A recent “shopping” expedition to my root cellar highlighted the joys of our long and cold winter. Traditionally in April, my root vegetables are starting to sprout in anticipation of warmer days. Unless they have been well tended, the rutabagas, celeriac and turnips have various degrees of rot and mold.
When popping open the tubs of green and red cabbages, I was delighted to find firm, compact heads with minimal decline. The dense, solid, blue-green cruciferous vegetables grown by Gene and Mary Margaret Ripley were a work of art! The cabbage variety, Storage Number Four, was perfectly suited for my long-term storage of late October until April. The leaves were still crisp, the inside solid, and the taste delicious.
Cabbage tends to be an underutilized vegetable in our family. We usually enjoy it as part of a boiled dinner, and grated into slaws. Inspired by this tender and sweet bounty, I turned to Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” for a creative preparation.
The recipe for Cabbage with Cider & Mustard Cream Sauce makes an outstanding side dish. I made a large batch, which transported easily to a potluck supper for beginning farmers. Madison also recommends serving it over noodles for a complete meal.
Although I have yet to try it, this recipe could also be the base for Cabbage-Stuffed Cabbage with Blue Cheese. Blanch and separate eight leaves for stuffing, prepare the cabbage with the sauce, then stuff the leaves with chopped cider and mustard cabbage, and a nugget of blue cheese.
As the snow melts and the ground begins to thaw, we’ll be enjoying both red and green cabbages. Cabbage wedges with chopped dill, cabbage with potatoes and brown butter, red cabbage with apples, sweet and sour red cabbage. It’s been a long winter, but because of it, our spring will be blessed with plenty of good eating.