Friday, April 3, 2009

Cabbage in the corner

We've had several cabbage halves in the corner of our fridge for a few months now and tonight we're finally putting them to use for a hearty carrot, leek and garlic side dish. Cabbage is wonderfully cheap, nutritious and easy to cook, but I always associate it with miserable scenes of Irish poverty from Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, in which a drunk father and dozens of kids sit down to a pitiful meal of cabbage soup prepared by a downtrodden mother. Adele thinks of the bouillé choux her mother used to make often throughout the summer, though while perfectly well-prepared, was one of the least exciting dishes that ever made its way on the table. Also, we both grew up in papermill towns that seemed to be infused with a rotten-egg, cabbage-like odor on overcast days. Thus our reluctance to embrace the cabbage.

But tonight we've decided to make amends. Or, to put it another way, we decided we had to eat this stuff soon or risk having it go to waste. And there could be nothing more straightforward than this side-dish: half a cabbage, sliced; three carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly; a couple inches of a leek, sliced; 2 garlic cloves, minced; salt and pepper.

Sautee the leeks and garlic in some olive oil until soft. Add the cabbage and carrots, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionnally, for about ten minutes. (Cook more or less, depending on your taste for crisp vegetables or not.)

We ate this with some leftover brown rice seasoned with sauteed onion, currants, chopped hazelnuts, cumin, ginger, tumeric, salt, pepper and olive oil. In the end, we were pleasantly surprised by the combo of these two dishes, particulary with the taste of the cabbage side-dish, and we're happy to say that the compost pile didn't get to this thing before we did.

Total prep and cook time : about 30 minutes
Approximate cost : about 3$ for two people

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