I’ll be honest with you. I sat down tonight to try to write a clever post – you know, maybe a funny story, or to tell you about something that happened over the holidays – but really, my brain pattern looks a lot like this these days:
You get the idea. I kind of feel like once Christmas was over, suddenly all the things had to get done. Instantly. Because the baby is coming (said much like Paul Revere in regards to the Redcoats).
This entire week, as soon as Owen’s gone down for his nap, I feel this incredible need to do! So, I take a step towards that linen closet than needs to be organized…and then two steps the other direction towards the baby girl clothes that need to be washed…and then another step in a different direction to clean the microwave…because you know, suddenly that feels essential. It’s pretty much an Electric Slide of Inefficiency.
You do this too, right?
Fortunately, I am married to Eric, who is kind enough (or maybe smart enough after several years of watching me occasionally fall to pieces over tasks?) to literally look at all of my lists and sublists and help me decide what should be prioritized…maybe he’s just gotten really good at hiding his eye rolls.
Okay, moving on.
Salad. Cabbage salad. Totally doesn’t sound good at all, I know. But a couple of months ago, I was trying to figure out a way to use up a half a cabbage after making this recipe, and I came across this salad recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I’ve never gone wrong with one of Heidi’s recipes yet, so I thought I’d give this cabbage salad a shot.
So, so good, you guys. There’s all sorts of flavor going on in this winter-friendly salad. You’ve got sweetness from candied nuts and dried apricots, a bit of bite from balsamic vinegar, saltiness from the feta, and a surprising hint of rosemary throughout. And the texture? Shazam. The cabbage gets cooked into this perfect tender-crispness, punctuated by the nuts and softened apricots.
I’ve been loving on this salad, making up a big batch at the beginning of the week and eating it for lunches and an easy dinner side for the following days. Don’t let the name scare you off – give it a try! And then email me and remind me that all babies need are diapers, blankets, and boobs to help me stop freaking out? Okay thanks.
(recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
(yields app. 5 servings)
I adapted this recipe by doubling the dried fruit and feta amounts and leaving out the fresh parmesan. I also used dried rosemary instead of fresh. This recipe is really flexible though: pretty much any nut will do, as well as any dried fruit. Feel free to play with it based on what you have!
1/2 c. (heaping) pecans, chopped*
1 tsp. brown sugar
ground sea salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced (red preferred)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound head of red cabbage, cut into thin ribbons**
generous pinch dried rosemary
1 c. (app 5 oz.) dried apricots, chopped (or other plump, chopped dried fruit)
1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*(you don't want these chopped too fine; if chopping yourself, you're looking for 1/2-inch small pieces approximately)
** (I usually use 1/2 of the red cabbage size standard in the grocery store)
Candy the Nuts:
Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add the chopped nuts and toast, stirring frequently, for just a couple minutes until they begin to smell fragrant. Sprinkle on the sugar, and a couple pinches of salt. Stir until the sugar melts and coats the nuts (you pan will need to be hot enough). Transfer the nuts immediately to a plate so they don't stick to the pan. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion for a minutes or two with a couple pinches of salt. Stir in the garlic, and the cabbage, and a few more pinches of salt. Stir and cook for just a minute or so, or until the cabbage softens up just a touch. Then stir in the rosemary, most of the apricots, and the vinegar. The cabbage will continue to get more and more tender even after you remove it from the heat, so keep that in mind, and do your best to avoid overcooking it - where it collapses entirely.
When it's tender crisp to your liking (or a little beforehand), fold in half of the feta cheese, most of the nuts, then taste. Season with more salt if needed. Serve garnished with the remaining aprictos, feta, and nuts.
Best eaten immediately, but the leftovers are pretty good too. Store in a covered container in your fridge, heating until just warm when you're ready to eat.