Monday, February 15, 2010

Produce of the Week: Cabbage!

With a couple of beets, a few bedraggled carrots, and a half of a rutabaga, my refrigerator's produce bin was looking pretty pitiful. It had been three weeks since my last farmer's market excursion, and I was definitely suffering the consequences. I don't know how long I could have kept up my chocolate and apples diet (since, that is what it seemed to be turning into). But, thankfully, Saturday arrived and I had my favorite weekend excursion: the U-District Farmer's Market! Among the bounty of roots, leafy greens, and baby delicatas, I picked up this gem - a beautiful, Rachel-sized, purple cabbage!

Ok, now most people I know hear the word cabbage and immediately mime gagging. For some reason (like many of the veggies I love), it has this bad reputation. Maybe it is the pungent aroma given off when cooked...maybe it is the result of one too many bad experiences with the "Cabbage Soup Diet" (well, of course you'll lose weight if all you eat is cabbage!)...I don't know. But my hope is that if you are one of the cabbage knockers, you will give it another chance.

Cabbages are the quintessential Brassicas, and actually the same species as kale, broccoli, and brussel sprouts (its "Mini Me"). This star of today's cole slaws, has a long cultivation and culinary history, spanning civilizations and continents. I am not going to go into the detailings of centuries of cabbage evolution, but if you are interested, check this out.

Anywho, I am a recent cabbage convert. It's not a super-food like some leafy greens or anti-oxidant-rich berries, but it has some redeemable qualities with plenty of Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus it is a hardy, filling meal, that - due to its neutral pH - helps ease acidic stomach problems.

A couple of weeks ago, I made an absolutely scrumptious Indian Stir-Fried Cabbage. Pair it with some naan, dal, or other Indian food stuffs. I am loathe to include a slaw recipe in this post, but as long as I steer clear of our American version and stick to a light Asian-inspired dish, I think I will pull through. For dinner tonight, I thought I would make Purple Cabbage, Winter Squash, and Tofu, compliments of last week's NY Times dining section!
If you happened to be overflowing with apples and parsnips, I also recommend this soupy delicacy!

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