Archive for the ‘cabbage’ Category

Latkes–fluffy, savory pancakes made of grated potatoes–make a filling base for a cold-weather meal.  We make them with regular potatoes, but we also like them made with sweet potatoes, whose bright orange color fits our fall mood so well.  Sweet potatoes are also loaded with nutrients, so be thankful if they’ve been showing up at your farmers market or in your CSA basket recently.  The problem with making latkes from sweet potatoes is how to get the sweet potato to cook through without burning the exterior, since sweet potatoes’ sugar content make them susceptible to excess caramelization.  I’ve discovered a secret, though, that I’ll share with you today; just keep reading!
  • about two cups grated sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon jerk seasoning OR sausage seasoning OR cajun seasoning OR a dash each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper–Use what you have and what goes well with your meal.
Grate the sweet potato using a course grater. Try to get long strips of potato as well as shorter ones.  Now--and this is one of those secrets I hate to give up–microwave the grated sweet potato for 2 minutes on high.  The sweet potato should take on an almost rose-floral scent as it starts to cook.  If you don’t have a microwave, bake the grated sweet potato in a covered casserole dish at about 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes.  You should get similar results.
Let the grated sweet potato cool a bit and then stir in the flour.  Add the egg and your chosen seasoning and stir to combine.  Heat a heavy-bottomed pan (you know me:  I’ll use cast iron!) to medium heat (about 300 degrees) and add about a quarter to half an inch of oil.  Drop latkes in with a big spoon and spread a little to form pancake shape.  Cook on each side until they’re crispy, about 5 minutes per side.  You can hold the cooked latkes in a warm oven on toweling while you cook the rest.
Try sweet potato latkes with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt or even some apple butter.  I served our recent sweet potato latkes with plus cabbage and onions, grilled organic turkey bratwurst, and a sweet, sour, and crunchy fall salad that I’ll post tomorrow–I promise, it’s already written!
Do you like sweet potatoes?  What’s your favorite way to eat them?
Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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Tonight we had huge noodle bowls for dinner, relying on fresh produce and poultry from our back yard or Conway Locally Grown.  These noodle bowls are packed with veggies, spice, and cooling coconut milk (which, alas, is not local at all).  Unfortunately, after I planned the dish, I discovered that my neglected fresh ginger was no longer fresh, so I found other ways to get ginger flavor.  If you have fresh ginger, by all means grate it and use it.  Use a wok for this one-pot meal.


  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise and then thinly across the grain
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha or homemade pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 2 tablespoons extra-ginger ginger beer
  • natural soy sauce
  • walnut oil (or peanut oil)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • 2 small carrots, cut into pennies
  • pickled ginger juice
  • broccoli (garnish)
  • pea pods (a couple of cups)
  • big pile of shittake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 baby bok choy heads, trimmed and cut diagonally
  • optional:  splash of hoisin sauce
  • 2 big pinches dried ginger
  • 2 red peter or other hot pepper, seeded if you want, and then sliced thinly
  • leek bottom, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned, and thinly sliced
  • broccoli florets
  • handful per person of prepared Thai rice noodles (like very white fettucini)
  • 1/2 can to 1 whole can coconut milk (light okay)


Begin by marinating the sliced chicken in the Sriracha, sherry, ginger beer, and a splash or two of soy sauce.  While the chicken gets nice and spicy, prep your vegetables.

Wait–where are the snow peas?  Oh, here they are!

In a good wok over high heat, pour in a little of the nut oil, add your carrots, and pour on a tablespoon or two of pickled ginger juice.  Stir-fry the carrots until they get tender and maybe have a little caramelization on a few. Most of the liquid will have cooked off too.  Distribute the carrots in the bowls you’ll be using for eating.  Next, add a little toasted sesame oil, the snow peas, and a splash of soy sauce to the wok.  You can add a splash of water too if you want, but make sure it all cooks down.  Stir-fry the snow peas until they are tender.  Portion them out in your eating bowls to one side.

Now it’s time to stir-fry the shittake mushrooms.  Add a tiny bit of oil to the wok and toss in the mushrooms.  The mushrooms will give up a little liquid; that’s good, as it will help them cook.  Help them a little more by pouring in another splash of pickled ginger juice.  Is most of the liquid cooked off?  Out of the wok they go and into the bowls!   Be sure to put them in the half where you didn’t put the snow peas.

Next toss in the sliced bok choy with a little more nut oil and some of that ginger juice.  If you have it on hand, add a little hoisin sauce.  As the liquid cooks down, find a spot in your bowls for the bok choy.

Next up are leeks and chile peppers.  We just had a few florets of broccoli, so I added them in here.  Same story–different verse. Use a little oil.  Add a little more ginger juice if you think they need it.  Add in the prepared rice noodles and stir-fry to combine.  Plop in the bowls.

Last is the chicken.  Taking care to get chicken but little marinating liquid, add the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until the liquid is cooked down.

Now pour in 1/2 can to a whole can of coconut milk and heat until it gets bubbly.Distribute the chicken in the eating bowls and then pour on the coconut milk, which is now conveniently infused with all of the goodness that you stir-fried through the whole prep.  Yes, we just used coconut milk to deglaze the wok.

Eat.  Enjoy.  Since we separated the elements as we stir-fried them and again going in the bowls, you can get a different mouthful of flavor each time you dive into the bowl and pull out a morsel.  Use chopsticks for the most fun, with a soup spoon to get every tasty drop in the end.


This dish would be delicious with cilantro or Thai basil on top, but, alas, we had neither ready to pick right now.  We also sometimes use Asian eggplant in this big bowl of yummy, but we don’t have that yet either.  Feel free to substitute shrimp for the chicken.

What’s the largest number of local produce and protein that you’ve managed to get in a single dish?  Do you cook a similar pan-Asian dish?  Do tell!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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Every once in a while, we get a hankering for alligator.  Once on the verge of extinction, American gator has come back from the brink.  You might as well eat it.  Grin. Thank goodness, gator comes from an adjoining state to Arkansas–Louisiana–so it’s sort of local.  Arkansas actually has gator too, but Arkansas gator doesn’t show up in markets; it’s just not that widespread here, and it’s usually an accident when it ends up as far north as even the edge of the Ozarks.

Some people ask me what gator tastes like.  I would say, “It tastes like chicken,” but that’s just not true.  I think gator tastes like frog legs, but with a lot chewier texture.  No, frog legs don’t taste like chicken either.  They taste like an incredibly mild fish with a texture that’s like the softest, moistest chicken you ever had.  Both frog legs and gator are family-friendly food; their flavor is mild, somehow familiar, and they can be prepared like your kids’ chicken nuggets, only much tastier.  I can also easily imagine a table of kids who would be delighted to nosh on an animal that’s so much like a dinosaur, such a big predator.

When we buy gator, we usually treat it like the Louisiana product that it is in this neck of the woods.  We’ll marinate it in a mixture of buttermilk and Tabasco to tenderize it.  Then we shake off the excess moisture, dip it in seasoned flour, and pan fry it.

Mmmmm:  husband at work in the kitchen.  He looks delicious when he cooks!

The gator looks pretty good too!

Turn, baby, turn!

Oh, Mr. Gator, are you ready for your close up?

We like gator with cole slaw.

Try it too with remoulade, a French-Cajun sauce that’s a fancier, tastier version of tartar sauce.  Gator is pretty tasty in etoufee or gumbo too, but if you overcook gator it will go from a pleasant al dente to rubbery.  You could also do smaller gator chunks, fried as above, as appetizers for a party.

Do you have questions about cooking gator?  Do you have a gator recipe you’d like to share or advice about its preparation?  Jump in!

By the way, alligator attacks on full-grown humans are rare, but you should always supervise children and pets near where gators could be hanging out.  And never, ever, ever feed an alligator.  You’ll make it associate humans with dinner, and none of us want gators thinking that way!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with a full URL link and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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After more than an inch of ice and at least half a foot of snow precipitated on us and then lingered for four days in late January and early February, I had my doubts about whether my veggie tunnels would still have viable veggies in them.  Temperatures, after all, have been running about ten degrees below normal for several weeks, and adding ice and snow on top of that did not bode well for plants that like sunshine.  It took some time to brush off the snow and break off the ice, but I’m delighted to report that almost everything survived.  Given that it was still quite cold when I took photographs, I didn’t want to take the tunnels all the way off, so “after” photographs are through the tunnels.

On November 29:

January 31:

Are those really veggie tunnels under all of that snow and ice?

Yes, and those are cold frames in the distance.

February 1:  time to take off the snow

They’re looking pretty sad.  Did anything survive?

Yes!  the veggies live!

I also dug several radishes and some carrots from the cold frames yesterday, so those too continue to thrive.

We’ve already got at least four inches more snow today (February 8), and radar shows a heavy band of snow moving in within a few hours and then more overnight, for a total of 8-12 inches.  I’ll sleep easy through this storm, though, knowing that my winter garden is surviving, snug under its tunnels of veggie love.

If you’re in the path of this latest storm (or any other) make sure you tuck in your veggies before you tuck in yourself.

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Cole slaw has the refreshing flavor of summer, but the cabbage that makes up most of cole slaw is primarily a winter vegetable here (although I do get it to keep growing all summer with careful planting placement).  On warmer winter days, cole slaw with pulled chicken barbeque feels like a summer picnic, although slaw is plenty tasty as part of a good vegetarian meal too.  The colors can be bright enough to attract the pickiest kids.  Cole slaw can also be incredibly frugal.  And the fresh veggies are really healthy–just keep the dressing light!I made this cole slaw from all-local, organic vegetables either from our own garden (the peppers via the freezer) or from Conway Locally Grown.  You can vary quantities and ingredients depending on what you have on hand, but this slaw contains

  • thinly sliced green cabbage
  • thinly sliced red cabbage
  • grated carrots
  • grated colorful radish
  • thinly sliced roasted red pepper

I find that it’s easiest to slice the cabbage thinly if I begin by cutting a wedge out of the head and then cutting off the wedge instead of the whole head.

The dressing is what really changes slaw’s flavor.  I like to make mine with leftover pickle juice.  For a frugal, delicious sweet, sour, creamy dressing, I use mayonnaise mixed with bread-and-butter pickle juice.  You could use any sweet pickle juice.  If you are serving the slaw with salmon, try using dill pickle juice.  It won’t be sweet, but it’ll be tasty.  (You may want to increase the ratio of carrots to increase sweetness.)  If you want an Asian flavor, try using pickled ginger juice.  Here’s the basic measurements I use as a foundation.  You may want to add a little more of one of the ingredients after you taste the mix.

  • 1 tablespoon real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice

Start light with the dressing.  You can always add more later!  Enjoy.  My husband likes to put his slaw on barbeque sandwiches.  You might like it that way too.

Copyright Ozarkhomesteader 2010.  Short excerpts with full links to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome!

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Today is Robert Burns’s birthday, and since I’m both of Scottish descent and lacking meal ideas, I decided to dedicate tonight’s dinner to Scottish traditional food.  We’re having rumpledethump (onion, mashed potato, and cabbage casserole), smoked salmon, and oat bannocks alongside Bellhaven Scottish ale.  I may also add leek and tattie soup–better known as potato-leek soup.  Let me know if you are interested in recipes.  I’ll post them if they’re good!

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Earlier I wrote about various ways to sustain winter gardening, including grow tunnels.   The recent weather, with temperatures down close to zero overnight and never getting out of the 20s (F) during the day really challenged all of my winter protection measures.  I’m pleased to report few casualties, though, and most of those things were warm-season herbs I had never expected to survive.  Best of all, everything under the grow tunnels did just fine.  I anticipate having cabbage, broccoli, and so forth long before I could have without the tunnels!

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Our winter garden has had a really challenging week, and it’s only getting worse.  I’ve taken all of the basic precautions, but when temperatures drop well below freezing and stay there for days, I know I’m going to lose some things.  The first thing I did was cut a whole bunch of kale and pull the most vulnerable leeks and made a Tuscan sausage, leek, and kale soup.  I also dug some baby turnips that were on the outer edge of the cold frame.  I’ll roast those later this week.  Where ice and snow have accumulated, I’ve left it on my cold frames and plastic coverings; the snow will be a better insulator than the glass and plastic alone.  Tomorrow I’ll pile pine straw and leaves around everything that I can, including my vegetable tunnels.  The good news is that, although some of what I’m growing will freeze, most of it will grow back, given a few weeks.  I’ll just have to be patient!

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In case you hadn’t guessed, we’re not Jewish.  We can still appreciate a variation on Hanukkah food, though, since it’s in season and able to be locally grown (much of which we got from Conway Locally Grown).  Tonight we had latkes (potato pancakes) served with yogurt (in lieu of sour cream), braised onions and red cabbage, chicken-apple sausage, and spiced baked apple wedges.  No, I’m sorry, I don’t have pretty pictures tonight.  I just made it and we ate it, with no photography.

Latkes are one of the world’s easiest yummy foods.  Start by washing about one or two medium red potatoes per person.  Grate the potatoes in long strips.  Let the grated potatoes drain in a colander.  Toss them in a bowl with about a tablespoon of flour (I used whole wheat), salt and pepper to taste (I used cajun seasoning and garlic too), and about one egg (or less) for every two servings.  Now heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a heavy skillet.  I, not surprisingly, used a good cast iron skillet. You can tell when the oil is hot enough if the handle tip of a wooden spoon or the tip of a wooden chop stick yields tiny bubbles if you press it into the bottom of the pan.  Drop the potato mixture into the hot oil using a full soup spoon, quickly spreading out the mixture.  Now leave it alone.  As the edges start to brown, flip the latke using a large spatula.  A few minutes later, scoop out the latke and drain it well.  At this point, I like to leave the latkes on a cast iron plate in a warm oven, while I make the rest.  Serve all of the latkes warm with sour cream or yogurt and apple sauce or apples.  Mmmmmmm.

Even though I had forgotten that it’s Hanukkah until we finished our meal, our supper tonight is good reminder that most traditional holiday food is seasonally appropriate.  For instance, I am rarely interested in heating up the house in the summer long enough to roast a bird as big as a turkey, but I’ll happily take that heat in the house come late fall.  What seasonal foods do you eat at holidays, as part of family tradition?

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Watch this site for an upcoming post on using grow tunnels to protect your cool-weather-hardy veggies from freezing temperatures.  I’d be posting full details now, but I just got finished putting my tunnels on my broccoli and cabbage and now need to make dinner with what’s left of warm-season eggplant and tomatoes.  🙂

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