Honey, I caramelized the cabbage!
Monday, January 31, 2011
So when I last posted, I had a beautiful but malevolent Savoy cabbage from my CSA box which I didn't know what to do with...thanks to my new Spark friend WYOBZM's suggestion, I decided to try a recipe for braised cabbage I found on SparkRecipes.com. This is the one I decided on (probably because it incorporated balsamic vinegar and I'd eat balsamic vinegar on my breakfast cereal if I didn't know my DH'd look at me funny):
Now, I'm not the most attentive of cooks. I tend to like recipes that incorporate the phrase, "cover, then simmer for 1/2 hour" or "cover, then turn to low and cook for 3-4 hours) -- which to me is code for "get your wine and go do something else." Sometimes this behavior bites me in the butt (remind me to tell the story of my first attempt at searing), but this time, I lucked out.
(It's two days ago. Me and DH are looking down into a pot that was once full of some beautiful, crispy cabbage, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, but is now a strange-looking, odd-smelling dark mass huddling on one side of the bottom of the rather blackened pot bottom.)
ME: Oh crap! I think I overcooked it...
DH (Being a true DH): No! No...um...I'm sure it'll be fine...have you...uh...tasted it?
ME: No...should I? (Giving DH a look full of generosity) Why don't YOU taste it? (Receive raised eyebrow and a "nice try" look) Hmph...girl tries to be generous...(sigh) OK...here goes...(tastes small blackish piece) Huh! Not bad! Kind of...caramelized-tasting! (Takes another piece) Yeah, tasty!
DH (dubious, to say the least): Really! It looks so...
ME: Burnt, I know...but...I think that may be the balsamic -- it did call for a lot, and it was the last of the bottle, and there was some sediment in the bottom...but it's good, really!
DH (Now even more dubious): ..."Sediment"???
ME: Well, you know how some of the wines we get have some sediment sometimes, well, you know, balsamic vinegar is kind of like wine, and I HAVE had that bottle awhile...
DH: (Now crossing his arms and reaching new heights of dubiousness) Yes, but this isn't wine...and when we get it in wine, we STRAIN IT -- we don't DRINK the sediment!!
ME: Well, sometimes I do, before I notice it's there, and you know, it's kind of interesting, and...and...look, just TASTE it, I swear to you, the cabbage is good! (Desperately) Remember the kale? You LIKED the kale! It had balsamic vinegar too!
DH: (Relaxing somewhat and uncrossing arms): Yeah, that WAS good...OK (giving me a hard look)...I'll try it. (I hand him the tongs and he picks up what I have to admit is not the most toothsome-looking piece of plant matter, and brings it slowly to his mouth, chews, look of faint fear replaced by surprise) Hey! Not bad! Kind of...sweet...and...chewy, like kind of caramelized! (I watch a lot of food shows; DH has absorbed some of the lingo.)
ME: (Relieved) Yes! That's what I thought! (peering down into the pot) Surprising, huh, 'cause it kind of looks like hell...
DH: (Cautiously) Yeah...but it tastes good! (Brightening) And we're having pork chops with it, huh? (DH loves my pork chops)
ME: Only if you make the mashed potatoes...(as much as I love his mashed potatoes!)
(We close with an "I Love Lucy" style heart, slightly burned around the edges, but caramelized! )
So, I seriously did burn the cabbage a bit...well, perhaps "burn" is overstating it...let's just say I "overcaramelized" it. But it really was good, and I'll cook it again, and maybe stick around a bit more during the cooking.
And before I do, I'm springing for a nonstick dutch-oven...I had to go to the garage for steel wool to bring the one I used back from the dead! Who knew balsamic vinegar turned to varnish when exposed to enough heat?!
Tune in next week for...Quinoa's pretty Keen!