Anyone in my neck of the northern hemisphere would do unspeakable things for just a little green about now. However, compromising one’s ethics is totally unnecessary. You just need to get a head of cabbage.
The only ethnic cuisine I can think of that doesn’t have at least one dish with cabbage is that of the Inuit. It’s a hardy crop, able to tolerate some pretty low temps well. I’ve seen recipes calling for it in soups, salads, main dishes, and even desserts. Cabbage is also cheap, anywhere from 29-50 cents a pound. You can dress it up as Molly Wizenberg does in cabbage in cream (please see her book A Homemade Life for the simple recipe) or make a deliciously down-to-earth Indian stew with potatoes.
Skillet Cabbage is one of my go-to dishes. This recipe originally came from More with Less, a compilation of recipes from members of the Mennonite church. The basic recipe: 4 cups of cabbage sliced thinly, 1 thinly sliced onion, 1 coarsely grated carrot, and a clove of garlic. Stir fry the veg together (you may add slivers of leftover meat if you’d like, or tofu) and season with a tablespoon or two of soy sauce. If you want Indonesian, add two beaten eggs to the mix at the end of stir-frying and let them cook. For Vietnamese, top with some chopped peanuts. This is great as either a side dish or over rice or Asian noodles for an entree.
As with any blank canvas, the possibilities are endless.
(Many thanks to Cynthia Sanford for the inspiration)