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Wasabi Slaw & Summertime

Our cacti bloomed last week, and this little worker plunged right into the powdery vessel of pollen. Pure bee heaven. So heavenly, she apparently took a nap. Hours later, after the flower had closed, I found the bee poking her head through the tiny opening, punch drunk on cactus nectar. Off she flew into the great, wide world of hives and flowers.

That bee really has nothing to do with dinner Saturday night. I just like the image, and I like the idea of productive bees in our yard amid a crisis in the Hymenoptera order.

I also really liked dinner the other night—great friends, warm weather—but alas, we have no photos. We were too busy drinking and eating and chatting (yes, even The Photographer occasionally thinks photos get in the way of life).

It began after 6 p.m. with a pitcher of drinks to celebrate the rapture that wasn’t. I had some sake on hand, and some gin, and visions of a summery saketini. So I put a few glugs of each into a pitcher with ice, fresh oregano, cracked black pepper, a bit of ginger, a drizzle of honey and several spoonfuls of my mother-in-law’s homemade Meyer lemon preserves—drunken herbal saketini slushes. That worked!

Jerry grilled a couple of miso-buttered chickens (just as my former editor taught me to do with turkey). Our friends brought their own farm-fresh salad greens mixed with nuts, berries and pear. I made a batch of Japanese rice topped with gomashio (my, my, MY that is tasty stuff). And we opened our eyes and cleared our noses with potent servings of wasabi slaw.

Wasabi slaw!

The idea had struck on Friday, during a late-night, post-movie dinner at The Standard. Jerry’s sandwich came with slaw so good we had to recreate it in our own style. We dabbled, we achieved. The use of creme fraiche adds a sweet creaminess that far surpasses mayo, and it tempers the shock of hot wasabi. I foresee this slaw as a regular on our summer table.

This recipe comes from memory, and it requires a fair bit of tweaking depending on individual tastes. And now that I have the new AP Stylebook recipe guidelines, I’m adhering to those when and where appropriate. (And they aren’t always, not for the way I cook. If you you’ve read Rambling Spoon for a while, you know that many of my posts are about the experience and the experimentation more than they are standardized instruction manuals on how to make particular dishes.) So go ahead, read the guidelines and play around until you get the summer slaw you like best:

Wasabi Coleslaw
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Serves 8

1 small green cabbage, shredded
3 medium carrots, shredded
1 large shallot, sliced
3/4 cup frozen peas, rinsed
1 to 1 1/2 cups creme fraiche (depending on how creamy you like your slaw)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small piece of ginger, minced
Wasabi to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon of wasabi oil, which eliminates the graininess of powder. If using powder, try to find the most authentic wasabi without a lot of additives. Alter the amount depending on preference and strength of your wasabi, which can vary greatly.)
Drizzle of sesame oil
Drizzle of rice vinegar
Salt to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil, and blanch the shredded cabbage for one minute. Drain, rinse and mix in large bowl with carrots, shallot and peas. Set aside.

Whisk together creme fraiche, garlic, ginger, wasabi, sesame oil, vinegar and salt. Pour over vegetables, mix and refrigerate until ready to eat.


10 replies on “Wasabi Slaw & Summertime”

Ditto what James said. Although I appreciate the recipe (and will try it) I can’t say enough about the photo! It looks like something National Geographic would have taken.

Hi Karen:

I know its been up a while – but I wanted to tell you I like the new look for the site.

Thanks for calling most bees girls and thanks for posting the bit about electromagnetic waves as a potential cause for their disappearance. Interestingly, global warming was not mentioned by any of the researchers in the article – tho that certainly has a hand in it (we’re already seeing gators in North and South Carolina).

As a scientist who loves to cook – I appreciate the sciency stuff.

Wasabi slaw sounds great as well!


Thank you, Kudzu Jungle!

Laura, it’s good to hear from you – glad you like the new looks. I’m fascinated by the sciency stuff too, and I have a whole backlog of it from the past 9 months. More to come….

Thirsty Pig: another flower opened this week, and I watched a bee dive right in, head first, with its butt sticking straight up from the tip of the flower. Amazing.

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