The main ingredient in Baked Armpit

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When Mr. Jelly Belly made his hilarious (to him) comment about my dinner smelling like baked armpit, I wasn’t offended. That vegetable-hating carnivore has no idea what he’s missing. Not only in taste (of which he has none) but in some awesome cancer-fighting nutrients.

The mystery ingredient? Cabbage! It’s my obsession of the moment. I was reading about someone loving a dish of fried (in coconut oil) cabbage and onions, so I thought I’d try it. Eh. It wasn’t so thrilling. Not nearly as good as my fried red cabbage with apples, a little Splenda brown sugar and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Now THAT’S delicious. Especially with pork.

But, anyway, this prompted me to try baking the chopped cabbage and onions, topped with a can of diced chili-flavored tomatoes. I think the tomatoes were where the armpit smell came in. Cumin, probably. I piled it in an 8 x 8 baking dish, covered it, and baked it for about 45 minutes or so and it was So Good. Especially when I threw a blob of fat-free sour cream on top. That quarter of a head of cabbage, half of an onion and one can of tomatoes made two really cheap and filling meals for me. I will probably further experiment with adding some chicken or beans, but I’m in no rush.

I’ve always loved sauerkraut and coleslaw (Calorie-reducing tip: Drain your deli-bought coleslaw in a colander; it removes a lot of the calories, but the flavor is already marinated into the cabbage, so it still tastes delicious), but plain, old cabbage? Not usually. Unless it was rolled around some beef and rice and topped with tomato sauce.

So while I’m surprised to be so in love with cabbage, I was even more surprised to find out how good it is for you. It’s one of those cruciferous vegetables that we talked about in an earlier post (broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, radishes, bok choy etc.) that contain phytonutrients shown to significantly reduce the risk of some cancers, including breast, prostate, ovarian and bladder. Cabbage, specifically, was linked to a lowered risk of cancers of the stomach, colon and lungs.

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Interestingly, red cabbage is actually better for you than white and may be helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. And, not surprisingly, organically grown cabbage has a higher level of phytonutrients than those that are conventionally grown.

But here’s the bad news: To get the most benefit from all cruciferous vegetables, they should be steamed lightly and not overcooked. So much for my Baked Armpit. It can, however, be lightly sautéed for 10-15 minutes (and sauerkraut is considered to be “lightly cooked”).

The other bad news is that RAW cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, naturally occurring substances that may or may not mess with your thyroid function – if you already have a thyroid disorder. The research is not clear as to whether or not cooking the vegetables decreases the risk, or exactly how big the risk really is. If you have a known thyroid condition, you might want to research that a little further. Or cook the bejeezus out of your cabbage. I guess for us thyroid people, we need to decide whether to go for the proven cancer benefit or the possible thyroid benefit.

But the good news is you only need 3 to 5 servings per week (less than one serving per day) of cruciferous vegetables to lower your risk of cancer.

And I don’t think that sounds all too difficult.


Anonymous said...

I almost busted a gut. Baked armpit. LOL! It was probably the cumin. Every time I add it to a recipe I have to do a pit check. Smells so bad, yet tastes so good.

One of my favourite cabbage recipes is for the crock pot. Layer finely chopped cabbage, pearl barley or brown rice, cooked extra lean ground beef, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Pour a box of low sodium beef broth and a can of diced tomatoes over everything and let it cook for 5-6 hours. You can also add chopped onion and red and green pepper for something a little different.

Just like cabbage rolls without the work.

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Baked armpit. LOL. Hubby doesn't know what he's missing however. Cabbage is good food.

Housewife Savant said...

My first serious go-round w/Atkins I was Big into cabbage.
I ate it almost every day, thickly (?) shredded and stir fried in olive oil with a little bit of garlic. I salted fearlessly and topped it w/parmesan.
It was very lightly cooked, still crunchy and deLISH.
(Shovel it in cuz that oil is nasty when it cools.)

Should I tell you that I shat olive oil for almost two years? No. I'll keep that to m'self. Old Lady Gall Bladder HATES olive oil now.

I'm still fearless about cabbage though.

Ree said...

So, I have to ask. The Polish galumpkis (fat, short cabbage rolls) or the Arab stuff cabbage (long and lean like stuff grape leaves)?

I'm partial to galumpkis myself, but then, Gramma died, and I've been left with the Arab version.

A cabbage lover.

Anonymous said...

The title of this post had me laughing out loud! :-)

Julie said...

I love some cabbage, no matter if it does smell like baked armpit.

MaryRC said...

i dig cabbage, i love to use it in an asian salad... mmmm.

shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, toasted almonds, chicken, shredded iceberg, rice noodles, mandarin oranges (fresh preferably).

1/2 C oil
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C rice vinegar
1/2 C splenda or sugar
1T minced onion
1T toasted sesame seeds
1T poppy seeds

mmmmm good stuff!

this dressing is also good on this star salad.

baby spinach
diced apples
dried cranberries
toasted almonds
diced apples
(chicken is optional, i dont when i make it as a side dish)

try it i triple dog dare ya!

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Ooooh...all of these recipes sound fantastic. I'm going to try them all. And you didn't have to dare me, Mary...that's right up my alley.

Ree - definitely galumpki. My MIL is Polish and makes really good galumpki. And tons of it at a time so she shares. We eat it every single day until it's gone and then cry because we don't have any more.

Tammy Howard said...

We don't have to be told twice to eat cabbage 'round here!

Patty said...

Corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker is one of hubby's favorites! And I love to gently warm sauerkraut with some caraway seed...yum.

Ree said...

I wanted to grow cabbage this year and make some myself, but I couldn't convince Farmer Mr. Hot to give it a go. More corn! was his cry. ;-)

Maytina said...

But why does everything good for you have to taste like armpit? :P I'm honestly trying to eat more fruits and veggies that fight specific diseases, but man I'm not loving it! Your blog will help though, I'm sure. It never occurred to me to fix cabbage with apples and Splenda! Good call!

Midwest Mommy said...

I am with your hubs. I cannot get past the baked armpit smell, lol.

Theresa said...

I LOVE Cabbage and have it at least once a week. I serve it with chili-cornbread pie.

One can of chili-I use vegetarian chili
One can of mexican corn
Cheese-1 cup or so
One package cornbread mix

You can layer as shown or mix the first two and put on bottom
Mix Cornbread mix and put on top

Bake at 450 for 18 minutes

Serve with cabbage and Simple and Yummy! Check points but about 5 per serving and makes 6 servings...

Brandy said...

I love cabbage but it does smell bad when it's cooked. My favorite is cabbage rolls that my friend's polish mother THAT is good eating.

BetteJo said...

When I was a kid we used to get cole slaw from Brown's chicken that was made with something like a french dressing. So as an adult I found that taking some shredded cabbage and adding some light or fat free french dressing duplicated it perfectly and it tastes SO good! Otherwise, me and cabbage - not really friends.