Updated on Monday, December 31, 2007– Check out the articles on cabbage at the bottom of my cabbage roll recipe! Cabbage is a superfood! I now put cabbage on my sandwiches instead of lettuce.
Sunday, December 30, 2001–
“Cabbage Rolls” made on Saturday, December 29.
When I was growing up my mother occasionally made cabbage rolls. This was a leaf of cabbage stuffed with a ground beef/meatloaf and held together with toothpicks. I recently have started experimenting with cabbage in a lot of ways, including trying to make cabbage rolls. Without consulting any recipe book or website here is what I came up with. the end result was good eatin’ but it didn’t look too pretty.
Ground beef mix: 1lb of ground sirloin which has a 90% to 10% lean to fat ratio. I usually mix in some beaten eggs to my hamburgers and meatloaf so I added 2 eggs to the meat. I add fresh garlic to almost everything I cook (well…not oatmeal) so I cut up 4 cloves and tossed them into the meat. I chopped up about a quarter of an onion; I used a yellow onion but I have recently fallen in love with red onion. I will frequently use green onions in a lot of dishes too, but we had this yellow onion that needed to be used so I cut it up.
My mother always used rice in her cabbage rolls, mixed in with the meat. I grew up eating white rice, usually minute rice. But my wife and I started using whole grain brown rice about 20 years ago and we rarely use white anymore. (Although one white rice recipe I will always keep is my mother’s sweet rice, made with milk and sugar, maybe some raisins, sometimes with honey). In my pound of ground beef I added about a cup and a half of brown rice, already cooked.
Next I spice up the ground meat. I begin with salt and black pepper, then I throw in a few dashes of cayenne pepper (I use cayenne in a lot of dishes- its health benefits are good). I add some Italian seasoning and finish it off with a 6oz can of tomato paste. After everything is well mixed I turn to the cabbage.
I peeled off the tough outer leaves of the green and red cabbage, I use both just for variety. The red cabbage actually has more vitamins, but cabbage is on a list of super foods I have seen. There was a problem with this head of green cabbage, underneath the tough outer leaves, I found the head had a couple of splits, so the leaves did not peel off very well. I formed a log shaped roll of the ground beef mixture and started wrapping it in green cabbage leaves. The red cabbage came off in much better form so I used that for the exterior of the rolls. My wife and I then pinned the rolls together with toothpicks and placed 4 cabbage rolls in a pyrex baking dish, placed in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes and waited. The preferred method of getting the leaves of cabbage off without tearing is to core out the cabbage head and submerge the whole head of cabbage in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. This softens the leaves and they are much easier to remove without tearing them. The down side of this is that now you have a whole head of partially boiled cabbage that you will need to use soon. Or, if you like using both kinds of cabbage simultaneously, you will have one green cabbage and one red cabbage partially boiled.
They were quite delicious, though would not have won any prize for appearances. They were pretty much a full meal all by themselves with all the veggies, rice and meat you could want. This only used about half of the ground beef mix, so I just placed the rest in another pan and baked it with the cabbage rolls as a meatloaf.
Absent from most American kitchens, this cruciferous vegetable is a major player in European and Asian diets.
Why it’s healthy: One cup of chopped cabbage has just 22 calories, and it’s loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.
Cabbage’s role as a staple vegetable in Polish cuisine may be why the breast cancer risk of Polish women triples after they immigrate to the U.S., rising to match that of U.S.-born women, suggests research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2005 annual cancer prevention meeting in Baltimore, MD.
The study included hundreds of Polish women and Polish-born women in the U.S. who are part of the Polish Women’s Health Study, a case-control breast cancer study. Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire that assessed their cabbage consumption when they were 12 to 13 years old and as adults.
Compared with women who ate only one serving or less of cabbage per week during adolescence, those who ate four or more servings were 72% less likely to develop breast cancer as adults.
In Poland, women typically eat an average of 30 pounds of cabbage and sauerkraut per year, while American women consume just 10 pounds per year. Polish women also traditionally eat more raw cabbage and sauerkraut in salads or as a side dish.
Although the lowest rate of breast cancer was found among women who consumed high amounts of raw- or short-cooked cabbage during adolescence, high consumption during adulthood also provided significant protection even among women who had eaten little cabbage during adolescence.
Cabbage is a sturdy, strong and abundant vegetable. Hardy and easy to grow, it is almost universally available in all countries and cultures. Cabbage belongs to the all important family of cruciferous vegetables. The members of this family of vegetables are so named for their cross shaped (crucifer) flower petals. Rich in nutrition and fiber, cabbage is an absolutely phenomenal source of Vitamin C. Even more impressive is that cabbage is famous for a specialized, naturally occurring, nitrogenous compound known as indoles. Current research indicates that indoles can lower the risk of various forms of cancer.
Cabbage was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. An early Roman medicinal preperation blended lard with the ashes of burnt cabbage to make an ointment for disinfecting wounds. Throughout history, the Asian diet has been rich and abundant in cabbage and its various varieties. Epidemiological studies have found that men living in China and Japan experience a much lower rate of prostate cancer than their American counterparts. Similar data has been uncovered regarding breast cancer rates among women.
It is no wonder that the lowely, plain, boring cabbage gets rave reviews from the world of nutritionists. Cabbage is relatively cheap yet one of the richest when it comes to protective vitamins. Talk about the original weight loss food! One cup of cabbage contains only around 15 calories.
Cabbage is rich in the following nutrients:
Vitamin A: responsible for the protection of your skin and eyes.
Vitamin C: an all important anti-oxidant and helps the mitochondria to burn fat.
Vitamin E: a fat soluble anti-oxidant which plays a role in skin integrity.
Vitamin B: helps maintain integrity of nerve endings and boosts energy metabolism.
Modern science has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the health benefits and therapeutic value of cabbage, which also plays a role in the inhibition of infections and ulcers. Cabbage extracts have been proven to kill certain viruses and bacteria in the laboratory setting. Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies. Cabbage provides high levels of iron and sulphur, minerals that work in part as cleansing agents for the digestive system.