Monday, December 2, 2013

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

For Thanksgiving last week, we drove south, visited friends and dined with family for the big feast. It was so cool because where we stayed wasn't far from the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.

I'd been dreaming about seeing clustered Monarchs since last summer when I wrote this article about dwindling Monarch populations. The Mexican reserves where Monarchs from the eastern and midwest United States overwinter are more extensive than the California butterfly groves, but it was still shocking to see so few butterflies clustered and flying around compared to the hundreds of thousands I'd seen in videos of the Mexican reserves.

Declining Monarch populations are sad.  Attention Californians: please plant milkweed!

I loved catching up with friends and family and who doesn't love the over-the-top big annual feast?  Of course my Cooking Assistant totally made himself at home--so spoiled, he'll find a chair when he's sleepy and avoid sleeping on the floor.

If the seat fits, take it.

Of course the best part of Thanksgiving are the side dishes and I was looking forward to trying them all. There was something for everyone from roasted Brussels sprouts, to yams, to spaetzle. I brought my favorite quinoa salad, but the dish that really intrigued me was what everyone called Mom's Red Cabbage.

I watched my sister-in-law start the dish.  Cabbage, vinegar, sugar--it seemed easy and really, what can go wrong with cabbage, especially local cabbage.

I'd created a recipe for red cabbage in my first book called Red Cabbage with Apple and Red Wine Vinegar.  This recipe used half vinegar and half sugar.  I'd also added onion, lemon juice and garlic.

The recipe made it into my second book practically unchanged.  Until now.  Every recipe need to be updated and this time cut out most of the sugar and dropped the onion and lemon.

Use any apple you want.  I chose a Pink Lady because it was handy.  If you like it really tart, a Granny Smith might be exactly what you need.

My Cooking Assistant likes Pink Pearls.

And you probably already know I love Rockridge Orchards' berry vinegars.  I always keep enough of this on hand to give one for a gift.

This is one reason why I specified one or two apples.  The size differences of farmers' market apples can be startling.
Here's the new version of the  recipe:

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
(Serves 4 to 6)

1 or 2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium-small head of red cabbage, sliced thin
1 or 2 medium to large sweet tart apples, diced
1 tablespoon chopped Mama Lil's Peppers (optional)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
1 or 2 tablespoons apple cider (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil over medium heat, in a medium-size heavy skillet.  Add cabbage, apples and Mama Lil's, if desired.  

Stir and cook until cabbage softens.  While cabbage cooks, combine apple cider vinegar and sugar.  Blend until sugar is dissolved, then stir into cabbage and apples.  Cover and simmer on low until apples and cabbage are very tender.  This may take up to 30 minutes.  If you need more liquid add a little apple cider.  When cabbage and apples are done, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Here's my Cooking Assistant getting carried away.  You can hardly blame him, gone from the kitchen and cooking for a week, what's a dog to do?

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
Sweet and Sour Cabbage some of our favorite winter time treats. Max and I are trying to stay warm and cozy in this extreme cold. Give Finn a big Woof!
Hope you have a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen