The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

April 3, 2013

Cheryle Finley: Cabbage great for all kinds of occasions

JOPLIN, Mo. — Cabbage is like bacon -- if it's cooking in the kitchen, it's easy to know without even looking at what's on the stove.

Containing beta carotene, vitamin C and fiber, cabbage is one of those foods that's as good cooked as it is raw. Whether shredded for slaw, wound up in a cabbage roll, tossed into a stir fry, pickled for sauerkraut or added to potatoes and meat for a New England boiled dinner, cabbage is one versatile vegetable.

Some fun cabbage facts from the Internet: The heaviest head of cabbage topped the scales at a hefty 138.25 pounds. The longest cabbage roll measured 50.4 feet, and the largest cabbage dish weighed in at 2,040 pounds. That would certainly feed a big crowd, and I imagine the aroma would linger for a day or two.

Looking for a good head of cabbage? Pick one that's tightly packed, heavy for its size, looks crisp and fresh, and has few loose leaves. When choosing cabbage, you aren't limited to the "king of cabbage." With its rubbery pale leaves, green cabbage is by far the most popular choice. The dark purple leaves of red cabbage offer a little deeper and earthier flavor, adding color to any dish. Napa, also referred to as Chinese cabbage, is oblong-shaped with thick, crisp stems and frilly yellow-green leaves. Sweeter than green cabbage, Napa is a more delicate substitute for green. Savoy is thought by some to be the prettiest cabbage, if there is such a thing. With a shape similar to green cabbage, Savoy's leaves are deep green and deeply crinkled, which added to its mild flavor and makes it a good choice. Bok choy has white, watery-crisp stems with dark green leaves. It's very tender and offers a flavor similar to baby spinach.

Interesting uses for cabbage? It's been used as a hangover cure, abscess treatment, sunstroke prevention, and it can cool down a fever. Its leaves are said to soothe sore feet and have also been placed on the necks of children to relieve croup. Poultices containing mashed cabbage and cabbage juices have been applied to boils and warts, too. Who knew? I hope all this information has you wanting to try these cabbage choices for your meals and maybe even get those sore feet feeling better.

Lonnie Crow, of Oronogo, shared his original ice cream float recipe. Chocolate mint ice cream with sugar-free cranapple juice poured over the top. It gave him a non-carbonated treat that he says is delicious. It's one combination I've never thought of, but I'm so curious about it that I've included the ingredients on my shopping list.

We celebrated a birthday at work last week with pie from Big R's. I ordered a lemon cream pie, went to pick it up, and then spied the strawberry pie in the cooler. I left with a lemon pie and two pieces of strawberry pie that were so big they could feed two or three people (depending on whether I am one of those doing the eating). Both pies were out of this world and worthy of eating before the meal, so you are sure to have room for dessert.

My friend Lori Langerot and I helped M&M Bistro, on Main Street, open last week, eating there on the first day of business. We always enjoyed Arde's Bistro, and it's like going home to be back there again. We shared the Mediterranean platter and an order of spanakopita. We left smiling and ready to go back.

Next week, it will be time again for Tasty Tuesday with Carol Parker. I will be sharing recipes from the "Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes Cookbook," which will be on sale at the Taste of Home Cooking School Saturday, April 27. It will be difficult to narrow my choices down to three or four.

My daughter, Sarah, and I are hosting a fun night Friday for some family and friends. We have asked each attendee to bring a dish with a name starting with the same letter as their last name. I got the idea from my friend Betty Saferite. I was going to change it up a bit by having them bring an ingredient instead of a dish, then put them altogether and make dinner. It would be fun, but we probably wouldn't produce the best product. My mother was having a hard time thinking of dishes starting with the letter "e." We thought of eggs and enchiladas, but that's about it. I told her she could make easy fudge or elegant chicken. I had a much easier time coming up with ideas for the letter "f." I searched the "Sassafras! Cookbook" and came up with three great recipes. I even threw in one with cabbage for good measure. Have a wonderful week and happy eating!

 

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