Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Random Thoughts on CSAs, Superfood, and Travel: Bolivian Cabbage and Potatoes

I'm trying to decide what I think about our CSA experiment this summer.  On the one hand, it's been lovely to have a box of organic veggies delivered to me each week.  On the other hand, I'm realizing just how nice it is to decide what I want to have for breakfast and lunch and dinner, rather than having someone else decide for me.  And while I like being really in touch with the growing season (something that I have done anyway over the past few years because of our of garden), trying to make use of great quantities of the same vegetable for three weeks running gets to be a challenge.  This week we got more cabbage in our share, but this time, also an entire box of tomatoes, and another three pounds of potatoes. The potatoes will keep, but everything else won't.  Since we're leaving for vacation this week, I decided that we needed to use all of these things simultaneously, and this is what came up when I asked Google what to do.

It's not terribly beautiful, and I probably wouldn't serve it to company, but it's a good way to use up cabbage, and it tastes a little less like cabbage than cabbage usually does.  Thank you, Bolivia.  Turns out that as we look for cultures with fewer chronic health problems, South America is attractive for its vast biodiversity and native foods with impressive health benefits (think quinoa and acai).  Chile peppers are native to the Amazon jungle in Bolivia, and capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, also has anti-inflammatory properties. Capsaicin is used in creams and ointments to alleviate arthritis symptoms and chronic pain, and any anti-inflammatory will prevent clots from forming, and in turn help prevent strokes and heart disease.  Pretty cool, eh?  So the lesson here: don't omit the peppers.

I miss international travel (as you can probably tell from the kinds of things I cook, I'm an adventurous eater, and I love experiencing culture through food), but I'm looking forward to this trip; we're headed to San Francisco and Carmel for a few days (any bloggers out there who want to meet up for coffee?).  Ian spontaneously told us one night that he wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and it so happens that I went to graduate school in southern California, and haven't been back there since ... so it seemed like a good excuse to see some friends on that coast, too, before I get too large to travel (OK, here I go, adding the obligatory "if" ... because I still can't hold on to certainty).  Ian also wants to go to Russia, and Japan, and Greece, and Thailand, and Australia.  Those places, unfortunately, will have to wait.

Here's hoping that if you can't indulge in a little getaway this summer, that you will at least explore the flavors of some place you've never been before, and imagine yourself there.

Bolivian Cabbage and Potatoes

8 c. shredded cabbage (1 small head)
1 1/2 lb.Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
2 T. tomato paste
1 t. sugar (or honey or other unprocessed sugar)
2 T. virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 yellow, orange or red bell pepper, chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1-2 jalapeños , finely diced
2 T. lime juice
1 c. coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley
sliced vegan sausage, if you have some

Cook potatoes in boiling water 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Dissolve tomato paste and sugar in cooking water and set aside.

Heat oil in large pan, dutch oven or wok. Add onion, bell pepper and sauté 5 minutes. (We added some sliced, homemade vegan sausage.) Stir in tomatoes, jalapeño and tomato paste mixture. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cabbage and potatoes. Cook 5-6 minutes or until cabbage is wilted and potatoes are heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro and serve.
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  1. Looks aren't everything. This looks like a hearty and wonderful dish. I think anybody who's company would love it. I sure would. :)

  2. I'm feeling the cabbage, yummy.

  3. Well if you ever do make it to Australia, you have a place to stay in Tasmania.

  4. Thanks, Carolyn, and K, and tasivfer! (Actually, Tasmania has been on my list for a very long time ... :)


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