KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Ma Petite Chou: For the Love of Cabbage
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Health Care Ordinance Infects Restaurant Industry
Whiskies of the World 2008: An Interview with Rian...
Bake Until Bubby & Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Dongpo Rou: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pork
Fish on Fridays
Tips for Getting Your Kids to Love Vegetables
Massimo's Italian Kitchen & Pork Spareribs and Cab...
Restaurant Websites: The Great and the Terrible.
Cooking with Banana Leaves
Best Supporting Meal
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Ma Petite Chou: For the Love of Cabbage

Cabbage. This word often brings up images of drippy boiled leaves and pungent smells. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket and his family were so poor they had to live off a diet of cabbage soup each day, the idea being that cabbage soup was just one of the miseries Charlie and his family had to endure before they retired to a life of nirvana at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Although I wouldn't want to eat cabbage every day, it's unfair to this lovely cruciferous vegetable, full of antioxidants and cancer fighting agents, to have such a bad reputation.

People in other parts of the world love cabbage. It is a staple across northern and central Europe, where it is the basis for German kraut and Polish bigos (not to mention Russian borscht). The French also use cabbage in a variety of dishes, often braised. Kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish, is a staple in Korean cuisine, and different types of cabbages are standard fare in China and other parts of Asia.

Although many of the international cabbage dishes I list above require cooking the cabbage for lengthy periods of time, these dishes are cooked according to time-tested methods to produce amazing regional cuisines. This is not how the poor cabbage has been treated in America. The simple and sad truth is that many Americans have had a tendency to overcook their vegetables. Most vegetables, even the sturdiest and crispest, lose their appeal (and a load of nutrients) when overcooked. Cabbage, however, just gets plain stinky if you cook it too long, especially if you are boiling or steaming it on its own. Although it can be fine cooked in a nice New England Boiled dinner (i.e., corned beef with cabbage), this hearty winter vegetable really shines when the life isn’t cooked out of it. So, for a home chef, the secret to delicious cabbage may be simply to barely cook it or not cook it at all.

Following are a couple of cabbage recipes my family loves. In both I use Savoy cabbage, but you could just as easily use Napa cabbage or a "standard" cabbage. The first is for a Fresh Kraut with Bratwurst where the cabbage is cooked just long enough to soften, but not any longer. The key to this recipe is to cut the cabbage into thin slices so you end up with small slivers that cook quickly. I first made this dish because my daughters both have an acute sense of smell and I didn't want them to be turned off by a cabbagy aroma. The result was a hit. Sautéed with olive oil, fresh onions, and fennel and then steamed with cider vinegar, it's a wonderful accompaniment to savory sausage.

The second dish is for a crisp cabbage and beet salad. With an Asian-inspired peanut dressing, it has a tangy flavor and a crunchy texture. Tangerine slices add a fresh burst of sweetness and roasted peanuts give it a slightly salty twist. Slicing up the cabbage is a breeze, and if you use the shredding attachment on your food processor, shredding the beets takes only a minute or two. Overall, this dish take less than ten minutes to assemble and is a great alternative to a regular lettuce salad, or a traditional cole slaw. It's a perfect light meal by itself, but would be great with roasted or fried chicken or pork.

There is a wonderful French phrase, "ma petite chou," which is a term of endearment for someone who is much loved. The literal translation is "my little cabbage." It seems perfect that a vegetable so sweet and healthful, yet hardy and reliable, should be the description for one's beloved in France. Maybe one day, once people stop cooking cabbage to death, Americans will come to love it just as much.

Fresh Kraut with Bratwurst

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients for Kraut
½ large white onion
1 fennel bulb
½ large Savoy cabbage
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ tsp celery seed
½ tsp salt
Dash of black pepper

Ingredients for Bratwurst
5-6 bratwursts
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 large potatoes sliced into ¼-inch chunks

1. Place bratwurst and potatoes in a baking dish (I like to use my large cast iron pan)
2. Mix in olive oil and salt so the potatoes and sausages are thorough coated on all sides.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
4. Turn bratwurst and stir potatoes, bake for another five minutes.

5. When bratwursts are almost ready, cut onion, fennel, and cabbage into thin slices.
6. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high and add olive oil to the pan once it’s hot.
7. Sauté onion for about five minutes, or until soft.
8. Add fennel and cook for another 3 minutes.
9. Add cabbage, being sure to spread the leaves out so they look shredded.
10. Add celery seed, salt, and pepper and then stir.
11. Add cider vinegar and immediately cover.
12. Lower heat to medium-low and cook cabbage for five minutes or until soft. Stir if heat seems too high as you don’t want to burn or char the vegetables.
13. Taste and add more salt or pepper if desired.
14. Serve alongside bratwurst.

Fresh Cabbage and Beet Slaw with an Asian Peanut Dressing

Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients for Salad Dressing
Salad dressing
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
2 tsp honey
½ tsp minced ginger or ¼ tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp chopped mint
1 garlic clove smashed and chopped
Green part of one green onion chopped

Ingredients for Salad
½ cabbage sliced
2 large or 4 small raw beets shredded
2 seedless tangerines divided
½ cup snow peas slivered
¼ cup roasted peanuts

1. Add all the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well, making sure to incorporate the peanut butter.
2. Slice the cabbage thinly.

3. Peel the beets and then shred them. You can do this in a food processor using the shredding insert, or you can grate them by hand (warning: the latter will make your hands very red).
4. Sliver the snow peas.
5. Peel and divide the tangerines
6. Lay the cabbage on each plate, being sure to separate the leaves so they look shredded.
7. Top the cabbage with the shredded beets and slivered snow peas. (Note: Be sure not to mix the beets with the other vegetables as the beets will stain everything pink.)
8. Lay the tangerine slices on top.
9. Top with the peanuts.
10. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
11. Drizzle enough salad dressing on top to coat the vegetables, without drowning them.
12. Serve.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,



Blogger Cakespy said...

I adore cabbage, and my husband deplores it. However I think some of these recipes look good enough to bring him around.

Speaking of the "ma petite chou" there is a kid's shoe store here in Seattle called "Ma Petite Shoe". Isn't that just too cute?? OK, had to say. :-)

3/09/2008 12:08 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.