Saturday, November 5, 2011

Challenge: Chinese Cabbage

The competition: Chinese Cabbage.
One of the toughest veggies in our CSA this week was the Chinese Cabbage (also called Napa Cabbage). It's pretty similar to that typical cabbage you see in the tight green ball, only the texture is a bit different.

It's not that it's hard to find cabbage recipes or anything; it's hard to find appetizing cabbage recipes that aren't German, meat-filled stews & stuff. Also, Nathan's picky.

Well, we pretty much dominated this challenge.

First up, we made AMAZING lettuce wraps. I don't have pictures from that, but I'll tell you what we did! Basically we just cooked up fake ground beef, carrots, greens, & green onions in a skillet, added Tiki Masala sauce, and then used the cabbage to wrap around the tasty Indian mixture. It was incredible. I was skeptical, but I loved every second of it. The cabbage had the perfect texture & it was sturdy enough to hold the filling. Success all around.

Next, I went the easy (but delicious & practical) route & made some vegan cole slaw! Nathan doesn't love Cole Slaw, but he also doesn't like STRAWBERRIES... so, what can you do? (Note my joking tone. I love my husband, even if he has weird food quirks that I will never understand. Also, he would probably want me to clarify that he likes the flavor of strawberries, just not the texture).

Here's what I did:

Chinese/Napa Cabbage (really you can use any kind)
Equal parts Vinegar (I used Cider Vinegar) & Vegetable Oil
Sugar to taste (about equal to the amount of vinegar/oil, but I tended to use less)

I didn't put amounts because you should use however much you have/want! I used several leaves of cabbage, 1 carrot, and about 1/6 an onion. Vinger & Oil about 1/5 cup, and maybe 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

The Process
  • Washed cabbage leaves thoroughly to get rid of the little bugs that were hitchin' a ride, then dried on towels.
  • Cut up carrots, cabbage, & onions into chunks.
  • Used (too tiny) food processor to shred vegetables into whatever size I wanted. 
  • I saved one leaf of cabbage to manually slice, in order to diversify the texture a bit.
  • Added vinegar, oil, & sugar to taste. 
  • Admired joyfully.

Drying. See their shape? They kind of look like Dementor hands.
The veggies. Simple and tasty.
All the ingredients/tools. Pretty easy, huh?
The finished product. So yummy. And so not fattening.
Beautiful texture.

Thanks, Cabbage, for this wonderful challenge. I'm pretty pleased that I went the practical (boring/easy?) route with the cabbage. Honestly, we're really determined to make sure none of our veggies go bad before we eat them. This cabbage was tricky because it was a huge head. Slaw will keep nicely for a while, and I still even have a couple of leaves left to make Chinese Cabbage Soup with! Another great thing about this recipe is that it's pretty healthy! I'm trying to eat vegan when I can, rather than putting butter & cheese in everything I eat just because I can (hence the weight-gain). This slaw is awesome cause it doesn't have mayo in it, and you can really decide how much sugar & oil you want to add. I went lightly on it to let the awesome flavors of the cabbage, carrots & onion shine through (fresh farm produce seriously tastes better). And the wraps we made last night were pretty healthy & low-fat too, with no added dairy or salt. Yay!

This week we've got some tasty meals planned: Quinoa burgers, Collard Green & Sweet Potato Gratin (for which we bought $7 Gruyere cheese... so it better be freakin' good), Chinese Cabbage Soup, Stuffed Squash, Zucchini Cakes, Homemade Potato Pierogies, and whatever else I can come up with. Hopefully Nathan will allow me to take pictures, thus "objectify our lives" as he so lovingly stated when I took pictures of the stew the other night. (Again, this is me with a loving, joking tone regarding my awesome husband who was also joking when he said that).

That's it. I'm going to go gorge myself on cole slaw (just kidding....?).

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