Thursday, December 04, 2008

An abundance of produce, and what the heck to do with a honkin' huge cabbage

cabbage is beautiful
'Tis the season to have an abundance of fruits and vegetables when you belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). For the past two weeks we've had a box of goodness dropped on our front porch, delivered via Organics To You. Opening the box and discovering what's inside is kinda like Christmas.

So why do CSA? It's a great motivator to base our meals around fresh produce rather than starches or meats. The pressure of consuming all of these vegetables and fruits is a good one. It also means stretching my comfort zone and familiarity: it's not until I first started doing a CSA 3 years ago that I learned how to cook greens like kale. And this week's box had a strange looking vegetable I discovered was celeriac. (I can't wait to photograph it for you: expect a future post about it.) And the price is pretty darn good. These are all organic, and most are local. Buying direct means our dollars go back to the local farmers, and keeping our money in the local market is an important thing to do right now while the economy is so whacked. Supporting local farms is important to us and how we live in the world. Speaking of local farms, if you haven't seen The Real Dirt on Farmer John yet, do. It's out on DVD and is one of my favorite movies of the year. Oh, and a final reason to do CSA? It's delivered to our door. How easy is that?!

So our CSA box two weeks back included a head of gorgeous cabbage. That's it up there at the top of this post. Isn't it beautiful? And you know what? It has fed us for numerous meals. I'm all about that cabbage. It keeps easily, it's flexible, and it's good for you. So far we've used it in salads along with lettuce—it gives it more structure and heft, in an asian stirfry with broccoli, bok choi, bell pepper and chicken, and in a big pot with potatoes and turkey sausage (with coriander). And we still have some left! I am a fan of the cabbage. If you are too, leave me a comment with your favorite ways to eat cabbage. I have a feeling there's a lot of cabbage in my future.

Next up? Celeriac. I have no idea how to pronounce it but I'm going to figure out how to eat it.


Amy W said...

Cole slaw, of course! Are you familiar with Heidi's recipes always turn out great. I like this slaw recipe:

Natalie said...

Cabbage rolls are always good plus they make excellent leftovers. :)

A Lewis said...

Oohh....cabbage rolls do sound yummy...with wild rice, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and some delicious cheese and tomato sauce. But also how about a little pan fried with some white wine, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar.... oh now my mouth is watering.

Anonymous said...

That *is* some cabbage - almost too good looking to eat. :-) Hope you'll let us know what you end up making with it.

About the celeriac, we tried a recipe a while ago that we got from our local New Seasons' tasting counter - a celeriac, potato, pear mash. It was really quite good.

Anonymous said...

I shred cabbage and add a handful to the top of almost any meal but it is especially nice on rice bowls.

Anonymous said...

Ahahahaha...ours had celeriac this week too. Last night, my housemate told me that we got a "big, lumpy root thing, I can't remember it's name" in the box. I asked if it was celeriac, and she said emphatically that it was not. Vindicated. ;-)

I like roasting it in little chunks with other random root vegetables (parsnips, yams, golden beets, onions, mmmm), but I am open to change. Please do share whatever you come up with!

Now, on to cabbage. I like to sautee some bacon in a skillet, then drain most of the fat off and add in a bunch of slivered cabbage. When it's hot, I throw in a bit of vinegar (balsamic or rice, generally) to deglaze the pan and season with salt and pepper. It is wonderful with the random root vegetables mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

Its, not it's. Damnit.

Anonymous said...

ooh, I am a little jealous. Our CSA just stopped for the season, I have to wait until March for it to pick up again!

Anonymous said...

Cabbage to me means:
Cabbage Rolls...Yum!
Fried Cabbage (w/ bacon and apples and caraway)

Celeriac (sell-air-e-ak) is great pureed, roasted and in slaws.

Anonymous said...

I love coleslaw, but after trying that cabbage diet back in the early '90s, well, not sure about it in other fashions.

I'm definitely going to check out The Dirt on Farmer John - looks fabulous. Thanks for the recommendation.

TP said...

Hmmm ... I like all the suggestions for cabbage. I haven't used mine yet, so these will be very handy.

For the celeriac, I used mine in the thanksgiving mashed potatoes (while the taters are boiling, simmer the celeriac with a stick of butter or olive oil). When everything is tender, mash or rice and add a small splash of white wine vinegar.

Got the idea from Alice Waters' Vegetables cookbook, which has been invaluable in cooking up all of the goodies in our box.

Anonymous said...

Not to be picky, but I don't think Organics to You is technically a CSA - I think the business model is more akin to Sauvie Island Organics, cf.

That said, we get O2U in our office, and we had a tough time coming up with a use for that cabbage - it was very bitter when raw.