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Monday, February 28, 2011

The vegetables are haunting me

All my life, my father ate a salad every single evening before his dinner. And every single evening, that salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, about half of a green onion, and a couple of slivers of red cabbage, topped with blue cheese dressing and cracker crumbs. (My mom was too frugal to buy actual croutons. But that's a story for a whole new blog.)

So anyway, as far as I could ever see, red cabbage gets used up a microscopic amount at a time. One small cabbage can take care of salads for several months. In my box last week, there was a red cabbage about the size of my head. (Heretofore referred to as HRC, or Huge Red Cabbage). So I did what any normal person would do if she were presented with an HRC. I put it away in the refrigerator and pretended it wasn't there.

After a few days of that HRC haunting my dreams, I had to do something about it. So I did the next thing any normal person would do. I started whining to my friends.

After I told a few people that there was an HRC occupying far more than it's fair share of crisper drawer, haunting my dreams, and taunting me every time I opened the fridge, my domestically-gifted friend Jacque had a solution. Or half a solution. She has a recipe, she told me, for red cabbage. It only requires red cabbage and a couple of other things that are in every pantry in America.

I was dreading the final result, imagining it would taste a lot like sauerkraut. I don't hate sauerkraut, but I like it in moderation. As in, a tablespoon or so once a year on a German sausage.

But it was GOOD! Light, sweet, mild! I cooked some bratwursts, half of my HRC, and roasted potatoes for dinner. The consensus?  The adults liked the cabbage. My youngest son (and most adventurous eater) liked it too. He ate all of the small serving I gave him, but turned down my offer for seconds. My other two kids? Cried, whined, complained, moaned and groaned. I insisted that they at least try it. They did. About a milligram each. They said they didn't hate it, but since all I said was that they had to TRY it, they weren't willing to eat an actual human-sized bite. Let alone a respectable serving.

The only problem? There is still a sizable bowl of the cooked cabbage left over. And since the recipe only called for one small head of cabbage, I only used half of my HRC. So, I still have that other half of a red cabbage sitting in the fridge. And in my nightmares.

Here is the recipe, just in case anyone out there ever reads my little blog, or cares to try cooking any of the things I have cooked:

Sauteed Red Cabbage

1 small head red cabbage
1 tbls olive oil
3-4 tbls red wine vinegar
coarse salt and pepper
1 tbls light brown sugar
Halve, core, and thinly slice cabbage.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add cabbage and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, tossing frequently, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 15 minutes (add a splash of water if pan becomes too dry.)  Add tbls sugar; toss until dissolved, about 30 second.  Season again with salt and pepper to taste.