Posts Tagged ‘cabbage’

My mother-in-law had a copy of this book in hardcover. I was immediately drawn to the illustrations in black and white of each herb and spice you can imagine, all in alphabetical order for ease of reference. This book gives anywhere from one to a dozen recipes for a specific spice or herb.

I wouldn’t call this “American” or “French” per se, it’s just simple recipes to give you ideas on the versatility of those little plants and jars in your kitchen. I also like the descriptions, they give times-past associations of spices with prosperity, luck, love, and hate!

I tried the Cabbage with Capers last night and my husband said it was one of the best things I’ve made in a while!  (Why doesn’t he like the rest of it? Or is he too nice to tell me so? Well I have to admit that I’ve been heavy handed with the salt as of late…)

Adapted from Cabbage with Capers from Cooking With Herbs And Spices by Craig Claiborne

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked ham, small dice
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp capers with brine
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water

Start with the bacon fat, ham, and onion.  Add the garlic after the onion is soft and fragrant, cook for a minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine then quickly cover and reduce to medium-low for 10 minutes.  It’s ready when the cabbage is soft, stir to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan if needed.

This dish resembled a very mild sauerkraut only the caraway was replaced with capers.  Big Brother is not a fan of caraway seeds, so this is a good swap for him.

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In other news… I’m hosting a bake sale on Mother’s Day!  I’ve opened a cottage bakery in my house, Cardamom Finnish Cottage Bakery, and I thought this would be a good way to let neighbors know about me.  And for all of you Austin readers, this is a chance to actually taste some of the sweet things you’ve been drooling over while reading my blog.  Locals can pre-order via the bakery website to pick up on Sunday, or just come on by between 9 and 11 am and shop at the sale (2800 Adelen Ln, Round Rock).

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Memories of Mannheim

A few years ago I was in Mannheim, Germany for work.  I always look forward to the food in Germany since my first trip to Hannover during the first spring of my new career based in Texas.  A real bratwurst with sauerkraut, it may have been a stereotypical German lunch but it was the foot in the door for me.  The other thing I remember about the quaint local restaurant near my hotel was the roasted pork knuckle with purple cabbage.  After a long day of meetings and presentations anything looked good enough to eat, but this was delicious. 

The purple cabbage really stuck out and a large red cabbage head was my “challenge ingredient” from dear hubby.  Rotkohl is fairly easy to cook at home, plus I put my little touch on it with dried cranberries.  It was a hit!  The sauerkraut was the superstar center stage, chicken poblano sausages on guitar, and onion bacon potatoes on drums.  A perfect concert for the taste buds.


Adapted from Rachel Ray’s German-style Red Cabbage.

  • 1/2 head red (purple) cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or water
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 – 2 tsp sugar (depending on your taste for sour)
  • 2 laurel leaves (or 1 bay leaf)
  • sea salt

In a large pan, saute the cabbage in oil and season with caraway, steak seasoning, and sea salt.  Add the carrot, laurel, vinegar, and juice then steam by covering the pan.  Let the cabbage and carrot become soft and pickled.  Add the Dijon, cranberries, and sugar to taste.  Leave the lid ajar to let the liquid evaporate while the heat is on low.

Serve with sausages and potatoes.

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Happiness on a bun!


This lunch came together with my first ever smoked pork butt and kwik kimchi I made with the leftover cabbage leaves from the attempt to make my grandmother’s cabbage rolls. 

Smoke Some Butt

I’m a big fan of Alton Brown when it comes to the right way to prepare certain foods.  There’s a science behind the method to execute it safely and make it tasty.  A brine is one of those things I looked to Alton for.  I used molasses, salt and water in a large stock pot to brine the piggy overnight (12 hours) in the fridge.  The rub was my mix of favorite flavors: brown sugar, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chipotle chili powder.  

The smoker intimidated me slightly.  My hubby is usually the one who deals with outdoor cooking.  Although, it’s sad that I can’t do a better job of it after spending every summer growing up at Sylvan Lake where at least half of the cooking was over the fire pit.  I also had to start a fire in the sauna house, in a little old-fashioned wood stove with rocks on top and a huge pot of H2O.  The pork needed to get on the grill early if I had any hope of eating it before going off to bed that night.  I tried to start it with sticks and paper.  Paper and small branches.  Small branches, charcoal and lighter fluid.  Ah ha!  I really don’t like to taste jet fuel on my food, so lighter fluid is always a last resort.  Trust me, I had been trying for an hour before the big guns had to come out.  By this time the sun was out and hot, and I was stinky! 

All day I checked the pork and the coals.  Added a few pieces of oak for added smoke.  Ten and a half hours later, exhausted because somebody didn’t take her long afternoon nap as usual, the butt was smoked.  

This hunk of meat didn’t look pretty, but OMG it tasted like bacon, smoky salty bacon.  I had a flash back to my friend Jills’ parents’ house where I shared a dinner of salt beef (a Newfoundland dish).  The salt beef was so far outside of my saltiness spectrum at the time because I had learned somewhere when I was about 7 years old that salt was “White Man’s Death” and refused to add it to my plate ever since.  Silly girl – salt is GREAT in moderation 🙂  I digress… 

The Kwik Kimchi

I had the center of the cabbage left over from making cabbage rolls and made a kimchi out of it. 

  • some cabbage, blanched, diced
  • equal parts water and vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar), just enough to soak the cabbage, don’t make it soupy
  • tsp sugar
  • tsp salt
  • red chili flakes
  • minced fresh ginger
  • slices of ginger (optional)

Combine the water, vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved.  Add chili flakes and ginger.  Toss in the cabbage and turn it all around to coat.  Let this sit in the fridge for half an hour to pickle.

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I grew up during the 80’s on a farm outside a small town.  We didn’t have much, but I didn’t really know any different just being a kid and all.  My brother and cousins and I spent many afternoons after school at Grandma’s house.   If only I had an iPhone, FLiP, or webcam back then to capture the memories that are so quickly fading away in my mind.  I didn’t know how much I would love and miss Grandma’s cooking… and bread, that was the best.   

Reminiscing of home reminded me of a special dish, cabbage rolls.  Special?  Really?!?  What’s so special about cabbage rolls?  Not knowing exactly how grandma did it, that’s what!   

The rolls I remember had rice and bacon inside.  No ground up meat of any sort, like EVERY recipe I found on the web thus far.  Aunt Cheryl, help me!  Am I crazy? 

Here is what I used to *attempt* to recreate those flighty cabbage roll memories: 

  • 1 head green cabbage, core, dunk into gently boiling water to pull off outer leaves
  •  1/2 pack bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 small onion, large dice, add to bacon after it starts to crisp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, add to onions when soft
  • 1 cup rice, cook it a bit on the dry side
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • splash of water to clean out the tomato from the can, just throw it in!



Now that I have (what I think are) the components for the cabbage rolls, I start assembling.  First put some tomato sauce, I had a 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes, in the bottom of a pan. 

Then roll ’em… 

Line the delicious rolls tightly in the pan, seam side down.  I only made a single layer and topped with a few of the torn cabbage leaves. 

Bake at 350F for an hour, maybe more.  Since I had no raw meat to cook in the oven, I just watched for the sauce to bubble and the top to dry out a bit.  Not to worry, the top layer is just loose leaves remember!  The rolls are protected underneath. 

They tasted kinda like they were doused in ketchup, hubby agreed.  But they were good, probably because of the bacon and onions mixed with the rice.  Hubby asked for seconds, so it can’t be that bad 🙂  As for me and my leaps backwards in time to grandma’s kitchen, I think this little byte will settle the craving.  At least for tonite. 

btw: this is the reason behind the name midnitechef… 



11:59pm and guess who is sleeping with all the chaos in the kitchen?


 Tidbit for you:  The center of the cabbage was so curly and compact I made a “kwik kimchi” out of it.  That will go nicely with the smoked pork tomorrow!  No wasting perfectly good cabbage, bonus 😛 

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