Citrus Braised Cabbage, Apple, Goat Cheese, Red Wine Vinegar

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Walk into any shop right now and you’ll be inundated with SPRING. Yet, walk down the street in New York and we’re still girding ourselves with wooly layers and hot coffee. The in-between seasons make it easy to see the relation between food and fashion. Just as designers are debuting their seasonal collections, filled with florals and color and texture, so are the chefs. With food, it starts with asparagus. Somewhere in the country, the weather is warm enough to grow this springtime delicacy, and it’s shipped in massive quantities to our food stores, giving us a false sense of season. Here in the Northeast, we don’t get the green stuff until May, even June. What’s a cook to do?

I propose embracing the current season for all it’s worth. Just as it’s silly to wear a sundress in a snowstorm, eating peaches (or eggplant or asparagus) is just as silly in the off-season. This cabbage slaw comes from the LA’s Lemonade restaurant cookbook. It epitomizes the in-between season – a bit of winter, with a nod to the sunnier days ahead. It’s really delicious.

 

Citrus Braised Cabbage, Apple, Goat Cheese, Red Wine Vinegar

Adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tart apples, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
1 head red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1/2 large orange, divided
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Slice the cabbage into quarters and cut away the core. Thinly slice the cabbage, set aside.

Heat a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven with olive oil. When hot, add onions and apples and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the cabbage. When it begins to wilt, add the vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Stir occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved orange zest.

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and chill thoroughly. Just before serving, sprinkle with goat cheese and herbs.

An Everlasting Meal

You know the feeling: you constantly hear about a book, movie or TV show that you have to read, watch, DVR (no but seriously, if you aren’t watching Downton Abbey, get with it).
The book An Everlasting Meal had been popping up on my culinary radar for the past few months. Described more as a cooking philosophy and less as a cookbook, writer-turned chef-turned author Tamar Adler has a distinct approach to cooking. She articulates (better than I ever could) that preparing one’s food is an integral part of living and not an act exclusive to professionals. Evoking famed food writer MFK Fisher, Adler lays out principles that anyone can adopt.

I consider myself to have one foot in professional cooking and one foot in homecooking. As a personal chef, I visit clients’ homes once per week. These one-off visits make it nearly impossible to implement much of Adler’s tips – rolling over leftovers into other meals and evolving ingredients over time (i.e. roast chicken > chicken stock) . In my ‘real life’ however, I practice this philosophy out of necessity (it saves a ridiculous amount of money). Here are some of my favorites:

  • Set aside an hour or two per week to stride ahead. Roast a few pans of veggies, boil a big batch of lentils or farro, caramelize a pot of onions. Meals simply unfold from these staples.
  • Toast can be a meal. One of my favorite things to eat is good toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with whatever I have lying around. Quickly sauteed greens, avocado, an egg – whatever. It’s the ideal vehicle for odds-and-ends. And drizzle of olive oil, always.
  • Don’t discredit soup. Almost anything can be made into soup. And they only get better after a few days in the fridge.

If you’d like to hear more about the book, check out this interview on Heritage Radio.