Some weeks dinner is hard. Nothing I’ve planned sounds good. All I want to eat is pizza, doughnuts, and ice cream. But I’m learning to persevere. To stick with the plan. To commit. [And the more I commit, the fewer of those weeks I have.]
This week, is not one of those weeks. In fact, this week is dreamy. Every dinner so far has been tasty [Maybe one day that won’t surprise me so much!]. Since tomorrow is a recipe I’m sort of weary of [fingers crossed I pull it off] I thought I’d write up this recipe while I’m still basking in the meals-are-going-my-way glow. If this were an award show [which it’s not] and I were accepting an award [which I’m not] I would totally start my acceptance speech, “I’d like to give a hearty thanks to my friend mirepoix for my success this week. Does everybody know mirepoix?
Mirepoix is usually a combination of celery, onions, and carrots. It’s sauteed in olive oil or butter. Feel free to add some other goods if you so desire. You’ll see me adding garlic or shallots. I’d probably finish my acceptance speech mumbling something about my [new but] beloved cast iron skillet as I stumbled off stage.
So, why are we talking about mirepoix? Let’s get to it!
I’m calling this a salad, even though the cabbage is cooked down a bit. I think it works. [Here’s my inspiration dish, it is a raw salad.]
Gather up your supplies:
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Water/Broth
Cast Iron Skillet
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Butter
2 stalks of Celery
3 Garlic Cloves
2 Red Onions, Small
1 Cabbage Head
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinaigrette
Salt, to taste
First, rinse and drain a cup of quinoa. Use a combination of water and chicken broth to get two cups of liquid. Combine them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and get it boiling. Once it starts to boil put on a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down to medium. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up all the goods for your mirepoix [Or, if you’re cooking after work, have everything pre-chopped and waiting for you in the fridge]. I used two red onions [they were pretty small], three cloves of garlic, two carrots, and two stalks of celery. Chop them up small. In your favorite skillet, get between 1/2 and 1 tablespoon of butter [we used Earth Balance so Lucy could eat it] heating. When the butter starts to foam add your mirepoix and turn the heat down to medium. Stir as needed to make sure nothing sticks and everything gets a little butter-love. I also sprinkle on some salt. [Some of the best cooking advice I ever got was to season as you go instead of waiting for the end. Season each step. Taste each step.]
While the mirepoix is heating up core your cabbage and slice it into shreds. Add it to the skillet when the onions are translucent and the carrots have softened. With the cabbage add some balsamic vinaigrette and stir to get everything coated. I am not usually a seasoning measure-er [you just have to get the feel of it] so I’ll say I added a swirl around the skillet. [I actually had to split the cabbage up and cook a second batch because I didn’t have room in my skillet].
So, be nice to the cabbage. Don’t overcook it. You’ll think you don’t like cabbage if you do. It should still have bite to it. You’re cooking it just until you see it go a little soft. It gets this sheen about it. Stop there. Take it off the heat. Taste some.
Somewhere around the second batch of cabbage my quinoa timer went off so I take it off the heat but leave the lid on. Finish the cabbage and mix it all together. After the quinoa rests for five minutes fluff it with a fork and add it to the cabbage mix. Stir it together and serve it up. It was a big hit around here.
For our side we had roasted radishes [thanks to the friendly farmer’s market lady who gave me a deal!] I used this recipe.
Seriously, it was like candy. It was so good. Although I had to cook it for way longer than the recipe suggested and I bumped the temp up some. So good.
So, I kind of want to address a question I get a lot about the way we eat: “Do the kids really eat [that]?” Trying to be as honest as possible, I’ll say usually. Lucy asks for chicken sometimes and I don’t mind throwing some chicken tenders in a skillet for her. Tonight she ate most of the cabbage quinoa salad. She tried the radishes [that’s all I ask] and spit it out. Landon will not eat meat. He doesn’t even care about bacon [shakes her head]. He’s always been a great eater [well, that is, after I stopped trying to feed him with a spoon and started baby-led weaning. He ate a large serving of quinoa (I’d say a 1/4 cup), the same size serving of cabbage, he finished Lucy’s extra, and then he had 1/2 cup of radishes. The boy likes to eat.
p.s. I love this Men’s Health article about foods you should be eating. “At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.”
p.p.s. I don’t usually read Men’s Health. I know you were wondering.