Culinary Smackdown – Battle Cabbage – Dream A Little Dream…

Holy moly, Batman!  The end of February nearly snuck up on me and I hadn’t posted by contribution to Battle Cabbage yet.  This new job has completely consumed my brain.  But it’s getting better.  Still trying to get used to the new schedule, trying not to sleep too much, etc., etc.  Change is good, right?  Yes, change is good.

So, to the cabbage-ness.  When I began to think about what I wanted to present for my own contribution, I first had an idea of doing a recipe from one of Bert Greene’s wonderful cookbooks.  I rely on two of them often.  If you don’t have that one and his grains cookbooks, I can’t recommend them highly enough.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do something original with le chou.  And one morning, I simply woke up with the recipe complete in my head.  Seriously, I am not kidding.  I got the following in a dream.  The results were somewhat mixed, but overall I was happy with it, especially the look of it, which turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.  So, I am happy to present Grumpy’s Red Cabbage and Sweet Potato “Lasagna”:

The ingredients for this one are so simple:

Head of red cabbage, one sweet potato, carton of ricotta cheese.  In addition, I used some brown sugar, cinnamon, cider vinegar and a little salt and pepper.

First I pulled off a good amount of leaves from the cabbage, keeping them as whole as possible.  I LOVE their color under the flash.

Then I sliced the sweet potato thin with the mandoline and sprinkled the slices with a little lemon juice to keep them the lovely orange color.

Next, I put about 1/4 to 1/3 of the ricotta in a bowl, added 1 T each of brown sugar and cider vinegar, about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and stirred to mix.  Then I set that aside.

Then I set some water on to boil so I could blanch the cabbage leaves.  I discovered a very interesting chemical phenomena.  When you blanch red cabbage the water afterward turns a most interesting color!

Seriously–I added nothing to the water, no salt, nothing.  That was just what happened by placing the red leaves in the boiling water for a couple of minutes.  So cool!  Then, after the cabbage cooled a little bit, I started assembling the dish:

First a layer of blanched cabbage leaves, then a layer of sweet potato slices, topped with the ricotta mix.

Continue until the dish is full.  I added a little bit of the blanching water at the end because I do hate a dry casserole.  I popped it into a 350 degree oven for about an hour to an hour and a half.  I wanted everything to be tender.  It came out exactly the way I imagined it!

And on the plate:

I love the colors of the two veggies with the creaminess of the ricotta peeking out.  But the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, so how was it?  Well, I’ll be honest.  It was–all right.  I ate the above plate alone and then I had a second serving the day after with other veggies and a serving of meat.  It was definitely better the next day, so if you want to try this, make it the day before you plan to serve it. 

Other things I learned:  I initially thought I would cut the cabbage leaves into wide strips like lasagna “noodles” but then decided to leave them whole.  Next time, I’ll cut them.  I would also add something a bit more savory for the cabbage layer–a sprinkle of garlic powder along with maybe a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese.  The cinnamon went great with the sweet potatoes, and the cider vinegar was good with the cabbage and the brown sugar worked on both, but the cabbage needed something else to punch it up a bit.  I’ve cooked winter squash with a combo of maple syrup and garlic and those two seem to compliment each other well.

Overall, however, I was very satisfied with it and I would make it again with the above changes.  I’ve already got a few entries up, so I’m going to go check them out.  Leave me a comment here with your links and I’ll hurry over to judge.  Happy Leap Year and Happy Battle Cabbage!!


27 thoughts on “Culinary Smackdown – Battle Cabbage – Dream A Little Dream…

  1. Hi GG! Cool recipe and idea. First of all, kudos for using ricotta cheese and not cottage cheese, La Diva heartily approves! I’m thinking of what you could add as well…hmmm….and I would suggest doing what you would for a regular lasagna and adding the parmigiano cheese to the ricotta with egg, I’d add a quarter cup shredded. Also, how about a bit of diced, crisped pancetta scattered about? Would go with the cabbage and sweet potatoes.

    I’m not sure I’ll be up in time, I’m meant to take my computer in for an overnight diagnostic. : (
    (but I’ll do my best!) This snuck up on me too!

    • La Diva–pancetta!! Of course. Well, it’s bacon, so how could I not have thought of that. Looks like I’ll have to make a re-do soon! I hope you’ll have your entry ready but if not I completely understand.


    • I left a comment on your blog, Ms. Leah. For the rest of you…get over there right now and prepare to drool! Seriously yummy stuff going on here already!! Makes me soooo happy! 🙂

      • That’s so sweet of you — thank you! I think something must be wrong with the comments feature on my blog as it didn’t show up but I appreciate any feedback for sure!

        • Hi, Leah, comments did say they would show up after approval, so don’t know if you need to go in and check on that. It took a couple of tries, but it did seem to accept my comment eventually.

  2. I’ll be up tomorrow night and my recipe also includes sweet potatoes. I’ll come back to let you know when it’s all official.

    YOUR entry is fabulous and you can’t win!

    • Boxer, I’ve already won with the entries that are coming in!! You can bet that I’ll be adding quite a few delish dishes to my recipe folder. Can’t wait to see what you’re doing.

  3. Try adding a bit of vinegar to the blanching liquid – might brighten the flavor up some. And I agree about the bacon/pancetta. As Alton Brown says, there is no food that is not made better with the addition of a pork product…

    • Another good idea–two “layers” of vinegar so to speak. I’m off to beddie bye. Can’t wait to see what’s here in the morning. Ummm, cabbage for breakfast!

  4. I went the red cabbage and potato route too with the resulting colors – not real appetizing to look at but the taste was good. My dish kind of turned purplish blue.

    You went way out there with your dish. I don’t know what kind of dreams you have (well, actually I do because you just told us), but I never would have come up with this. Gutsy putting together ricotta and vinegar.

    I’m up at the Buzzkill with a not-so-typical Irish dish. Thanks for hostessing. I’ll try and get around to visit everyone, but I can’t see Granny’s site from my office. The firewall must think it’s porn. bwahaha

    • Yeah, grumpy granny food porn. HAHAHAHA!! I left a comment for you, Buzz. And leftover bacon? That would never happen in my universe, but you used it well. Cheers!

  5. Thanks for letting me know, Eggy. She is most definitely in the running. I’ve had some trouble getting my comments to post in some places, too, so I understand the technical difficulties. She made the dish, the used the ingredient, she posted in time, so she’s IN. I’ll check out her entry as soon as I can.


  6. Pingback: BATTLE CABBAGE with La Diva Cucina!

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