Monday, July 4, 2011

Using the CSA Basket: Purple Slaw

Although I'm always excited to receive our CSA basket, there is something especially thrilling about the produce that starts to become available in mid-summer; once the garlic, onions, and potatoes start coming in, I know that we can make more and more of our meals from the vegetables in our weekly share. Yesterday, these were the contents of our basket: parsley, celery, red cabbage, green cone cabbage, garlic, chard, roma beans, onions, beets, basil, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and potatoes. We bought two additional heads of garlic and the chicken of the woods mushrooms. We were so very excited about all the produce (not that we're not normally so excited, but this was after we'd missed a couple of weeks of the CSA, too), that we thought we should write about some of the things that we make throughout the week.

Because we got two heads of cabbage and had another two in the fridge from a previous basket, using them was a high priority. Matt and I don't really eat cabbage often, and we were discussing ways of using it, when suddenly it struck me: I should make cole slaw! It must have been a least a year since I've made cole slaw--it's one of those things that is simple, and good, but also something that I forget about. Maybe I forget about cole slaw because in my memory, it's something that is overly-dressed with mayonnaise, made with dry cabbage and carrots, and not very flavorful; no wonder that so often slaw is an unwanted side item. However, the spectacularly fresh cabbage and carrots, and fresh spices really make for a fine slaw. I like, too, that it's almost all raw and almost all local; it makes for a very nice side when the tender salad greens of early summer are fading away with the heat. I'm rather pleased with the way that this purple cole slaw came out, and I'm glad to share at least the recipe--if not the salad--with you.


-small head of cabbage, red or green, shredded
-3 medium or 2 large carrots, grated
-1 teaspoon caraway seeds
-1/2 teaspoon salt, or more--to taste
-2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
-1.5 tablespoon Vegenaise 
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or spicy chile powder
-freshly ground pepper, to taste
-1/2 cup sauerkraut, with brine (optional)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl; allow the slaw to sit for a few hours before consuming--the flavors will meld better this way. The kraut is absolutely optional; I've been looking for ways to use up the beautiful purple kraut that I made last winter, and I think it added an extra level of complexity to the slaw.

If you've recently gotten a cabbage and carrots--or have access to some--I say that coleslaw deserves another chance. It's tangy and spicy, and practically anchors a meal; if you have less than favorable memories of slaw, I definitely commend you to try this zesty version of it.

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