By Beverly Barbour
Cabbage is to autumn as lettuce is to spring
Cooked or raw, cabbage is full of vitamin C and potassium, happily it is low in calories and high in fiber, which could help prevent colon cancer risk.
If when eating cabbage gas is a problem for you start off by eating a small amount--like a half cup of shredded cabbage in your salad--and gradually increase the amount. Your tolerance will go up as the quantity goes up. Ah, yes, and if you don't like the way cabbage and its kissing cousins (bok choy, Chinese or napa cabbage, red cabbage and Dutch cabbage) smell when you cook them, don't put a cover on the pot.
That was easy. Now for some easy recipes showcasing versatility, read on.
Aunt Lena Widmeyer's German Red Cabbage
This is absolutely delicious with pork or sausages. Or, spoon it over mashed potatoes for a very inexpensive, nutritious, tasty meal. White (Dutch) cabbage can be substituted for red--it's just as tasty.
4 slices thick bacon, finely chopped
Cook bacon in large skillet until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel and add to the pan, onions and celery, cook, stirring frequently, until very soft. Add cabbage in 4 batches, mixing thoroughly after each. Stir in orange juice. Reduce heat to low, cook, stirring often, until cabbage has wilted, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and sugar, cook, stirring often until very tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle bacon over all before serving. Makes 6 servings.
What did we do before phyllo found its way into the supermarket freezer? These slices of rolled phyllo holding tasty cabbage are a delightful surprise at a dinner party. It is possible that they could be made ahead and frozen.
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until onion is very soft. Add cabbage, a handful at a time, stirring frequently until it has wilted, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in mustard, caraway, salt and pepper. Add egg and cream; stir well. Place 1 sheet phyllo on work surface with short sides at top and bottom. Keep rest of phyllo sheets covered with slightly damp towel while working. Brush sheet with some of the butter. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs. Place another sheet on top of first. Repeat process until 4 sheets have been used. Top with last phyllo sheet. Put cabbage mixture on lower third of sheets, about 4 inches from sides. Fold long edges in, covering part of the filling. Fold short edges over filling and continue folding, forming a square package. Brush top of package with remaining butter, making sure to seal edges. Decorate top with additional phyllo if desired. Brush pastry with egg white. Bake until golden brown, about 49 to 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 6 servings. *Note: You can substitute any mustard and add horseradish, to taste.
Any cabbage can be used here but my husband is so fond of napa cabbage that he uses it in every salad he makes. It is mild in flavor and stays nicely crisp.
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
Whisk together vinegar and sugar. Let stand several minutes until sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in oil; season with salt and pepper ad set aside. Cut bottom inch from napa cabbage. Cut large leaves in half lengthwise; shred all leaves about 1/8-inch thick. Place in bowl with radicchio. Toss mixture with enough vinaigrette to coat leaves. Serve soon after tossing. Makes 8 servings.
Old-Fashioned Coleslaw Dressing
Flo Burtnett of Gage, Okla., used to keep this handy in the refrigerator for making a quick slaw or carrot salad.
3/4 cup plain yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise
Combine all ingredients in a jar, cover and shake until well combined. When ready to make salad, shake again. Makes a little more than 1 cup of dressing.
Cabbage from your garden will keep very well in the refrigerator if you slip a paper towel in before expelling the air and closing the zip lock bag.