Thursday, June 15, 2006

Low-Fat Favorite: Cabbage Rolls

We got our Farm Fresh to You box yesterday and much to our surprise it provided us with two of the ingredients necessary for this recipe, a head of cabbage and carrots. I like the box since it provides us with seasonal fruits and veggies that I wouldn't otherwise have the guts to purchase. The only thing that gets me is that we usually have to run to the grocery store to get other veggies to go with whatever we get in the box. I was hoping the box would minimize those trips. A box that's recipe based would be awesome!.

Anyway, with a box of tofu already in the fridge, the only items that we had to purposely get were mushrooms, 1 lemon, and 2 onions (which we normally have around but didn't!).

I've never made a roll in my life but my cooking buddy expressed interest in making these last week with the head of cabbage we bought at the farmer's market last weekend but since we didn't have any of the other necessary ingredients or time, we passed. Hence the Indian cabbage and potato recipe.

This recipe comes from none other than Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites. Did I mention that it's my cooking buddy's goal to make every recipe in this book? I would love do this on a set day every week (the organization freak coming out of me big time) but that wouldn't work with my buddy's schedule or style.

These cabbage rolls were amazing. Think baked steamy spring roll. So tasty and flavorful. I didn't notice the lack of fat at all and you can eat them guiltlessly because they are so healthful. You could get all your required daily veggies with this meal.

The other thing I really enjoyed about this recipe was how fun it was. I've never used mashed tofu in anything before. If you're having a bad day, it's a great way to get some aggression out.

Makes 6 to 8 servings
Time: 50 minutes

-1 large head green cabbage
-2 medium onions (2 cups), chopped
-2 tsp olive oil
-3 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms (FYI, one 8 oz container of presliced mushrooms is about 3 c)
-1 cup grated carrots
-6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
-1/4 tsp dried thyme
-1/2 tsp dried dill
-1/4 minced fresh parsley (left out)
-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp miso
-12-ounce cake tofu, (pressed and mashed)
-1 c tomato juice (we used about 1 1/2 c)

First things first, pressing the tofu. Place tofu cake between two plates. Place a weight, a heavy can or book, on top of the plate for 30 minutes or so. I used, with success, a 32 ounce jar of tomato juice as my weight. Then remove the weight and top cover and drain the water from the bottom of the plate. I know that after a long day this is probably a nuisance so I would suggest doing it the night before or over the weekend and then returning it to the fridge. After pressed, mash.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. The book recommends coring the cabbage and placing the whole head into the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes or until leaves pull away easily from the head. I foresaw too many trouble spots with this method that I recommend the method I used. Peel of 12-14 cabbage leaves before cooking the whole head. Slice leaf at the base and gently peel off. You'll find that some tear and some don't which I think would be true if you cooked the whole head to begin with. This method prevents you from having to take out a hot head of cabbage and potentially burning yourself. Cook for 5 minutes until tender, drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large skillet, saute the onions in the oiled for about 10 minutes, until translucent (in reading the recipe now, I realized that I uses 2 TBSP not 2 tsp, whoops!). I think I even commented too my cooking buddy that I was surprised that this book called for so much when it generally calls for so little! Add the mushrooms, carrots, thyme, dill, and parsley and continue to cook until the mushrooms become soft and juicy. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, miso, and mashed tofu and mix well. When the tofu is heated through, remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.

Assemble the rolls. Put about 1/2 cup of filling at the broad end of each leaf, fold the side edges towards the center over the filling, and then roll lengthwise. Place rolls, seam side down, in an unoiled 9x12-inch baking pan and poor the tomato juice over them. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 20 minute, or until hot and steaming. We place pan on second shelf from top.

The cookbook recommends serving with rice but we ate as is! They reheat well too!

Bon ap!!

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