After this past week of unseasonable warm fall weather it might actually be time to put away the shorts and flip flops, close the windows, find the wool sweaters, and think about a few meals before we get caught up in the confusion and mayhem of planning Thanksgiving cooking. Let’s say farewell to cole slaw, and hello to warm, braised cabbage.
Cabbage is cheap, and packed with nutrition, as well as being versatile. The last cabbage I pulled out from the heap weighed 4 pounds, and was just brimming over with meal potential. You can easily spice up your weekly menu without spending lots of money. And cabbage doesn’t have to be just the stinky accompaniment to corned beef once a year; there are lots of new and enticing ways to prepare it. I’ll bet you that right this minute someone in Brooklyn is experimenting with an artisanal bespoke organic cabbage smoothie cocktail, infused with saffron and CBD.
When winter rolls around we tend to think of oven-baked meals as a way to keep the kitchen cozy and our roll-poly bellies full. Whenever we cook pork chops I reflexively think of cole slaw and apple sauce as good side dishes. Samsin Nosrat (Of Salt Fat Acid Heat fame.) has a better idea than my mother’s 1950’s Hellmann’s mayonnaise-inspired slaw dish. You should try this: Samin Nosrat’s Bright Cabbage Slaw. It incorporates cabbage and apples, without the fat and calories of mayonnaise. It is a bright treat on a dark winter night. You can pretend you are in California.
Nigella’s Sweet and Sour Slaw is a little more time consuming – it might be perfect for a Saturday night meal, and it is quite festive and deelish.
Now you can take your new knife skills and try something fun for Taco Tuesday: Not Your Traditional Korean Tacos. Our friends at Food52 always have a tasty and clever solution for dinner, and these fresh Korean tacos will set you apart from the sodium-laden Old El Paso-recipe dependent households.
A more sophisticated take on cabbage and wraps comes from Bon Appétit: One-Skillet Hot Sausage and Cabbage Stir-Fry with Chives. Mr. Sanders is always buying Italian sausage, and we wind up using it repeatedly for sausage and peppers, or as pizza topping. This adds another meal to our burgeoning repertoire for winter 2024.
And where would we be in the midst of a gelid winter without an easy peasy every-thing-is-in-the-kitchen-already recipe? I love recipes where everything is already on hand; in the fridge, in the pantry, in the larder, ready to roll: Pasta with Cabbage, Winter Squash and Walnuts. We’ve got plenty of walnuts on hand for brownies, and Thanksgiving emergencies. No need to go out.
Cabbage probably won’t ever be the flashy media darling that kale was, but it is dependable. Like an old friend, or an old pair of jeans. You remember it fondly and it soothes your soul. The Washington Post food section has this nice, warming cabbage dish for you: Roasted Cabbage Bowls with Quinoa and Soft-boiled Eggs
Next week we will finally talk about Thanksgiving. Get ready!
“‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’”