This past spring my son Luke brought home a cabbage plant from school. He was excited about a contest to see who could grow the largest cabbage. Since we usually have a large herb garden growning on our deck each spring and summer, I figured how hard could it be to grow the world’s large cabbage. Luke and I (with a little help from his brother Matt) planted the cabbage seedling in one of our best pots and set it in a prime spot on the deck where it was sure to get as much sun as it needed to be a record breaker.
Several weeks went by and Luke’s cabbage was right on schedule. The leaves were lush and growing at a record pace. Luke really got into tending to the cabbage that he and his brother named Chuck. I only had to remind him to water Chuck a couple of times. Then one day it was all over. I went on the deck to put out a rug and that’s when I saw it. Chuck had been attacked! It was like a crime scene from CSI. The pot was tipped over and there was dirt everywhere. The only thing left of Chuck were these gnarlwed on stalks hanging out of the pot. Poor Chuck didn’t have a chance. How could this have happened? We have a six foot fence around our backyard to keep nature out. Then it hit me. Racoons. I do not like racoons. They look at you sideways and the have people fingers. They are so nasty! I could just see the little sneaky thinghopping the fence and taking Chuck down like he was a slab of barbecue spareribs. Poor Chuck.
Luke took the news like a champ. However, he wouldn’t eat cabbage for a few weeks. Then one day I made cabbage like his Nanny does and it was all good.
Cabbage with Green Peppers and Onions, adapted from Nanny
Makes 6 servings
1 (2-2 ½ pound) green cabbage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet (Vidalia) onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper
1 kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup chicken stock
Cut cabbage in half and remove the core from each half and discard. Slice the cabbage in ¼-inch shreds.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage, salt, pepper, thyme and chicken stock. Cook for 5 minutes to wilt the cabbage, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.