Jul 6th, 2004
I mentioned a while back that my parents gifted me with a ten ton cabbage on Father's Day. So from time to time in the past few weeks I've been manfully (womanfully?) wrestling the cabbage from its refrigerated resting place, hacking off a pound or two, and then stuffing it back in the fridge. In so doing I have managed to use only half of this monstrous vegetable. But I have managed to cook cabbage in several different ways and I think I have a winner to share with you.
I got the cooking method from How to Cook Without a Book by Pam Anderson (not the Baywatch one fortunately). She suggests a combined steam/saute method for cooking veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. This method wouldn't work very well with veggies with a high water content like bell peppers and zucchini, but for the others the basic recipe is:
1 pound of vegetable, sliced appropiately
1 tablespoon of oil (butter for some, olive oil for others)
1/3 cup of water
an aromatic of some sort (garlic, spices, etc.)
You put all these things in a covered pan over medium-high heat, and cook for about 5 or 6 minutes until the water is mostly evaporated and the veggie is steamed, then you take off the lid and the veggie sautes in the oil that remains for a few minutes (some stirring wouldn't hurt at this point).
Anyway, I have tried both broccoli and cabbage cooked this way and they both turned out well, although if you have a crappy pan like mine, you might want to lower the heat and/or up the water. I thought her water amount was just way off as I needed twice that amount, but then I tried the same recipe using one of my mom's expensive heavy bottomed pans and 1/3 of a cup of water worked perfectly. So assess the state of your cookware and proceed accordingly.
Anyway, for broccoli use 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and some red pepper flakes to taste. For cabbage, the author suggested fennel seeds, but I don't like 'em, so I used one tablespoon of butter (or Smart Balance), and one teaspoon Garam Masala. Garam Masala is an aromatic Indian spice blend often used in curry recipes. It's pretty widely available in supermarkets these days, but if you can't find any you could substitute Indian curry powder, although the end result won't be quite as sweet. But either way you should try it, as cabbage cooked this way is really good.