Saturday, 7 April 2012

A marriage made.... in the wok

As I stood watching my two year climb a ladder, and my 5 month old laugh encouragingly at his antics, I frantically searched for inspiration for....dinner. I've been having trouble getting back into the swing of domestic things since I've returned from Cuba, and I frequently find myself staring hopelessly, and helplessly into nowhere, lost as to what needs to be done next

. Ah Cuba. Land of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. Simple yet delicious food.

I suddenly had a memory flash of one of the tasty dishes the resort served up. It contained unlikely ingredients, but it was its startling unpredictability that attracted me in the first place: white cabbage and raisins.Yep. I suddenly remembered that I was going to try to recreate this dish once I got home. The trouble is that I hadn't a clue what else was in it.

This is rarely a problem for me.

This lack of knowledge has rarely stopped me from attempting something before. So I opened the fridge.

Well, I didn't have a white cabbage, but I did have a red cabbage- otherwise recognized as purple.

And really, have you ever seen anything more beautiful, more beckoning than this brazen purple?

And  course we all know that we should be eating loads of red/purple/blue foods--in short, this overlooked beauty is a superfood: antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, aging and cancer fighter. Many of its virtues are extolled here.

Here is what I came up with. It was remarkably similar to what I had tasted in Cuba, but a little different too.

In peanut oil*, I sauteed shallots,

fennel seeds,

ground mustard

 and cumin

in the wok until fragrant.

This combo alone smelled heavenly. YOu could stop here, but it wouldn't really be "dinner" according to most people's expectations.

I then added the cabbage, let it sweat under a lid for a bit, then sprinkled it with white balsamic vinegar. I let it saute some more until the leaves were supple, and the colour had change to be a bit more red than purple (hence its name?). I added a sprinkle more of vinegar, a dash of fleur de sel

because it is the prettiest of salts, and threw in some raisins. Toss it about until thoroughly mixed. The whole thing took about 20 minutes from beginning to end.

I know it sounds unlikely, but as we know in life, sometimes the happiest marriages result from the most unlikely combinations. And cooking is life.

* I always saute/fry in peanut oil. It is the cleanest oil in that it does not add any flavours to what you are cooking- plus it is the cleanest oil in so far as what happens to it when it is heated up. It's virtues can be read about here. The short of it is that peanut oil has been a wrongly maligned oil. It is a good oil. Use it. You will be happy with it.

Ingredient list:

Red Cabbage
peanut oil
fennel seed
ground mustard
fleur de sel
white balsamic vinegar
raisins (sulfate-free)
a sense of adventure

xo Jo

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