Posts tagged cabbage
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

sour cabbage soup

Sour cabbage soup.

Last Tuesday morning at 1am, our carbon monoxide monitor went off and scared us half to death. Apparently, trying to make an overnight brisket at 200 degrees is disagreeable to a tiny detector in a tiny apartment. I don’t know how you all deal with the smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector. Most New Yorkers just dismantle the thing and shove in the back of their closet. That’s how I deal with it. My solution was to take a hammer to the device that was ruining the best part of my sleep, and I all but succeeded were it not for Andrew. He ordered me off the step-stool and back to bed. I complied because I was so disoriented, but I still maintain that my way of “dealing with it” is better.

My husband’s idea of “dealing with it” is to go online and read how to deal with possible carbon monoxide issues, then print out the step by step instructions and highlight the relevant portions for me to look into with our building’s electrician.

The rest of the night was in fits and starts and Andrew and I both woke up feeling like we were run over by a Mack truck. Nonetheless, it was a “new school year” so to speak, and in the morning we managed to get ourselves out the door, dressed, fed, and caffeinated. I needed to do some work outside the apartment for a few hours, and so I headed to the nearest Starbucks – the only nearby cafe to offer wifi (until this past weekend!) which I needed for work. A few minutes after I got settled, I dropped my phone and shattered my screen so badly that I could barely use it. I even managed to give myself a few glass splinters and paper (glass?) cuts.

Continue reading sour cabbage soup.

See more: Soup, , , ,
Monday, February 4, 2013

bratwurst, cabbage, and sauerkraut

brats, cabbage, sauerkraut (and beer)

This, above, might not look like much: bratwurst with cabbage looks humble enough, but let me tell you – it’s something, all right. On a cold February night accompanied by freezing rain, I can’t think of more satisfying dinner. Also, feel free to file this under “Crap, it’s [fill in the day of the week] night, the fridge is empty, and there’s no dinner plan” kind of a meal. Happens in this household more often than I like to admit. And also a random but important aside (and please tell me if I’m alone in this): on the worst kind of nights, the kind where there’s bitter winds and cold rain or sleet, I am loathe to call for take-out because (and follow me here a moment) I feel badly about sending the delivery guys out in this weather delivering my food. I worry that they might get sick and there’s no health insurance; I fret over the fact that people’s driving is more erratic when there is bad weather and the delivery guys might get into an accident. I know my logic is flawed (by not ordering I am costing them income), and when we do order in on such nights, we tip extra for the delivery guys’ effort, but still, the pang of guilt in making them go out into the elements – I feel it every time.

Bratwurst served with sauerkraut is, I’m told, a very common thing in Germany. It’s hearty, hardy fare, downright pedestrian if you think about it; honest cooking without much cooing or pretense. It’s meant to warm you right down to your bones and fill your belly, and goes down beautifully with a pint of beer. Right about now I might crave Florida sunshine, a pool, and an umbrella drink, but for this, friends, you need the all the misery of the Northeast February (or anywhere where it’s cold) with all its inglorious freeze to fully appreciate what visually doesn’t, in the least bit, look arresting.

Continue reading bratwurst, cabbage, and sauerkraut.

Friday, October 12, 2012

sauerkraut

russian sauerkraut

I was all set to write about sauerkraut yesterday, but then something happened. We came home to find our cleaning lady asleep in our bed. And that proved to be a very distracting thing.

Given my ethnic roots, my relationship with cabbage is so strong, I should have been incredibly focused. After all, Russians and cabbage are linked at the hip. We stuff it, we saute it a number of ways, we make soup out it.

Our Brooklyn apartment is small, so when you walk through the door you are immediately standing in the open kitchen, which becomes our living room/home office. Without moving, you can also see into the bedroom where half of our bed peeks out.

When we came back home yesterday mid-afternoon, after working at a coffee shop since the early morning, as soon as we unlocked the door we felt immediately that something was amiss. Bags of garbage were strewn about the kitchen and the entryway, the vacuum was in the middle of the living room, the furniture was off kilter, and every single light in the apartment was on. And then we saw someone’s feet on our bed. It took us a few seconds to figure out that they looked like our cleaning lady’s feet and then we looked at each other and silently mouthed in unison, “Holy crap, our cleaning lady is IN OUR BED!!!”

Continue reading sauerkraut.

Friday, February 11, 2011

cole slaw with wasabi-spiked mayo

cole slaw with wasabi mayonnaise

It’s not exactly an intuitive thing to think of slaw this time of year. And it would have totally slipped my mind were it not for last week’s Super Bowl party that my friends threw to mark the game. The big piece de resistance for the meal portion were pulled pork sandwiches and my girlfriend, Sharon, made sure to slow-roast the meat over twelve hours. My contribution, paltry this time around, was a simple slaw to complement the sweet tones of the pulled pork.

hearty, simple, crunchy

My initial thoughts turned to salads I typically gravitate to in the winter. Plates of bright citrus, bowls of hearty lacinato kale, mounds of sturdy escarole. But none of those went as well with pulled pork as a traditional slaw. And when I went on a grocery run, I noticed that while the greens were looking rather limp and sadder than usual, cabbage was sturdy and crisp, as if trying to tell me that I should, perhaps, give slaw a chance.

Continue reading cole slaw with wasabi-spiked mayo.

Friday, June 18, 2010

asian-inspired slaw with mango

asian slaw with mango

All right, my dears. I don’t have much time, so I’ll be brief. And I’m sorry to be so hasty and short. This salad right here – please make it. It’s going to help you get through the hot and sticky days of summer. The crunch of the cabbage, the sweetness of mango, the bite of the chili pepper, the cool, sweet burst of corn. This salad here – a keeper. And transports well for things like picnics and backyard barbecues. And I hope that you plan on going to a lot of those this season.

asian slaw with mango

There are many a joke made about Russians and their love of cabbage. We are a people that loves our cabbage pickled, stuffed, stewed, in soups and in pies. Cabbage, in Russian cooking, will be the main event, not an accessory. Perhaps, outside of the potato, it is the most loved vegetable in Russia. We, Russians, take our cabbage seriously. And here, I took the beloved Russian vegetable and put an Thai-ish spin on it. I should’ve thrown some peanuts in, but I didn’t have any on hand.

asian slaw with mango

The slaw is quite a deviation from a traditional slaws that involve mayonnaise. I’m not one to knock mayo, especially if it’s homemade, but sometimes, when the summer days grow sweltering and muggy, it is not exactly a condiment you dream of. Or maybe that’s just me. On the other hand, things like lime juice and a little spice are always welcome in my kitchen, especially when it’s warm outside.

asian slaw with mango

You might think to yourself, cilantro and mint together – an herb overkill, perhaps? I thought so before, until I accidentally combined them in a similar salad once and I haven’t looked back since. Somehow, oddly, they are complementary to one another and both are summery and crisp.

asian slaw with mango

I notice that around this time of year, I want more salad on my plate and less meat. And I know we’re entering grilling season, but still, my heart (and stomach) crave vegetables. Last night, at book club, one of the girls served a lovely goat cheese and spinach tart (oh how the wheels in my head are turning), a simple cucumber salad with parsley and creme fraiche, and some rocket with a simple vinaigrette. It was simple, it was crisp and it was perfect.

And in thinking this morning about the salad here, I realized that in the summer, what we want is to feel as light and breezy as the summer breeze itself. A cinch to put together, easy take along, wonderfully uplifting. What could be a better way to greet the summer season?

Continue reading asian-inspired slaw with mango.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

stuffed cabbage

stuffed cabbagge

No one ever tells you this, but the week after you get back from vacation is impossibly busy. For all you know, you come back, relaxed and tan, full of those lovely umbrella drinks, sand in your bag – and then wham, you get knocked down by work and life that apparently had the audacity to go on without you. You return to a full mailbox, bills to pay and laundry to do. I mean, the nerve, right? Shouldn’t the world stand still while you’re exercising your right to a bikini and a beach chair every day for a full week?

hollowing out the cabbagesteaming the cabbage
riceonions & celery

Oh and don’t get me started on the cold. The bone-numbing, soul-sucking, stop-you-in-your-tracks cold. I mean, I can’t even properly describe my dismay. Someone at work mentioned today that New York average temperatures around now were always in the mid-thirties and, well, we’ve certainly dipped below that just about every day. As luck would have it, my flight got into Newark on the same day that security breach took place and the airport was in near lock-down mode. I suggested to the pilot we turn the plane around and got back to Dominican Republic and he gave me a stare. I thought to myself, “Fine, but it’s either this, or an umbrella drink, buddy – you choose.”

stuffingall mixed
lining the potremoving the vein

We’re not even a month into this winter and already I’m whining. I swear, as the years go by the cold gets to me more and more. I complain about it bitterly, but get very little sympathy. Russians are supposed to tolerate these temperatures without so much as a shrug, I am told. But since I’ve not lived in the blustery St. Petersburg winter in over 21 years, I really can’t claim high tolerance for cold weather. Even if you do give me a vodka shot to quell the pain.

how to rollhow to roll
how to rollhow to roll

What I find myself doing, however, is craving Russian food. Badly. I like the heartiness and honesty of it; the way that it fills me up and makes me feel warm as if wrapped in a blanket. A food version of Snuggie, if you will, but far more attractive looking. And for me, in moments like this, stuffed cabbage really hits the spot.

a view from the top

In Russia, we called this dish “golubtsi”, and I’ve heard my Ukrainian friends refer to them as “holubki”. My friend Ryan took it one step further and referred to them as “pigs in blankets” and when I made fun of him and told he confused the name with another dish, quickly proved me wrong. But whatever you call them, they are amazing. In fact, they’re even better in the next few days as flavors develop more, and, if that weren’t bonus enough, they freeze beautifully too. Which is a great asset when you arrive home from the airport at 1 o’clock in the morning, starving and cold. A few minutes of defrosting in a microwave and you have a comforting, warm, soothing dinner. And if my week is busy, I can manage it, because I can have dinner ready in mere minutes, and focus on those other pesky things that took place in my absence, clearing my schedule for more important things like editing vacation photos. Clearly, more of a priority than paying bills.

stuffed cabbagge

Continue reading stuffed cabbage.