A case of cabbage

February 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm 1 comment

By Camille Armantrout

Our friends at ECO (Eastern Carolina Organics) do a great job of getting local produce into local markets and restaurants. As is the nature of their business, they sometimes end up with seconds. When that happens, they generally alert the people who work nearby at Piedmont Eco Industrial Park.

A few weeks ago, it was cabbage. ECO sent an email offering 1.8 bushel boxes for $15 in order to cut the loss to the farmer. My husband Bob bought a box and we began working our way through forty pounds of cabbage.

The first thing Bob did was give away five heads. That night I fixed one of our favorite cabbage meals: “Repollo Orientale” which is Spanish for Oriental Cabbage.

Repollo Orientale was the brainchild of the Nicaraguan cook at a lodge on Little Corn Island who often served it to the help for lunch back when we were on staff. It’s an easy, tasty dish made of sautéed cabbage, garlic and onions seasoned with shoyu, ginger, cayenne and sesame oil and served over fettuccini.

The next day sixteen juicy Cabbage Burgers went on the potluck table with a marinara sauce for dipping. They went over well and we sent four more heads of cabbage home with friends.

To make the Cabbage Burgers, I started with a spicy, foccacia dough which I rolled out and stuffed with a filling of Gimme Lean sausage (made from soy, but you can use crumbled tempeh or your favorite local sausage), cabbage, onions and garlic. The nice thing about these is they store well and can be eaten later. (Recipe for dough and burgers also on our blog.)

That weekend, we processed more of our windfall into sauerkraut using Sandor Katz’s recipe. This is our first attempt at kraut and we’re excited because we love sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and Tofurky Kielbasa or Beer Brats. Every week that kraut gets tastier and we’ve already used some of it in a Borscht I made using local beets and dill.

We also love cole slaw, so I shredded six heads and mixed them with mayonnaise, sugar, salt, pepper and vinegar. I added some shredded carrots from our garden for color. That first week after we got our case of cabbage, no one left our house without cole slaw or some other form of cabbage.

By far, the best thing we did with our cabbage windfall was have an Okonomiyaki party with our friends Jason and Haruka of Edible Earthscapes. Okonomiyaki, or Japanese Pizza is not difficult to make if you have a griddle and a mix for the batter. But you can also mix up your own batter and fry them in a cast iron pan. Here’s a link to a blog dedicated toOkonomiyaki with batter recipes and videos.

As unlikely as it sounds, cabbage pizza (at right) is indescribably delicious!

One-and-a-half heads to go and we’re unable to decide whether to put it into Okonomiyaki, kraut, slaw, Oriental, Borscht or cabbage burgers. I suspect we’re putting off the decision because we don’t want this wild cabbage ride to end. Maybe we’ll get lucky and happen into another case of cabbage from Eastern Carolina Organics.

Entry filed under: Camille Armantrout, Locavore recipes, Recipes, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Carol Peppe Hewitt  |  February 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Thanks Camille for this inspiring post.
    I will never complain about too much cabbage coming out of the garden all at once ever again! And I tasted those burgers, yes they were delicious. I had to go back for seconds….


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