I wanted to try something new tonight. Laotian food is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of something new to cook but that's the type of thing that pops into mine. I wanted something to go with a Thai roasted cabbage recipe I happened upon in Fine Cooking magazine. I did, after all, have a head of cabbage from last year's garden in storage that I knew I needed to use in the near future. I wasn't even sure if the condition of the cabbage was acceptable or not. Miraculously, it was in fine shape. Miraculous because this was a savoy cabbage intended primarily for fresh eating, not for three months of storage.
Sometimes you get surprised and rewarded for doing things a little unorthodox. I never really expected to keep this cabbage this long or for it to look this good after I did. Keep in mind this is not a storage variety but it has held up better than I ever thought it would. It was a pleasant surprise to discover a head that was not only usable but in great shape as well. In fact, it looked so nice I decided to share the wealth and save half of it for coleslaw in a couple days so I had to supplement the dish with some store bought kale I had on hand. The cabbage and kale are first roasted and then dressed with a simple Thai dressing. Simple and tasty, ......and from the garden. It doesn't get much better than that on a cold night in February.
What does any of this have to do with Lao food, you ask? Well, nothing really. Lao and Thai cuisine are very similar. This cabbage dish is Thai. It was an accompaniment to a Lao beef and pork mini patty flavored with lemongrass, onion, and fish sauce. Served with two very different spicy Lao dipping sauces and wrapped in lettuce leaves, the patties, and in fact, the entire meal was quite satisfying. Planning and executing a meal around a simple idea and an ingredient that probably shouldn't have been is also quite satisfying.
Sometimes you just don't know what will work until you try it even if it is inadvertent. If you didn't think you can store a savoy cabbage for three months you now know it can be done.
Serendipity happens. Believe it.