Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cooking A Head

I tell you true folks, lately not a lot of blogworthy cooking has been going on around these parts. I mean, we are eating, sure, we do that every day no matter what. A missed meal is a rarity in this household. But food to write about? Seems like we are eating pretty ordinary fare. For instance...

I had a head of organic cabbage on hand, originally thought I would use it as part of Wonton Soup. That didn't pan out so I eventually went two other directions with it. First up?

We are trying to whittle down our caloric intake somewhat, and one way I seem to be able to do that is to revert to cooking more along the lines of our old style routine fare, albeit now made with organic, local, responsible produce and proteins.Dishes like the tomato-cabbage-beef combination that follows have re-entered our current line up. While delicious, and nutritious, it seemed a bit simple for blogification purposes. I don't even have a photo of it - tomatoes, onions, cabbage and cooked ground beef just are not all that photogenic. However, since I brought it up, here's the recipe just for fun. This is a thrifty enough dish I hope you will use all organic ingredients for the best taste, texture and healthiest results.

Tomato Cabbage Beef Dish
1 pound ground beef
1 onion rough chopped
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and 1/4 inch sliced
2 28 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with juice
salt, pepper to taste

In a large deep skillet with a lid, brown your beef, adding the onions about halfway through. Add sliced cabbage, and once the cabbage begins to soften, add both cans of tomatoes. Stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and heat through over medium low heat until cabbage reaches the desired doneness, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning as neccesssary. Serves 4-6

Offer hearty bread or good crackers and you have a lovely meal. This dish represents delicious, hearty, healthy, fresh tasting, warm-you-up-in-the-winter-time, no big deal cooking. It is inexpensive to boot.   I am sure it could be done in a slow cooker, but it takes so little time I have never found the need.  It reheats well, so would certainly function as a comforting take to work lunch.

Fast forward several days and I still have half a cabbage left over. What to do with that? Throwing it out was certainly not acceptable. Then I read Orangette's post on "Mondays" and knew I had to try the cabbage with hot sauce dish she described. I figured to offer it alongside fried eggs as she wrote about on her blog post.  You can get her recipe and see for yourself,  here.

I didn't have sambal oelek on hand - only the chili with garlic version, but I figured to give the dish a whirl anyway. A little garlic here and there couldn't make that much difference, I decided.

.....Lunch Break.....

I prepared the cabbage according to the recipe (with the hot sauce substitution as already noted). I used 1/2 teaspoon of heat and the Hub declared that perfect. I threw in a couple glugs of soy sauce and then did add a sprinkle of kosher salt. I served the cabbage alongside fried eggs and potatoes cut hash style.The cabbage was a bit salty, a bit sweet, a little meaty tasting due to the soy (at least that is how I experience soy) and the texture a delightful combination of al dente softness with a few caramelized crisp edges.

The entire lunch pulled together in under 20 minutes as I had the potatoes already left over from supper a couple of nights ago. I only had to dice, reheat and adjust the seasoning on the potatoes. I hope this won't sound gushy, but I am really excited about how well we liked cabbage prepared this way.I am also happy happy we have one serving left over (the cabbage cooked down considerably). I might have had a bit under a half cabbage and it was not a particularly large specimen to begin with, but I would not hesitate to try and double this with a whole head of cabbage, even if it meant cooking it in two batches. I am fairly sure we will be wanting this often enough that I will develop an eye for how much cabbage goes with how much hot sauce and how much soy, etc. Since it is mostly seasoning to taste, how can you go wrong?

We enjoyed our delectable luncheon outside, dining al fresco for the first time so far this year. It is 76 degrees out here today and by the time the rest of the country is chatting amiably away outdoors on sidewalks and patios at lunch time we here in Central Texas will likely already have been forced inside by the heat. Mild winters here are the trade off for withering heat in July and August. Seasoned residents here know to take full advantage whenever possible of the gift of such a lovely day.Accordingly, now we are off to get some yard work done to burn off a few of the calories consumed. [See more photos of our gardens here] We have dormant plants to move around, buckets of supplemental water to haul from the rain barrels, and blooms to be enjoyed. Typical payoffs on a sunny warm winter afternoon of having a garden to putter around in.

I hope you have something pleasant to do outside this afternoon and if for any reason you can't get out then I hope it is just this lovely on your next day off, whenever and wherever that finds you. Happy Sunday!


Flapjacks said...

for people like me, you could just take a picture of a head of cabbage, and i'd still read about it. all food is fancy, why? because we have it so readily accessible. so don't fret about blogworthy food v. just plain eating stuff. it. is. all. the. same.

PassivePastry said...

i agree with flappy. i.am.hungry.for.some.yum.

TexasDeb said...

Duly. Noted. Won't. Sweat. Fancy. Stuff.


Anonymous said...

Love fried eggs! And while I don't like cabbage, I love sauerkraut!

TexasDeb said...

biz, I think this is theoretically close enough to sauerkraut that you might want to give it a try. The soy and hot sauce treatment elevate the cabbage to a whole new realm.