Sunday, February 14, 2016

Using up vegetables

I'm really making an effort to use up all the veg I'm getting delivered every week. I think I'll have to take a break for a couple of weeks soon, but for now I'm getting through things and, most importantly, not throwing anything out. Of course, I haven't helped myself by making the mistake of ordering 1 kilo of Chinese cabbage last week instead of 1 Chinese cabbage. Chatting to my sister the other evening about that, she mentioned a recipe that involved stuffing cabbage leaves with mince and rice and cooking in a sour cream sauce. So I've spent a fair amount of time yesterday and today down the internet rabbit hole that appears when you type golubtsy into the search engine. Not to mention typing "is it possible to freeze cabbage rolls".

I did stuffed cabbage rolls before to use up some veg that I'm not fond of (turnip!) by mixing it with something I do like (potatoes!) and stuffing the whole lot into cabbage leaves and baking it all under a cover of cheese. Enough to make anything palatable. I was sure I had posted about that, complete with photos, but all I can find is a mention of it in this post. So I can't check exactly what I did. Pity. I really need to get back to blogging this stuff. It might not be the most interesting read for others but these are the kind of records that are a huge part of the advantages of blogging.

So, this week I had ordered the Chinese cabbage specifically because turnip and parsnips were both in my veg box. I can change anything I want to each week but I do try to just take what they're suggesting as that's usually what they have most of.
1 peeled + 1 unpeeled black radish, 3 parsnips, 1 small turnip
However, I'm really not much of a fan of parsnips or turnip and thought that mashing them with potatoes or sweet potatoes and stuffing cabbage leaves with them would be a good idea. I also got some black radish this week, which I've never cooked before. It's supposed to be a bit more like horseradish or daikon than like the small red radishes, which seems perfect for my purposes.

Black radish, turnip, parsnips, carrots, onion and garlic
I'm currently roasting the radish, parsnips and turnip along with 3 carrots, an onion and 8 gloves of garlic. I've just seasoned with a bit of salt and plenty of black pepper. I think I'll add some nutmeg to the mash at the end but I might end up adding my favourite chilli/smoked paprika mix instead. Time enough to think about it tomorrow when I make the finished dish. I bought 300g beef mince to add in but am thinking I might leave out the rice that seems to be traditional.

On Friday evening I made pork in the slow cooker and added in loads of veg, too. Two onions, three leeks, two carrots and three apples and then a Chinese-inspired braising liquid. For that I used lots of soy sauce, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, some honey, some maple syrup, 5-spice powder, ginger, coriander, cumin, small amount of spicy smoked paprika and vegetable stock. After five hours of cooking on low the meat had shrunk a lot and there was a lot of liquid left so I added in some brown rice and left it on for another hour and a half or so. I also left it to cool overnight so by yesterday morning I had a moist dish but no excess liquid. Not really what I had originally planned but actually perfect. I've just re-heated and demolished a huge portion of it for my 'brunch' and I have three more portions in the fridge.

During the week I braised a red cabbage with some onion, apples, red wine, cinnamon, some lingonberry compote, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. That was fun. Even when I was chopping the cabbage it smelled very woody/cabbagy. I remembered reading somewhere that means it can make you particularly flatulent. When I had the whole thing cooking I suddenly remembered reading somewhere that a small spoon of bread soda will help with that. So I sprinkled a very small amount over the cabbage. Completely forgetting that I'd only just added the vinegar. And the lesson that day was that sprinkling bread soda on top of vinegar on top of apples and red cabbage will make the apples turn blue. And about five minutes later I remembered that that bread soda trick wasn't a preemptive strike against cabbage-induced flatulence but meant for cooking beans! Yep, apparently Blazing Saddles might have been an entirely different film if they'd only had some bread soda around (I cannot tell you how much I have always hated that scene but there's the link for those of you otherwise inclined). At any rate by the time I was reheating the cabbage for my second portion the next day, the blue colour was gone again. All's well that end's well. As is often the case in my cooking, it tasted lovely, even if it wasn't terribly pretty.

So, there you have it. I still have 2.5kg of potatoes to use up but I've cancelled my standing order for them so that I can do the low-carb thing for a while. I have some raclette cheese in the fridge, too, so will probably invite people over for raclette next week, which would use up most of those potatoes.

Otherwise I also still have some Jerusalem artichokes, a white cabbage, four Chinese cabbages, plenty of carrots, two leeks and a medium-sized pumpkin. If I can sort the freezer out a bit, I'll blanch most of the cabbage and freeze in it portions. It's handy to have it like that. Just cooking all the food isn't enough though, I need to sit down and do a meal plan. Somehow I've skipped that the last week or two and I should know better. First though, it's off to the pub to watch the rugby. Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday.


Baroness Prudent Spending said...

Wow Moonwaves! You have been busy! Good on you for trying to use it all up. I too am trying to avoid food waste. Hope you have a good day :-)
~ Pru

Nd.chic said...

You have so many fresh veggies where you live. I've tried to grow black radishes without any luck. The only way I like turnips is with roasted with a beef roast but my husband hates them and they grow so well here.

Moonwaves said...

I'm with your husband on the turnip issue. The ones we get here tend to be smaller than those I know from home and not quite as strong tasting. Maybe you just haven't found the perfect variety for you both yet. :) Hmmm, would love a roast beef dinner now though. Loads of gravy and Yorkshire puddings.

The winter has really been exceptionally mild here this year. This week is one of only three or four so far where temperatures have reached freezing. By the time spring rolls around I am definitely going to be glad to see the back of all varieties of cabbage for a while though!