Sunday, March 18, 2007

Adventures in Vegetables

Cabbage and Beets: Despised vegetables, right? But Oh my Goodness, do I have a good recipe for them! I didn't even know I liked cabbage!
This comes from my friend Christy, who learned it from her mother in law, Nadine, although she makes it with romaine lettuce and tomatoes. It being still winter here, we don't have good tomatoes, so I thought to try it with more wintry veggies. Lo, it worked!
-Mash a few cloves of peeled garlic in a mortar and pestle. (If you don't have one, mash them on your chopping block with the bottom of a jar or a meat tenderizer, and run out and buy a good mortar and pestle tomorrow.)
-Sprinkle garlic with salt: in Christy's words, "more than you think" I used about 1 tsp.
-Squeeze in a puddle of lemon juice; several Tbsp.
I did this all in the mortar and pestle. The key is to make a nice mashy paste. Taste to see if the flavor balance is good
For Cabbage: chop up. Heat a few spoonfuls of butter and/or olive oil in a frying pan on Med-Low. Saute the cabbage, stirring casually until it is partially wilted-- a little crunch is nice. I used a whole cabbage, which quite filled my pan, so I stirred using a wooden spoon and a spatula to turn it without overflowing the pan. Toss with dressing just before serving. Eat hot or serve levtovers cold with rice. When I made Paul taste a forkful of the cabbage, he actually said, "what did you do to that to make it so delicious?" Imagine--delicious cabbage!
For Beets: Boil beets whole. When they are soft if you stick a big one with a fork, put the pot in the sink and rub the skins off with your hands under a slow stream of cold water. (Warning: if you have bare hands, they will turn pink!) The skins and cooking water are great for the compost pile. Then loosely chop or cube the beets and toss with dressing. Beets are so rich and sweet I don't think they need added butter or oil. Adjust flavors to taste. It also works to include the beet greens; just chop and wilt as with cabbage, tossing before serving hot or cold. Happy eating.

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