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National Cabbage Day is coming

Cabbage is a great ingredient for making soups, especially if you add some beans and ham shank or even kielbasa sausage.


Okay, we’ve explored Valentine’s Day treats, game day snacks, New Year’s party appetizers, Christmas goodies and Thanksgiving desserts, as well as Halloween sweets. Maybe it’s time to give some attention to things less popular, things that do have quite a following but just can’t compare to say, brownies, pie and candy.

Something such as cabbage. I am a big fan of cabbage and use it in many ways (although you will never find me sipping on a glass of cabbage juice). Friday, Feb. 17, is National Cabbage Day, so why not prepare some to celebrate?

We are lucky that cabbage is available all year round, even more so as St. Patrick’s Day starts to show up on the horizon. Please join me in checking out some great recipes that feature this healthful vegetable.

I hope you are all staying warm and dry as California gets all this rain. First drought, then floods. But at least we are refilling the water table. Pineapple slaw with creamy ginger-lime dressing 2 cups shredded cabbage 1/4 cup minced green onions 2 cups diced fresh pineapple 1/2 cup sliced almonds For dressing: 1/4 cup thick plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (peeled) Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 3 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 cup canola oil

  1. For dressing: In a small bowl, mix together all dressing ingredients. Set mixture aside.

  2. In large bowl, combine shredded cabbage, green onions, pineapple and almonds. Pour prepared dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until evenly coated.

  3. Cover and allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, to blend flavors. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Cabbage soup with white beans and ham I much prefer meaty ham shanks when I cook soup or beans. You can also use kielbasa sausage slices.

1 cup dried white beans such as Great Northern, navy, or cannellini (about 7 oz), picked over and rinsed 1 whole clove 1 medium onion, peeled and left whole 2 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks 3 quarts water 6 fresh parsley sprigs (leave whole and remove later or chop the leaves and add to soup) 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf 1 fresh thyme sprig, leaves minced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 pound yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold (3 to 4 medium) 1 pound green cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups) 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened Thickly sliced bread, grilled (optional)

  1. Soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches at room temperature at least 8 hours, then drain.

  2. Stick the clove into onion. Bring ham hocks or shanks and 3 quarts water to a boil in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot, skimming off any foam, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour.

  3. Add beans, onion, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are almost tender, 40 to 50 minutes.

  4. When beans are almost done, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes and cabbage to beans, then simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

  5. Remove ham hocks. When ham hocks are cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones, then cut meat into bite-size pieces. Stir into soup with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf and onion. Spread butter on both sides of bread, then toast in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning over once, until golden, about 2 minutes total. Serve soup with grilled bread.

Southern fried cabbage I like to cook the cabbage and onions long enough for them to caramelize a bit.

3 slices bacon, cut into thirds 1/3 cup canola oil 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 head cabbage, cored and sliced 1 onion, chopped 1 pinch sugar

  1. Place the bacon and vegetable oil into a large pot over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.

  2. Add cabbage, onion and sugar to the pot; cook and stir continuously for 5 minutes, until tender. Makes 6 servings.

Classic cabbage rolls I have not found any white balsamic vinegar, so I used the ordinary kind.

12 cabbage leaves

Filling: 1 pound ground beef, uncooked 3/4 cup cooked rice 1/2 cup chopped onion 1 egg 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup milk

Sauce: 1 can (8-oz.) tomato sauce 1 can (14.5-oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Drop the cabbage leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs to a strainer to drain.

  2. For the filling: combine ground beef, cooked and cooled rice, chopped onion, egg, salt, pepper and milk in a medium bowl. Mix well and divide the filling into 12 equal portions. Place a portion of the filling into the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll the leaf around the filling and fasten with a toothpick if needed. Place each cabbage roll seam side down in a baking dish.

  3. For the sauce: combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Pour the tomato mixture over the cabbage rolls and cover the dish with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the rolls to a serving plate and discard toothpicks. Pour the tomato mixture and pan juices in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch and water mixture and cook until thickened. Serve the sauce over the rolls. Makes 6 servings.

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