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Nikki Dinki's Comfort Food Recipes


August 24, 2017

Red Cabbage + Raspberry Grilled Cheese

Not that a grilled cheese isn’t great all by itself. But a Red Cabbage and Raspberry Grilled Cheese is something truly special. I’ve always loved grilled cheese. As a kid I appreciated that it was made up of two of my favorite things—bread and cheese, and ONLY bread and cheese. Now I find I need a bit more from this classic sandwich. I want not only the gooeyness of melted cheese and the hot crunch of buttered, toasted bread but also a sweet and tart filling that breaks up the rich layers of melted cheese. I want texture, I want sautéed cabbage that provides crunch along with a color that makes people stop and take notice. Quite simply I want THIS grilled cheese.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups lightly packed shredded purple cabbage (12 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup raspberry jam
¼ cup champagne vinegar
8 ounces fontina cheese, sliced
4 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the cabbage and salt and cook until tender but not mushy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the jam and vinegar and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cabbage is completely tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat.

2. Heat a second large skillet over medium-low heat. Butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Place 2 pieces of bread, butter side down, on a plate. Top each with 3 alternating layers: first of cheese, then cabbage, and then the rest of the cheese, dividing them equally, then finish off with another slice of bread, butter side up. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook them until browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook until the other side has browned and the cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes more, gently pressing the sandwiches as they cook. Cut in half and serve.

Makes 2 sandwiches.

Spicy Lentil + Brussels Sprout Soup
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups yellow onion (1 medium onion), finely chopped
1 cup red pepper (1 large pepper), finely chopped
1 cup carrots (about 3 medium carrots), finely chopped
1 cup celery (2 stalks of celery), finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt *check
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups veggie or chicken stock
1 ½ cups brown or green lentils
1 pound Brussels sprouts (7-9 large Brussels sprouts), shredded (2.5 cups packed)
1 ½ tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*
1 avocado, pitted + chopped into ¼- to ½-inch dice
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add the onion, peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Cook this mixture until the veggies are tender—about 7 minutes.

2. Then add the stock, lentils, 1 ½ cup packed shredded Brussels Sprout, chipotles, and another 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook 35-40minutes until the lentils are al dente. Taste soup and add salt if necessary and more stock or water if soup is too thick

4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the remaining 1 cup of Brussels sprouts, the avocado, lime juice, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt together until well combined.

5. To serve, divide the soup into serving bowls and top it with the Brussels sprout mixture from Step 4 and some cilantro.

*Puree or finely chop the entire can of chipotles in adobo and use 1.5 tablespoons for this recipe. Store the remaining in the bottom of a Ziploc bag in the freezer and cut of tablespoon amounts as needed.

Makes about 8 cups, serves 4.



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