Give Cabbage a Chance.

Thursday, November 10th. Frost Moon is full today. 🙂

So I was going to spend this afternoon (a) writing, and (b) making Lunar Calendar jewelry (since I’ve got at least some of the beads in and can get a start on them), but I picked up groceries on my way home instead, and now I want to blog about food.

Shocking, I know.

Basically, the local-independent grocery store imports almost all of its produce from the U.S. and beyond rather than getting it in from Canadian (and, better, Eastern-Ontario/Western-Quebec) farmers. Boo and hiss!

They have beets (beets!!!) and swiss chard and collards imported from fucking TEXAS! WTF??? They’re available HERE right now!!!

Hoy.

So, as you can imagine, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in my grocery cart today. What I did get included (a) a mess of pork chops and sausages[1], (b) 3lbs red onions, (c) a bunch of leeks, and (d) a green cabbage that is literally the size of my head and cost me $0.39 per pound. (Having done the math, my guess turned out to be a little shy of the mark. It’s a 5.7 pound cabbage. I’d been guessing 5lbs).
Which means that, rather than doing up a spinach dish[2] for my dinner, I’m experimenting with green cabbage.

This is a thing I like to do. Not necessarily with cabbage, I mean, but to experiment with the somewhat sneered-upon winter vegetables – particularly the profusion of Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae) that are so often treated as sub-standard ingredients[3] that “no-one” wants to eat.

Having spent a pretty significant chunk of my life being one of those people who turned up her nose at savoy cabbages and rutabagas, and having turned into a bit of a local food junky with dreams of filling most, if not all, of her own produce needs via a large, sprawling (and, to date, fictional) garden… Let’s just say I think it’s time for me to mend my ways and uncover the many delights that the Brassica family has to offer.

(Hint: Yes, over the course of the winter, I’ll be posting occasional recipes that center around the following slew of ingredients: Cabbage, kohlrabi, turnip, mustard, kale, collards, rutabaga, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts[4], and rapini).

To start, I offer you “Braised Cabbage with Fennel and Beets”. It’s not exactly what I’m cooking today (lacking the fennel, for a start), but it’s close:

*~*~*~*~*

Braised Cabbage with Fennel and Beets

Ingredients
1 tbsp sesame oil OR butter (melted)
2 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, peeled and diced
+
2 beets, boiled, peeled and sliced
2 C cabbage, shredded (a little more than a pound)
1 C fennel, shredded
2 C white wine
2 apples, cored and diced (pears will also work here, depending on seasonality)
½ C crumbled walnuts
¼ C chevre OR feta, crumbled

Directions

1) Peel and boil the beets whole. While they are boiling, prep the rest of the vegetables and fruit.

2) When the beets have boiled, slice them into half-rounds and set them aside.

3) In a large pot, combine the onion, garlic, spices and oil, and allow them to cook on low heat until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).

4) Add the cabbage, fennel, and beets, and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, then mix in the dressing.

5) Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes.

6) Stir in the diced apples, and cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered (cabbage should be tender by the end).

7) Remove from heat and add the walnuts and cheese, mixing lightly to help the cheese melt.

8) Serve and enjoy.

*~*~*~*~*

This dish works gorgeously on its own, but can also be served as a side dish with roast pork or sausages. To do a vegan version of this dish, opt for the sesame oil, leave out the cheese, and add 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast to the mixture around about when you add the cabbage, fennel, and beets.

TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] Because, apparently, I’m on a total Pork kick of late.

[2] The original plan had been to do a beets and chevre salad with spinach

[3] Possibly because – due to both their long-keeping qualities and their (frequent) long cook-time requirements – they get written off as “food for poor people” who can’t afford the delicate members of the nightshade family that get imported in the dead of winter.

[4] Okay, maybe not brussels sprouts. My partner really, REALLY can’t stand to eat those ones. Oh, well.

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