December is not the month when we cook the most. It is the month when we shop. Actually, I think that until last days before Christmas we cook less than ever. My local Giant food store is not yet busier than usual, but my huge local shopping mall is crowded at any hour. We shop, but we do not shop for food, at least until next week. We shop for gifts, we shop for ourselves, we shop for parties. So who has the time to cook? These days, not even me.
Tomorrow, I going to a big Christmas party, and others will be cooking. For me, this is going to be about a tufted black Marc Jacobs dress, red lipstick, and perfumes. So, before the compulsive Christmas cooking starts, I decided to take a break and just use whatever is left in my refrigerator. I found there a half of cabbage, which has been there probably since October, but cabbage preserves well. This is why it has been such a popular vegetable during harsh winters in Poland.
At the bottom drawer of my refrigerator I also found an onion--which always goes well with cabbage--and a bag of Californian prunes. All those ingredients brought back the memory of a dish that I cooked years ago in Poland--cabbage with prunes. Today, I would think that this recipe had its roots in the Asian cuisine, but being such avid cabbage lovers, maybe we invented it ourselves, to bring a new flair to the old vegetable. It is an easy, fast, and I would say quite interesting dish. It can be eaten alone or as an accompaniment to meats. Whatever you decide, unlike many other cabbage dishes, it does not take long to prepare it, which is particularly important during these busy days.
Cabbage Sautéed with Prunes
1/2 medium cabbage,
1 medium onion,
1 tbsp grated ginger,
3 tbsp soy sauce,
1 tbsp white vinegar,
1/2 cup prunes,
3 tbsp vegetable oil,
salt and pepper.
1. Cut the cabbage into thin slices, salt it, and set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and, when the oil is hot, add ginger. Fry together for 2-3 minutes.
3. Cut the onion in half-moon slices, add it to the saucepan, and fry until transparent.
4. Add cabbage and saute it for 8-10 minutes, until it is soft.
5. Season with vinegar--you may add a little bit more if you like it on the sour side, soy sauce, and salt and pepper.
6. Cut the prunes into thin slices, add to the cabbage, and cook together for another 5-8 minutes.
This dish, as almost all cabbage dishes, tastes even better on a next day.