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Mar 9, 2010 04:18 AM

Help with winter CSA overload please! cabbages and potatoes galore...

This winter, I am a member of not just one but two CSA's (don't ask) - at this point, I've built up a sizable backlog of beautiful organic potatoes of all descriptions (yellow fingerlings, red norlands, yukon golds, some white variety too) and various cabbages (red, green, savoy, napa), this despite the fact that I've been preparing potatoes and/or cabbage a few times a week through the winter! Delicious vegetables, all of them... but we are just a little tired of them at this point. I've made potatoes mashed, pan-roasted, oven-roasted, salad, sliced thin and steamed with butter and herbs, soup (with and without cabbage)... spicy sauteed cabbage, roasted cabbage, cabbage soup (with and without potatoes), stir-fried. I'd love your suggestions to reawaken an interest in these vegetables - we've got a lot to go through, and spring is on its way! Thanks for anything you've got... much obliged!

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  1. Sauerkraut. Slice the cabbage, salt it and leave it in the basement for the next four months to cure.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ernie Diamond

      ahh.... sauerkraut. I have been thinking about this for years - we love sauerkraut around here, but I have been too scared to do it. why? don't have the right crock, maybe? not sure exactly. I'd love to hear your details, though - I have read many accounts of sauerkraut-making, but somehow none has seemed approachable for me. maybe yours will do the trick! thanks...

      1. re: lodgegirl

        It's a snap!

        First of all, how many cabbages do you have? If you have more than one or two to deal with, I suggest getting a five gallon, food-grade pail with an airlock and top. These are easily found at homebrew stores. If you don't have one handy, just settle on the bucket and cover it loosely with the lid.

        Shred your cabbage thinly. If you have a cuisinart, use the slicing disk (Not the grating disk!!). Purple cabbage, white, napa, savoy. It's all good to go. Just chuck it in.

        Next, layer the cabbage in the container, sprinking with salt about every inch of the way. You will need about 3/4 of a tablespoon salt for every pound of cabbage. As you layer it, use a potato masher or other heavy utensil to compact and bruise the cabbage so that it begins to release moisture.

        When you are finished, set a plate and a weight on the top to compact the mass. Ideally, the liquid level will cover the cabbage. if it doesn't, add boiled (not boiling) water to cover. The reason you want to add boiled water touches on the final point which is that all the articles used in preparation should be quite clean.

        Leave the bucket (container) in a dark, cool place for the next several weeks. It should be no warmer than, say 65 degrees. The colder it is, the longer fermentation will take.

        Again, be sure that the cabbage and plate are covered by liquid and well-weighted. Setting all this up will take you about 45 minutes and in several weeks, you will have great kraut that will keep for ages.

        BTW - you may see blooms of mold on the surface of the liquid; these are harmless, just be sure to skim them well. The cabbage when done should be somewhat firm, not slimy or overly soft.

        It is tough to mess this up. Have at it and start getting ready for Spring Veg!

        Oh, you might also find that your kraut is a bit saltier than store bought. This isn't a problem. Just give it a rinse before using. It's about the vegetable not the brine.

        I think "new kraut" and lamb is a perfect transition from early Spring into warmer weather so good luck.

        1. re: Ernie Diamond

          these are the clearest and most down-to-earth instructions I've ever read on this project. you've convinced me - sounds achievable! I will find a bucket this week. thanks so much!

    2. St Patty's day is a comin'. Corned beef and cabbage (w/ boiled potatoes) party for friends/family?

      1. A couple of times this winter I've made a variation on a casserole that I saw Lidia Bastianich make on her show called Socca; it's probably not too different from what you've been making in terms of flavor profile, but it is definitely hearty and delicious. The bottom layer is sliced potatoes (seasoned with salt, rosemary and thyme), on top of that I put a layer of lamb shoulder (seasoned the same way as the potatoes), and on top of that is a layer of shredded cabbage, drizzle it all with olive oil . Cover it with foil and bake at 300F for about 3 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Now here's the crazy, gilding the lily part that attracted me to the dish- uncover it and spread with a generous layer of shredded fontina cheese, put it back in the oven until the cheese melts and starts to brown. The potatoes get flavored with the juices of the meat and cabbage, and the cheese on top makes it all just that much more rich and rib-sticking. Fwiw, the original recipe called for beef, just use a cut that is meant for braising.

        3 Replies
        1. re: TongoRad

          Oh my goodness. this sounds crazy good... a very different approach from the last few months' potato + cabbage dinners. I'll definitely try this one - maybe even this week - thanks so much!

          1. re: TongoRad

            This sounds delicious. You don't say, but I'm assuming you cut the lamb into stew-sized chunks? I imagine it would also be good to shred the lamb before covering with cheese.

            1. re: eight_inch_pestle

              Yeah- pretty largish stew sized chunks, if you can call it that. The shoulder cuts we usually get are about 1" thick slices through the bone and all, so by the time you remove it from the bone and excess fat you are left with these pieces that kind of separate themselves into a good size (save the bones to make stock). And you shouldn't have to worry about shredding the lamb because it is really easy to serve portions as it is, you probably won't even need a knife at your table setting. The times I've made this quite a bit of juices accumulate down at the bottom, but once the first serving comes out you can get a spoon in there to drizzle it on top of the cheese.

              The first time I made the recipe with the lamb because that was all I had in the house, and I had one of those "I have got to have that right NOW" kind of reactions to the show, but I liked the way it came out so repeated it the next time.

          2. Another great Irish dish is colcannon, a mix of mashed potatoes and cabbage, although kale can be used too. Tons of recipes on the web. Don't forget the bacon!

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