Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Schedule

I know I've really fallen into a summer schedule when I've no idea really if it's Thursday or Sunday... well, it's Sunday and I meant to post this Thursday but the sun has been sunny and we've been eating leftovers and ice cream for three days.

But it's thanks to those wonderful long-lasting summer salads that we've been able to get by on so little.

I usually get laughed when, upon being asked if there’s anything I don’t eat, I respond “Mayonnaise.” But my aversion for mayonnaise actually can be quite limiting: no egg salad, devilled eggs, tuna salad; no too many potato and pasta salads. Of course, there are all sorts of mayo substitutes and I make versions of all of these dishes. Until recently, the one thing that I just went without was cole slaw. Well, that’s not entirely true. Topic of the Town, in Littleton, New Hampshire makes a cole slaw that I adore. (And it’s completely changed my experience of fish fry, since the fact that tartar sauce also has mayonnaise has always kept me to just lemon and vinegar on my fish and chips.) So with cabbages carrots, kohlrabi, and turnips already coming in through the veggie CSA, I decided I’d try to recreate it, and it worked! Or at least, I made a cole slaw that I like.

You’d never know there’s mayo cole slaw
Serves 10-15 as a side or 2-4 for three days straight

1 cabbage
4 carrots
1-2 kohlrabi
1-2 turnips

4 T mayonnaise
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 cup sour cream
4 T vinegar
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Cut the cabbage in half, and then cut each half into quarters. Then, slice as thin as possible in the short direction, so that you end up with very thin ½-1 inch strips. A grater can work too, but the pieces end up shorter and thicker, not nearly as elegant. Peel and grate the carrots, kohlrabi, and turnips.
Mix together the sauce, and mix all ingredients well. Let sit in refrigerator 4-6 hours before serving. Lasts up to 1 week in fridge.

Green Bean Salad
My bean plants (pole) have already climbed out of their tomato cages and are well on their way up the strings that lead far above my head to the porch, with surprisingly beautiful purple flowers, but I've only had one ripe bean so far. But my friend Paul, who lives in Reading and planted a different (bush) variety about two weeks before I got my seeds in the ground, picked his first big bowl of home-grown green beans (bush variety) last week! They were so tender and sweet I ate a lot right off the vine, but I also dared to cook and dress a few, to wonderful results.

Serves 2 as a dinner salad with enough leftover for a light lunch
2/3 lb green beans
12 grape tomatoes
1 cucumber
2 hard boiled eggs
1 potato
4 small or 2 large carrots

Trim and snap in half the green beans, then steam for about 5 minutes. Peel and cut the potato into 1-inch squares and steam (conserve time and fuel by simply emptying the steam basket and reusing the hot water). While you steam the beans, make 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette and divide it into two sealable containers. As soon as you take the green beans and then the potatoes out of the steaming basket, dump them, separately, into the two vinaigrette containers. Close briefly and shake to coat with sauce, then remove lid and allow to cool before placing in fridge, Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 2-3 days.

Cut the grape tomatoes in half and cut the cucumber, carrots, and eggs into ½” squares and toss with beans and potatoes before serving. One of the nice things about this salad is that it can keep, put together, for a day or two.

Perfect with a crusty bread.