar (this is optional)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

You probably noticed that I didn't include any quantities in the ingredient list. This is more of a drizzle and sprinkle kind of recipe. Exact quantities are not that important here.

Spread your cabbage chunks on a baking sheet and drizzle on olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if you want to use the vinegar) you need just enough olive oil to coat the cabbage. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, then stir to make sure that everything is more or less evenly coating the cabbage.

Mine looked like this right before I put it in the oven.
Roast for 15 minutes, stirring the cabbage about halfway through. 

If you follow my directions you will have cabbage that is still crisp, cooked just enough to bring out it's sweetness and give it a roasty flavor.

It will look like this when it's done.
If you would like a more thoroughly cooked roasted cabbage, reduce the oven temperature to 350 and roast for 25 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 6: Problems Solved--Thanks to Patience from our Members

Thank you thank you, gracious members, for allowing us a week to solve our winter storm problems.

When we checked in on things (by things, I mean the building where we store all the winter share produce and do all of the processing work for Wintergreen Foods) last Saturday we found a flooded basement and power outages.

The burst pipe was easy to find. Scott found it right away and redid some of the plumbing so that it will never be an issue again. He rocks. But the electrical issue was harder to track down. It seemed logical that the well pump and sump pump overloaded a breaker, but there were no tripped breakers. Flooded wires would have resulted in a tripped breaker too. It was perplexing.

It took a bit of sleuthing but Scott finally found the problem. The wind took out one of our power lines. It was kind of a duh moment when he figured it out because a downed line is an obvious thing to look for when the power is out, but we just weren't looking for two separate problems.

In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened. The power must have gone out pretty close to the time that the pipe burst, stopping the well pump and limiting the amount of water in the basement. We also got by with reasonably cheap repairs, since the lines are the power company's responsibility.

Thanks again to the members for giving us the time to work all that out. 

Now that you know what we've been up to this week, I'll get on with the share description.

For week 6 members will receive: Carrots, Potatoes, Rutabaga, Cabbage, Dried Onion OR Dried Tomatoes, and a Choice of Squash.

Members have probably become pretty familiar with these items. The winter gets a little routine. Some may be excited to know that we have pretty much gotten through all of the giant cabbage, most of the cabbage we distribute this week will be under 4 lbs. Also, this is the last week for potatoes. 

The squash are going to vary this week. The plan was to give everyone a long pie pumpkin in week six.

They make good pie and good ears.
They grew really well for us, and, once pureed, they bake into fabulous pies. However, they did not keep well for us. This is the first year we've grown them and our storage conditions have been colder than ideal for squash. We will give them another chance in 2015, but this year only about 12 made it into January. So, 12 members will get a long pie pumpkin. The rest of the members will have a choice of some "odds and ends" squash that have kept well for us including some sweet dumplings, hooligans, and delicata.

I know that some of you are getting tired with the delightful winter staple that is cabbage. Have you stuffed any yet? It makes the cabbage much more exciting.

You can make this recipe vegetarian by substituting cooked lentils for the beef. 

Wintergreen Style Stuffed Cabbage
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 head cabbage, cored but otherwise whole
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ounce dried tomato, broken/chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 16 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Prepare one cup brown rice according to the package instructions. Add the salt and whole cumin at the beginning of the cooking time.

Like this.
Bring a large (large enough to contain your cabbage) pot of well salted water to boil. Once the water is boiling, cook the cabbage head for about 3 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly tender. Set the cabbage aside to cool.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in a small saute pan. Saute the garlic, onion, dried tomato, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes in the butter until the onion is just beginning to turn translucent.

It will look like this.
When the cabbage is cool, peel about twelve leaves off and remove the thick midribs of each leaf. Chop remaining cabbage and place in into the bottom of a large baking dish with a lid, like a dutch oven or a deep casserole dish.

The inner leaves get tricky, but broken leaves taste just as
good as whole leaves.
Once the rice is cooked and cool enough to touch, combine the still raw ground beef, cooked onion mixture, and cooked rice. Place about a half a cup of the beef and rice mixture into each cabbage leaf.

Then fold the leaf around the filling.

Like this.
The cook books all have fancy methods to use for folding the cabbage leaves around the filling, but I don't think it really matters. It will all cook up just fine.

Place each cabbage roll in the baking dish that already contains chopped cabbage. I ended up with two layers of cabbage rolls over a giant mound of chopped cabbage, but I used one of the mammoth cabbages. Once you have made all the cabbage rolls pour crushed tomatoes over the top of them.

Like this :)
 Bake, covered,  in a 350 degree oven for one hour. I had to bake mine uncovered for the first 15 minutes because the dish was too full for the lid to fit on (the cabbage on the bottom softened after 15 minutes and I could get the lid on).

Even the lumpiest rolls were delicious.