Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sriracha slaw and kimchi

With the increasing popularity of Community Supported Agriculture, some of the dozen or so readers of this blog may have a farm share box and currently be wondering what to do with all of those greens.

Here at the 45th parallel, local produce in June is pretty much limited to spinach, kale, lettuces, bok choy, various other mixed greens and a handful of tender roots, such as radishes and kohlrabi, accompanied by their greens. Last week's veggie box was so full of greens I couldn't get them all in the crisper drawers of the refrigerator.

So what to do?

Fortunately, greens tend to cook down to a fraction of their raw volume. That large bag of spinach looks like enough for at least 6 entrée-sized salads, but sauté it with a little garlic and onion and it becomes a side dish of 2-4 servings. Wash and tear the kale into chunks and dry it out in the oven for kale chips.

After a week of large salads and triage on most of the greens that easily rendered themselves to cooking, I was left the night before new box pick-up day with a gigantic head of bok choy. We wanted to try the new barbecue food truck in the neighborhood, so I thought a sriracha slaw might be a nice accompaniment.

I thinly sliced the bok choy and inspected the crisper drawers for other vegetables that could lend themselves to the enterprise. I shredded three carrots, a purple kohlrabi bulb and half of a red onion left over from something else.

I consulted the internet for some sriracha dressing ideas and made a blend based on what I had on hand.

Sriracha Slaw Dressing

1 Tbsp of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
juice of about 3 limes
2 Tbsps sugar
2 Tbsps Belgian framboise beer
2 Tbsps fish sauce
sriracha to taste

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor, or grate the ginger, press the garlic and whisk everything in a bowl. Toss with the shredded veggies and add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, if you happen to have it, a splash of lemongrass-mint vinegar is nice.

I want to emphasize that the list of ingredients is highly adaptable. I added the beer because it was in the fridge and I thought a little berry flavor would be nice. You could make this dressing with mayonnaise, sriracha and a touch of any complementary acid, such as rice or umeboshi vinegar, or just about any citrus juice.

the finished slaw

Don't toss the slaw with the dressing until you're ready to serve. A topping of chopped roasted peanuts would be very good with this, but I didn't have any.

I still had a huge amount of leftover would-be slaw. I've been trying to eat more fermented foods, so I decided to toss it all together and make kimchi using a modified version of this easy vegetarian recipe. I made a salt and water brine for the leftover veggies and let them soak while watching another silly episode of the Bachelorette (we all have our vices!) Two hours later, I drained the veggies, made a quick porridge of water and rice flour to add to the leftover sriracha dressing, and then tossed everything together. The colorful mixture is now enjoying a vacation under some weights in my sauerkraut crock. Hopefully it will all be good!

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