Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cabbage Rolls - Stuff em' & Sauce 'em up

It was lunch time of our second day of whole grain/veggie/fruit eating. Sandwiches were no longer in the equation (especially since we had eliminated all the bread from the house and had not yet found the Ezekial sprouted grain breads or the dark rye whole grain flat breads). So I thought, how do I make a lunch that's not a soup or a salad? I thought of those delicious Vietnamese spring rolls, and saw the cabbage in my fridge. This is what happened! With sauces and fillings, these have infinite possibilities. Make this sweet, salty, spicy, nutty, etc. That part is up to you, as is basically ANYTHING you want to put inside a steamed rolled cabbage leaf. There are a few sauces below -- and ideas to get you started.

 Meanwhile, I ransacked the fridge and made variation 1.

CABBAGE ROLLS, variation 1
6 large cabbage leaves
1 cup watercress
bunch of cilantro
1 package enoki mushrooms
some thinly sliced red onion
some thinly sliced red pepper
one dill pickle, thinly sliced, in strips
GARI (pickled ginger - can be bought or follow the recipe to come)

1. Peel 6 large leaves carefully off a head of cabbage, placed them curl side down around a steamer basket in a pot, and steamed them (lid on of course) until the were just soft enough.
2. Lay out one leaf at a time on a plate, curl side up, placing some of each ingredient  along one side of the stem.
3. Roll the leaf edge up and around the ingredients tucking under close to the stem and then roll to the opposite edge. Place on a plate rolled side down! Decorate with a couple thin slices of onion or red pepper or sprig of cilantro -- whatever pleases your eye!

And then for a more substantive meal, Variation 2.
CABBAGE ROLLS, Variation 2

Same exact process, except I cooked the stuffing:
1 sweet potato, peeled & steamed in slices
approx. 1 cup of snow pea pods
approx. 8 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
clump of fresh parsley
1 TBLSP tamari

1. Steam the sweet potato slices. Steam the cabbage leaves.
2. In a small saute pan, put 1/2 cup water and after de-stemming the snow peas and muhsrooms, place t them in the pan with 1 Tblsp tamari, cover and cook, stirring a bit, until ready to eat.
3. Construct same as above, plopping sweet potato and some of each of the snow peas, mushrooms and parsley inside, and rolling.

SAUCES: Make What You Like! Use these sauces on the Cabbage rolls, but also pour them over plain vegetables, use Peanut Sauce them to make Brussels sprouts into satay ... or the Lemon Savory Sauce to turn Green Beans into a heavenly side dish. All can be used for dipping, or to make leftovers into a party. In fact, making Cabbage Rolls out of small leaves, you can stuff them with anything you like for a party -- olives with mushrooms, curried sweet potato, crunchy edamame and sunflower seeds... what ever you like.  For kids, you can put together small bowls of ingredients and have them roll their own!  Turn cabbage leaves into the new tortilla to lose weight, filling them with your favorite beans, rice and hot sauce!

Mushroom broth:  Use the cooking water from the snow peas and mushrooms and add Black Vinegar.
Peanut Sauce: This is a great addition to nearly any plan vegetable.  1/4 cup peanut butter (we use crunchy with a little salt), 2 Tablespoons Tamari, 1 tsp Black Vinegar, 1/4 cup water -- stirred until well mixed. You can dip in this, or pour it over brussels sprouts ...
Lemon Savory Sauce: Another great one for vegetables (we love it on green beans). Juice of 1/2-1 whole lemon plus about 2 tsp Ume Plum Vinegar -- add garlic if you like -- top veggies with slivered roasted almonds, or just dip your cabbage roll!
Dumpling Style Sauce:  2 Tbsp Tamari, 1 tsp Black Vinegar or white wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic finely chopped, 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger root, 1/4 cup water
Miso-ChickPea Creamy Sauce: 1 Tbsp white miso, 3 tsp chick peas (cooked soft or canned), 2 scallions finely chopped, fistful of cilantro finely chopped, 1/2 cup water (hot if you want it on hot veggies)

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