Hey Everyone! Lynn here.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table enjoying the first signs of spring in Northern Illinois. First and foremost, I see grass! Glorious grass and a good deal of mud, but NO snow! There is sunshine, a nice breeze and an occasional walker getting some fresh air in before the snow we are expecting tomorrow.
But I will not allow myself to think about that. Instead, I’m thinking about St. Patrick’s Day. It is barely March, so you probably are not, but when you have young children, you tend to celebrate even the smallest holidays with exuberance.
I know it’s not really a holiday. It’s basically Valentine’s Day , but in different colors; another reason for candy and doodads that will soon “accidentally” get stepped on and disposed of.
But I actually like this “Not Holiday”. Bright green and gold. Rainbows and ornery, imaginary little men with bright orange hair and silly shoes. And a reason to use word “shenanigans” because those little people (and mine) are full of them.
Let’s not forget green beer (that’s just fun!) and the Feast of the Irish, corned beef and cabbage- a meal that if you’re Irish, and I am, you are obliged to eat.
Here’s the problem: I don’t like it. I apologize to my ancestors that are subterraneously spinning, but I don’t.
The beef itself cooks to an electric shade of fuchsia. It’s bristly and fatty and usually hard to chew, let alone swallow. But as meat is not our main thing here at JCC, I’ll leave that alone.
I’m here to talk about the cabbage.
In the traditional meal, it’s cooked along with the beef, turning out limp and lifeless. Now I ask you, what did that cabbage ever do to you that you want to cook the life out of it?
Cooked veggies should have crunch and FLAVOR. They should look bright and alive.
And unless you are using them in a broth, please do not cook them for eight hours. That’s just mean.
This St. Patty’s Day, I challenge you to think outside the crockpot. Do what you will with your beef and your potatoes, but try something new with the cabbage.
This recipe calls for roasting which releases the natural sugars and lessens some of the bitter taste that you might associate with cabbage. The fennel adds a nice punch of flavor and the lemon a adds brightness that your palate will appreciate.
And I promise you that even the feistiest of leprechauns will be thanking his lucky stars for cooked cabbage that remains the green of the beloved Emerald Isle.
If you find yourself with extra cabbage, put it to good use in this amazing Minestrone.
This warm and toasty strudel is another great recipes using our often forgotten friend the cabbage.
Erin go Bragh, friends!