Thursday, August 19, 2010

fall slaw

I harvested the first red cabbage. After the lessons learned from eggplants and cucumbers, I began to worry that leaving the cabbage in the ground all summer might not result in a larger head of cabbage, it might just result in a tougher head of cabbage! My fears were not ill-founded. I was not able to cut the cabbage off its cabbage stalk with my garden shears, but had to pull the whole thing out of the ground. It reminded me of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. You see the resemblance, I'm sure!

It also reminded me of certain old-fashioned so-called cabbage roses. I've always loved that rose form.

Anyway, one cabbage was out of the ground, tattered outside leaves removed and the stalk sawed off with a big, serrated knife. The moment of truth was at hand. I picked up my sharpest chef knife and prepared to cut the cabbage head in half. My first impression was of a wonderful peppery aroma. I've never smelled anything quite that strong or lovely from a cabbage I've bought in a store. I only hoped that it was not because the cabbage was past-eating; over-ripe! My second impression was of delight in the precise form on the inside. I would love a stamped impression of this, on paper. Actually, I think I've seen a wonderful woodcut of something similar, along the lines of Albrecht Dürer.

I chopped and tasted. The cabbage is not the tenderest I've ever tasted, but it had a wonderful flavor. When combined with a mustard ginger dressing, it was delicious! This, by the way, is one of the most flavorful slaw dressings I've ever tasted. You can combine the cabbage with grated carrot and/or granny smith apples and it is even better. It had a lovely taste of Fall - and the promise of cool weather and harvest. . . .

Here's the recipe for Fall Slaw:

1/4 cup vinegar (red wine or cider)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons grated ginger root
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (if you also have coarse whole-grain mustard, do half regular Dijon and half whole-grain)
2 teaspoons mayo
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcstershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery seed
freshly ground pepper

Whisk it all together, and then whisk in just a bit of good olive oil at the very end (2 to 3 tablespoons, say). Pour the oil in slowly as you whisk, so it will emulsify. Stir in the slaw. It's even better the next day.

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