If you don’t like red bell peppers (what is wrong with you!?!), then you’re probably not a fan of me either right now. Today’s recipe is following along that vein with even more of that red gold (does that fit?). I was at the local Trader Joes, being reminded how much I love that store (and their prices), and picked up some tofu. The great thing about tofu is that it doesn’t have much taste of it’s own, taking on whatever flavor of it’s fellow ingredients. The horrible thing about tofu is that it doesn’t have much taste of it’s own, taking on whatever flavor of it’s fellow ingredients.

Red Pepper and Cabbage

So what do I do? I add cabbage; another ingredient that is not well known for it’s vibrant flavor. Red pepper takes the save, with help from its trusty side kick, the caraway seed. Not something one often cooks with, all I can think of is bread, but it worked out well.

Red Pepper and Onions

Oh, and use a big pan for this. This, I learned the hard way.

Tofu and Cabbage Stir Fry with Red Pepper

Tofu And Cabbage Stir Fry With Red Bell Pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion; chopped
16oz extra firm tofu; cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper; diced
1 lb cabbage; roughly chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine

In a large pan, sauté the onions in oil under medium heat until translucent; approximately 10 minutes. Raise to medium-high, add the red bell peppers and caraway seeds, cooking for another five minutes, then add tofu and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, toss to combine well, cover, and cook for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally.

Uncover, add the rice wine, soy sauce, half a cup of water and cook for another 10 minutes. Cabbage will be tender but still have a bit of bite to to it. Serve and enjoy.

It’s been a…. trying few days for me. Somewhere between the grocery store and my bed I lost my wallet Friday night. In case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to lose your wallet, let me enlighten you. It sucks. A lot. Not the end of the world, of course, but the task of replacing all my cards has me dreading this week…

Cabbage and Rice Noodle Salad

Another inconvenience about losing your wallet is no money. As I write this, I have exactly five dollars with me (and an almost empty tank of gas). So dinners this weekend were whatever I had in my kitchen. An interesting challenge. I do occasionally run into the finding-an-ingredient-after-it’s-spoiled situation, so this was a good way to be proactive on my current supply. So what to do with a bunch of random ingredients? Throw em in a wok and see what happens!

Cabbage and Rice Noodle Salad

Cabbage and Rice Noodle Salad
I only used half a small cabbage (1 lb) but would recommend trying a whole cabbage if you want more greens.

3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 small cabbage (approximately 1 lb); sliced thin
3 shallots; diced
2 red chiles; diced
3 cloves of garlic; minced
4 oz thin rice noodles
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Cook your rice noodles as directed and set aside; usually boiling for only a few minutes. Par-boil your cabbage for 2-3 minutes and immediately chill in water and drain. Pat in some paper towels to dry. Stir fry your shallots and chiles with two tablespoons oil for a few minutes until the shallots begin to brown. Add the garlic and additional oil and continue cooking briefly until fragrant; 30 seconds to a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add your remaining ingredients, tossing to coat and combine. Cook for a few minutes, adding salt to taste. Once everything is hot, combined and delicious, serve and enjoy.

The weather was beautiful this past weekend; gorgeous break in the rain we’ve been having lately. I had a special hope for this weekend because of some climbing plans and couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday. A group of us drove up to Seneca Rocks for a day of climbing the peaks. I had never been to Seneca before and it was an excellent experience. The view from 900 feet is… indescribable.


As usual, when Sunday rolls around I’m drained and really don’t want to make anything involved; I want quick. I also want something that’ll give me plenty leftovers for the week and, hey while we’re at it, something not too pricey. Cabbage is cheap. Very cheap. McDonalds cheap; and, with a few spices and a little stir fry action, tastes much better. This is really more of a side dish than a main dish, but honestly, when I’m feeling lazy I’ll just eat a ridiculous amount of a side dish to avoid the effort (don’t judge me).

Shredded Cabbage Stir-Fry with Green Peas

Shredded Cabbage Stir-Fry with Green Peas

1 head green cabbage; cored and shredded
2 cups frozen green peas; thawed
1 serrano chili (or any small, hot chili); minced
6 tablespoons oil
1 3/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder (hot or sweet)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Heat a large pan or wok to medium heat and add oil (swish around if in a wok). Let the oil heat up for a few seconds then add the turmeric and bay leaves. Cook only for a few seconds until fragrant (too long and it burns) then add cabbage and green peas. Cook, tossing occasionally, for one minute to coat the cabbage and vegetables in oil.

Add the turmeric, cayenne and curry powder; tossing to coat. Stir fry for five minutes until the cabbage begins to soften but still maintain some crisp. Be sure to toss on occasion to prevent burning and ensure even cooking (if you like your cabbage with a bit more crisp, stir a bit less often). Add the chili pepper, sugar, salt and garam masala and cook for a minute.

I should probably come as no surprise that I talk food a lot with friends. Besides the immense amount of time Heather and I go back and forth on various ideas, there are several other people with food on the brain quite often. One of my recent talks with one of these people has been about cabbage soup.

Behold the Cabbage

The only cabbage I knew of growing up was the german style red cabbage my mother would make, stinking up the entire house. Oh, how I hated it. But I want to like it. I want to start over, bury the hatchet and live in vegetable harmony. Cabbage has a few things going for it. Other than being incredibly cheap (less than a dollar a pound!), it’s a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. My friend was supposed to be working on her own perfect cabbage soup recipe to share (*cough*cough*), but I could wait no longer. Enjoy my cabbage soup.

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup with Beans

2 tablespoons oil
1 yellow onion; chopped
2 leeks; sliced (whites only)
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups stock or water
2 large carrots; diced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 large white potato; chopped into quarter inch pieces
1/2 head of green cabbage; cut into 1/4 inch slices or shredded
2 cups cooked great northern beans (or one can rinsed and drained)
1 teaspoon salt

Sweat the onion, leeks and garlic cloves in the oil until soft and translucent; approximately 10 minutes. Add the stock, carrots, herbs and bring to a boil. Add the potato and simmer until slightly soft; approximately 15 minutes. Add the cabbage and simmer for an additional 15 minute; adding the beans and salt for the last five minutes.

Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves – Cooking with Winter Vegetables

My husband got me a really interesting new cookbook for Christmas called In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits by Sarah Raven. I don’t usually spend a lot of time thinking about ways to cook using vegetables that are in season; a better description of my style would be haphazard or erratic (and let’s face it, I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about vegetables, period). But this is a beautiful book with a lot of great ideas.


For January and February cooking, the book recommends cabbages, chicories, citrus, evergreen herbs and winter salad greens. I decided to try a stuffed cabbage recipe.

rice onions turkey bacon and pork

Back in November, Edwin posted a quasi-Indian style vegetarian cabbage roll dish. This one is pretty different from that (the original recipe author is from Hungary). The recipe in the book called for a lot of things – bacon, ground beef, chopped mixed herbs and sauerkraut. It was my goal to pare it down a bit. I also tried to make it a little healthier, eliminating the bacon for turkey bacon and holding off on the ground beef completely.

cabbage rolls

This was my first dish from this book, and I was a little disappointed at the way the instructions are written. A few of the steps seem to leave a great deal to the imagination. For example, Edwin’s cabbage recipe calls for boiling the cabbage head until the leaves begin separating. My recipe didn’t mention anything about that, and so I found it very difficult to peel off the leaves in one piece. I probably pulled off about 6 large, fat leaves and the rest were moderately ripped and shredded in the process. Hopefully it was just a fluke for this recipe.

I think this turned out well and I will likely make it again. What do you put in your cabbage rolls?

cabbage rolls ready

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
adapted from In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits
(yields about 20 rolls, total prep and cook time is approx. 1 1/2 hours)

1 cabbage
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup (6 ounces) turkey bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon marjoram, thyme and dill
salt and pepper (dash)
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup cooked long-grain white rice
1 egg, beaten
1 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350F.

(I’ve inserted Edwin’s instructions here for peeling the leaves so that you don’t have the same problem I did) – Core the hard part of the cabbage (the stem mostly) from the base. Boil in a large pot of boiling, salted water. In about 5-10 minutes, when the leaves begin separating, remove from the pot. Let cool.

Remove the thickest part of the cabbage leaves to make them easier to roll.

Fry the turkey bacon in a shallow pan and set aside. In the same pan, add onion, garlic, marjoram, thyme, dill, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper on low heat so as not to burn it.

In a large skillet, combine raw pork, cooked rice, cooked turkey bacon and onion mixture. Add the beaten egg to bind the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Stir occassionally until cooked.

When cooked, place approximately two spoonfuls of the mixture on a cabbage leaf. Roll the leaf, starting from the stem and and tuck in the edges. Place the rolls, seam down, in a shallow baking or casserole dish. Pour brother over the leaves and add bay leaf and a dash of dill. Cook, covered, for approximately one hour.

An Adventure In Cabbage (Cabbage Rolls)

Good. Lord. it’sbeenalongexhaustingweek. Sometimes I think I’m too awesome; that I have too much amazing for even me to contain.  Then I laugh and remember who we’re talking about here.  But I digress.  In short, this was a long work week with a lot going on and not a whole lot of time.  No cooking, no baking.  Just salads, leftovers, and take out (once).  Sadness.

Friday was well received.  No plans.  No commitments.  No obligations.  No nothing.

I had recently signed up for produce delivery service from Washington’s Green Grocer. Sadly, I had to cancel their service. The produce was great, but with demanding schedule a few too many items were spoiling before I could get to them. Alas. Perhaps some day in the future…

Boiling Cabbage

My last delivery with them included a large head of cabbage. I’ve never done much with cabbage, considering it to be the disappointing child of some kind of lettuce family (“Your brother Romaine made an excellent salad today. Why can’t you be more like him?”). This is probably heavily biased from my childhood when my mother would cook red cabbage in traditional German style. There was no escape from the horrid smell emanating from the kitchen. Guh.

Stuffing The Cabbage

Doing a little research on cabbage I eventually came across a dish called dolma; a rolled or stuffed cabbage. Remembering my recent discovery of the awesomeness that are stuffed grape leaves, I found my Friday plans. I decided to prepare a quasi-indian meal and create a rolled cabbage recipe from scratch (with a little inspiration from the wonder that is the internet).

Overall, I was pretty happy with the results of my concoction. The filling seemed weak until I added the lemon sauce; so that is something I will definitely explore in the future (and encourage you to as well). This recipe does not make full use of a head of cabbage, so either double/triple the recipe or save the cabbage for a soup or stew (I know I will).

Rolled Cabbage

Rolled Cabbage, quasi-indian style, with lemon sauce
Makes about five rolls of cabbage.

1 head of cabbage
1/2 cup red lentils, cooked and drained
1/2 cup curried rice, cooked
1 large carrot; chopped
1 large shallot; chopped (onion would work too)
2 cloves of garlic; minced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
2 eggs
3 teaspoons of corn starch
1/4 cup of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Core the hard part of the cabbage (the stem mostly) from the base. Boil in a large pot of boiling, salted water. In about 5-10 minutes, when the leaves begin separating, remove from the pot, saving a one cup of the water. Let cool.

Sweat the the carrots, shallots, garlic and celery in a medium sized pot; about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, rice, lentils and spices. For lack of a better word, let “mingle” for 5 minutes on low heat then remove from heat.

Place approximately two heaping spoonfuls of the filling onto one end of a cabbage leaf. Roll, following the length of the stem, then fold over the other sides. Please the roll onto the baking pan. Repeat until no more filling.

Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes; until the leaves are tender. While roasting, prepare the lemon sauce.

Lemon Sauce:
Whisk/mix the lemon juice and corn starch together. Bring the reserved water to a boil. Reduce the water to the lowest heat and add the lemon slurry. Beat the eggs in a small heatproof bowl and mix in the almost-lemon-sauce. Use this as a dressing. Enjoy