Cabbages aren't just a cold weather food--they're beautiful at this time of the year, too. I love to make this braised cabbage to serve alongside some locally made sausage or a grilled pork chop. With the leftovers I make a Venetian cabbage soup--a light but comforting meal, especially in a rainy summer night. (Bonus, it will help you use up that risotto rice I made you buy for the beet green risotto.)
Finely shred the cabbage leaves, discarding the thick core. You can use the slicing attachment of a food processor to do this, but it doesn't take long if you have a steady hand.
In a heavy pot with a tight lid, heat the oil. Saute the onions until golden, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant and faintly colored. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, for about one minute or until the cabbage begins to wilt.
Add the salt, pepper, water and vinegar and stir well. Cook, covered, over low heat, for 1-1/2 hours, checking occasionally to stir and adding water 1 T. at a time if needed to keep the cabbage from burning. The longer it braises, the more flavor will develop, so give it time if you can.
Reserve three cups (if planning to make the soup) and serve hot.
Last week I shared a recipe for risotto using beet green pesto. This week, I'm using the other half of the vegetable.
Beet kvass is a nutritious, healing tonic. Russian in origin, it's recommended for a host of health benefits, including heartburn relief and liver cleansing. There are a variety of ways you can go about making this beverage, but the method below is the quick and easy way to get started.
This recipe is inspired by the concept of "root to leaf," but I developed it with a friend in mind who recently told me she is exhausted by trying to cook with greens. "Try sneaking them into things you already cook!" I suggested. "Like ... what?" she asked. I took it as a challenge. She is a great lover of Italian food, so I decided I would have to find something that felt natural for her to cook but would help her use the greens from her CSA. Here was my favorite result.
Beet Green Pesto Risotto
Bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a pan. Heat the oil in a large sauté or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for one minute so that the rice is evenly coated in the oil.
If using, add in the white wine and stir until it is almost evaporated. Proceed to the next step otherwise.
Add the broth in 1/2 c. additions, and cook, stirring continuously but calmly, until each addition is mostly absorbed. (About 20-25 minutes total.)
After the last addition of broth has cooked in (the texture of your rice should be loose and creamy, but not soupy, with a soft bite to it), taste and add salt if needed, then add the pesto and stir in well.
Serve with a little freshly grated Greutli or Parmesan if desired.
Beet Green Pesto
Tear the beet greens into rough pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor with the basil, garlic and nuts. Pulse to coarsely chop the mixture, then, with the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream. Stop and scrape down the bowl and continue to blend until you have a rustic paste. You may need to add a bit more oil than suggested based on how delicate your greens are. Finish by adding the salt and blending to combine.
If you want to store this in the fridge, add a thin layer of oil to the top of your container to keep it from discoloring. It should keep for up to a week.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to keep things simple. There are few summer meals that are more simple or more delicious than a caprese salad. With tomatoes just coming into season, basil in abundance and temperatures rising, this is the perfect time to skip a hot dinner in favor of a fresh (but still filling) meal.
You can make a slightly fancier version of this with a balsamic vinegar reduction (just simmer a cup of vinegar in an uncovered pan until the volume is reduced by half), but my favorite is the simplest: thick slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with grassy olive oil with a scattering a fresh basil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
for each portion
Arrange alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella on a plate. Drizzle the oil and sprinkle the salt, then tear the basil leaves in half and scatter on the plate.