So last week we conquered our fear of beets. It was triumphant, and today I found myself buying goat cheese at the store thinking about revisiting that delicious risotto. Mmmmm …
But since Wednesday, there has been another unloved vegetable lurking in my refrigerator. It is a quieter foe, sitting unnoticed like a head of iceberg lettuce. It’s easy to forget about, and I assumed that the lump of cabbage would vanish like so many other leafy greens have this year … tossed in a salad (or, more likely, left to rot until it had just enough brown leaves to warrant throwing it away. Not that I advocate throwing away food, but there were just so many leafy greens!).
I’m not a big fan of cabbage. I really dislike cole slaw (though probably more for the nasty white sauce than the actual cabbage), and so my tastebuds locked into that reaction long ago. Price, however, likes cabbage, which I didn’t find out until after dinner tonight.
I decided to take on the cabbage, and scoured Epicurious (who would have guessed?) for a recipe that intrigued me. Corned beef and cabbage was vetoed by my current attempt to eliminate processed (read: deli) meats from our diet … sodium kills, folks. Stuffed cabbage-and-potato “pillows” seemed too hot and heavy for our current heat wave, and cabbage slaw earned its automatic refusal based on childhood nightmare-inducing episodes with the Wal-Mart plastic bucket variety of the stuff.
And then this little gem caught my eye: CURRIED RICE, BACON, AND CABBAGE PILAF
Interesting. Curry? Bacon? Cabbage? Surely those wouldn’t taste good together. (My love of bacon clearly caused me to overlook my anti-processed-meat vow from just a few minutes prior.) The reviews were great, and I was up for an adventure. 9 miles on the spin bike after work = energized, ready-to-conquer-the-world-Mel.
I started with 5 slices of bacon, fried up in a pan:
After the bacon was done, I added 4 tbsp of butter, chopped onions, and garlic to the pan full of bacon drippings: (And now this is starting to sound so much worse for us than it seemed … )
And then I went to add the cup and a half of rice only to realize that I only had 1 cup left. Oops. Quinoa to the rescue! (This turned out to be the best decision ever … or at least, the best decision when making dinner tonight.)
Toasted it up a bit (I swear, it absorbs the liquid better … ) and then 2 and 3/4 cups of chicken broth, several good shakes of curry powder (I use maharajah) boil, and cover:
It started to smell DELICIOUS at this point, probably because there wasn’t cabbage. Which brings me to: THE CABBAGE. I used my handy-dandy food processor (my best friend in the kitchen, next to stand mixer, ice cream maker, and immersion blender. So kitchen appliance best friend #4, for those of you familiar with my cat best friend ranking: Cat Best Friend #1 is Puff, Cat Best Friend #2 is Austin’s new cat, Kili.)
3 cups shredded cabbage, plus 1 shredded red bell pepper, in a pot with 2 tbsp of melted butter:
When the cabbage mixture is sauteed, I added 2 chopped tomatoes. Then when the liquid was absorbed in the rice/quinoa the two pots get combined:
I started to feel like this combination was weird at this point, but I kept stirring.
Bacon makes everything better though, right?
Served with pan grilled chicken breast with curry powder, the finished pilaf:
The verdict? FANTASTIC. I thought it would be good, but it was surprisingly delicious. Even Price was genuinely surprised. I think the odd combination of rice/quinoa/curry/cabbage/bacon seemed so far outside of what we’re used to that we were shocked when it actually tasted good. The bacon provided a salty snap every few bites, while the quinoa provided great texture and the cabbage a slightly bitter aftertaste. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!
So CSA challenge #2 of the year = WIN! Exciting. I still would love to find an epic win for the kohlrabi, but that may just be a lost cause.
And now, there’s a bowl of homemade peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in the freezer just calling out my name …