The Storm is Over!

Happy Monday!  Thank goodness the storm has passed.  We had dreary rain and intermittent high winds from Friday until today.  It really wasn't a bad storm but it is nice to see some sun and have it warm up again.  Sadly South Carolina did not fare as well.  The flooding and destruction is tragic.  Fortunately my family is all okay with no damage.  Even though I lived in Houston for 20 years where floods are commonplace you never get used to them.  You just learn to stay home, don't drive in high water, and don't live in a low area.  I am so glad this is all behind us. 

I spent a lot of time on the sofa, drinking coffee and tea, snuggling with my kitties and reading or working on needlepoint.  The neighborhood lost electricity yesterday for about 3 hours.  It wasn't raining or windy.  Go figure.  Anyway, when it came back on, I no longer have power in two small rooms and the garage.  I think the fuses blew but they won't reset.  So I am waiting on an electrician.  I had a small plumbing issue last week and now this.  I am thinking it fortunate as now I have a whole contact list full of really good repair guys.  Plumber, check.  Electrician, check.  Handiman, check.  Tree trimmer, check.  Furnance and A/C, check.  What next?  To top it off, I finally got out yesterday, and as I was driving around, my driver-side window rolled itself down and stayed there.  It is not budging.  Thankfully, I had cleared out the garage so I could park inside. I am waiting on confirmation of an appointment at the VW place in Greensboro.  They will give me a loaner car while they make the repair, but don't have one available until later today or tomorrow. It's always something isn't  it? I have been quite proud of myself.  No anger, no tears.  Just take a breath and deal with it.  I have so many blessings, these are just small speedbumps.  

Over the weekend I cooked one of my favorite things I have made in a long time.  It is spicy cabbage with noodles.  Since my cookbooks were all in storage last year, I have been reading them through one by one.  What a treat to rediscover them.  I somehow never cooked from this one,  A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop.  What a mistake!  I have decided to choose a few cookbooks to concentrate on each month, rather than randomly jumping around in my stash.  I plan to cook from one or two a month and really get to know what each one has to offer.  That said, I almost always change a recipe from what is written. I have been avoiding nightshades except for occasionally (you can read about nightshades and their role in inflammation here), so I typically avoid recipes that contain tomatos or peppers.  (I use a little smoked paprika or chili powders, etc, but avoid cans of tomatos, chopped peppers, etc.)  I also avoid canola oil, so I susbtitute in olive oil or coconut oil. I substitute sugar with coconut palm sugar or maple syrup.  I use white whole wheat flour or whole sprouted spelt flour for all purpose flour.  Really, once you know your ingredients, you can make these changes and come up with something that works for you, and might even be better than the original.  So use your cookbooks for ideas, but don't hesitate to make it your own, to meet your health goals or ingredients you have on hand. 

Jack Bishop is an editor at Cook's Illustrated and his book is amazing.  Divided into sections by season, his recipes are mostly simple and made with things you have in a well stocked pantry. 

This recipe uses a couple of ingredients you may not have.  The first is chili garlic sauce. You can buy this in almost any grocery store these days, always in the Asian food section.  It is spicy but not so hot you can't eat it. The second is roasted peanut oil.  Yes, roasted, not regular. You can buy small bottles of it in the oil section, and it is delicious.  Smells of peanuts and gives a nutty flavor to the food. Other than that, you need an onion, cabbage and some kind of noodle. The recipe calls for fresh Chinese noodles and honestly I don't know what that is.  I used udon which is an Asian wheat noodle.  You can use any kind of long noodles, and of coarse gluten free will work.  All you do is saute an onion in the peanut oil,  add garlic and chili-garlic sauce, and then thinly sliced cabbage.  Cover and cook until tender.  Mix in the cooked noodles and some pasta cooking water to make it all come together.  Top with chopped peanuts and  lime zest. (I added the lime zest to the recipe and it made the dish.) If you have cilantro I think a handful of chopped leaves would be a good addition.  I could not stop eating this.  This makes 4 servings and usually after two I put it in the freezer.  I looked forward to this for all 4 servings!.  To  eat it the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, I put a little oil in a skillet, added two big handfuls of mixed cooking greens and wilted them.  Added my serving of noodles/cabbage with a little water, covered and heated it.  Add the peanuts and lime zest and chow down. So good!  Adding that little something fresh to leftovers makes them new again.  This is kind of like pad thai.  Completely addictive….salty, a little sweet, spicy, tart.  It hits all the right notes.  I hope you'll try it.  I can't wait to cook something else from this book! 

Noodles with Spicy Cabbage

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: saute entree side gluten-free vegan vegetarian cabbage pasta

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp roasted peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-4 tsp chili-garlic sauce (to taste)
  • salt
  • 4 - 6 ounces of noodles your choice: (udon, soba, linguine, spaghetti, etc)
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts chopped
  • zest of one lime

Instructions

Prepare the cabbage: Remove outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut it in half through the stem and remove the tough core. You only need half of the head of cabbage for this recipe. Thinly slice the cabbage crosswise into thin strips. The thinner the better You will have about 8 cups of cabbage.

In a large saute pan, or skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until golden brown.

Add the garlic-chili sauce and garlic, and cook quickly for about a minute while stirring. (If you don't like spice, use 1 tsp chili sauce. If you like it spicy, use 2 heaping teaspoons. You will have a chance to add more later.)

Add the cabbage and 1/2 tsp salt, stirring to coat the cabbage with the sauce. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of salted water (about 1 Tbsp) to a boil. Cook the noodles of your choice to al dente according to the package directions. When done, remove and save 1 cup of cooking water. Drain the noodles.

When the cabbage is done, add the noodles and 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water to the pan, and stir gently over low heat so the noodles get coated with sauce and mixed in with the cabbage. Add more water if it seems dry. Taste. Add more salt and chili sauce to your liking. Sprinkle with the peanuts and lime zest. Serve.

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