Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I have gotten the hang of "Asian"-flavored slaw.

First off, there have been no more recurrences of the dream where I choose to abandon the retarded boy. This is a big relief.

Lately, I've been trying to pin down what makes an "Asian" flavored coleslaw tick (don't you just love how since the Blog Quality Bar has been set so low, I can mention this entirely without a segue, and it will seem like high literature simply because there are no misspellings and you can't tell which band I'm listening to?). I like a mayonnaise-based American coleslaw as much as the next guy, but this one travels better and has a lighter aftermath. The secret is fairly equal parts cilantro and mint—herbs you'd never find in the original—which, when paired, give it an exotic quality. Here's a rough recipe (I never measure this carefully, except for the dressing, and it always turns out great).

1 small handful chopped mint
1 small handful chopped cilantro
1 grated carrot
2 chopped scallions, including green top
3 regular handfuls of paper-thin sliced cabbage (I get the pre-bagged kind)
1 small handful toasted chopped almonds or peanuts (chop and toast these yourself for stronger flavor - they will cut nicely with a sharp chef's knife)

2 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar (plain rice vinegar OK)
1 TBSP peanut butter (any kind)
juice of 1/2 lemon

Once the nuts have cooled, stir the salad ingredients together and store in the fridge. Shake the dressing thoroughly to dissolve the peanut butter, then dress and toss the salad right before serving, or keep cool for up to an hour.

I made this to go alongside a nice piece of sesame-marinated halibut steak a few days ago. While I was watching the fish under the broiler Ray wandered in, offering to help me throw a few Oranjebooms back. I let him sample a forkful of the slaw out of the bowl where I was storing it in the fridge, and while I was plating the fish he ate the entire thing (about four full servings). When I pointed out that it had been for my dinner he looked sort of aghast at himself, and made this really scared, upset, scrunched-up mouth. He set the fork and mixing bowl down extremely carefully in the sink and walked really quickly out the back door, cursing something inaudible but clearly self-chastising (he also slapped his forehead every few steps until he left the yard).