Carrot Zucchini Slaw

When I was growing up, I didn’t know or understand much about coleslaw. Except that you got it from KFC. And that it had an odd milky texture, which turned me off, and a delightful combination of sweet and crunch, which I enjoyed. So I was an unenlightened and confused child in terms of coleslaw. Its rare presence was just about right for how much I both enjoyed and disliked it.

At some point, something changed. I couldn’t tell you what it was, except that “they” say taste buds change every 7 years. I don’t know who “they” are, and I don’t know if this is actually true. Let’s say it is. I can remember a moment driving down the road, just about a year ago, and NEEDING to eat some coleslaw. I didn’t know why. I only knew that I had to figure out how to create that sweet and strange crunch. So I did.

I can tell you what actually changed was that I began to really enjoy cabbage in a way I never had before. When I put two and two together, it made sense that all of a sudden I was creating all sorts of coleslaws just based on what I had in my fridge. This time, I had some carrots and zucchini and a desire to make a slaw that looked kind of elegant. I think it may have worked. You tell me.

Carrot Zucchini Slaw

1 Large Carrot

1 Small Zucchini or 1/3 Large Zucchini

1/3 Head Cabbage

1/3 Red Onion

2 Egg Yolks

1/4 C. Olive Oil

2 T. White Wine Vinegar or TT

1 Clove Garlic

1/8 t. Horseradish

1/4 t. Salt or TT

TT Fresh Ground Pepper

Dill Springs to Garnish

1. Peel the outer layer of the carrot and zucchini. I tend to peel things like cucumber and zucchini only partially (in stripes) so as to leave a little color. But that is up to you.

2. Using your peeler, create long strips of carrot and zucchini. If you have an especially long vegetable, cut it in half or peel starting halfway and then flip it over (that’s what I did; it gives you something to hold on to). Your strips will stop being elegant and start being an annoyance at around 4 inches.

3. Do your best with the cabbage and onion to replicate the strips of carrot and zucchini by slicing them thin. Toss it all in a bowl and set aside while you make the dressing.

4. As for the remaining ingredients, you will need to create a nice dressing with the emulsion method. Start with the yolks. Beat them well and SLOWLY pour in your olive oil until the consistency is quite thick. If you need further guidance or examples, go here.

5. You can add the rest of the ingredients to the dressing at this point. Start with a splash here and there of WW Vinegar and the rest of the ingredients and taste test your way into deliciousness.*

6. Toss the dressing over the vegetables, chill if you’d like, and garnish with dill springs. This makes 2 side salads.

*I’m a true believer that no two people have the same flavor palate. Make food according to what tastes good to you (and the people you will be feeding it to, if that is the case). Just remember that recipes are usually just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. That is, unless you are trying to replicate a classic…

Happy eating!

Confetti Salsa

For those of you who are little kitchen handicapped, you probably have no idea what to bring to a gathering that will not make you look like…well, that you are kitchen handicapped. The secret to fooling everyone is just to use really great ingredients that will shine no matter what you throw together. Depending upon your skill level, even a simple salsa may feel like it’s over your head. But trust me, it really is not. It is buying and cutting. And seeing as you are reading, I’m guessing you can also accomplish these two things, as well.

I went to my local Farmer’s Market in search of some great ingredients for the next week. What I stumbled upon was this beauty.


So, I will admit, this was a $6 tomato (it weighed in at 1 lb.). BUT. Before you scoff, think about this… When you go to the grocery store, you buy hothouse tomatoes (grown in a dark warehouse) from somewhere else. They traveled a long way to get here. And although they look perfect, they are not yet ripe and delicious and perfect. And when you buy those “perfect” tomatoes, they still cost you $3.99 a pound. A pound is really only 2 or 3 medium tomatoes.

I say, this beautiful, perfectly ripe, local tomato is more along the lines of perfect. What better way to show off the brilliance of your shining Farmer’s Market find than to put it in a dish that features it raw, and happens to be an international favorite: salsa.

To offset the color of the tomato (and correspondingly, the unique flavor), I decided I wasn’t going to put it in a traditional salsa. Here is what I put together.

Confetti Salsa

1# Yellow Tomato (I would choose an Heirloom variety that appeals to you), diced

1 Red Jalapeno or Red Fresno Chile, chopped and de-seeded

1/3 C. Mango, chopped

2 T. Red Onion, chopped

1 T. Cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

This is a sweet salsa, not super spicy. If you prefer more spice, add another chile or put it through the food processor with the seeds. You could even hit it with a dash of lime to change the flavor profile a bit. This portion makes a small bowl, enough for an appetizer for 2-4 depending on the menu. But it will be a big hit so I’d double or triple the recipe. Grab some of your favorite tortilla chips and hit the road. None be the wiser that you were once kitchen handicapped.

Happy sharing!

Between Everything and Nothing

There is a space between feeling that we can accomplish everything and that we can accomplish nothing. I have been to both extremes and am currently trying to figure out how exactly to settle in that middle space. It is the space where we accomplish something. I am actually finding this more and more difficult to figure out.

Generally, it happens like this: I watch some documentary or hear about some cause or get some random and brilliant idea. Then, I get excited. It is a motivation that springs up from somewhere in the depths of my being and I never knew it was there. Due to this excitement, this spring from which I had never realized I could drink and feel alive, I set myself on a path towards a new kind of excellence. I go gangbusters. Then, I stop. A dead stop. Because it is too much that I have tried to take on and accomplish. I am simply overwhelmed by my zeal.

This is what I mean. This is the space where I try to accomplish everything. I try to take on what seems like everything in the whole world. Every good cause, every fight against injustice, every measure to save the earth, every plight of sorrow, every move towards better health, a better tomorrow, a better me, etc. You see that this is clearly too much, right?

In the dead stop that my overwhelming zeal causes, I meet the space where nothing is accomplished. This space has its own set of problems, as well. Most of which are obvious. The ultimate issue of doing nothing, however, is actually the deadening of my own spirit. It is not that I instantly become a bad person. Not at all. It is that in this failure that has come from my overwhelmed zeal, that is exactly what I end up feeling like: a failure.

When we feel like failures, we do fail. Unfortunately, it is a law of nature. Productive people usually feel more productive and have more energy (within reason), thus creating for themselves a cyclical productivity. People who feel like a failure, feed their failure. Thus creating a similar negative cycle.

The key is recognizing what you are able to accomplish and what matters enough to you to actually move toward it, and then balancing the two. There are many things that my eyes are now opened to that they never have been before. Some of these things excite me to the very core. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of whatever movement is happening. The struggle for me, however, is that I tend to lose sight of the fact that I can’t win every battle or I approach every issue as if my life depended on it. Do not do this (unless, of course, your life really does depend on it).

Please do not misunderstand me; there are many things worth diving head first into and giving your all to. What I really mean is that it is more important to take a step in the right direction and keep walking than to run straight into it, only to be flung back to your starting place. There is no shame in not giving your all to everything. However, it is worth considering if you are giving nothing of yourself to anything worthy and good, whether for yourself or others.

Progress and balance are key words. Keep moving forward, keep finding good things to give yourself to, but maintain your balance along the way.

The space between everything and nothing is something. You may not be saving the world, but doing something is still something. It is still a step in the right direction. Maybe there will come a day when you realize that your balanced progress has come so far that you are actually accomplishing the everything you once dreamed of.

Summer Fennel Refresher

I don’t really drink soda. So when summer comes, I’m always looking for new beverages to peak my interest. I don’t have anything particularly against soda. It’s just that it’s so very…well, not real. So this summer, I had some extra fennel and opted to try something a little more real. The idea came to me when I cut off the stalk and realized there was a hole down the middle of it. “A straw!” I said. And a wonderful straw it was, indeed.

Also, if you are unfamiliar with fennel, it is the flavor of black licorice. Some call it anise, but it is not exactly anise, just very similarly flavored. This drink is reminiscent of root beer and ginger beer. The vanilla will add an element of cream soda. Since I love those flavors, it may come out a little strong or not sweet enough for you. Use more carbonated water and/or sugar, no harm done.

Summer Fennel Refresher

2 Medium-Large Stalks Fennel (just the green part)

1 T. Sugar

1 t. Molasses

1/4 t. Ground Ginger

12 oz. Chilled Carbonated Water

Optional:

1 t. Vanilla (I would use Vanilla Bean Paste)

1. Slice the smaller stalk of fennel very thin. Leave the larger stalk whole, cutting off each end until you can see the hole through the middle.

2. Muddle together fennel slices, sugar, molasses, ginger, and vanilla (if choosing to use) in a sturdy glass.

3. Pour carbonated water over the mixture and garnish with fennel straw. Use an extra fennel stalk with the fronds still on for more garnish, if you choose.

Happy refreshing!

Sweet & Sour Cucumber Salad

It has been far too long since I have posted anything. There is essentially no excuse. Except that I’m moving soon and getting trapped under a to-do list. Today, however, I’m trying to remember there are more things than our to-do lists that drive us. We are meant to live lives that mean something. Lives that help us and others to see the light. To encourage and create and entrust each other with ourselves. I feel that I am not doing so well on this lately. So, today I remember that this blog is one small way I influence the world positively, with both my food and my words. And although there is a recipe as the primary focus of the post, hopefully those of you reading this will be a little bit encouraged and inspired to live your life to the fullest today. Every day should be a meaningful day for you. We all fail some of the time, but the fact that we are striving for more says something profound about each of us. Be brilliant today in whatever way you are brilliant. You have something unique to give to the world that no one else does.

Sweet & Sour Cucumber Salad

1/2 Cucumber

Handful Green Beans, Snapped and blanched

1/3 Fennel Bulb

1 Baby Onion

1 T. Chives, chopped

1 Mint leaf, torn

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 t. Sugar

Pinch Salt & Pepper

2 T. Dill, chopped

This is a “throw it together” kind of salad. nothing extremely fancy, except how the flavors co-mingle. Cut it all up in whatever way you find most attractive. But I would try to make it all a little uniform because we eat with our eyes first. The measurements are for one salad but as you can see, it would be extremely easy to multiply this and bring to a friendly gathering.

It does well to chill this salad before diving in, although you could do that, too. The lime juice will act to marinate the vegetables a little bit and the flavor will be more intense.

Happy eating!