Wednesday, March 25, 2009

About A Mojillion Ways To Use A Cabbage

Cabbages are cheap. This is one of the first steps in becoming frugal. Make friends with things that are cheap and good for you. At the Basilica we are trying to eat more vegetables. I am shoving carrots and cabbage into anything but cookies. Travis McGee could live on vegetables. He also still has what I dimly remember being referred to as metabolism. He's one of those people who announces shortly before dinner that he "forgot" to eat lunch. How does food skip one's mind? I count it as a giant leap forward if I don't awaken from my afternoon break/daydream to find myself in front of the vending machine getting ready to push the button for hot fries.
Anyway. Cabbage. Part of the much-maligned Brassica family, including turnips, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. Cabbage is full of vitamin C, cancer fighting agents and the all-important fiber. And it gives most people gas. Of course so do hot wings and we eat those so it's not a reason to stay away. And cabbages keep forever. You can stick one in the bottom of the fridge and forget about and chances are when you finally remember it you can peel off a couple of leaves and use the rest.
Here are some ideas for incorporating it into your diet:

  • Cole slaw. Obvious, I know. But it doesn't have to be regular old cole slaw. Asian slaw is fantastic. Broccoli cole slaw is wonderful and keeps better than mayo based slaws. I use more cabbage in the recipe and leave out the ramen flavoring because of the high sodium level. A good recipe for a regular old picnic cole slaw can be found here.
  • Rotten cabbage. I am not a fan of fermented cabbage products but I have a friend who could live on kimchi. Blech. If you like them, though, then why not make your own? Here is a site for making sauerkraut. Then go here for enough ways to use it to last you until Christmas. This is a good site for making kimchi that doesn't involve the traditional preparation of burying it in the ground.
  • Wraps. Instead of using lettuce leaves as low-fat wraps use cabbage leaves. These are excellent for substantial foods like carnitas that flop around in lettuce leaves.
  • A nod to the British Empire. Bubble and Squeak and Colcannon are traditional English and Irish dishes respectively. Usually made with potatoes and cabbage, these incorporate milk, butter and at times cold meats. They are useful as hearty foods for cold evenings and to get rid of whatever leftovers you may have.
  • Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls. Recipezaar has a great simple egg roll recipe. You could easily make it with wonton wrappers for spring rolls and also sub in any veggies you might have lying around.
  • The traditionals. Corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage rolls. Most people who like cabbage already have a traditional recipe for at least one of these. The easiest way and the one i grew up with is to boil cabbage with either turnips, parsnips or potatoes and either pork, ham or kielbasa. We always poured about a capful of vinegar into the potliquor (juices from the veg) and then sopped it up with cornbread. Told you I grew up in the country. We always knew funds were low when we had this. It makes use of the toughest cuts of meat and is filling and healthy while being inexpensive and easy. Recently I've been thinking that a fennel bulb chopped up in this would be a winner.
  • Stirfries. If you use a bunch of cabbage and a lot of rice you can stretch a plain old stirfry into several lunches.
  • Soups. Same thing. Add a bunch of cabbage to any vegetable, bean or meat based soup and reap the benefits of stretching the soup and healthying it up.
  • My favorite. Fry it. Either chop roughly or cut in wedges. Melt a little bacon grease in a skillet. Add a bit of garlic and saute the cabbage until it starts to wilt just a bit. You don't want to cook it to death. That's when it starts to smell. Salt and pepper to taste. Believe me, you'll be craving this.
  • As a wedge with blue cheese. This twist on the traditional steakhouse Iceberg Wedge Salad is quite tasty. I am going to try grilling napa cabbage wedges brushed lightly with olive oil and then using a blue cheese, ranch, or feta dressing. Yum!
  • The Apple Salad recipe from the Treehouse Chef that got me started thinking about cabbages. This looks fantastic!


Mimi said...

um...and with that fried cabbage in bacon grease? Crumble the already fried bacon into pieces and sprinkle over the cabbage...yums in the tums!!

Treehouse Chef said...

Love your post today! Thanks for all of the great ways to eat cabbage. I have been in a cabbage eating frenzy and now you have given me more ways to include it in my diet!!!

burpandslurp said...

thanks for this great post with great info about caggabe! cabbage is one of my fav vegetables. another great way to eat cabbage is to make this japanese pizza called okonomiyaki: basically flour, eggs, and cabbage, then any other mix-ins you can think up of!

burpandslurp said...

i love cabbage! thank you so much for this great info on it. it's one of my fav vegetables, and another great way to incorporate it into a dish is into okonomiyaki, or japanese pizza.

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