Purple Cabbage & Gromperen Plaâ

Red Cabbage Salad

When we took off for France in mid-July I left a purple cabbage (red cabbage is actually never “red”) in the fridge. I was pretty confident it would keep until our return. It was a beautiful purple cabbage from our CSA share and I actually wrote a post and took pictures about that particular share — click here for details. It was a very firm,  bright, shiny and freshly picked purple cabbage.  I must say I was a little surprised to find it in the CSA box so early in the season.  When we returned mid-August, the cabbage was holding great, no obvious signs of aging. It was not wrapped, or in the crisper, but just decorating the middle shelf of the fridge. I still was not ready to eat it; summer veggies were still plentiful and I assimilate cabbage more with a fall/winter food. I became so used to see it in the fridge that I almost forgot to eat it.  But a few nights ago I pulled it out of the near empty fridge to accompany Pierre’s Bay Ridge version of a Luxembourgish dish: the Gromperen plaâ. Only the first layer of the cabbage leaves where a little limp, the rest was still crisp. Before I tell you a little more about the Gromperen  plaâ this is how I made the cabbage salad:
1/2  red/purple cabbage head sliced thinly
1 diced onion
1 diced apple
1 diced celery rib
Chopped walnuts and/or almonds

Moisten all the ingredients with olive oil. Drizzle with vinegar — it can be: apple cider, or rice or light wine vinegar. Add a dash of sesame oil —very little, the goal is to use it to outline the ingredients  not to really taste it (do you  know what I mean?). Then add  fresh  chopped Italian parsley, salt & pepper to taste.

Pierre was supposed to give me the detailed recipe of the Gromperen plaâ but as you can check on his blog he is not home very much these days. In Luxembourgish Gromper means potato & plaâ means dish —plat in French. This is the first dish Pierre’s sister Michou makes when we visit. All the ingredients go into a terrine or a lasagna type dish. As I indicated I don’t have an exact recipe but I think I am right to say that Pierre never really follows one either. This is the kind of dish that is adjustable to what you have and how you feel. I personally encourage this kind of cooking and would like to have the guts to write such a cook book! Now here are the indications for you to make your own potato dish:

Butter  the bottom of the pan.
Line with one layer of sliced parboiled potatoes.
Sprinkle with  diced sautéed onions.
Cut slices of Mettwurscht the “national” sausage of Luxembourg.
In Bay Ridge we don’t have Mettwurscht so Pierre decided to make the Gromperen plaâ with the Turkish sausage sujuk— a beef sausage usually spiced with cumin, sumac, garlic, paprika and other red pepper —we always get it at Aunt Halime’s Halal Meat Market on 3rd avenue and Ovington in Bay Ridge.
Repeat layers until there is no more room in the dish.
Then fill the dish with seasoned
heavy cream—with salt, pepper and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg—  until the top of the pan is barely covered.
Top with a generous layer of shredded
cheese – can be Swiss , Emmental , Gruyère or even cheddar! 
The result was superb; I had forgotten to take a picture of the dish before we started digging into it and next thing we knew is that the three diners around the table cleaned it up in a flash! The combination of the textures and tastes were perfect. Thanks Pierre and this menu is a keeper! The only disappointment Pierre had is that he thought he was going to have some left over for lunch. Sorry!

Gromper Pla

Quick Sujuk Black Bean Soup with Homemade Quesadillas

Tomorrow is Election Day and I am restless. I will get up really early to go out to vote. I come from a political family, my father was a French senator for 18 years, so voting was never something I thought was optional. I became a American Citizen to be able to vote. My theory was that if I was paying taxes I needed to vote. In the USA since 1987, a citizen since 1995, this is the fourth presidential election I am able to participate in and by far the most exciting!

As we are hopefully heading to a new era I decided that it was appropriate to clean up my freezer of a few things that had been in there for too long. I found a container of plain cooked back beans and four pieces of Sujuk, a fragrant Turkish sausage. In the back of the fridge there was a bag of Masa Harina that I have been ignoring for to long, a piece of mozzarella that needed to be eaten and a simple salad. Voilà! my menu tonight:

Quick Sujuk Black Bean Soup
All Home Made Cheese Quesadillas
Simple Salad

Quick Sujuk Black Bean Soup
(for 2)
1 small onion diced
5 thick slices of Sujuk sausage
2 cups of cooked beans
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
salt, pepper or hot sauce to taste.

In a skillet sauté the onion and the Sujuk. Add the cooked beans & the cumin.
Add 1 1/2 cup of water -more or less depending how thick you like your soup
Stir well, taste and spice to taste.

All Home Made Cheese Quesadillas

Making your own tortillas is very satisfying and easy. Something really fun to make with your kids or grand kids. Usually the instructions on the package are pretty good, but see pictures above for the process without tortilla maker or comal.

For 8 tortillas
1 cup of instant yellow corn masa flour
3/4 cup of water
a pinch of salt
a few slices of mozzarella cheese

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, except the cheese, for about 2 minutes to form a soft dough. If dough is too dry add a little water , if too soft a little flour.
Divide dough into 8 pieces and form balls. Place dough between two sheets of plastic and flatten it with a spatula if like me you don’t have a tortilla maker. Carefully peel off from plastic. I actually use only one sheet of plastic on top and let the bottom be on the (clean) kitchen counter. I prefer to keep my tortillas at about 2/8 of an inch, which is thicker than the commercial one, but more hearty and rustic.
Warm up a cast iron skillet to medium heat cook tortilla about 50 seconds, turn and cook the other side.
Save the cooked tortillas in a cloth napkin to keep them soft and warm. You can eat them that way or make quesadillas to accompany your soup.
Return tortilla to the skillet place mozzarella in the center cover with another tortilla until the cheese is melted.

Serve the tortillas with the Sujuk black bean soup. Optional garnish of thinly cut scallions or a few leaves of cilantro can go on top of your soup. Serve with my simple salad!
Please Vote & Bon Appetit!