Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cruciferous deliciousness! (Or, how I am enjoying vegetables these days.)

A few months ago, I told a friend that I didn't think my body was cut out to eat vegetables. Why? Because every time I ate a salad or some raw veggies, I would get terrible indigestion.

Huh. Surely it was the vegetables... right?

Nope. It was the culmination of a bad diet. But, I've already preached to you about my new ways, so I'll be moving on now.

What I've learned this summer is that I LOVE vegetables. Love 'em! Truth is, all you really need for some delicious vegetables is FAT! Preparing vegetables with fat rather than with water does more than make them taste good - it actually helps retain more nutrients in the food. Since I've lost the guilt over using butter and a cast iron skillet rather than a steamer basket, I've enjoyed so many different types of vegetables (and I've lost weight, too, even with all that shocking, horrible, no-good fat).

I read a money-saving tip on the blog The Crunchy Pickle: use up your food! I have often been guilty of throwing away rotten produce because I never found a use for it. Now, I clean out my produce drawer before restocking it (and by 'clean out', I mean 'eat it all'). It feels good to not have to brace myself, plug my nose, and dive into the fridge to deal with an unintentional science project gone awry... or have to deal with the guilt over losing a couple bucks to the trashcan.

Another positive perk of this tip is that I've been making a lot of new vegetable recipes. The other night I rescued half a head of cauliflower and half a carton of rather shriveled mushrooms and discovered that, fried up with some caramelized onion and fresh garlic, cauliflower and mushrooms make a nice combination.

Last evening I noticed a bunch of brown-tipped celery at the bottom of the drawer. Now, I don't know about you, but the only uses I've had for celery are making soup, dipping in ranch dressing, or smearing with peanut butter. But I wanted to use it up. And so, googling 'celery salad', I came upon this recipe! I made a few substitutes, added chopped apricot and purple cabbage, and served it up. We loved it! I've made it twice now, in the same week. Celery, gone!

Anyway, in honor of my newfound love of vegetables, I figured I'd show you my favorite way to cook a cheap kitchen staple: cabbage!

My first trick is this: when I chop an onion, I put it in a microwaveable bowl with a sprinkle of water, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and nuke it for a minute and a half. Now that the onion's cooked, it's easier to caramelize it a bit.

Melt a bit of bacon fat (or another oil of your choice). I would use the cast iron pan but it was already taken for another recipe.

Throw in the onion and salt it...

...and cook it over medium so it can start to brown. My second trick is this: when the onion seems like it's burning, I dump in half a cup of water. While the water boils out, the onion will continue to cook and get browner.

Meanwhile, chop up a truckload of garlic cloves. Garlic is so great for you! (These are smaller cloves, though. Don't be too alarmed.)

Here's a third of a head of cabbage. This is enough for two good dinner portions and for some leftovers for lunch the next day.

Here's how I chop it up: first, cut into a few big wedges; second, cut long, vertical slices...

...and come back down with horizontal, short slices.

When the onion is soft and browned, add the garlic. You want that to be a bit fresher.

Scrape the onion and garlic off to the side and add a bit more fat. (FYI, the Lipid Hypothesis that supposedly 'proved' saturated fats clog arteries and cause heart attacks was way off!)

Add the cabbage. We're over medium-high heat here. Don't forget to add salt!

After a minute or two, mix it all together and continue to cook.

I was in a bit of a hurry, so I covered it to help it cook faster.

When the cabbage is softer, crank up the heat to brown it and add flavor!

Pile onto a plate and grind on some black pepper! (Unless you're a hater of flavor, like my husband.)

This is my basic way of cooking lots of greens. Sometimes I add bacon or other seasonings, but sometimes, simple is best.

When it comes to vegetables, don't be afraid of fat! (By the way, steamed or boiled cabbage tastes absolutely AWFUL.)


1 comment:

  1. I'm very intrigued in this new way your eating...I think you should post lots of recipes and pictures!