Tuesday, October 18, 2011

99% Cavalcade of Cabbage

Dear Reader,

In these times of economic woe, it is good to take a cue from our grandparents and great grandparents - unless yours were very very wealthy, in which case you can suck it.  My great grandfather worked in a steel mill in Indiana. He lived, with his wife and four children, in a one bedroom apartment in what was called, "Company House," sort of like a dormitory for the steel workers. This was during the depression, and so my grandmother started working at age five to help support her family. She woke early to pick onions on a farm before school. When the farmer saw how industrious she was, he told her she could hire her sister to help out. Her sister, my great aunt Anne, was three. My grandmother let her sleep in the field and just hurried to pick more onions. There wasn't much food for them, but being Ukrainian, they had a deep appreciation for cabbage.  My grandmother could do as much with cabbage as Bubba could do with shrimp .  And one cabbage would sometimes feed them for several days. So I will here give you three uses for cabbage, besides the obvious stuffing your bra with the leaves to relieve engorged nipples.

Happy Happy Cole Slaw

This is a good one and can be varied. You can use any kind of cabbage you want for these. I love Savoy because it's so pretty, but I can't always find it. Basically shred your cabbage - not the whole thing unless you're feeding all the neighbors, use about one third. Add some sliced onion and diced pineapple. My grandmother used to use canned pineapple and it was fine. Toss it all together with simple white vinegar that you probably have left over from that time you wanted to dye Easter eggs, and some olive oil, salt and pepper. If you're feeling fancy you can add in some chopped jicama and some avocado. I love this cole slaw inside a taco or fajita, and in fact had exactly that last night for dinner. Yum.

Good Enough For Guests Cabbage

This will become one of your favorites, I promise. Unless it doesn't.  Shred another third of your cabbage.  In a large pan, melt some butter and toss in a handful of cumin seeds. You can also use caraway, but as you must know by now, I love cumin. When you can smell the cumin wafting from the pan, throw in the cabbage, salt and pepper, and saute until nice and soft. Squeeze on some lime and serve. This would go nicely with some sort of Germany sausage like Bratwurst, or plain ole hot dogs.

Post Modern Saurkraut 

My own grandma's recipe for saurkraut, not at all authentic, but really tasty.  Shred the last third of that cabbage and put it in a pot. Pour in a healthy squeeze of ketchup. Toss in some chopped apples, some onion, a small fistful of caraway seeds, and about two tablespoons of brown sugar and some salt.  Cover and cook over low heat until everything is soft and blended together. If it starts to stick to the pan, you can add water or if you have it, some cider.  This also goes well with hot dogs, but is perfect with kielbasa, which also comes in a not-too-bad vegetarian version, if that's your thing.

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