“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Red Ain't Dead

So someone thought it was radicchio, someone else said it was way too easy to answer and then proceeded to not provide an answer, and all this was over a week ago. I know it's the holiday season, folks, but really...

Red Cabbage was the all-too-easy answer.


The red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra) is also known as Red Kraut or Blue Kraut after preparation. Its leaves are coloured dark red/purple. However, the plant changes its colour according to the pH value of the soil, due to a pigment called anthocyanin (flavin). On acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages. This explains the fact that the same plant is known by different colours in various regions. Furthermore, the juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator, turning red in acid and blue in basic solutions. It can be found in Northern Europe, throughout the Americas, and in China.
On cooking, red cabbage will normally turn blue. To retain the red colour it is necessary to add vinegar or acidic fruit to the pot.

So what can you do with it, besides the basic coleslaw or braised cabbage with apple? A quick Google search seems to tell us that there aren't many other things you can do. But as Seth Godin says, if your Google search isn't what you want (need) it to be, then change it. So I did... I chose (gasp) a different search engine. I'm not saying which one, but he sings White Christmas.

Well, that told me much the same story. Truth is, it seems that red cabbage is not a really versatile veg. But no matter... we press on.

Back to Google, I tried something out of left field. I added the word 'cake' to my search. Presto! Lots of lovely different results.

From the Cooking With Arthritis website, comes this recipe by Melinda Winner:

Southern slaw red cabbage cake with cream cheese icing

Yield 12 servings

2¼ c. all-purpose flour

1¾ c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. kosher salt

3 eggs

¾ c. buttermilk

1 c. canola oil

3 tsp. vanilla extract

½ c. shredded carrots.

¾ c. shredded (like for coleslaw) red cabbage then rough chop

¼ c. raisins

¾ c. pecans + ¼ c. for topping.

1 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare three nine-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and set aside. Using a stand mixture bowl set on medium speed armed with the whisk attachment (if you do not have one, use a separate bowl and a hand mixture), mix together eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. When it is mixed well, add the dry flour mixture to your wet. Start mixer on low then scrape sides and beat on medium high until creamy, about 30-60 seconds, then add the sour cream and mix until creamy about 20-40 seconds on medium high. Next, by hand mix in carrots, cabbage, and ¾ cups chopped pecans and raisins. Mix well. Pour into three round nine-inch cake pans and bake for 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for about 10 minutes then turn out on cooling racks allow cooling completely. Ice and decorate with the remaining ¼ cup pecans.

Cream cheese icing:

2 (8 oz) package cream cheese (softened at room temperature)

¾ c. butter (room temperature)

2 T. whipping cream or whole milk

1½ T. vanilla extract

7 c. confectioners’ sugar

In a clean standing mixer bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until light and creamy, about three minutes. Add whipping cream mix on high for about 30-60 seconds then lower speed to low. Add vanilla while mixing and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; when blended, turn mixer to high and mix until creamy and spreadable about 45-60 seconds.

Then there's this one from the Allotment2Kitchen blog:

Cabbage Potato Cakes


2 tablespoons olive oil and extra for shallow frying
2 small cabbages, one red and one green, cut into quarters, then sliced thinly.
700g potatoes, peeled. cooked and mashed and allowed to cool down and divided into two bowls.
2 small onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste


In two separate pans, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and soften in each onions and cabbages, until translucent and cooked through. Turn off heat and allow to cool. When cool, add the cooked cabbages to each potato bowl, combine well and season to taste. Then shape into individual round cakes. Cover and chill for an hour or more. When ready to eat, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Add the cakes and fry over medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side until crisp and golden brown.

And here's a more traditional one, apropos for the season...

Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage


1 large red cabbage (about 1kg/2lb 4oz)
25g butter
2 red onions , finely chopped
finely grated zest and juice 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
150ml port
1 tbsp red wine vinegar


Peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage, then cut into quarters and slice out the core. Use a sharp knife or the slicing attachment of a food processor to thinly slice the cabbage.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan, then tip in the onions and gently fry until softened, about 5 minsmins-1 hr until the cabbage is softened.

Alrighty,  now that we are cabbaged out, what's our next Name This Food?


  1. I wasn't fast enough with the turnip. Oh well. I was also incorrect on the radicchio. Maybe some spiced red cabbage with dinner will help me feel better?


Come on and chew the fat!


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