Stuff and Nonsense: brassicas

Showing posts with label brassicas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brassicas. Show all posts


Mom's Coleslaw

My most recent CSA farm share included a very large "Gunma" cabbage. This variety of cabbage is, I am told, highly sought after because it is a tender and sweet cabbage with a large flat shape that makes it perfect for stuffing. Well, while I love to eat stuffed cabbage, I have never made stuffed cabbage before and am unlikely to start soon.

So far, I've thrown an eighth of the cabbage in a minestrone soup, roasted a quarter of it with onions, and used another quarter to make my Mom's coleslaw. This is a very basic slaw, but it was served at every childhood Easter and family picnic and I retain a certain nostalgia for it.

The recipe is just an estimation. It is totally up to you how much milk or mayonnaise or seasoning you use. For me, I like a slightly dry, garlicky slaw so I used a half cup of mayonnaise and two tablespoons milk. As for garlic, I sprinkled the roasted garlic powder on until it looked like too much and knew that was exactly the right amount.

Mom's Coleslaw

Yield: 8 Servings


  • 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage (about ½ a medium head)
  • 1 carrot, grated coarsely
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, & dried parsley as desired
  • Mayonnaise, as needed
  • Milk, as needed


  1. Combine cabbage, carrot, and seasonings in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and milk until you like the thickness.
  3. Pour over cabbage and stir to combine.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (overnight is best).
  5. Adjust seasonings as needed before serving.


Mom's Cabbage & Noodles

The bonus Thanksgiving CSA share included onions and green cabbage. As soon as I saw the cabbage head, I knew I wanted to make my mom's cabbage and noodles. It's an easy, comforting dish perfect for a miserable November day, when the wind roars in the chimney and the sun shines too weakly to give real warmth.

While I've given you Mom's recipe as she gave it to me, I usually double the onions and add chopped garlic. Also, sometimes I stir a tablespoon of spicy brown mustard in with the noodles, to give the dish a little kick. While Mom says to leave the dish two days in the fridge for tastiest results, the best I've managed is overnight. The flavors are better when it's sat overnight, so she's probably right about waiting two days ... I am merely too impatient (and hungry) to do so.

Mom's Cabbage & Noodles

Yield: 4, generously


  • ½ large green cabbage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb egg noodles
  • ½-1 stick butter
  • Dill seed, caraway seed, & parsley to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Chop cabbage.
  2. Melt butter in a pan.
  3. Sauté onion in pan until tender. Add cabbage and seasonings. Cover and let steam until cabbage is tender.
  4. Cook noodles a directed. Drain and add to cabbage.
  5. Adjust seasonings to taste. Best if it sits in the fridge 2 days.
  6. Serve with Polish smoked sausage or corned beef and lots of spicy brown mustard.


Kohlrabi, Potato, & Leek Soup

As the fall has been so warm and mild, my weekly CSA share has been extended through to December. Unlike the summer, where I cruised the tables at the farmers market every Friday and selected whatever took my fancy, I now get a blind box of seasonal goodness. So far, I’ve received fennel, winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, pears, apples, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, eggplant, napa cabbage ... and a whole bunch of other good things I'm sure I'm forgetting. It’s been a little overwhelming, to be honest, but I’m doing my best to turn everything into tasty eats!

With ingredients from my first “extender” box, I made Betty Crocker's simply yumptious Tomato-Fennel Soup. I’d cooked fennel precisely once before and found it overwhelmingly licorice-y, so was prepared to be similarly disappointed, but -- maybe it is true that tomatoes and alliums make everything better -- this soup was probably one of the best tomato soups I have ever eaten and I really look forward to cooking with fresh fennel again.

Last week, I received two trimmed kohlrabi heads in my box and I was very “Huh. Kohlrabi. I made a slaw out of this last time ... ehhhh.” While the slaw had been fine, I don’t crave slaw in November and my ostomy’s been a bit iffy about raw vegetables so ... soup! Yes, more soup. Since I had leeks and some gnarly looking potatoes on hand, too, I thought I’d make a potato, leek, and kohlrabi soup. One of the cookbooks I’d skimmed at the library had said I could peel the kohlrabi bulbs and treat the flesh like that of a turnip, so that’s what I did. I don’t know if these kohlrabi were in some way physically superior to my previous kohlrabi or, maybe it was just that I already had experience, but peeling them was much easier than I remembered -- just like peeling an apple, really.

My soup spawned from a mishmash of recipes -- some from the internet, others from cookbooks -- so there are probably much better ways to do this than how I did. Also, it’s a very leek-y, turnip-y tasting soup, so you really need to like those flavors to enjoy this soup.

Kohlrabi, Potato, & Leek Soup

Yield: 6 (generously)


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, white & light green parts only, sliced into thick coins
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 large kohlrabi, peeled & cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, as desired


  1. Heat the olive in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, shallots, garlic, onion, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Cook gently for five minutes, stirring often, or until the alliums begin to soften and become fragrant.
  2. Add the potato, kohlrabi, vegetable broth, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until kohlrabi and potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  3. Remove pot from heat, discard the bay leaf, and let the soup cool for a few minutes.
  4. When the soup is no longer dangerously hot, blitz it with a stick blender or whathaveyou until smooth.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.


Easy Cheesy Cauliflower

Had ten people over for grilled cheese, cake, and Secret Hitler last weekend, you see, and bought enough cheese for fifteen. Or twenty. Probably, twenty. I clearly am not good at estimating cheese portions. On the other hand, if you enjoy cheese, I'm the woman to party with.

So, I had cheese. And I had cauliflower. Cauliflower cheese, please, said my greedy tummy and who was I to disagree?

If you make this dish, be sure to drain the cauliflower very well before adding the cheese mixture. I did not drain mine very well and the cauliflower cheese came out of the oven rather soupy. However, it did set up quite well as the dish cooled so ymmv.

Easy Cheesy Cauliflower

Yield: 4


  • 16 oz cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded or chopped into small pieces
  • 4 Gruyere slices
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
  • ½ Tbsp roasted garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Put the cauliflower and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with cling wrap and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain well and set aside.
  3. Put the cream cheese, cream, and cheddar in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave on medium about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Additional time may be needed if sauce remains lumpy.
  4. Stir in the seasonings. Add the drained cauliflower and gently stir until well coated. Top with the Gruyere and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

This would also work with mix of cauliflower and broccoli as well as any semi-firm cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, Fontina, or Jack.


Easy Carrot & Bok Choy Stir-Fry

It's nearly time to pick up this week's CSA share and there's a limit to how much more stuff I can get in the fridge so ... time to cook with bok choy! I hadn't cooked with full-grown bok choy (aka pak choi) before, but I figured it couldn't be that different from cooking baby bok choy -- probably just more chopping.

I decided to keep the dish simple because it was my first time (so why complicate things) and (more importantly) I was making it in the ROAWR! HUNGRY time between gym and work, when the longer I delay eating, the more likely I am to abruptly consume a whole bunch of (ultimately unfulfilling) random and then be very, very cranky with myself.

So. Bok choy stir-fry. With matchstick carrots, because why not? And lots of alliums, because alliums make everything (savory) better.

Easy Carrot & Bok Choy Stir-Fry

Yield: 2 generous servings


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz chopped sweet onion
  • ½ oz chopped garlic
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 4 oz matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 large head bok choy, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • Salt and red pepper flakes, as desired


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until pan is very fragrant.
  • Add bok choy, carrots, and soy sauce. Cook, stirring often, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender.
  • Season to taste.

Because I knew a big bowl of stir-fried vegetables was not enough to satisfy the ROAWR! HUNGRIES, I topped my bowl with grilled shrimp skewers. I'd never grilled shrimp before (today was a day of new things!) but the Internets told me to grill them 4 minutes per side or until pink so that's what I did and they were quite delish. A wee bit too peppery as I was heavy-handed with the seasoning blend I used, but definitely something I'd make again.

Now I just need to sort out the kohlrabi. It's just so weird looking, though. Like a mutant Pikmin.


Summer's Bounty Crustless Quiche

I signed up for my very first CSA and have been excitedly counting down to June 23, when I could pick up my first share. The farm I use provides quarter, half, and full share subscriptions. Because The Husband doesn't enjoy eating many vegetables, I went with a quarter-share which is intended to feed one person for a week. Well ...

I'm sure it does. Problem is, I also acquired a friend's full share from different farm, because she just couldn't get to it this week. It's a one-time thing and, while I'm truly thankful for all the extra produce, I'm also thankful I hadn't signed up for a half or full share because I'm a little overwhelmed as it is!

What was in my combined CSA?

  • 1 pint + 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 large bunch of pak choi (bok choy)
  • 2 large bunches of kale
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 large head of romaine
  • 1 large bunch baby spinach
  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 1 large bunch red radishes
  • 1 large bunch white radishes
  • 1 thyme plant
  • 2 ears of popcorn
  • 1 dozen cage-free eggs

It's ... a lot for us. Especially when I take into account all the produce already on hand! So I made a crustless quiche. They're simple enough to do and can easily adapt to incorporate pretty much any vegetables or cheese you like. Obviously, I used what I had on hand which included a partial bag of matchstick-cut carrots and a wrinkly bell pepper.

This is a very dense, very veggie quiche with the eggs there mostly as binder. If you prefer a more fluffy, eggy quiche then add more eggs. I like it just as it is -- a warm, cheesy slab of garden on a plate -- and it's a great way to get in some of your 5 (or 10!) a Day.

Summer's Bounty Crustless Quiche

Yield: 8


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz red onion, chopped
  • ½ oz garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10 oz chopped kale
  • 3 oz matchstick-cut carrots
  • 6 oz bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 4 oz semisoft cheese (havarti, etc), cut into pea-sized cubes
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 oz shredded Parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil 13X9 baking dish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large French/Dutch oven at medium heat; cook and stir onion and garlic until garlic is fragrant. Add kale, carrots, peppers, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted and greatly reduced in volume. Spread across bottom of oiled baking dish.
  3. Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl. Add cheese and egg mixture to baking dish. Gently mix everything together and top with sliced tomato. Scatter parmesan across top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until quiche is set in the middle and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in dish for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with fruit or dressed baby greens.


Slow Cooker Ham & Split Pea Soup w/ Turnips

My lovely, generous coworker gave me another meaty hambone and, of course, I immediately turned it into soup. The recipe follows the same structure as my previous slow cooker ham and split pea soup, but this time I added chopped turnip, changed the seasonings up a bit, and used just water. It was still a magnificent pea soup -- extremely flavorful and hearty (but never stodgy). Good at any mealtime, including breakfast.

Slow Cooker Ham & Split Pea Soup With Turnip

Yield: 6


  • 6 oz dried split peas
  • 8 oz dried whole peas
  • 4 oz chopped onion
  • 4 oz chopped carrots
  • 4 oz chopped celery
  • 6 oz chopped turnip
  • 1 tsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • Water, as needed
  • Salt & pepper, as desired


  1. Combine peas, onion, carrots, celery, turnip, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and bay in slow cooker insert. Nestle in ham bone and add water until the pea mixture is covered.
  2. Cover and cook on Low 8-10 hours or until peas are tender.
  3. Remove ham bone from slow cooker. Pull meat from bone, discarding bone and other inedible/undesirable bits. Stir ham into soup.
  4. Add more water to soup, if too thick. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve.

I've only recently "discovered" turnips. Probably because I was so resistant to rutabaga for so long -- I just lumped them in together as dreadful root vegetables. But rutabagas and turnips turn out to be delicious. Like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, turnips are in the cruciferous vegetable family and are a great source of minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber while being very low calorie. One of my friends uses them as a potato-substitute, as she is allergic to potatoes, and I'm kind-of tempted to try ricing a few, like cauliflower, to see what that's like.


Eating the Alphabet: R is for Rutabaga

For September's Eating the Alphabet, we're cooking with ingredients starting with the letter P, Q, or R. Since it's really starting to feel like autumn and autumn makes my little heart yearn for root vegetables, I decided to go with rutabaga. Or, as Stop and Shop labeled them, "yellow turnips." Or, as my British mother-in-law calls them, "swedes."

Our Friend, The Rutabaga

While I wanted to make something like the mashed rutabaga my mother serves at Thanksgiving, I also wanted to incorporate some of the monstrously huge carrots still lurking in my vegetable garden. I hoped the carrots would offset the rutabaga's distinctive flavor and make the vegetable more palatable for The Husband. For while I enjoy rutabaga, The Husband does not. Indeed, he seems to view my mother's Thanksgiving mashed rutabaga as some kind of trap, meant to misdirect him from the mashed potatoes.

Whipped Rutabaga & Carrot

While The Husband ate a small scoop of whipped rutabaga and carrots, he pronounced it "not his favorite." I nommed up two big scoops, so clearly I liked it. It's s simple dish with a mild, slightly sweet, flavor -- much milder than my mom's straight-forward mash, but still pretty strongly rutabaga for non-rutabaga lovin' folk.
Whipped Rutabaga & Carrots

2 pounds peeled and chopped carrots
2 pounds peeled and chopped rutabaga
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 oz can fat-free evaporated milk, warmed
Salt-free fat-free chicken broth, as needed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Dried parsley, as desired.

Put vegetables in a slow cooker and just barely cover with broth. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Drain well, reserving broth for a later use (soup). Whip in your stand mixer (or mash by hand) w/ melted butter, salt, pepper, warmed evaporated milk, and parsley.

Whipping the Rutabaga & Carrots

Or place rutabagas, carrots and enough broth to cover in French/Dutch oven. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. Drain and whip as above.
If you want to eliminate the dairy, just mash the vegetables with their broth. I prefer the sweet creaminess dairy brings and, since I'm using fat-free evaporated milk, I'm not worried about the fat the butter adds.


The Eating O' The Greens

There was a bit of ham, cabbage, and peas leftover from other recipes and I had the idea to sauté them together in a pan with olive oil and seasonings. The idea, I think, was a sound one ... but the application left a little to be desired. Definitely a (delicious) work in progress!

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

I used my food processor's shredding disc to prepare the cabbage and that was not the best idea as the disk turned the cabbage into itty-bitty confetti pieces similar to what you'd find in KFC cole slaw. Not what I wanted at all and, because the cabbage was so finely shredded, in the pan it went from crisp-tender to squishy in the blink of an eye. That was disappointing and I was prepared to be displeased by the whole dish, but the broth created by all the vegetable and ham juices was phenomenal and redeemed it all.

(If I made this again, I'd definitely use the slicing disk).

Sautéed Cabbage, Peas, and Ham

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups Napa cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cooked smoked ham
Zest of half a lemon
Dried savory, to taste
Ground caraway, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat until hot; add peas, cabbage, spinach, ham, and zest. Sauté, stirring occassionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and tender.

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

Remove pot from heat and stir in caraway, savory, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve over brown rice or buttered noodles.


Simple Chayote Slaw

I've been experimenting with chayotes for March's Eating the Alphabet Challenge and ended up throwing together this rather marvelous slaw of shredded chayote, Napa cabbage, carrots, and honey mustard dressing. I ate the slaw with cold salmon I'd also brushed with some of the honey mustard dressing before baking and it was all omnomnomilicious.

Salmon & Slaw

I halved Alton Brown's Honey Mustard Dressing recipe to make the dressing as part of the whole eating more "real things" plan means many commercially prepared salad dressings are now dietary no-goes. Which is not to say I never eat commerically prepared salad dressings, just that I'm getting a lot chooser. Also, I'm finding a salad dressed with a little flaxseed oil, lemon or lime juice, and salt and pepper is a pretty fine thing. (Wow, I sound like an insufferable prig).

Anyway, the slaw and the salad dressing are both dead easy to prepare and I recommend them both.
Easy Chayote Slaw
Serves 3

⅓ head napa cabbage
2 carrots, peeled
1 chayote, peeled, pit removed
Alton Brown's Honey Mustard Dressing, to taste
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Shred the chayote and carrots using the largest holes on a box grater or, if you love your knuckles, run them through your food processor. Dump the shredded vegetables onto a tea towel, twist it up, and give everything a good squeeze. Set towel aside while you shred the cabbage.

In a big bowl, toss the shredded vegetables with honey mustard dressing, tasting as you go, until the slaw is dressed to your satisfaction. Season slaw with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in a little cilantro or some pepitas, if you're feeling fancy.

If you want a crispy-crunchy slaw and aren't going to eat the entire dish right away, don't dress it! I portioned my slaw out into three bowls with three tiny containers of dressing and dressed the slaw at work when I was ready to eat.