Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What do make with - Cabbage

Have you ever bought an ingredient for a recipe you don't often make and then you have a ton of it left over and you're thinking, 'ok.. What do I do with this...?' You certainly don't want to let it go to waste (remember that food item you *ehem forgot about at the back of your refrigerator?) Been there done that! Ive recently been challenged when eating my way through the contents of my Summer/Autumn surplus and other items I buy then draw a mind blank on, to find recipes that neither taste or sound repititive.

Cabbage. Now thats a tricky one. I used to hate cabbage - growing up, I often had to eat this 'revolting' vegetable cooked, usually boiled, along with boiled potatoes, boiled silver beet/swiss chard and boiled brussels sprouts (can anyone else say EW). Thankfully I didn't have to eat all those boiled items together. I think it was my family's British food culture that's at fault for ruining this vegetable that I now think is wonderful. Brits seriously don't have a clue except they are pro's at boiling!! Haha jokes. The only time I actually liked cabbage was when it was raw and finely cut up, drowned in mayo and sold in the deli section and then we would traditionally eat it along side our deep fried fish n chips. Best food combo ever FYI. Except now Im not so hot on the mayo drowning. Less is more peeps.

Anyway, so what can you do with a cabbage thats the size of your head and theres only two of you to feed? If you have a family to feed then perhaps this will be easy for you. If you manage to find a half or quarter sized head of cabbage then I suggest go small but wheres the challenge in that? Just so you know when I say cabbage I mean the green kind. So heres five things that I did with mine:

  • Fish n Chips/Corn Dogs and homemade coleslaw
For those Kiwi expats like me who are disgusted with what North American's consider decent fish and chips and have just given up and just resort to eating processed coated fish while fantasizing about a beautiful piece of deep fried hoki. Or also like me you've tried deep frying fish yourself and it turned into a disaster - heres the lazy answer:
Go to your local Walmart or Superstore or whatever chain store you go to, go to your freezer section and find the best quality box of premade English beer battered fish you can find. Follow the instructions on the box. Next, go to your local 7/11 and pick up some corn dogs (or if your such a pro do this home made).  Next, finely slice up some cabbage, carrot, green onion, apple, pepper, add a few sunflower seeds and a light dose of your fav slaw dressing (I like poppyseed or thousand island). This meal is something I do probably like once every two months when I feel a bit homesick. Don't judge me. If you hate the idea of slaw with deep fried food then check out these interesting and healthy alternative coleslaw recipes

  • Perogies with sauteed cabbage, onion and peas with sage/paprika flavored bechamel
My husband LOVES perogies. Its a Mennonite thing that only someone of his gender and ethnic group can get away with eating on a regular basis. I don't mind them on a rare basis as long as theres more vegetables than perogies on my plate otherwise I would gain 5kg over night. If you don't know what a perogy is its pretty much an Eastern European/Russian dumpling filled with potato, cottage cheese, cheese or bacon then served in a butter sauce. I guess those poor peasants had to survive those winters with some kind of body fat to keep them alive while working the fields. Anyway, as we were eating our way through our freezer contents and there was enough for a meal I felt called to suck it up and make it a treat for the hubby and classy it up and add some colour to the meal for myself. I kept it nice and simple: From 1x bag of frozen no name brand bacon & potato perogies, pick out 7 per person (they're filling trust me) and boil til they float to the top of the saucepan then drain under cold water. In a large pan heat a bit of butter and saute an onion, then add the chopped cabbage and peas. Mix in the perogies. In a small sauce pan on med heat, heat a medium sized knob of butter and add 2 Tbsp of flour and whisk quickly. Allow to brown lightly then add a small amount of milk and keep whisking. Keep adding a small slosh of milk and whisk. Keep doing this til you've got enough bechamel to the thickness of your liking (I make mine a bit runny for perogies). Add salt, pepper, paprika and sage. Pour over the perogy and veg and garnish with some sliced green onion. Voila! Make sure you go for a jog the next day or else that meal will stay with you for months..
When I went to Japan at age 16 I fell in love with this meal. Its filling, healthy, unique and very yum. Okonomi pretty much means "What you like" and yaki means "grilled". Its a Japanese pizza (sort of) that they came up with as a way to deal with their leftovers. There are a few varieties but the main kind is owned by Osaka food purists. Its main ingredient is, you guessed it - cabbage. Check out the recipe link.

If you've never made kung pao chicken, *gasp! How could you not? The fact that stir fried cabbage, snow peas and carrots go well with it seems a bit obvious as well..

Another Mennonite/Eastern European classic soup made of beets, tomatoes, cabbage and depending on your recipe version, beef. Either you love it or you hate it. Try it.

Well there you go! Hope you enjoyed this and got some new ideas with what to do with cabbage. Now how to deal with cabbage farts? I'll leave that up to you lol.