Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February's Vegetable of the Month

brought to you by Jonathan Gliss, youth intern extraordinaire and aspiring culinary student


Cabbage


The cultivated cabbage is derived from a leafy plant called the wild mustard plant. Cabbage is used in a variety of dishes for its naturally spicy flavor. The cabbage head is widely consumed raw, cooked, or preserved in a great variety of dishes. A cruciferous vegetable, like its cousin’s broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, cabbage provides a wide variety of health benefits. Cabbage is low in calories and high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. Cabbage is easier to digest in its raw fresh form than when cooked. The longer it is cooked, the less digestible it becomes. Cabbage sprouts are delicate and easier to digest, and they also contain higher levels of nutrients. Avoid buying precut cabbage that are either halved or shredded. The moment the cabbage is cut, it begins to lose its nutrient contents. To store, keep the vegetable refrigerated in a perforated plastic bag to prevent loss of its vitamin C.


Cabbage and Leek Soup
Ingredients
• 2 pints of chicken stock or vegetable stock
• 8 leeks, trimmed, washed and chopped into small pieces
• 2 lb of cabbage hard stalks and outer leaves removed, chopped into pieces.
• 2 carrots cut into small pieces
• 3 sticks of celery cut finely
• 1 onion finely sliced
• 3 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to the boil. Drop in all the vegetables. Bring back to the boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Pork with Layered Cabbage

Ingredients
2 pounds of sauerkraut
1 large head green cabbage
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 tsp of finely chopped garlic
1 lb ground lean pork
1/4 cup rice, cooked in boiling salted water (yielding 3/4 cup cooked)
2 lightly beaten eggs
2 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/8 tsp marjoram
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup water mixed with 1 cup tomato puree
1 cup sour cream

1 Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water. If needed, soak in cold water 10-20 minutes to reduce sourness. Squeeze dry and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring to a boil enough salted water to cover the cabbage. Add the cabbage, turn the heat to low and simmer 8 minutes. Remove the cabbage and let it drain while it cools enough to handle. Pull off 16 large unbroken leaves and lay them on paper towels to drain and cool further.
2 In a 10-inch skillet, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, until the onions are lightly colored. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, rice, eggs, paprika, marjoram, the onion-garlic mixture, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Mix well with a fork or wooden spoon.
3 Place 2 tablespoons of the stuffing in the center of one of the wilted cabbage leaves and, beginning with the thick end of the leaf, fold over the sides, then roll the whole leaf tightly, as you would a small bundle. Repeat with more leaves until all the stuffing has been used.
4 Spread the sauerkraut on the bottom of a 5-quart casserole and arrange the cabbage rolls on top of it. Add the water mixed with the tomato puree. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pan tightly and cook the stuffed cabbage over low heat for 1 hour. Transfer the rolls from the casserole to a warm plate. Stir in the sour cream to the sauerkraut. Simmer another 5 minutes. Lift the sauerkraut onto a serving platter with a slotted spoon. Arrange the cabbage rolls on the sauerkraut and pour some of the sauce over them. Serve the rest of the sauce in a sauceboat.



Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 head green cabbage, quartered through the core
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 salt and ground pepper
Start by putting olive oil in a pan (skillet can be used) over medium heat. Then add the cabbage and cook it until it is golden brown. Around 3 minutes per each side. Then add vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer. Cook the cabbage until it is tender. You can use a fork to test it. Cook about 12 to 15 minutes then serve with salt and pepper or replace the salt with soy sauce.

Cole Slaw
Ingredients:
• 6 cups shredded cabbage
• 1 carrot, shredded
• 2/3 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons vinegar
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
• 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Preparation:
Toss cabbage in a large bowl with the carrots. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate until serving time.

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