Category Archives: cabbage

Weeknights: Sautéed Cabbage with Additions

cabbage with mustard and seeds

It feels almost like I’m cheating myself when I do recipes like this. I could provide you with so many more if they weren’t so discretionary! But this is about empowering you to create your own exquisite dishes anyhow, not about me.

At the risk of writing something that is too similar to the NYTimes Cooking Newsletter (which is worth subscribing to, by the way), today I offer you a quick sauté. Kind of like a warm salad?

Salads are important summer staples. As long as you keep around an assortment of seeds, nuts, beans, cheeses, vinegars, and other random additions (meats, other veggies, avocados, fruit, grains, hummus!), once the greens start coming in you no longer have to think too hard about what to bring to lunch. Very helpful. I’ve probably mentioned that before.

Well, you can do something similar with non-salad greens, too.

(Make sure to include the fat! Which might taste a little bitter by itself but is important enough to be its own taste, as of recently.)

This isn’t really recipe worthy but for consistency’s sake:

Weeknight cabbage sauté (warm salad)
1/4 small cabbage (per person)
A large scallion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
A large dash sesame oil
A large spoonful whole grain mustard
Pumpkin or sunflower seeds (toasted, preferably)

Chop up a bunch of cabbage and a scallion or two and throw them in a pan with some olive oil and a little sesame oil, if you feel like it. Pull out that fancy mustard we used last week, add it to the cabbage, toss in a few pumpkin seeds or other seeds and voila! Dinner.

The beauty of this is that you can do it with anything. Kale, napa cabbage, chard (although chard is a little more watery), throw in ginger or turmeric if you want, or apple cider vinegar instead of sesame oil, almonds as well as other seeds… you get the gist. 15 minutes, tops (cabbage is super quick to chop).

cabbage with mustard and seeds

We Millennials might be so food-obsessed because it gives us a sense of control. I’ll buy it; I feel better about my way of life when I know the origins of what I eat, and that it is grown without too much suffering (except perhaps from the vegetables, as it turns out). It is also true that we should use food as a lens to view larger issues within our society: sustainability, justice, equality… Food happens to be a good entry point because everyone has to eat, and luckily most of the time tastier food (well, once you’ve acclimated to non-super fatty/sugary foods, which is certainly a larger hump than I’m making it out to be) is more sustainably produced and nutritious. There are parts of the food chain that aren’t so pretty; maybe if we worked to make our lives AND everything that contributes to them Instagram-worthy, we’d live in a better place. I’m clearly putting far too much faith in the the visually appealing here, there are delicious and -beautiful- things that would not make it on Instagram (this cabbage, for example). It’s a start, anyway.


Yellow Indian Cabbage


So, what else do you with all that cabbage?

I’m going to be totally honest, all wannabe vegetarians/part time vegetarians/omnivores/carnivores should be eating way more Indian food than we are now. This is because a) it’s delicious b) it’s much more sustainable (less meat-centric and all that c) it’s fun and shareable and d) it tastes reeaallly good. Yah.


Outside of the quintessential dal, chicken tikka masala, and saag paneer, none of which I have delineated here yet (/some I haven’t even attempted), there are some excellent Indian-style dishes that I actually have never ordered at an Indian restaurant. Like this one. Which has the added benefit of using up some of your endless cabbage (okay, it’s not that endless).

Actually cabbage is pretty amazing. It’s not quite as versatile as, say, eggs. But you can it is raw (shredded in slaw), stuffed, grilled, braised, inside crepesroasted with cheese into a casserole, mixed into soups, what have you. One of my favorite things to do it slice it thinly on top of tacos, sandwiches, or whatever else you happen to be eating (fried tofu? with a little lemon or vinegar? lunch). It takes flavors well, which is what makes it nice for Indian food, with its fantastic array of spices.

I may have mentioned that cabbage is rather prolific this time of year.

Oh! This furthermore gives you an opportunity to use fresh turmeric. Turmeric root looks a lot like ginger, except that it’s bright orange on the inside, and guess what—it grows in Maine (along with all sorts of unexpected crops)! Incroyable, non?


This recipe is originally from Girl Cooks World, which is pretty great. It’s super fun once the mustard seeds start popping because they are quite loud and your kitchen begins to sound a little rambunctious.

Yellow Indian Cabbage
1/3 cup oil
1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
5 cloves garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
A knob of fresh turmeric, minced
A medium-sized cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

Chop everything up and have it all ready to go, because this will go quickly. Heat oil until quite hot over high heat in a large-ish pan (I used my nice big cast iron). Add the mustard seeds and quickly cover the pan, before oil and seeds fly everywhere. At some point the pops will begin to taper off (it’s like making popcorn, you have to be listening), add the garlic and both turmerics. Turn down the heat and stir until slightly soft. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and coat the cabbage with what is now a yellow oil. Cook down the cabbage a bit, again until slightly soft but not mushy (I was about to write, “unless you are inexplicably a fan of mushy cabbage,” but if you are a fan of mushy cabbage you are wrong, and must learn better ways).

Serve with samosas, naan, or something entirely unrelated. It’s delicious either way. If you’re not a vegetarian, you could stir in some (just a little) cooked ground beef and it would be a more complete meal.

By the way, if you haven’t yet seen The Hundred Food Journey, I think you would enjoy it. Indian food, a village in France, a cute French girl and an attractive Indian boy, and Helen Mirren. Yup.

Savory Cornmeal Crêpes with Cabbage


Yum. Finding more ways to use that endless cabbage! I love crepes and had been thinking about making them for a while, but I sometimes have a hard time getting everything together for breakfast, which is usually when I make crepes (the sweet version, with lemon and sugar or berries). I keep trying to figure out new ways to use cabbage (cole slaw, braised, baked, with a variety of spices… there are a lot of options but it still can get tired), and when I remembered that I have Maine flint cornmeal from Songbird Farm I knew that was it.

One of the challenges of vegetarian meals is making them exciting centerpieces. Meat is the star feature of many dishes, but obviously it’s hard to have that without the steak, or whatever. Sometimes something else can be the star (goat cheese, ripe tomato, beans…), but it is rarely something like cabbage, and while that somehow makes my liberal egalitarian self feel a little guilty, I think it’s okay (honestly, turnips are just not as tasty as other vegetables. Sorry, turnips, just being frank. I still like you sometimes you’re just a little harder to figure out). So that means the whole dish needs to shine. Fortunately, crepes do the trick.


They are also not as difficult as you may conceptualize. Just whisk all the batter ingredients together and pour into a tilting pan. You can try to get fancy while flipping, but to be honest I still use a spatula—it’s more reliable. Getting the temperature of the pan right can be a little tricky, but once you get it they cook quickly and you can make them almost perfect every time.

Cornmeal crepes with cabbage
1/2 cabbage
1 red onion
Spices: salt, pepper, turmeric, smoked paprika (to taste)
A couple teaspoons soy sauce
1 tsp miso (a new addition to my fridge pantry!)
A small block of farmer's (or other good melting) cheese

4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup milk

Start with the cabbage. Chop into fairly small pieces (I usually slice from one end about 1/4 inch thick, then go back and chop it up the other direction as well). Chop up the onion as well, in in 1/4-ish inch squares. Heat oil in a large pan and toss in cabbage and onions. Stir to coat the veggies in oil, and let them cook while you pull out the spices and throw them in as well. Stir, taste, and when the cabbage is getting soft, mix the miso and soy sauce together (this will make it easier to distribute the miso, which can get clumped up) and stir into the cabbage. It should be fairly soft by now; take off the heat and set aside (nearby) while you make the crepes.

Cut up the cheese in small pieces (or grate) and have at the ready.

Melt the butter in whatever pan you will be cooking the crepes (small nonstick is best, mine’s a little too big so I have to be careful when spreading the batter and it’s not perfectly circular). Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Measure out the eggs, milk, and water (I do this in a 2-cup measuring cup, which works perfectly—3 eggs is almost exactly 2/3 cup, and then you fill up the rest of the first cup with water, and add a cup of milk) and whisk them together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk until almost smooth (you can also do this in a food processor). Carefully pour in the melted butter (it should be melted by now, and the pan will be hot and buttery, which is important) and whisk immediately to prevent the hot butter from cooking the rest of the batter. Return the pan to the heat and make sure it is hot. The batter should be smooth and very liquid.

With a ladle or a small (say 1/3 cup) measuring cup, dip out about 1/4 cup batter and pour into the pan, while simultaneously tilting/swirling the pan with your other hand (watch a video if that helps) to evenly spread the batter over the pan. For thinner crepes, add a little extra milk or water to your batter. Let cook for a few seconds (maybe 30), until the corners of the crepe start to curl up or the edges get a little golden. Carefully slide your spatula under the crepe, loosening the whole thing before trying to flip it over, then flip all at once and cook the other side for a few seconds. Just about right after flipping, scoop out a tiny bit of cabbage (maybe 1.5 tablespoons?) and place in the middle of the crepe. Top with a few small pieces of cheese, then fold the edges of the crepe over (bottom edge first, then the sides, to make a little pocket) or roll it up. Remove from the pan and either serve to hungry friends or put in a pan to keep warm before serving.


Repeat with the rest of the batter! The cornmeal in these crepes tends to sink to the bottom of the batter a bit, so I recommend whisking before ladling out each crepe. If the pan starts sticking, add a little more butter and let it melt before adding more batter. Adjust the temperature if the crepes are cooking too slowly (not turning golden) or too fast (getting brown before you can flip them). I love having a gas stove.

I admittedly never fill my first crepe with anything, but eat it right out the pan as fast as possible, since it’s extra buttery and sooo delicious. Make sure you don’t use bad butter, wouldn’t want a bitter batter.

For normal crepes, just replace the cornmeal with flour. Great with Nutella. For these, though, next time I’m going to try using a little more cornmeal and see if it still works.


On another note: I often find myself reflecting on the difference between animals and humans. While learning all kinds of information about the origins of agriculture and how it allows for the creation of cities, etc (irrigation is the key to civilization, thank you Mr. McAtee from 6th grade), I began to think that farming is the distinguishing factor (occupational favoritism, perhaps). However, this train of logic was refuted by a recent BBC article, which shows a large variety of animals that domesticate other living creatures. Fascinating. Still, it isn’t quite like our systems of agriculture, which perhaps have more of a conscious element. That may be closer to our real answer. What do you think?

Winter Staples: Beans and Slaw


Let me tell you a little bit about winter in Maine. It’s quite chilly. And there can be a lot of snow. (You may have noticed if you live here). Turns out that you can’t grow a whole lot outside in that weather.

Fortunately, you don’t need to. Eliot Coleman, the father of four-season farming in Maine (inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing), has shown us that even unheated hoophouses can supply significant quantities of vegetables throughout the winter. To grow salad mix, you’ll probably need a little heat. But hardier crops? Take that, winter, beaten by a plastic roof.

There are also many vegetables that you can harvest in the fall and store throughout the winter in a root cellar or just a cool spot in your house. I have a large amount of carrots, beets, cabbage, leeks, onions, garlic, turnips, rutabagas, and potatoes either in a box by the door (I figure it’s the coldest spot in my house) or in the fridge. Not too much of your traditional greenery in there (although kale was going strong for a while and I expect to see it again soon) but it turns out that you can still make salads, as well as a number of other vegetable-based delicacies in the winter.

Cole slaw is definitely a type of salad, in case you were wondering.

Throw it in with some beans, maybe a little melted cheese and some spices, and you’ve a meal. This amuses me a little bit because I generally think of beans (baked, I guess) and cole slaw as a Southern dish. Yet here we are, a staple of the Maine winter.

I’ve told you how to make beans before so I won’t get into that.


Winter Slaw
Carrots (1 large one is good for one person)
Beets (1 small one is also good)
1/4-1/2 cabbage, depending on size
A few teaspoons of your favorite vinegar
1/2 tsp mustard
A few (more than the vinegar though) teaspoons olive oil
Salt, pepper, and spices: to go with beans I like cumin, paprika, maybe a little cayenne

Grate the carrots, beets if you are using them, and chop up the cabbage (core, then slice one direction and the other. Cabbage is delightful because you can chop a lot of it in a very short timeframe). In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar and mustard, and salt and pepper. When mustard is more or less dissolved, whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. I like slaw dressing to be a little stronger than other salad dressings, especially if it’s going to sit for a little while. Stir in the vegetables and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes before consuming.

Cheesy Roasted Cabbage


This is one of those dishes that I made after coming home thinking “What can I possibly eat for dinner?” and opening the fridge for inspiration. I don’t keep a whole lot of ingredients in my fridge other than vegetables and cheese, and lots of dishes require more planning (soaking beans, thawing frozen chicken, etc) than I was ready for. However, it was slightly damp out and I felt like roasting something, and I figured that cabbage and cheddar would go well together, so I did what I usually do and asked the Internet what it thought.

(The way that I cook is to decide what ingredient/s to use, and then ask my cookbooks or the Internet for some inspiration: books for general ideas, the Internet for more specific suggestions about ratios and additions, etc. It seems to work pretty well for me, still learning cooking techniques and combinations.)

Turns out cabbage gratin is an actual thing, but I didn’t have any milk, and besides I wanted something crispy rather than a casserole (I think I may have something against casseroles. Maybe I will like them in the winter). Fortunately Whole Foods had a few easily adaptable good ideas for additions.

Basically this is roasted cabbage with some melted cheddar and a few extras: mustard for flavor and cornmeal for texture.

Cheesy Roasted Cabbage
Cabbage (about 1/3 of a large head was good for me for dinner)
Olive oil and salt
1/2 cup cheddar
2 tsp mustard, or to taste
Maybe 1/4 cornmeal
Other herbs! Such as parsley

Preheat oven to around 400ºF. Chop cabbage up, mix with a little salt and oil and put in a pan in the oven while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Grate the cheese and wash/chop the parsley. After the cabbage has roasted a little while by itself (maybe 20 minutes), mix in about half the cheese and the other ingredients. Add a little water if you need to (the Whole Foods recipe has you use chicken broth, which I think would be good—I just didn’t feel like something soggy). Roast about 15 minutes longer, then add the rest of the cheese on top and bake until crispy on top (maybe another 10 minutes, although I was getting a little impatient at that point). Serve hot.


Fried Tofu with Beet Cabbage Slaw


Look at that gorgeous color! Beets are so cool. This even has golden beets in it as well as the classic purple ones, but the pink colors kind of takes over. Yum.

This is about the only way that I do tofu. When I get tired of it, I’ll probably branch out (in fact, I’m thinking I will probably run out of all my basics to tell you about here so I’ll need to really try some new things. I’ve been wanting to get some new cookbooks too which will hopefully help). But tofu soaked in soy sauce and fried is just so good, why do it any other way?

Also, you can get Maine-made tofu! It is called Heiwa tofu. I honestly don’t know much about different varieties of tofu and what makes one better than another, but it tastes pretty good to me and I like supporting a local.

The slaw recipe came from my farmers, who publish a few recipe suggestions with each CSA. It is a very fresh slaw, letting the vegetables feature rather than the dressing. Have I told you about my farm yet? It is called New Beat Farm and is horse-powered (as in, only uses horses, no fossil fuel) and certified organic and generally just awesome. It’s a beautiful spot near Knox, Maine. I get eggs from them as well as vegetables and they are delicious.

I also added an avocado to this salad-thing. Not totally necessary, and a little extravagant since avocados do not, in fact, grow in Maine, but very delicious. There is unfortunately just no local substitute for the texture and light flavor of avocados.

Fried tofu 
Soy sauce (you can also use something like balsamic vinegar if you want)
Vegetable oil

About 1/2 head cabbage
2-3 raw beets
(Carrots would also be a good addition)
1 cup scallions
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

More scallions

For the slaw (you can make this ahead of time if you want): Cut up the cabbage in thin strips. My mini food processor is not small enough to do this, but if yours is, go for it. Grate the beets (same deal with the food processor). Slice up the scallions thinly. Mix together the oil vinegar, salt and pepper.

Put everything together in a bowl and mix. Let it sit, mixing every few minutes for about 20 minutes.


For the tofu: Cut it up in small chunks. I like doing this because it is so easy to cut in straight lines and make them all the same size. Not that it really matters (although you always want ingredients to be around the same size so they cook evenly), it’s just pleasing.


Put them in in a flat-ish dish (I like to use a pie pan, because it is flat but wide and has some sides, unlike a plate) and sprinkle with soy sauce until there is a thin layer of soy sauce at the bottom of the pan. Let it sit for a few minutes, turning them over every now and then with a spatula, until they are all brown.


Heat up the oil – there should be a shallow layer in the pan (I use cast iron, but then again it’s my only pan so I don’t have much choice) – over medium-high heat  until quite hot. Make sure you are wearing an apron. Carefully put the tofu into the pan. It will spit! (This might be a good place for one of those spit-guards if you have one.) You can add the leftover soy sauce if there isn’t much, but don’t add a lot of it – you want them fried, not steamed, and they can get too salty if you use too much. Let them fry for a few minutes, them turn them over with a spatula, again being watchful of spitting oil. Turn every few minutes until they are nicely golden brown on all (or at least most) sides and, most importantly, crispy.


Now you are ready! Put some tofu on the plate (leftovers keep in the fridge and are also good cold), top with extra scallions if you like, then avocado and the slaw. I ate this kind of as a salad, I guess, but I think it would also be excellent on a sub.

Fried tofu is also good with sliced kohlrabi and parsley (and some scallions), drizzled with a little lemon or a vinaigrette. Which is what I packed for lunch at the office the other day. And then I had to take a picture at work when I assembled it. Don’t worry, no one was around.



Stir Fry: Lazy Delicious

This is another of those don’t-really-feel-like-cooking but must-use-up-vegetables kind of meals. Stir fry is awesome because you can basically cook anything and it’s still delicious and nutritious. And it takes like 5 minutes.


As with other vegetarian meals, I do worry a bit about protein intake (although this might not be a super valid concern, I do tend to notice that I get hungry faster without it). Beans, chick peas, tofu are all great (and vegan) and I eat lots of them. But they take some time to make. Fast, easy, and delicious are eggs. Eggs are also dairy-free, in case you didn’t realize they came from chickens, not mammals. Although not vegan. I don’t really care about labels or sticking to a very particular dietary regime, and thankfully do not have any food allergies. I don’t eat a lot of meat, as has been established, but enjoy it on special occasions, which feels right to me for both environmental and ethical reasons. I think that animals are essential to any food ecosystem and eating them is a part of that, within reason (if you disagree with that, read this). A lot of my meals happen to be vegan, but mostly because I base my meals primarily around whatever fresh vegetables I have (meat has seasons too, but freezes much better and therefore is more flexible). It’s also much cheaper. Anyway, I find that I eat very well, whether vegan, vegetarian, or full-on omnivore.

And now, an ode to eggs. Those of you who know me have probably been waiting for this. But seriously, eggs are so awesome. Scrambled, poached, fried, hard boiled, soft boiled, made into an omelette or quiche or frittata, mixed with a little flour and milk for crepes or pancakes or popovers; whites can be whipped for meringue or angel food cake or marshmallow frosting (or frozen for later use!); yolks can be used for puddings, custards (even to thicken frosting…just wait), crème brûlée,  whipped up in fresh mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce… the list is endless. They are fantastic and delicious and nutritious and if you are the type of person who only eats egg whites, I’m sorry but you are silly. Unless you have a family history of cholesterol.

So there you have it. Stir fry, maybe over some rice, or pasta, or whatever else you have lying around (rice: put rice in pot. Cover with a thumbs-width of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer til soft, about 20 minutes. Same process for other grains as well as quinoa, beans, lentils, etc).


Stir fry
Vegetables, chopped (I used Napa/Chinese cabbage here, but other cabbage will work, or carrots/onions/celery/chard/kale/beet greens/most things
Salt/pepper/whatever seasonings you want (soy sauce, cumin, hot sauce, peanut butter...)


Heat up oil in a pan, then add vegetables. Or just add everything all at once, it doesn’t matter that much. Medium heat is fine, although if you are in a hurry you can turn it up and just make sure to mix it a bunch; or if you need to do other things you can leave it on low and give it a stir every once in a while. Cook until soft.

To fry an egg (this will be more specific because it is actually shockingly hard to get perfect every time): Heat up the pan first with a little oil, medium low heat. Add a little salt and pepper and spices if you like (I like turmeric and oregano). Tap the egg on the counter to break it, then open with your thumbs and drop it into the pan, careful not to break the yolk. I like my eggs medium, which means cooked white and runny yolk. Let the egg cook until the white is mostly opaque, with a little translucent layer on top (shown below), then slide the spatula under the egg, making sure it’s not sticking, and flip it over in one motion. Let it cook for a tiny bit longer (maybe 30 seconds) and then slide it off. You can kind of poke the center – gently! – with the spatula where the yolk and the white intersect, since that’s the last place the whites will cook. If it’s still wobbly, leave it on a little longer (you can also flip it again if you need to, although some might call it blasphemous).


Pile onto your stir fry, or some toast, and enjoy! Best eaten hot, although they can also be good cold. I find the yolk makes an excellent sauce. Putting eggs with some grain (quinoa is nice), veggies, and a few fried eggs into a container for lunch is also a good meal.

Bean Tostadas + Salad


Sometimes one is not in the mood for something fancy. Sometimes you come home, maybe go for a run, and cannot be bothered to come up with a complicated recipe. And/or are limited by ingredients in your fridge.

A quesadilla is a good solution to this predicament. However, if you are like me, you also have a bunch of vegetables in your fridge from your CSA (a one-person CSA means you can’t skip veggies with dinner or they will take over your kitchen) and maybe even some beans that were cooked for something else (in this case, these were made for chili for an event and not used up). In which case, make it a tostada. Which is basically an open-face quesadilla with a bunch of stuff piled on top. Or large crispy taco.

This tortilla is not particularly special, although I did enjoy it. But you can get really excellent Maine-made tortillas from Portland-based Tortillería Pachanga.

This takes about 15 minutes to make. Including prep, which most cooking shows do not include in their estimated making time.


Tortilla (or plural, depending on how hungry you are)
Cheddar-like cheese, grated
Beans (either pre-cooked (recommended), or from a can)
Cabbage or lettuce (I used Napa cabbage chopped thin)
Hot sauce/salsa
Avocados, if you have them (I didn't)

Start the tortilla by itself in a hot pan, then flip it over and put the cheese on top. I then put some beans on, but they were a little too liquidy and ended up making the bottom scorch so… don’t do that. I recommend warming up the beans separately. Or just don’t put the juice on your tortilla as well. Let it warm up relatively slowly while you prep the other ingredients. Chop up the cabbage or lettuce, tomatoes, and slice the radishes thinly. Once the cheese is all melty on the tortilla and it’s all warm and toasty, put it on a plate and pile on all the veggies. Top with salsa/hot sauce (this is essential, don’t skip the hot stuff). Eat.

You can do this with whatever. I definitely liked the cilantro and tomatoes (which will be better when they are in season, although Backyard farms does have pretty good hot-house tomatoes). I’m looking forward to having fresh corn to put on these. You can sauté some greens in some garlic first, and then top with that (there’s a great food truck in Belfast, Maine, Good ‘N’ You, which does this).

The only problem here was that I ended up with a bunch of extra chopped veggies. I had used up the last tortilla, so I decided to make the rest of my ingredients into a salad. Which was just all the veggies piled together and topped with balsamic reduction and hot sauce. And some shaved parmesan because it needed something creamy-ish. I’m going to be honest, I liked the salad better than the actual tostada. Maybe it was the vinegar, which you could definitely add to the tostada as well…


I’m getting better at taking photos, aren’t I? And in case you were wondering, I do keep butter in a shot glass on the table. It’s actually a measuring glass. Not that I’m measuring the butter in it. But I don’t use up much butter on my own so I figured leaving out just a small container would do nicely (I hate buttering toast with cold butter. And toast is the best).

Napa Cabbage Peanut Slaw


Wondering what to do with all that napa (otherwise known as Chinese) cabbage and use up other random veggies in your fridge? Make this now. Recipe here – it would feel pointless re-writing it. I didn’t have carrots, so I used sweet salad turnips instead (delicious), although carrots would be great if you have them. Also I used tahini because I didn’t have sesame oil, and red wine vinegar instead of rice. Otherwise, this is great. And they are very correct, it is best the day-of. Enjoy!