I need to post about how we spent our weekend doing a cooking demo at The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary July Jamboree. We have such great photos of the animals and people like Woodstock’s fabulous Jenny Brown and Gretchen Primack, author of Kind Poems. It’s coming I promise but instead I had this thing happen this morning that was having a hard time shaking… I watched a video of Dustin Hoffman talking about a realization he had while making the movie Tootsie.
I’m going to ruin it for you. Just watch the link above first if you don’t want this next paragraph to spoil it for you. I hate being a ruin-er.
See while preparing for the movie Tootsie – where Dustin Hoffman was going to play a man who dresses like woman if you haven’t seen it*. Hoffman was struck by what an unattractive woman he made and he had this reali-life epiphany that there was a world full of interesting and engaging women who he probably had never taken the time to know because he didn’t find them attractive and well to be blunt – want to sleep with. First off – yeah – that sucks but the fact he was able to honestly look at himself and acknowledge his behavior… well that’s what good people do.
To quote Leonardo DiCaprio when he was on Oprah and found out she owned like 5 SUVs – he said “That’s OK. There’s always time to change. Just start now.” and then proceeded to try to sell her a prius. I admit this is a line I’ve stolen many a time when talking to people who “wish” they could go vegan or felt an need to tell me how bad they feel about the cheeseburger they had for lunch. “There’s always time to change. Just start now.” is something I’ve said more than once and I do sincerely mean.
Looking at yourself in the mirror and asking yourself what could I do better? – Not – What’s wrong with me? That’s the kind of self-abuse I don’t encourage but honestly looking at the impact of your actions and spotting a behavior that maybe isn’t what the “ideal” you would do… I think that’s something we should all do more often than we do. It has inspired me to reevaluate myself today and how I’ve been towards myself since we lost Piper. There’s always time to change. I just need to start now. So I throw this out into the internet abyss – What could you do better?
This has very little to do with cabbage dumplings. I had bought a huge head of Napa cabbage from the Caribbean market around the corner and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I found this recipe for Canh Bap Coun – a Vietnamese stuffed cabbage soup. I had a package of of one of my favorite products Upton’s Naturals Seitan in the fridge and some mushrooms… and a much like our beloved Amelie pictured above I began scheming on ways to veganizing these beautiful dumplings for all of you!
This isn’t a terribly hard recipe but it only makes enough for 2. So heads up on that!
Seitan Stuffed Cabbage Dumpling Soup
1 Whole Napa Cabbage, you need the large leaves on the outside to be in good shape
1 cup Setian or crumbled Tempeh, I recommend using either Upton’s or Tofurky Kielbasas that have been diced up
1/2 cup Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and diced small
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids or Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Crushed Black Peppercorns
10 Green Onions, white bottoms removed and cut in half the long way. You want like 2 “ropes”
4 cups Better Than Bouillon Vegan Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Mushrooms, sliced – we had some white ones but Shiitake would be better I think
1/3 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Crushed Pink Himalayan Salt, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Go through all your Cabbage leaves and find the at least 20 good ones with very few tears or holes. It’s OK if they have a few. Nothings perfect. Very carefully, dip your Cabbage leaves into your boiling water one at a time while holding the stem and count to 20. Then place them on a paper towel to cool a little. You just want to make sure they are tender.Then cut off the uncooked, hard stem.
In a large bowl, mix Seitan, Mushrooms, Garlic, Braggs, and Pepper with a large spoon until blended.
Once your Cabbage leaves are cool enough to handle with your bare hands, take 2 leaves and lay them out in a cross. To roll, place between 1-2 tablespoons of your Seitan mix in the fattest part of your top leaf closest to the stem. Then fold the sides up to cover your filling and then starting at the stem end gently roll the leaf up towards the tip. Tuck any edges or filling that pops out while you’re rolling it. Then repeat the process with the second leaf to really seal all your filling in and to cover any tears or holes that your Cabbage might have. Repeat this process with all your leaves. You’ll have 10 dumplings in the end.
Then take your Green Onions and tie them around the rolls to secure them. You can’t pull your Onions too tight or they’ll break. Just one loop is enough you don’t need to make a knot. Hopefully you kinda see what I mean in the photo.
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, bring your Broth and Lime Juice to a boil.
Using a slotted spoon, gently drop your dumplings into your pot and let boil for 5 minutes.
Toss in Cilantro and Red Pepper Flakes to serve!
* YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT! See it. It’s a wonderful anecdote to the 80s feminist backlash.