Another birthday. How sweet it is!

61. A nice number. Other than a few aches and pains, I’m feeling pretty good. And today, I’ve been eating good!

Victor decided to cook for me – something that is always appreciated. What was even more appreciated is he made a dish he’d never make for himself – even though he does like it. Stuffed Cabbage.

But first – birthday cake.

This is a knock-off of a Flourless Chocolate Cake from Tyler Florence. Victor’s been making it for years, now and I really – really – like it.

Nonna took one look at the cake and said “Is that the cake? What happened to it?” We laughed and told he that’s what it was supposed to look like. She was unconvinced.

Victor’s Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cake


  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pt raspberries, mashed with a fork
  • 1/4 cup strong espresso coffee


Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt chocolate and butter together.

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Stir in a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs then mix in the rest of the chocolate mixture.  Stir in coffee and raspberries and mix well.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

Mound some raspberries on top and voila! Dessert is served!

It’s rich, it’s fudgy, it’s mouthwateringly delicious.

And then we have the stuffed cabbage. We did eat this before cake. Really.

This is an Ina Garten recipe. We can usually count on the Barefoot Contessa to have a decent recipe.We both like her style. Victor made this a couple of years ago for the first time and really enjoyed it. Cabbage is not anywhere on his top 100 list of foods, so I was actually surprised the first time he made it. And pleased. I love cabbage and just never cook it.

stuffed cabbage at Tim and Victor's Totally Joyous Recipes

Stuffed Cabbage

Ina Garten


  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head Savoy or green cabbage, including outer leaves

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Remove the entire core of the cabbage with a paring knife. Immerse the head of cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes, peeling off each leaf with tongs as soon as it s flexible. Set the leaves aside. Depending on the size of each leaf, you will need at least 14 leaves.

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, rice, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup of the sauce to the meat mixture and mix lightly with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

To assemble, place 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a small paring knife. Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of filling in an oval shape near the rib edge of each leaf and roll up toward the outer edge, tucking the sides in as you roll. Place half the cabbage rolls, seam sides down, over the sauce. Add more sauce and more cabbage rolls alternately until you ve placed all the cabbage rolls in the pot. Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover the dish tightly with the lid and bake for 1 hour or until the meat is cooked and the rice is tender. Serve hot.

Everything about it was good. Nonna almost licked her plate. After wiping mine with bread, it was clean enough to go back in the cupboard.

stuffed-cabbage at Tim and Victor's Totally Joyous Recipes

I liked it. A lot.

It was a successful meal and a successful day!

I’m thinkin’ 61 is gonna be a good year…..