I had to write a small report to go along with my vegetables class potluck final exam.
I thought, why not post it on the blog as well...
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Hot-and-Sour Cabbage Salad from Jump Up and Kiss Me: Spicy Vegetarian Cooking by Jennifer Trainer Thompson
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2-3 serrano chiles, cut in half, seeded, and finely sliced (about 2 tbsp)
1 teaspoon minced and seeded fresh habanero chile
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1 (1-pound) green cabbage shredded finely (about 6 cups)
2 large scallions cut into 3-inch lengths and shredded (about ½ cup)
2 to 3 radishes, cut in half and thinly sliced crosswise
3 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup finely chopped cashews for garnish
Combine everything but the cabbage, and mix well. Toss with cabbage. Refrigerate for one hour. Garnish with cashews before serving.
I chose this recipe because, having made it several times over the years, I’ve noticed dramatic differences in taste depending on how fresh and/or seasonal the vegetables are. Having good cabbage is essential. However, tonight I noticed both the radishes and basil (store-bought) lacked punch. Cabbage and radish grow very well year-round in San Francisco so this recipe would be a good match for a San Francisco vegetable gardener.
The recipe suggests substituting half the cabbage with bean sprouts or shredded carrots. I’ve tried the former (but not the latter) and liked it very much. I invariably substitute ½ of one jalapeno for the chile combination the recipe suggests because 1) I can always find jalapeno at my market and 2) I don’t like chopping up chiles; working on half of one works better for me than handling 3-4. I’d like to replace the sugar with something else, but I haven’t tried that yet. Light sesame oil should never be substituted for dark. I generally use five or six scallions instead of just 2 because I love scallions. I rarely bother with the cashews because nuts are expensive. The red flecks of radish add good visual interest to this salad. It would be interesting to experiment with unusual varieties of garlic and basil in this recipe.
Assuming Bernal Heights (south side), San Francisco gardening conditions:
Garlic (Allium sativum, Amaryllidaceae); planted in fall/winter, garlic can be harvested in mid-summer after the leaves turn yellow despite watering.
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea, Brassicaceae); plant out transplants anytime (Nov-Jan is risky), harvest when heads are firm regardless of size (50-150 days depending on variety and weather).
Scallions (Allium cepa, Amaryllidaceae); plant as bulb onions anytime, pull plants six weeks later to use as green onions.
Radish (Raphanus sativus, Brassicaceae); direct seed in the garden anytime “except during very wet periods or during prolonged heat spells”, plant to harvest 1-2 months later.
Basil (Ocimum basilus, Lamiaceae); set out transplants in May (start from seed Feb-Mar), basil will grow during the summer and fall in San Francisco’s sunbelt. Harvest some leaves as needed before flowering.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum, Apiaceae); sow seeds anytime, harvest as necessary, before flowering.