red cabbage, flemish style

Kristine from A Verb for Keeping Warm asked for a red cabbage recipe on Twitter so I am posting it here to link her to it. This is probably bad knitting blog form but at least the person it’s for owns a yarn shop, right? Actually, it’s quite a beautiful shop full of gorgeous yarns and fabric. Check out her site, visit her shop!

And now: cabbage!

Red Cabbage, Flemish Style
from Everybody Eats Well in Belgium

1 medium red cabbage
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red currant jelly or 1 additional Tblsp sugar or honey (I usually use addtional sugar)
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup water, plus additional if needed
1 Tblsp dark brown sugar or honey (I usually use the sugar)
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

1. Discard the tough outer leaves of the cabbage (see Note). Cut the head into quarters and remove the white core. Shred the cabbage into very thin slivers.

2. Melt the butter in a large heavy Dutch oven. Add the cabbage, onion, currant jelly, vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon, and a little salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

3. Add the apples and continue simmering for 1 hour, checking from time to time to see that it is not too dry. Add a little more water if necessary. At the end of the cooking time, the cabbage should be tender, the apples reduced to a purée, and all the liquid absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: Don’t rinse red cabbage. Discard the outer leaves and wipe with a damp cloth if necessary. Rinsing, blanching, or boiling will fade the deep red color.

Variations: In step 2, cut 2 ounces slab bacon into thin strips. Render the bacon strips in the Dutch oven and continue with the recipe, omitting the butter. (I’ve done this, delish!)

All that said, this is how I usually make it. It’s not as authentic but it doesn’t take two hours.

Red Cabbage, Lazy Style
Sautée diced onion and sliced red cabbage in a bit of vegetable oil, then add apple sauce, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. Cover and simmer until the cabbage is soft.

carrot & white bean soup

Yesterday I made Eileen’s Carrot & White Bean Soup. I’m posting about this here because she asked me on Twitter what I thought of it and it will take me more than 140 characters to answer! First things first: I really enjoyed the soup. I will definitely be making it again.

It will probably surprise no one that I cook a bit like I knit: I don’t usually follow a recipe faithfully. Also, Eileen’s recipe didn’t give amounts for the herbs and spices so I wanted to make note of that. I followed the directions pretty much to a T, I just changed some of the ingredients and amounts of things, so here’s the ingredient list that I used:

about 1 Tbsp butter/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
6 big carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp red pepper flake (use less next time!)
1/2 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups “better than bouillon” veggie base (because I had it)

I left it fairly chunky when blending, then cooked it down to thicken it a bit more at the end. I put a dollop of yogurt in mine and Erik left his plain. We both liked it but both agreed that it should be less spicy next time.

All in all, it’s a keeper! Thanks, Eileen!

NaBloPoMo Day 14: not entertaining

Some friends of ours host a coffee social at their house most Sundays. One of the parents in the family has been away for several weeks and so the hosting duties have fallen on other families in our circle of friends and I had volunteered to have it fall on me this week. I enjoy being able to entertain but I had hesitated because I don't feel like our house can accommodate as many kids as their usually are at this event without the noise level becoming excruciating. Swine flu saved me from having to find out, or prevented me from finding out that I was wrong, depending on your point of view. Since Niels' class seems to be getting it and a couple of kids in Stefan's class have been sick with something that also sounds like it could be it I didn't want to invite a separate group of children to our house when we could be coming down with it any day now. I'm sad that I'm unable to even try having them over but I really don't want to be responsible for spreading it around.

In my attempts to keep the sickness at bay in our house I made a recipe today that came from a small pamphlet at Whole Foods. I can't find the recipe on their website, though, it's called "Better Than Chicken Soup". I find the name somewhat strange since I did use homemade chicken broth at part of the soup but I guess the other ingredients also have immune boosting powers: garlic, turmeric, shiitake mushrooms, kale (i used spinach), squash (I used pumpkin), cayenne, ginger, lemon and miso. It also called for astragalus root which I don't have on hand. I wonder what that tastes like. I made it as a side to dinner and Stefan and I were the only ones who ate it. I thought it was fairly spicy but he didn't comment about the spiciness until I did. I think it would also be delicious with cubes of tofu added to make it a more filling dinner soup.

I didn't manage to trick myself into thinking people were coming over and cleaning up thoroughly but I did get as far as decluttering the dining room side of the kitchen counter. That part of the house is a clutter magnet as most horizontal surfaces are. I need to pay more attention to it on a regular basis because it's too easy to just pile stuff there and ignore it.

No knitting in this post yet! I don't think I'm much farther in the sweater than the last picture. I went to get my flat tire repaired but rather than sit and knit while they fixed it I walked across the street to the Japanese market to buy rice. I did knit one row when I got back before the car was ready. One row! How exciting is that?

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NaBloPoMo Day 6: too many books?

I think I may have gone overboard with books for Niels. He seems to be overloaded a bit. He took a book out of his class library and has been reading that. It's from the Guardians of Gahoole series about a group of owls. I haven't read them so that's all I know. I'm still hoping that he'll want to read Fergus Crane because it was such a fun little book. I also think he'll want to read to second of the Magic Thief books when we finally get to it.

I tried that tomato soup in my blender again, this time with less onion and it was red. It's still too oniony, I think. I have a can of pumpkin so I might try the pumpkin soup recipe next that uses sautéed onion and roasted garlic. It sounds really good.

My sweater is still growing in a very boring and unphotographable way. I mean, I could take a picture but it's not much to see.

Day 6 and I'm running out of stuff to say already!

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on kombucha and worms

I know I posted a while back about my Kombucha culture. Since then it has just beensitting and growing. And growing and growing. Today I decided it was time to start a new batch. I had sacrificed the previous batch to just growing the culture. If I took the towel off of the jar I could smell how sour it was. This time I'm going to use black tea (just because) and refined cane sugar (because the Rapadura didn't cut it). We'll see how it goes.

I am also hatching a plot to start a worm bin. I have had a copy of Worms Eat My Garbage for a while but didn't know what to do with the castings. This past weekend there was a fair of sorts at the Elephant Pharm and there was a representative of the county's master composter program there. The county has classes on how to compost, including with a worm bin. What really convinced me was the worm bin they had. It was a small rubbermaid tote with a few inches of dirt and worms and then a few inches of shredded newspaper bedding on top. So simple! It turns out that Anabel has worms to spare so I need to designate a tote and get to it! I'm sure we make enough garbage to keep some worms fat and happy.

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