a wrinkly head of cabbage.

It all began with a very wrinkly–and seemingly grumpy–head of cabbage.

Let’s be honest.  There’s really nothing fancy or inspiring about a cabbage.  Really, now.  There just isn’t.

And yet, there remains this aura of humble possibilities and excitement, beneath those shriveled up green leaves.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me show you.

Yes.  This is it exactly.

When cabbage meets sauce, an incredibly beautiful thing  happens.  Just wait, you will see.  Be assured that any sauce will do, really, whether it be sweet and sour sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce, etc.  Magic happens, at the same time when the cabbage begins to grow frail, surrendering to the heat of the pan.  The leaves shrivel down, absorbing every last ounce of sauce.

And then suddenly, cabbage doesn’t seem so Plain Jane anymore.

But now I’m getting ahead of myself.  The story is really about how it all started with a wrinkly (grumpy!) head of cabbage.  With “it” referring, of course, to dinner.

Which, by the way, went from pan to table in 30 minutes flat.  It would have taken even less time if I had prepared the tofu ahead of time.  Note taken!

While the cabbage, sauce, and tofu jammed to their own party, I placed a pot of boiling water on the stove for some rice.

This is my newest favorite, from Trader Joe’s:

Thanks to the barley and radish seeds, the protein and fiber content is much higher than in typical rices.  In other words, it will keep you feeling full and quite satisfied for a much longer period of time than regular brown rice.

And I absolutely love the texture, with the poppy little radish seeds!

And then, before I knew it, the cabbage turned into dinner.

Yes.  It all started with a simple head of cabbage.

And then it turned into something delicious, warming and satisfying.  And so, needless to say, cabbage is yet another vegetable which has completely won my heart.  My kitchen.  I think you’ll feel the same.

Stir Fried Tofu, Mushrooms and Cabbage in Hot-And-Sour Sauce — recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated Light Cookbook

  • 1 (14-oz) package extra firm tofu
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, sliced 1/4 inch lengths
  • 5 tsp olive or walnut oil
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 small cabbage cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1 recipe hot-and-sour sauce (see below)
  1. Place tofu in a pie plate and set heavy plate on top.  Weight the plate with 2 heavy cans and let drain for 15-20 minutes.  Freeze and dethaw tofu ahead of time, if you’re seeking a chewier, meatier texture.  Cut drained tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and pat dry.
  2. Toss tofu with soy sauce in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, scallion and 2 tsp oil.
  3. Heat 1 more tsp oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking.  Add tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned (4-6 minutes.)  Transfer tofu to a clean bowl.
  4. Add 1 more tsp oil to pan and return to high heat.  Add mushrooms and brown.  Add half cabbage and cook until crisp-tender.  Transfer mushrooms and cabbage to a bowl.  Add remaining tsp oil and remaining cabbage to the pan and cook until crisp-tender.  return the first batch of cabbage and the mushrooms to the pan.
  5. Clear the center of the pan and add garlic mixture.  Cook, mashing garlic mixture into the pan with the back of a spatula, until fragrant, about 45 seconds.  Stir garlic mixture into the vegetables.  Add scallion and tofu and toss to combine.  Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the pan and bring to a simmer.  toss all ingredients until well incorporated and very hot.  Serve immediately.
Hot-And-Sour Sauce: Combine: 6 Tbsp. vinegar, 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. Asian chili sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp sesame oil.
QUESTION: What is your favorite stir fry combination?

9 comments on “a wrinkly head of cabbage.

  1. This looks delicious! Your photos are once again, gorgeous. I love you they can tell a story in and of themselves. : )

    • That should be “I love HOW they can tell a story in and of themselves”! Lord this pup of mine must be put into her crate when I am typing. That is the second time today she has nudged my hands while typing and even pushed the screen of my laptop down with her snout to get my attention!! Note to self….do not type comments when Miss Stella is hanging around. : )

  2. BroccoliHut says:

    I used to think I didn’t like cabbage, but that was only because I had it only in mayo-laden cole slaw. I’ve recently discovered its versatility in the kitchen–I’ll have to try your stir-fry combination!
    Seth and I were just talking about our favorite stir-fry vegetables (totally normal conversation topic, right?), and I think mine are broccoli (obviously), bok choy, carrots, water chestnuts, and maybe some baby corn for fun 🙂

  3. Lovely photos! My favorite stirfry combo is probably snow peas, red peppers, onions and chicken – preferably on the spicy side :D.

  4. Cabbage is awesome for the taste buds… not so much for the belly. Most heads of cabbage that I buy are enormous so Iwhen I buy it I eat a different cabbage dish every day of the week

  5. Nicole says:

    You need to have me and Nate over sometime for a dinner of tofu. 🙂 I’m afraid to bake it… and Nate’s afraid to try it. So I want him to at least try one bite just to see what he thinks. 🙂

  6. Emily says:

    I love cabbage!! As for stir-fry, I love adding peanut!! So good! That rice looks good. I’m going buy some next time I’m at TJ’s

  7. Bee says:

    Oooh… this looks so good–aside from the tofu, I’m sooo not a fan though I’ve tried so very hard. But sub for chicken, and ya got me 🙂

  8. Ashlei says:

    Cabbage makes for an amazing stir fry. Sauteed or grilled and it’s one of my favorites. Oh and onions are a must! And tempeh is my protein of choice.

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