Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moosewood Mutation

Sometimes cooking is such a creative adventure!  This morning I accepted a friend's invitation to visit The Apple Castle in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, a local produce store that celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.  Even out of season their Melrose apples are excellent, and I got several interesting items to try, including Skinner's Vaporizing Salve and "No-Bite-Me," as well as some Three-Pepper Lemon hot sauce, pickles, licorice all-sorts, sorghum molasses, local dark honey, red potatoes, a few tomatoes, and a GORGEOUS giant green cabbage.  That cabbage was my inspiration for supper.

UPDATE: The "No-Bite-Me" doesn't seem to be very effective. I put some on before going out about 10 p.m. for some fireworks, and I swatted at least three mosquitoes from my arms in the first five minutes. Now perhaps the stuff slows them down so they're swattable?  I'm willing to try again . . . but as Lifehacker says, DEET is pretty much the only way to go.

I was thinking of a soup using the potatoes and cabbage, but then I came across "Stuffed Cabbage" in the 1992 Moosewood Cookbook. That recipe, p. 155, calls for ricotta cheese, so I decided to play with it a bit and try to use some leftover hummus and kidney beans, plus diced zucchini, to approximate the substance of ricotta for the filling.  I also wanted to cut down on the fat and left out the butter (for the veggie saute) and the 3/4 cup minced cashews (optional) in the original recipe, but I increased the carrot and celery.  I also reduced the soy sauce substantially. So this is a nutritarian improvement on what was originally a great recipe. (I seem to remember making it years ago.) If you need help with techniques, please refer to the original recipe.


1 large head green cabbage
1 medium onion,  chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, or combination
1-1/2 cups mashed beans (white are probably best--I had a combination of leftover dry hummus and kidney beans)
1 small apple, chopped
1/4 cup raisins or currants
juice of one lime or lemon
1-2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari)
fresh-ground black pepper

Core the cabbage and boil it for about 10 minutes in a big pot of water, then carefully pull off 12 of the outer leaves.  While the cabbage is boiling, prepare the filling:  dry-saute or water-saute the onion, celery, and carrot, then zucchini and garlic. When tender, add the seeds or nuts and the beans, then the apple, raisins, citrus juice, and soy sauce and pepper. Taste and correct the seasoning.

When the cabbage leaves are cooled (keep the remainder of the cabbage for another purpose), divide the filling into 12 portions and roll it up in the leaves, beginning at the base and folding in the sides, then place the rolled pieces into a 9x13 dish you have sprayed with cooking spray or a light smear of oil. Bake covered* at 325 for about 30 minutes.

*I forgot to cover them and they came out fine--plenty moist.

The original recipe calls for a cashew-ginger sauce (with honey, vinegar, and garlic, to make two cups) on top of the rolls. I substituted a similar sauce thrown together from an existing mustard-tahini sauce with the addition of maple syrup, ginger, and peanut butter, to make about a cup, and my husband said he'd prefer the cabbage rolls without the sauce, or with just a dab.

Verdict: Very Good.  I really enjoyed these and am thrilled I have leftovers for another day.  I think the mashed beans and zucchini replaced the ricotta very nicely, and I'm glad I left out the original recipe's honey and used half the amount of sauce called for. The filling seemed a little skimpy for the size of the leaves I had, but the final product is fine in proportions of cabbage and filling.  I did use a sauce but did not cover these while they baked, and I think I had mine in the oven shy of the 30 minutes, though they heated through nicely. Without sauce two of these equal 1/6 oz. nuts/seeds, 1/4 fruit, 1/4 cup beans, and about a cup of cooked veggies. You MIGHT want to try a traditional tomato sauce on these, but not too much, and probably sweetened with a date or raisins in the food processor.


  1. Very creative way to replace the ricotta! I sometimes use tofu, crumbled up, to do that, but I like your idea as well! Sounds yummy.

  2. Thanks, Amy -- versatility is the name of the game!

  3. That was my first veggie cookbook, I love it! I love your blog =) Thanks for stopping by mine =)



  4. Sounds very tasty and interesting, Cindy!


I'd love to know what you think of these or if you have suggestions for improvements!