Today is my first proper Masters class, and the whole week has been dedicated to reading and re-reading the prescribed works, whilst simultaneously freaking out in horror and in joy at the very little I seem to know about the content whilst being blown away with insights into other realms of existence. For example, I’m sure I could base an entire thesis on the questions of morality posed in Battlestar Galatica, but that may be my inner dork shaping my consciousness for its own good.
To fuel the brain and sate the body, I decided to make myself a steady lunch to fortify against the madness of a two hour long discussion which would inevitably leave me spinning. Enter the cabbage steak. I’ve heard of cauliflower steaks and will still try my hand at that nomnosity, but whilst chopping up veggies for our weekly soup (so delicious!) I was taken aback by how glorious a thing the humble baby cabbage was, and wanted to save some to play around with. Because I don’t want to turn on the oven on a whim each day, I decided to fry the thick slices in a divine asian-inspired sauce. How much tasty can there be in one meal? An infinite amount, say I, when your palate blooms against the first forkful.
- 2 thick slices from 1 baby cabbage (can be red or green)
- 1 heaped tsp of Jade Dragon Stir-fry sauce
- grated ginger for frying
- spices: ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, white pepper
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 tsp jam (apricot, homemade, whichever you choose)
- 1 chai teabag, steeped in less than 1/4 cup boiling water for 10 minutes
- In a small cup with the steeped tea, add all the ingredients except the frying ginger and the cabbage steaks. Stir and set aside.
- Set a non-stick pan to medium-high until a splash of water sizzles. Lower to medium heat and add the steaks, frying them for 5 minutes, checking for when they start to soften and brown on the one side.
- Turn the steaks and let them fry for another 4 minutes, then pour half the liquid sauce mixture over, shifting the steaks so that the liquid can seep in underneath. Add the rest of the liquid when it starts to bubble then stick, and then flip the steak for a last time, frying for another 3 or so minutes. By this time it should be tender but flavourful. If you like yours a bit burnt you can carry on frying on a lower heat setting for a few minutes per side, provided you trust your non-stick pan not to screw you around, or else adding tiny drops of water to loosen up burning edges.
Don’t stress if the “seams” start to come apart – it will likely happen on the very edges. Next time I’ll cut my steaks even thicker and see if that doesn’t provide some solutions, not that it fussed me too much.
I topped and sided my steak-burgers with a number of ingredients. Because I knew we were having burgers today in some form or another (Man-thing is getting a guest so he bought soy patties because I won’t be home to make homemade burgers in time), I roasted some delicious sweet potato slices for some solid texture and, quite frankly, just because they are heavenly. I also steamed 1/2 cup of pumpkin (freckled with paprika and pepper) and mashed that with 1/4 cup brown lentils, and garnished with grated beetroot and sprouted lentils. I also added 1/4 avocado (not pictured) for extra decadence on the side. All in all, not a bad lunch, say I! I still have to get to grips with figuring out sauces and the like (not one of my strong points), but the flavour-infused cabbage steaks are where the flavour is centred, so although it looks bare the burger actually needs to finishing sauce at all.
And into the lunchbox it goes! My “burger” is complete with its top half, and I had some leftover pumpkin mixture to squash in on the side, because when I get ravenous my brain shuts down and goes into power-saving mode, which is hardly conducive to intelligent thought or speech, both of which seem rather instrumental in a successful discussion group. Hopefully as the semester evolves my grasp of foreign concepts will also quicken – coming into a completely new field and department means I cannot take anything for granted, as I did in History. The terminology has a different history, meaning and purpose, for example, and the mental structures for discourse are completely wild to the untrained eye. When the questions become the examples, you know the world has turned upside down, and one cannot but claw the sky for dear life!