Everybody have a nice St. Patrick’s Day?
(Ouuuuuuuuch – My hair hurts. But I have no regrets.)
Just kidding. I’m MARRIED, remember? This means there isn’t a fun, drunken holiday I don’t skip out on. Hot Librarian costume and Liq-or-Treat on Halloween? No thanks! This year I planned to go as Martha Washington…buuut there were several highly anticipated reruns of Andy Griffith on that night. Which do YOU think I chose?
I don’t know what happened to me. I used to leave the house around 11pm…now I complain that Thursday Night television starts too late on the East coast. If my stories start at 9pm, I won’t get to bed until at least 11! Who can LIVE like that?
I hope to earn back some St. Paddy’s credit by extolling the virtues of a classic March 17 staple: cabbage. While enjoying a meal of corned beef & cabbage is SPD 101, there are a few other uses for cabbage that have made it my latest obsession, second only to cauliflower rice.
One of the first times I cooked with cabbage – outside of Sauerkraut – was with this Sausage Stew, adapted from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook. It’s still a favorite. At that point I had no idea that kale, cauliflower, raw cabbage, and beet greens were good for…anything!
Next, an old favorite. I’ve loved Sauerkraut – fermented cabbage – since my first experience with the venerable Reuben. I gave up sandwiches years ago and have since enjoyed Kraut over brats, bun-less, with plenty of grilled onion on top.
I have a list of “Hacks” – little added-value additions to the Paleo/Primal/Real-Food lifestyle – and adding fermented foods to the rotation is one of them. Kraut is perfect for those who don’t do dairy or soy (the Usual Suspects of fermented foods are yogurt, kefir, and natto; yes, beer is also fermented, though I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to down it. Green beer, of course, is an exception).
Bubbie’s Kraut, which is nothing but cabbage and salt, is my favorite. This Hippie Mother gem of a write-up summarizes some of Kraut’s best qualities – fermentation makes nutrients more readily available and helps colonize beneficial gut flora. The Weston A. Price Foundation has been extolling the virtues of fermented foods for years and turned me on to Kombucha. Many traditional cultures have unique versions of Kraut – it’s truly ancient wisdom for modern life.
Next came Cabbage Rolls from CaveMan Strong. Yes, these look like scary alien cocoons, but they hatch nothing but delicious, meaty goodness. I made several batches, as you can see from the photo mash-up. I omitted the almond flour from the stuffing and added green pepper and carrot to the sauce.
For the flip side to stuffed cabbage, check out AndreAnna’s Unstuffed Cabbage Soup from Life As A Plate.
As if cabbage couldn’t get any more delightful, Primal Palate came up with the best. Idea. Ever. Remember my statement on the facebook page that Spaghetti squash is so last year? Well, cabbage – with its slight crunch, its sturdy composition, and its mild flavor – has replaced all manner of noodle-like substances for me. The no-grain Lo Mein that Bill and Hayley came up with is spec-freakin’-tacular. I love any excuse to use my coconut aminos, and this is the best one yet. I also like to use sesame oil once in awhile – although it’s not one of my Super Sat Fats (Good Lard!), it’s unique because it contains the heat-protective anti-oxidant Sesamin – so it stands up to heat extremely well, unlike many other less saturated oils. I don’t use it very often because it’s high in the Omega-6 linoleic acid, so I’ll replace it with coconut oil if I’m getting close to over-sesamification. (NEW WORD!)
I omitted the meat from Primal Palate’s recipe for the pictured go-round (though I’ve made it according to specs at least 4 other times) because I got a little greedy with the Asian craving. I just HAD to cook up some beef & broccoli too.
Next, a simple dish of cabbage with sausage and a tiny dash of sage. Simply cook up some sausage in a cast-iron skillet – possibly adding a dollop of rendered lard – and add sliced cabbage toward the end of cooking to soften just slightly.
Next up is learning to work with red cabbage a bit more. It’s very purple-y (name that movie) and there’s no doubt it will be as satisfying and diverse as my darling green cabbage. Any good recipes for red out there?