For four days this week, 10 women are coming to my house to play apprentice. We’re going to milk goats, make sauerkraut, knit socks, talk about depletion and climate change, make teas and syrups, cook on a woodstove and figure out where to go from here and basically have a four day slumber party . This is going to be exciting and fun, I think. It is also pushing the limits of my pantry.
You see, I knew that there would be 11 of us eating at my place for four days, but what I didn’t know was that we had a brake fluid leak. Our car went into the shop for snow tires (yeah, I know, we should have done it a month ago) and stayed there for four days, waiting for a part. A neighbor kindly loaned us her car for a quick emergency run to do the most pressing errands, mostly involving animal bedding, and I had gone to the farmer’s market on Sunday, but otherwise, I’ve got 14 vegetarian meals for varying populations, including 11 for 11, and it had to come entirely out of the pantry.
This is one of the great virtues of a well-stocked pantry. Other than that we’ll be eating a lot of cabbage and brussels sprouts over the next few days (the greens that keep), and I’ve got a little bok choy that is looking ok, but the whole thing isn’t really that bad – this is the virtue of home preserved, root cellared and stocked up food – it is there when you need it.
A few things had to come off my planned menu list – no cranberry bread, I’m afraid, since we’re out of frozen cranberries and the four that my bushes produced are gone too . It’ll be either pumpkin bread or cinnamon buns instead. Frozen pesto is my friend, as are jarred roasted peppers and sprouts which make sandwiches taste sandwichey. I’ve got tons of root vegetables and we’ll be having roasted vegetable enchiladas and vegetable massaman curry. Black bean soup is easy to do, and with homemade, home-ground cornmeal in the cornbread. I’ve got mein noodles that will make a great stir fry with that bok choy. And I can give you thirty ways to cook cabbage that will knock your socks off.
So we’re good. I am the descendent of my great-grandmother, whose mission in life was that no one ever went away from a meal hungry. I have her genes to call upon – dinner will be waiting.
In the meantime, here are some recipes for things to do with cabbage. The beauty of cabbage is that it keeps. And if you think you don’t like it, try it after a freeze – the sweetness is delightful.
1. Stir fried cabbage with black bean sauce
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp black bean paste diluted in 1 tbsp water
2 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
Heat oil in pan, and toss in cabbage and garlic. Stir fry until softened and starting to brown. Add remaining ingredients and stir until coated. Serve hot.
2. Cabbage and carrot salad
1/2 head cabbage
2 large or 4 small carrots,
3 tbsp roasted sesame oil
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
salt, to taste
Chop cabbage, scallions and carrots together. Stir together sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Add salt to taste, toss with vegetables to coat. Allow to sit 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Any other favorite cabbage recipes?
BTW, won’t be much posting after this – but I’m back on Monday!