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Monday, April 18, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name

Cabbage is a wonderfully hardy, versatile, and frequently misunderstood plant.  After coleslaw and cabbage rolls, many people often run out of ideas.  Sure, it sits there in the produce aisle, just after the broccoli, right before the turnips.  Lonely and dejected, just waiting for someone to take it home and, if not love it, at least cook with it.

Why not try this?

 This recipe arrived in my latest edition of Everyday Food.  This magazine is usually more hit than miss.  I've found the last couple of issues particularly inspiring.  This recipe was both simple and delicious.

Chop up at least four slices of bacon and fry'em up good.  To be honest, I could have used more bacon in this dish.  Like a full pound.  You may want to take more of a middle road with something like half a dozen or so.

Throw in the cut up cabbage and let it wilt away for 10-15 minutes.  I've found the easiest way to dissect a cabbage is to quarter it, then chop the core out by laying the piece on its side and slicing down behind the indigestible middle. 
The recipe technically says to remove the bacon and drain it on a paper towel.  This would have meant more dishes, so clearly that idea was nixed.  It also calls for onions to be added.  They didn't get added tonight for two reasons.  First, my little helpers could not seem to find the 5 lb bag of onions in the fruit cellar.  Secondly, they don't like onions to begin with.  These two points may be related.

Then you pour in some wine or cider vinegar.  I found some wine vinegar in the back of the fridge, so I used it.  I wouldn't use regular white or go with something as dark as malt.  It really needs the tang of the fermented cider or wine.

Then you toss in some white sugar.  I am wondering if you could use balsamic vinegar and skip the white sugar.  I've put that on the 'to try next time' list.

Then, the soy sauce to round things out.  Our local grocery store is undergoing renovations and now has a massive ethnic aisle.  It's like a small culinary tour without leaving your own town.

I have come to prefer dark soy sauce in a number of dishes.  It has a depth of flavour (ooh, look at me gittin' fancy pants) that I really like.  If you check out the ethnic section of your local grocery store, you will often find familiar products, albeit in unfamiliar packages, at reduced prices. Bonus!

And that's it.  Let it stew in it's own juices for another ten minutes or so and bingo, instant side dish.  My boys all loved it.  Will we all love each other tomorrow when it finishes moving through our digestive tracts?  Hard to say.  Goose had three helpings.  Coworkers - consider yourself fairly warned.

This can also be serve chilled.  I don't think I'd suggest nuking it to re-heat it.  Stick with eating it cold.  I'm guessing the cabbage would go from wilted to wilty, and that would be groady. 1. 2.
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