Season 2: Risotto Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

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The key to making cabbage rolls is to make a nice, soft leaf by placing them in a pot of bowling water for about two minutes. Learn how to wrap cabbage leaves around a risotto filling with helpful hints from an organic gardener in this free video on garden-to-table cooking.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Willi, and I'm Jon, and we are the hosts of "Grow. Cook. Eat.", and today I've been informed that we're eating cabbage. They're a beautiful addition to the garden and they're really a fun thing to grow. So you want to start cabbage from seedlings because it gives them a head start and when you're choosing seedlings it's really important to pick small ones. Large ones actually don't give you an advantage. They usually end up being pretty stunted. So look for seedlings that only have three or four leaves. You don't want their stems to look woody and if you pop them up out of their container, you want the root ball to hold together. This is pretty much a perfect specimen. I also want to dig in a little bit of alfalfa meal. This is a natural organic fertilizer and it has some nitrogen in it and it also has phosphorus which really encourages good root development. So I'm just going to sprinkle in each of the spots that I'm planning on planting some alfalfa meal and I'm going to plant my Brussels sprouts here in what's called a staggered row. So they're going to be slightly offset and that will give them more room as they mature but still allow me to get several into kind of a small space and I'm putting about a quarter cup of the alfalfa meal for each planting hole. The main problem is that there are seriously a ton of insects that love to eat it so the best way to deal with that problem is to deny those insects access to your plants so we're going to put a hoop house over this bed, and basically that's just kind of like a tent that goes over the bed and we're going to put a row cover fabric over the top and a row cover is this white spun fabric that lets air and water and light in but keeps out those insect pests. So when cabbage first starts to make a head the leaves just kind of start to curl over each other and it will feel really spongie and easy to squeeze, but as the head matures when you squeeze it, it's going to feel more like a basketball or a well filled volleyball. Once you feel it like that, then that's when you want to harvest. You don't want to harvest it when it's squishy. So this one is perfect. It's nice and firm like a basketball. You want to make your cut about three or four inches down from where the head kind of comes up out of the stem. So I'm just going to take a sharp knife and just sever the head from the plant. Okay I'm going to go inside and we're going to get started making those cabbage rolls. Okay so the key step when you're making the cabbage rolls is to make a nice soft leaf. So what we're going to do is put each leaf, two at a time into a bowl or a pot of boiling water. So I've got the first leaf in there, I'm going to add the second and what you're looking to do is soak these for about two minutes in boiling water, once the cabbage is nice and soft, you'll find it a lot easier to wrap it around the filling which in our case is risotto. Okay, so these are looking pretty good. So I'm going to pull these two out. You can see they're nice and supple, put them in the colander to drain just a little bit and we'll add the next two leaves. The cabbage leaves make really pretty wrappers so they're all soft from Jon boiling them and what I'm going to do is I'm going to cut out a notch here at the base of each leaf and basically I'm just taking out that center vein and it's going to kind of leave the leaf in a little bit of an arrow shape. Now I'm using some leftover risotto. This is a great way to use leftover pilaf, risotto, any sort of ricey kind of thing that you might have on hand and you just want to take a small lump of it, put it into a ball in the center right above that notch and then you can fold each flap from the notch over the filling and then after that, you kind of roll it up like a burrito so you tuck in the sides as you go and then you just roll it up nice and neat and it makes a really pretty little package. I'm just going to stick the cabbage rolls into the oven for about 15 minutes so that they warm up. I've got the oven preheated to 350, and I'm just going to set the timer. Okay, so it smells good in the kitchen and it's been 15 minutes so I think these cabbage rolls are ready to be gobbled up. Pull them out of the oven here and I've gone ahead and heated up some marinara sauce which is going to go over the top and Jon's got plates I think. Alrighty, so scoop these up here, yum, thank you, alrighty. This looks good. I know you're skeptical about cabbage but really, it's mostly risotto. Well, thanks for having me contribute to this one. So, I feel invested in its deliciousness. Umm, okay, that is delicious. Yeah, it is good huh? I like it better than the risotto the first time. Yeah, I think it's because it has the red sauce. I love red sauce. Once again Willi, that was delicious. You have restored my faith in cabbage. Good, I'm glad to hear it and I hope you will agree that it is actually a really worthwhile plant to grow. No, I think so, but the whole meal was spectacular. Yeah, I think it's great when you can take food you've already had and kind of recreate it into a totally new meal so you don't have to just eat the same thing like three days in a row. Yeah, well we hope you like it as well. Thanks for all your comments and tuning in. We appreciate all the feedback as well. Yeah, and if you want you can check in on my blog, Digginfood.com, there's a lot more recipes there, and we hope you'll tune into our next episode. See you next time.

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Season 2: Braised Turnip Greens....5
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