Cooking with Cabbage

It’s too hot to use the stove, even this early in the season. I’m not “cooking” the cabbage, I’m merely shredding it. And making my favorite Alabam’ Slaw. The recipe is super easy – I provide it below.

An entire head of cabbage, shredded.

First, shred your cabbage.

Then, put a little in a bowl, and spoon two or three tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing over it.

Voila!

-Alabam’ Slaw
Yummy – Alabam’ Slaw

Let’s get cooking

I’m about more than just gardens

Two weeks ago the veggies started coming weekly from my CSA share. And I’ve been looking for more and more recipes – what to do with all that earthy, plant-based, unprocessed goodness? Last week’s kale went into a smoothie. (One-word review: ugh.) This week, I got radishes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, cabbage and cauliflower.

I know exactly what I’m going to do with the cabbage – I’m going to shred it raw and turn it into Alabam Slaw. This is a prized side dish at a local meat-and-three-veg restaurant, Lizard’s Thicket (where “country cookin’ makes ya good lookin’.”) It’s nothing more complicated than shredded cabbage topped with Thousand Island dressing. Even I can handle that one without a recipe.

As for the cauliflower – I was a little stumped. I still had a head left over from the first week – and got another this week. The newer one will become a Cauliflower Pizza Crust. I’ve long had a super recipe for that – just need to go buy some goat cheese to make that happen. As for the older head of cauliflower – what to do? I turned to my trusty Allrecipes.com account and soon found this marvelous English dish: Cauliflower Cheese. Yes, Cauliflower Cheese. Instead of making a lovely cheese sauce to go over macaroni, you’re doing it with cauliflower. And it is delicious. Lightly steam a head of cauliflower, then whip up the homemade sauce. So beautiful, so bland, so British. If you, like me, love comfort food, but want to make yourself believe it is healthy, make a Cauliflower Cheese. I ate my lunch portion up so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to take of photo of it on my plate. So here’s what it looks like, in the Tupperware.

So cheesy, so good.

More to come

In addition to my attempts at becoming Farmer Gem instead of just Aunt Gem, I’m also going to be cooking and photographing and sharing more pictures of my culinary adventures. The sweet potatoes are next: I’m going simple with that one. Old-school roasting with garlic, onion and balsamic vinegar … all things I have in the house. Look for pictures of that coming soon! Is this the beginning of my plant-based summer? I know my gen-Z niece and nephew would think that would be awesome. Or whatever language they use these days…. once I tried to say something was “lit.” My youngest nephew just shook his head, saying, “no, just no Aunt Gem. You shouldn’t say that.”

It’s Saturday and time to garden

I begrudge the time spent indoors on a day like today

The gardening bug bit me

Question: How do you know your green thumb is turning from lime granita to grasshopper green?

Answer: When you start eyeing potted plants your neighbors put on the curb for the yard trash guy, and think, that’s some really good soil. I could use that.

Me, last Monday

This happened this past week, along with another gardening bonus: One day this week I walked my dog at lunch and came across my elderly neighbor raking good, brown dirt off one part of her lawn – onto the street. Just to leave it there, like trash! I hustled back to my house, dropped off the dog and took the wheelbarrow back to Miss Jane’s house to pick up some of that good dirt. It’s going into the base of my latest raised bed, to nourish my new plants. I haven’t yet gotten to the point of picking up dog poop to work into the garden, but if the price of fertilizer goes up any more, I just might. Fortunately, our local zoo sells “comPOOst” – produced by the rhinos, giraffes and zebras.

Continue reading “It’s Saturday and time to garden”

Hello friend; going my way?

Welcome to all the new readers who’ve joined and signed up for updates. For the past six or seven weeks, you’ve been getting a weekly post about my spiritual journey. I hope you all stick around as a pivot to a blog about my hobbies: baking bread *yum*; cooking all sorts of things and sharing recipes; volunteering at my church, reading, reading, reading, and reading some more as I balance two book clubs; writing something besides this blog; and finally, going deep on gardening this summer. I’ve bought so many plants, potting soil, seeds, and more that I can truly relate to this meme:

Seen, felt, heard.

Carrot Cake

As long as it tastes good, don’t ask any questions

Friday was Dad’s 85th birthday. To honor him, I decided to make his favorite: carrot cake. After scrolling allrecipes.com for a recipe with lots of stars, I went with Carrot Cake III.

Too many YouTube videos have convinced me that I must set all the ingredients up in a lovely mise en place before I begin. I’m not sure which great chef I think I am, but I imagined Gordon Ramsey yelling at me to make sure I measured carefully and set everything out. Not only did I set out the cake ingredients, but I also set up the “mise” for the frosting. It was that part which nearly did me in.

The fashionable “naked” cake look.
Continue reading “Carrot Cake”

Welcome to 2016 – and the first recipe of the New Year

Today I’m having friends over to celebrate the New Year with black-eyed peas and cornbread. I found my new favorite cornbread recipe at martysmusings.net:

  • 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 16 oz. creamed corn

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until lightly brown.

As Ina Garten would say, How easy is that?

Dinner at the “wurst” restaurant in town

Ever since I read about this place in the New York issue of Gourmet Magazine (in 2004!) I’ve wanted to go to Hallo Berlin. The restaurant is located on 10th Avenue, between 44th and 45th, so it’s just far enough from the Times Square area to feel like you’re in a residential part of the city.

NYC brownstones
45th street between 9th and 10th Avenues. I kept expecting the Cosby family to spill out of one of the brownstones.

The restaurant’s exterior awning proudly proclaims “Germany.”

Hallo Berlin front awning
It’s always time for sausage and beer at Hallo Berlin.

I had the two wurst plate, which came with sauerkraut, red cabbage and spaetzle. Plus cabbage and potato soup to start. I choose bratwurst and knockwurst.

Wurst at Hallo Berlin
You can only see one of the two mustards which accompany the gorgeous sausages and sides at Hallo Berlin.

It was delicious!

A delicious New York lunch

I had to, just had to hit the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar while I’m in NYC.  The place was only a short subway ride away from my hotel – in fact, all I had to do was hop on the shuttle from Times Square and 42nd to Grand Central Station.

I quickly found a place at the bar and ordered, then sat back to watch the cooks at work.

Oyster Bar chefs
The crew at the Oyster Bar got the lunch orders out quickly.

Since it was only 39 degrees outside I decided to have the oyster stew. It came dusted with paprika.

bowl of oyster stew
Lovely bowl of oyster stew

I could have had lots of different oysters:

Oyster menu
Who knew there were so many different types of oysters?

last oyster in the bowl
Just one left

Stew's all gone
All gone – it was delicious!