Friday, March 30, 2012

How do you use a ton of cabbage?

A month ago, Aunt Ruth and Aunt Ellie shared how when they were growing up on the farm they used to sell cabbage by the ton. I can't even fathom a ton of cabbage or dream of things to make with it. Yet they would sell a ton of cabbage for some ridiculously low price, like $8.

Spurred by that conversation, when St. Patrick's day rolled around and cabbage was on sale, I had to buy some. A head of cabbage might not weigh a ton, but it still takes some work to eat through three or four pounds of cabbage. Here's how I used mine:

Crunchy Vietnamese Cabbage Salad with Pan-Seared Tofu
This New York Times recipe is quite delicious. Soy sauce, lime, garlic, jalapeno. Mmmmmmmmmm. Seriously, go buy a cabbage and make it.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese cabbage pancake dish introduced to me by my friend Michelle. The following recipe is adapted from The Tassajara Bread Book and isn't all that true to the normal ingredients, but I've found it to work out fine. If you're interested in a more authentic version, you can often buy okonomiyaki mixes and sauces at specialty Asian groceries.

Ingredients (for about two servings worth)
1/4 cabbage
1 carrot
½ onion:  yellow or purple
(1/2 c meat or fish pieces or tofu, if desired, or whatever you have around)
1 c (or more) flour:  whole wheat and unbleached white
1 egg, beaten
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup milk
Enough water to make batter

Chop, shred, dice or thinly slice vegetables and meat. Mix together remaining ingredients to from batter.  Fold vegetables into batter, pour into a frying pan, and cook on medium heat until thoroughly cooked. Serve either warm or cold with soy sauce and spicy mayo (I mix sriracha into regular mayo).

Caramelized Onions and Cabbage Pasta
Easy to make with few ingredients, but it does take some time to caramelize the onions. I'd argue that caramelized onions are always worth it though.

1 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
a taste of Balsamic vinegar

Melt the butter on medium-low. Add the onions and saute until translucent and almost starting to brown. Then, add the cabbage and continue to saute.

Once you've added the cabbage, put on water to boil the pasta. The cabbage and onions should caramelize about the time the pasta finishes cooking. Season with Balsamic vinegar and fresh ground pepper.