Our CSA started up a couple weeks ago and for right now is limited to greens, radishes and rhubarb. In Washington there has been more rain in the first few days of June than there typically is in the whole MONTH of June. This has definitely affected the local farms but the nice thing about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) is that they help farms be supported in the good or difficult growing years. I’ve been playing around with our radishes the past few weeks to figure out some new ways to eat them besides with butter on fresh bread (which is amazing by the way!).
One of my favorite BBQ sandwiches is from Maximus Minimus, the pig shaped food truck in Seattle. They have both a spicy and a sweet coleslaw and I always have trouble deciding which I like better. I decided to create my own coleslaw using components from both of their recipes. My cole slaw recipe balances mildly spicy ingredients like radishes and cilantro with the sweetness of cranberries and honey mustard.
On our first wedding anniversary I made an amazing Thai chicken salad with tons cilantro for us to eat as a picnic at Mt Rainier. Imagine my horror when Eric took a bite and exclaimed “Cilantro! I hate cilantro!” and our picnic ended. I was pretty devastated, more so than a simple salad should make me, but that was the first time I made food that Eric didn’t like. That was when I changed my view of cooking from it being an art to being a science. If an experiment fails it just means one or more component needs to change, as opposed to a work of art not being liked which feels like a personal rejection. As I experimented I discovered that the real problem was just the ratio of cilantro to everything else.
Now I have several cilantro recipes under my belt (like chicken chilaquiles and salsa verde) that I know Eric likes. It gives me confidence to be able to experiment with the few things Eric doesn’t like (such as beets or red sauce) and find a way that he will enjoy eating them. Even the failures are just failed experiments that simply needed a different combination of flavors, textures, or ingredients. Thinking this way has really increased my ability to be bold and daring in the kitchen, fulfilling my childhood nickname of “Daring Diana”.
We ate this spicy sweet coleslaw two different ways, first on its own as a side dish with grilled steak. Next we tried it on BBQ pork sandwiches, which was so good that I’m going to be including it in this week’s cooking class! A couple weeks ago Eric and I chopped 15 heads of cabbage for a salad for his sister’s wedding, so I definitely have a chopping system down. Here’s my not so successful photoshop attempt at how to chop cabbage.
You need to cut it in half first, slicing through the stem end. Lay each half cut side down and cut it into halves, again slicing through the stem end. You can then pull out the hard white core and reserve those for soup or curry, but still leave the stem pieces intact to make chopping easier. Start at the end opposite the stems and chop very small strips with your knife perpendicular to the length of the cabbage. By the way I love using my chop and scoop board that came in my IFBC gift bag, it makes it so easy to just scoop ingredients into my bowl as I chop (It’s also today’s daily special on Foodbuzz!).
You can use a bottled honey mustard dressing, or make your own with dijon mustard, honey, and rice or cider vinegar mixed to the ratios you prefer (I usually do 1/2 cup honey, 3 TBS mustard, and 2 TBS vinegar). Do you use coleslaw for something other than a side dish or sandwiches?
Radish Cranberry Cole Slaw Recipeserves 8-10
1 green cabbage thinly chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cilantro leave, chopped
6 small to medium radishes sliced into matchsticks
1/2-1 cup honey mustard (from a bottle or homemade)
salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients well adding salt and pepper to taste. Let sit 20 minutes before serving. Serve as a side salad or with pulled pork sandwiches.
Approximate cost/serving: One of the things I love about cole slaw is how cheap it is. Get dried cranberries at a store with bulk bins, that’s much cheaper then buying them prepackaged. The whole bowl cost only $2.50 and at 10 servings that’s just 25 cents a serving!
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: Good to go on both counts but I’d suggest making your own honey mustard for gluten free as some bottled dressings contain gluten.