Monday, October 26, 2009

Best cabbage ever

Cabbage is not the sexiest of ingredients, I'll admit it. But I love cabbage. I love its texture when it's been cooked just the right amount of time (i.e. not boiled to death), just lightly toothsome, and the slightly sweet flavor it develops. I'll vouch for cabbage.

But there's no convincing to be done with this dish. This is seriously the best cabbage I've ever had. Hands down. It comes from Bryant Terry, whose vegan soul style, as I've said before, I really like.

Around here barbecue joints often serve cabbage cooked in pork fat. This is Terry's re-interpretation of the dish. To "make up" for not using pork fat, he uses mustard seeds, pepper flakes, and a little sugar. I put the verb in the previous sentence in scare quotes because really we're not making up for anything here; this cabbage is better than any I've had, animal products or no. And for this one, I actually followed the recipe and don't intend to change it. So simple, yet the result is much more than the sum of its parts. Try it.

"Fried" Cabbage
Adapted from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen

Quarter, core, and slice into thin ribbons a smallish head of cabbage (about 2 pounds).

In a large saute pan, over medium heat combine 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until seeds begin to pop after a couple minutes.

Add the cabbage and cooks for 4-5 minutes until it begins to wilt.
Add water, stir, cover, and cook another 4-5 minutes, until water is mostly evaporated.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Croute en potiron (pumpkin with cheesy soup / bread pudding)

This is a really awesome special occasion dish for vegetarians. It is indulgent, delicious and fussy, everything I like. I made it for "New Dishwasher day" when Alex and I got our new dishwasher installed a week after the old one crapped out on us. It is a bit of a lengthy process but no step is complicated in the slightest and the results are both attractive and tasty.

Croute en potiron

Ingredients for 2 servings:
One small pie pumpkin per person
About 1/4 lb. grated Emmenthal or other Swiss style cheese (I mixed it with parmesan since ours was boring)
About 3 cups stock (I used chicken this time but veggie stock is delightful)
1/2 stale baguette cut into thin rounds and toasted.
Fresh parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, or other fresh herbs
Wine or brandy

Preheat the oven to 375.

Scoop out your pumpkins (set aside seeds to roast if you like). After they are all nicely hollowed out, rub the inside with salt and garlic. Set aside.

Warm up your stock and add brandy or wine to taste, let it simmer together for a bit to burn off some of the alcohol.

Put a thin layer of cheese inside the bottom of the pumpkin, sprinkle fresh herbs and then layer toast. Continue layering alternating cheese herbs and toast until the pumpkin is full.

Put the full pumpkin on a baking sheet then pour your doctored stock into the pumpkin over the layers of cheese and bread. Top with a final layer of cheese and herbs.

Bake the pumpkins in the middle of the oven until the cheese is golden brown and pumpkins yields to the tip of a knife (err on the side of caution, you do NOT want to overcook the pumpkin or the whole thing will collapse.)

Serve the soup in the pumpkin and as you eat it scoop out the pumpkin flesh with the cheesy melty bready soup. Decadence.

End of summer roasted tomatoes

This is the perfect thing to do with end of summer tomatoes and it only takes a few minutes. After you broil them you can freeze them or use them right away and it is dead simple. We usually buy the "ugly" (1.50/lb.) tomatoes at the farmers' market. Any kind will do. Preheat the broiler on your oven. Core and slice in half up to 3 lbs. tomatoes, leave the skin on (unless you don't like it, then take it off.) Arrange the tomatoes skins side up in a casserole pan or deep baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Put tomatoes in oven on the center rack and broil until golden brown on top (about 15-20 minutes, but check on them.) At this point you have delicious broiled tomatoes that make a 15 minute sauce taste like you simmered it for hours. We make these on Sunday and use them on weekdays. Enjoy!