What We Ate This Week: Week 5 (Cabbage Appreciation Week)

Around St. Patrick's Day my grocery store sets out the most lovely, large cabbages. Cabbage is always available and never terribly expensive, but somehow they manage to have exceptionally nice ones exceptionally cheap just in time for the holiday. That means I purchased an extra, even though stocking my fridge after a grocery trip is already like advanced Tetris and inserting a large cabbage doesn't exactly clear any rows if you know what I mean. If you don't like cabbage, this week's menu is mostly going to be a hard pass. But...there are also cookies. We'll talk about those first.

Sunday morning found most of us still too sick to go to church. It had been a long week of flu symptoms already and I was in the mood to do some stress baking. I made up a batch of sugar cookies, cut them into happy spring shapes, and started browsing for creative ways to decorate them. I've really wanted to try my hand at mirror glazing a cake, so marbled icing for my cookies was immediately appealing in the same way. To acknowledge the elephant in the room--yeah, it's a lot of dye, and eating one of these cookies definitely changes the color of your mouth temporarily. No one in my family exhibits any sensitivities to artificial food coloring, but I still don't go out of my way to feed it to them normally.

This is the fun part. Basically you drop a few little puddles of color--just a couple drops of gel food coloring will do it--into a white icing, then use a toothpick to make pretty, swirly designs. Then you dip the faces of the cookies into the icing, and each one picks up a unique design.

After setting for a few hours at room temperature, the icing is shiny and hard and the cookies can be stacked in a container without damaging their appearance.

I think they're so neat looking! If you'd like to make your own, I followed this Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe, and this Galaxy Glaze recipe, which worked perfectly for marbling. Now, on to cabbage fest.

Sunday - Corned Beef

We enjoyed our traditional St. Patrick's Day meal on Sunday, but I don't yet have a traditional way to prepare it. I've given the corned beef brisket a slightly different treatment every year, though it usually involves frowning at it as it boils and spits foam all over my stove top. This year I placed it in my slow cooker with a small can of beef broth, the seasoning packet, and enough water to just cover it, and let it cook on high for 5-6 hours. At the end of that time, I put it in a pan with some of the cooking liquid, and let the outside crisp up in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. While the meat was in the oven, I transferred the rest of the liquid it had cooked in to a pot and boiled potatoes and carrots (both peeled and quartered) in it. In a large skillet, I sauteed a thinly sliced head of cabbage in some olive oil and butter with a few cloves of minced garlic, a chopped onion, and a little salt to taste. Amazingly Easy Irish Soda bread always completes this meal for us, and everyone requested raisins this year (I've made it with and without).

Monday - Thai Red Curry & Thai Cabbage Salad

My husband and I both really enjoyed having Thai Cabbage Salad as a side on Monday. A new recipe for us, the crisp, fresh taste and crunch of the raw veggies and peanuts in this salad paired well with the creamy, sweet-spicy coconut curry. The kids were less sure about it, but I think their opinion will improve with familiarity. At least, I hope so, because I plan to make it again!

Tuesday - Reuben Sandwiches

We made use of our leftover corned beef on Tuesday. I consider both sauerkraut and Thousand Island Dressing absolutely appalling at all other times, but their forces cancel each other out when encased in pumpernickel. It's science.

Wednesday - Tacos

Some form of tacos, burritos, or enchiladas find their way onto our menu nearly every week.

Thursday - Butternut Squash Pasta

The recipe for this savory baked pasta can be found here, though now I usually make a simplified version without the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, or nutmeg, allowing the squash to take center stage. You might think there's no cabbage here but you'd be wrong--there's some raw cabbage on our tossed salad because I still have 3/4 of a head to use up.

Friday - Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie can mean so many different things. My husband grew up with "pot pie" soups with thick and chewy homemade egg noodles as the pie component. Some pot pie recipes involve biscuit or dumpling topping. I literally threw a homemade pie crust on top of a cast iron pot of chicken soup--made with peas, carrots, potatoes, celery, onion, orzo, and cabbage, seasoned with bay leaves, thyme, pepper, and rosemary, and thickened with flour and cream--and baked it at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Some of the soup bubbled up on top of the crust, and that part became dumpling-like, while other areas of the crust became flaky. It was not beautiful, but it was rustic and comforting.

Saturday - Chicken Divan

I served this lightened up, scratch-made Chicken Divan, a chicken and broccoli casserole that traditionally involves cream-of canned soups, over brown rice. 

You can find all my "What We Ate This Week" posts through the WWATW tag.


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