Recipe: Spicy Potatoes and Cabbage in Herby Tomatoes

Have you ever eaten a meal that is so humble it takes you by surprise?

potatoes and cabbage plated - edited

There are no big super foods here.  No crazy punch of unusual or particularly bold seasoning.  No exotic ingredient, rare or peculiar.

What we have here are the basics – potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage.  Staples.  Hearty, strong ingredients that have fed people for centuries.  Nothing in this dish screams of specialness or excitement, but in my mind, that’s precisely what makes it so good.  My first bites of this meal were taken with a lack of enthusiasm.  I expected nourishment, but nothing to get worked up about.  As I continued to eat it, though, working my way through my plate, then seconds, and then leftovers the next two days, I fell in love with this humble meal.

potatoes and cabbage - close up in bowl edited

While I’ve called this dish simple, I don’t mean it as a slight.  It’s a compliment.  Hearty vegetables dressed up with aromatics and emboldened with a bit of peppery-heat make for a dish that feels like the best kind of old friend – familiar and warm, but still able to catch you by surprise.

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Spicy Potatoes and Cabbage in Herby Tomatoes

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 lbs potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 ½ tblspns tomato paste
  • 1 tspn agave
  • 1 tblspn olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tspn dried oregano
  • ½ tspn ground cumin
  • 5 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced (optional, depending on your heat preference/tolerance)
  • 3 tblspns lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Hearty sprinklings of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Submerge chopped cabbage in water and blanch for 5-6 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Return pot of water to stove and return to a boil.  Add chopped potatoes and boil 5-7 minutes, until tender.  Drain potatoes, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking water, and set aside.
  3. Add tomato paste and agave into reserved cooking water, stir to combine, and set aside.
  4. Warm oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  When warm, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until vegetables soften.
  5. Add tomatoes, chiles, tomato paste/water mixture, oregano, and cumin to the pot.  Continue to cook for 5-6 more minutes.
  6. Add cabbage and potatoes to the pot.  Add a hearty sprinkling of salt and pepper, too.  Stir to combine all ingredients and let cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, just to get everything combined and warmed back up.
  7. Turn off heat, add lime juice and cilantro, and stir to combine.  Taste and add extra salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Serve over rice or quinoa, or with warm tortillas.

My Hoarded Life + A Recipe: Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

I have a problem.  I hoard recipes.  Recipes in cookbooks, recipes online, recipes from magazines, recipes snapped with my camera phone – it doesn’t matter.  If I see it and it sounds remotely good, I’m getting it for myself.

This becomes a problem because: A) I do not, in any way, have even remotely enough time to make all of the recipes that I stash; B) I keep stashing more of them anyway; and C) I don’t have the time or energy to organize them into any meaningful system.

As a result I have folders of recipes that I once tried to organize on my computer, random bookmarked recipes that scroll on and on for days also on my computer, hundreds of emails from myself with links to recipes that I’ve found while reading blogs or articles on my iPhone, binders full of photo-copied recipes that I get from library-borrowed cookbooks, a basket stacked full of magazines with dog-eared pages where tasty recipes live, a bookshelf of my owned cookbooks in my dining area, and random scribbled notes and recipes that I’ve printed and written notes on tucked away into various corners of my life.

It’s mad.

It’s really, truly mad.

I need a system and a professional organizer, but it’s not likely to happen soon.  The funny thing is that many recipes are for the same or similar item, but I like to look at slightly different methods and then alter things from various sources to fit my needs and preferences.  So, instead of one cinnamon coffee cake recipe, I have like, oh, maybe 26.

Sometimes, I know I want to make something but I’m so overwhelmed with options, that I simply go with something I’ve just recently seen.  It’s easy to find because it’s at the top of the pile or the bottom of a list somewhere and that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to influencing my cooking decisions.  And sometimes when I do this, I strike recipe gold.

Lasagna Soup - Edited

Such is the case with this recipe here.  I’m not going to type it all out for you because this is one recipe that I followed exactly.  Okay, I added more garlic, but I always add more garlic.  Besides that, I changed nothing.  I’ve made this a couple of times now and just totally love it.  It is one of the single most delicious and satisfying meals I’ve eaten.  I will eat this all year, in any season, because it’s so wonderful, but I wanted to be sure to share the recipe before the last winter days slipped away.  There is something about a bowl of this soup on a cold, dark evening that is utterly magical.

By the way, if you haven’t ever checked out Joanne’s blog (where this recipe hails from), Eats Well With Others, I highly recommend spending some time poking around there.  It’s wonderful – one of my most trusted for quality recipes, for sure – but also just a consistently great read.

Here you are (click through for link to recipe):  Lasagna Soup as found on Eats Well With Others (plus some extra garlic).

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.