A Favorite Soothing Recipe: Slow Cooked Cabbage with Paprika and Noodles

You know those weeks that just wear you down?  Those weeks where by Friday at 2pm, you’re kinda’ cranky, sorta’ grumbly, and hella’ worn out?

Yeah, me, too.

cabbage on plate - 2 - edited

They happen.  They’re part of life and that’s okay.  When they come around, I can tell you that one of my favorite and most effective ways of dealing with them is to make this dish.  But, I must make this dish in a particular way.  It goes something like this:

Step 1: Crank up some music.  I recommend music that is easy to dance around to in the kitchen and can be sung along with.  My favorites for this scenario are: Amanda Palmer and Caro Emerald.  I dump the albums into a playlist on my computer, turn on shuffle, and click play.  Out from my speakers then comes big, strong female vocals with stellar music and lyrics.  I also recommend vintage rat-pack era playlists on Songza (Sinatra and his buddies) for this purpose.

Step 2:  Pour yourself a glass of wine.  I almost exclusively drink red and prefer Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone (in case you feel like sending me a bottle!).

Step 3.  Gather ingredients for below meal and begin chopping.

cabbage cooking - 1 - edited

Step 4:  Follow cooking instructions below, while taking plenty of time to swirl your glass of wine, sip at it frequently, shimmy around the kitchen, and burst into song with whatever verses most compel you to release your inner vocalist.

Step 5:  Lower music and gather around to eat finished meal with company of your choice.  Let the comforting, warm flavors continue to help you unwind and welcome the weekend.

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Slow Cooked Cabbage with Paprika and Noodles

Adapted from The Local Cook

Serves 6

Ingredients: cabbage bowl - 3 - edited

* 4 tblpns light butter or Earth Balance

* 1 large yellow onion, diced

* 2-3 tblspns Hungarian paprika

* 1 large head of green cabbage, shredded

* heavy sprinking of kosher salt, to taste

* 12 ounces of no-yolk egg noodles (or vegan noodle of your choice)

* 3/4 cup frozen green peas

* black pepper and/or red pepper flakes for serving

Directions:

1.  In a dutch oven (preferable) or large pot, melt butter or Earth balance over medium heat

2. Add the diced onion and saute until very soft, about 10 minutes or so.  Take your time with this and let the onion really cook slowly.

3. Add 2 tblspns paprika and stir well, so that the onions are coated.

4. Add shredded cabbage and a good couple pinches of salt.  Stir well until the cabbage, onions, and paprika are well mixed.  Take a look at this point, if your cabbage is not well coated with paprika, add up to one tablespoon more until it is.

5. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook slowly for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is cooked very soft.

6. When the cabbage is nearly done, go ahead and cook your noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

7. Add peas and cooked noodles to the cabbage and stir to incorporate.  Cook 3-4 minutes, until all items are heated through. (Note: If you have an anti-pea person in your home, you can heat up the peas separately and add them to individual servings.)

8. Serve with pepper of your choice for a bit of kick to contrast the sweetness of the paprika.

Recipe: Pasta with Spicy Greek-Inspired Tomato Sauce

There is a very fundamental truth about me that you all should know.  I love pasta.  I mean LOVE pasta.  Sit me down with a bowl of noodles and some variation of a red sauce in front of me and contentment will invariably kick in.

There are, in fact, only a few foods that really test my limits of portion control.  These are the foods that I have to carefully dish out a proper portion, sit down, and NOT GO BACK for more or I may never stop eating; because no matter how full I am, I will keep plowing on with my fork until these foods are all gone:  pasta, mashed potatoes, donuts.

My vices are all white, starchy carbohydrates.

I suppose there could be worse things.

Greek Pasta 3

The truth is that when it comes to pasta, mashed potatoes and donuts, they don’t even have to be very good.  If not careful, I will eat them all regardless of their mediocrity and then complain later that they weren’t very good.

Lucky for me I have (mostly) developed a wise and sensible ability to eat a reasonably-sized portion and then WALK AWAY.

Also lucky for me (and for you if you like to cook), I don’t have to settle for finding comfort in mediocre pasta, because I can make this pasta.  This pasta is far better then mediocre.

This pasta, in fact, is a tasty twist on a standard tomato sauce, as it veers a bit more toward Greece, rather than Italy, and has a nice kick of spice from a healthy shake of red pepper flakes.

This is definitely a pasta dish that tests my powers of portion control.  But, the up-side of that is that there is then leftover pasta for my lunch the next day.  Yum.

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Pasta with Spicy Greek Inspired Tomato Sauce

Inspired by a variety of recipes I have seen floating on the Internet at random times!

Ingredients:

1 lb noodles of your choice (I used Golden Grain Jumbo Elbows, which were great.)   Golden Grain Pasta

1 tblspn extra-virgin olive oil

2 large leeks, rinsed well and chopped fine

1 small red bell pepper, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

½ tspn ground fennel

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1 tspn dried oregano

1 tspn crushed red pepper flakes

½ – 1 tspn salt (to taste)

1 tblspn red wine vinegar

Feta cheese (I used regular feta, but you can omit this or sub a vegan cheese if preferred), for serving

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta as directed.  Drain and set aside when done.
  2. Meanwhile, pour oil into a large sauté pan and warm up over medium heat.  Add leeks, bell pepper, garlic and fennel to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
  3. Add tomatoes (with juices), olives, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and red wine vinegar to the leek mixture.  Stir all ingredients well to combine and then simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Add cooked noodles to the tomato sauce, stir to coat noodles over low heat.
  5. Serve with feta to be added to individual servings.