A Leading Role for Cabbage

First of all, I’d like to apologize for taking such a long hiatus! I know, I know, I said that I would write you next week, keep in touch, make sure you knew that I still loved you. But the weeks have been busy and sweaty, and– long story short– I just haven’t been able to muster the will-power needed to upload this many pictures using a short bandwidth and a six-year old lap top. Anyway, I just want you to know that it wasn’t you; it was me. I promise not to neglect you or your dinner plans for this long ever again.

 

Now, for the good stuff. And cabbage is, no matter it’s reputation, really, really good stuff. Whatever bad name cabbage has gotten is definitely the fault of the recipes and chefs that like to drown it in mayonaise or boil it down to a chunky mush– and not the fault of the vegetable itself. The truth is that cabbage is not only one of the cheapest, most nutritious, and best storing foods in the world, it can be used in a myriad of delicious ways. (If you don’t believe me, try googling “grilled cabbage” or “golumki.) It also has the added benefit of being quick to prepare, which I hope that this week’s recipes can demonstrate.

First up, we have Okonomiyaki, or Japanese Pizza, as adapted from Heidi Swanson’s recipe over at 101 Cookbooks. I have tweaked the ingredients list a bit for our CSA share, but the method is 100% Heidi’s, as is the write-up thereof.

2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
2 onions, finely sliced
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (for a gluten-free option, you can use 2/3 cup chickpea flour– though it would be best to also use a teaspoon of xantham gum to hold everything together)
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive, canola, or peanut oil + 1 tsp sesame oil (for flavor)

Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, cilantro, chopped scallions, sesame seeds

Combine the cabbage, leeks, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the okonomiyaki, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side – another 3 -5 minutes.

When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges. Enjoy immediately.

Also from 101 Cookbooks this week, we have the right recipe for all of you going to summer barbecues and pot lucks but are getting tired of the same old cole slaw. This is also delicious for a side dish on a hot summer night, which is how we ate it– on the side of (and also on top of) corn tortillas with stewed black beans and sauteed onions and peppers. I’d say that this is one of the most delicious meals we’ve had all summer (credit goes to Theresa). PLUS, this is the perfect place to put those delicious cherry tomatoes that we’ve been handing out to use.

Lime & Peanut Coleslaw Recipe

Leave out the jalapeno if you like it milder. I also thought about adding shredded, baked tortilla chips (like the ones from the tortilla soup recipe). Also, I’ve mentioned this before – I try to seek out organic peanuts.

1 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 basket of tiny cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon + fine-grain sea salt

In a skillet or oven (350F) roast the peanuts for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way, until golden and toasted.

Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno (opt), and cilantro in a bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently stir to combine. Just before serving fold in the peanuts (add them too earl and they lose some of their crunch). Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed.

Serves 6 as a side.

AAnd, last but not least, we’ve got a bangin’ vegetarian main course recipe using red cabbage. Kayla threw together this incredble stir-fry from Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats. I know that looking at it, the recipe seems a little labor intensive, but when you consider that it makes a hearty one-dish dinner (though we had some rice with ours), the effort is far outweighed by the result. The meal is spicy but doesn’t pack too much heat, satisfying, and nutrient-packed. Definitely good for impressing company or for eating as leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week.

1 cup flour
1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
10 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoons ground coriander, divided
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon asafetida
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
½ head cabbage, core removed, and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 cup frozen peas

Procedures

  1. Dry off tofu with paper towels. Dump flour onto large plate. Add half of tofu and toss gently until evenly covered. Shake off excess. Pour four tablespoons ghee or oil into 12-inch iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Heat until shimmering. Add flour-coated tofu. Cook tofu, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about five minutes total. Remove tofu and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Turn off heat, carefully clean out skillet, and repeat with remaining tofu.
  2. Pour last two tablespoons of ghee or oil into medium-sized dutch oven set over medium high heat. Heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds. Cook until they start to pop, about 30 seconds. Add ginger, two teaspoons coriander, turmeric, asafetida, and serrano. Stir well, and cook until fragrant, about one minute.

  3. Add cabbage and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every minute, until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add remaining coriander, fried tofu, peas, and another pinch of salt. Stir well and cook until everything is warm, about two minutes. Season with more salt to taste. Serve with white rice.

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3 comments
  1. Sue Shumaker said:

    Abby, I love reading your blog, and these cabbage recipes sound delicious. I’m going to try the Japanese pizza this weekend. (Assume you substituted onions for the leeks originally called for?) Keep on keeping on, you have a great writing style.

  2. Sue, you’re just the sweetest. I can’t say how nice it is to get positive feedback. I’m glad you’re enjoying everything! Keep reading and enjoy the pizza! (And yes, I substituted the purplettes for leeks.)

  3. Sue Shumaker said:

    The pizza was great (no leftovers!) and next up will be the coleslaw and the tofu dish. Trying them out with our vegetarian son, glad to have something new to make. Keep those recipes coming!

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