I used to have a Belgian Grandma named Elza who played a lot of solitaire.
(On the other side of the family – no relation to my (only) Grandad.)
Unfortunately I have no memory of her cooking. I have somewhere a three-page hand-written receipt on foolscap for Carbonnade of Beef, and I know she used to make braised red cabbage, but having lived the last of her years in the southern states and not wanting to fly, I don’t think she ever made it for me. I never got her recipe. Then again, I have no idea if it was any good.
My pal Sue is now the authority on braised red cabbage in my world. She makes it with Okanagan cherries she dries herself every year, but not completely – she leaves some moisture in them, so that they’re a little bit squishy and juicy, like a raisin that has been plumped in booze. Because they aren’t completely dry, they need to be frozen. It was the discovery (most likely by force of gravity) of a small baggie of said cherries in my freezer (and half a ginormous red cabbage in my fridge) that prompted me to make a batch. It’s one of those things – like beef bourguignon – that’s ever so satisfying to simmer in a cast iron pot over the course of an afternoon.
And its bright purpleness and tang somehow brightens up those bleak midwinter veggie blahs.