Ready, Set, Cook!

June 22,2011
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

There used to be a cooking/game show on TV some years ago (Scott and I used to watch it--I think we were in graduate school) that involved challenging teams of contestants to cook up some amazing meal out of $10.00 worth of sometimes random ingredients.  Of course the contestants were pretty skilled in the kitchen to start with, but it was fun watching what someone could do with a couple of radishes, a wedge of sharp cheddar, and an onion. Whenever we'd hit upon a "lean" period in our kitchen, and were confronted with trying to create a meal out of what seemed to be "nothing" we'd cite the game show and get to work with what we had. Of course, the idea of having "nothing" to eat at our house is a pretty sobering, shameful concept, since I bet if we took everything out of our cupboards and lined it all up we could easily feed a family of six for possibly one week.

One afternoon last week I headed back to the house from the pool with L., who after two-hours of sitting in a poolside rocking chair with his iPod had maxed out on being social, so I could get a head start on dinner. Earlier in the week some friends and neighbors had gifted us a gigantic head of cabbage from their CSA box and it sat on the counter, looking very intimidating. I also had a small bag of fingerling potatoes from Trader Joe's, an onion, half a watermelon, and a chunk of feta cheese. We're trying to work our way through perishables before we head out of town on Saturday, so I knew all that had to go.

But what do you do with cabbage and potatoes on a hot June afternoon? I thought about that old game show right away, and set to work. I'm not sure I created a culinary masterpiece, but the fingerling potatoes were perfect in the oven with lots of lemon, olive oil, and coarse salt, and the cabbage managed to taste summery when cooked with rice wine vinegar. I sliced up the remaining half of a watermelon and Scott and I at our pieces with feta cheese--a killer combination that is quintessentially Greek.

 

Quick Skillet Cabbage

1 head cabbage

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon coarse sugar 

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon Greek seasoning (I use this)

1/2 cup Smart Balance

Coarse salt for seasoning

Shred the cabbage into long strips. Dice the onion. Saute cabbage and onion in a skillet, along with Smart Balance. After the cabbage wilts a little, add the sugar, the vinegar, and the seasoning. Cook until the cabbage reaches the desired consistency (we like it with a little crunch to it). Toss with more salt, to season, and serve.