Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Slaw: Cabbage & Grapefruit

It's easy to get bogged down with starch in the winter. The holidays are all about stuffing and potatoes - mashed, baked, candied, au gratin - and meat. Which isn't a starch but is often a similar color. Not to mention all of the cheese - cheese plates, on crackers, in balls, mixed into the stuffing and potatoes and meat...tis the season of beige food. It makes sense, of course. If we were actually eating with the seasons, it would be nothing but root vegetables and meats, and preserved things, like cheese. Very few fresh veggies and fruits - mostly fresh from a can or a jar. So it's nice to have some interesting salad options to brighten up our plates. Cabbage - which gets a bad rap, I know - is much hardier than lettuce and thus makes a good cold-weather raw option.

Fresh cabbage has a nice peppery bite that can stand up to the bright citrus of grapefruit, and hot peppers and toasted cumin seed add warmth to this refreshing mid-winter, xmas-colored slaw.

Cabbage-Grapefruit-Cumin Slaw

1 1/2 lb green cabbage (1 lg head), thinly sliced

1 - 2 grapefruit, peeled & "diced"*

5 - 10 red orchid peppers (or other red chili or even green chilis)**, halved the long way, seeds removed & thinly sliced

1/2 tsp toasted cumin seed***

1 tbsp Mirin (rice cooking wine)

1/2 tbsp brown sugar, packed

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil

one: Whisk cumin seed, Mirin, brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in the bottom of a large (serving) bowl.

two: Toss cabbage, grapefruit and peppers in dressing. Let sit for 1 hr.

three: Serve. (about 6)

*Once you've peeled the grapefruit, cut it in half top-to-bottom. Then slice each half into about 1/2 in. slices cross-ways. You can then pull apart the slices into neat, bite-sized segments.

**If you can't find the bonnet chilis - which I happen to get at my local farmer's market - you may of course use any chili that you can find. Just beware of how spicy the chili you've chosen is, and how spicy-tolerant anyone you might try to feed this to is. Adjust pepper amount and the size of your slice accordingly.

***Heat a frying pan over medium heat until hot. Shake tsp of cumin seed over the surface of the pan and toast until fragrant - shaking the pan gently once or twice. This shouldn't take much more than a minute.

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