Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interesting Vegetables: Part Three ...

... featuring the lovely and talented red cabbage. Ok, so I know I'm not winning any prizes with this photo - its the best I could do given my lack of experience in culinary photography and the limited tools at my disposal here. I understand that a light box is essential for photographing food ... but I have yet to take the plunge and buy one.

When I first began the blog, I wasn't really thinking about doing the "foodie" thing here. I hadn't really planned on taking elaborate photos of my ingredients and their resulting dishes. I figured whatever was lacking in visual appeal would be made up for in quirkiness ... hello chicken head! And, besides, I rather like the aesthetic of the pictures I've chosen so far. But then I got to surfing around and, honestly? The food blogs with personal pictures are more compelling. There's no denying it, they just look cooler. They make you want to make their recipes. Diva that I am, I not only want to look good, I want my blog to look good too ... I mean, I'd hate to have to mock myself.

Then again, does the world really need another foodie blog? Aren't the 450 million currently operating ones enough? I dunno. The more I think about it, the more my answer might be: no, they're not enough ... because who but me has my Divalicious perspective? I'm not reinventing the wheel here at Beach Eats, but what I have to offer is my sense of humor and the perspective of a natural born Diva ... on a diet. Are there other foodie Divas writing out there? No doubt ... but can they also wax poetic on the perils of Brillo Head? Or give advice on how to handle Combat Shopping? I think not. I hope not.

Bottom line: I'm both a foodie and a Diva ... and maybe its time I embraced that. So, the more I think about it the more I'm inclined to try my hand at this food photography deal and see how it goes. Bear with me, this could be an adventure! (At least until I spring for the light box.)

All of which brings us to the recipe of the day, Asian Slaw. You may think I'm crazy when you see this list of ingredients ... but don't blame me ... I adapted this one from Alton Brown. I know, he's kind of an irritant too. I think that's a prerequisite for having a show on Food Network. Don't get me wrong, I dig his recipes and I suspect he's great fun in person ... I just wish he'd stick to cooking and give those silly bits a rest.

Anyhoo, my search for the perfect Asian slaw recipe began and ended with his take on it. For my money it seemed to have the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors that I was seeking ... though, of course, I've made a few changes. Do not freak out when you see that there is mint in this recipe. Mint? In slaw? Yes and yes. It is essential and the end result will be lacking without it. Feel free to do as I did and forget to purchase the scallions ... oops! ... but I forbid you to leave out the mint. I mean it ... don't make me come up there!

Props to AB for the original recipe - its amazing! I loved this slaw and I know you will too. It was the perfect way to highlight the beauty and flavor of bro's cabbage and I wish he were here to partake of it. Given all the jalapeƱo hoo-ha of late, I substituted some Sriracha sauce and that was a fine solution. AB's recipe called for Napa cabbage, but I prefer Savoy, and I decided to include a bit of that along with the red. My inner fat-cop made me reduce the amount of peanut butter, but feel free to increase it if you're is off duty. And lastly, I've added some toasted black sesame seeds and a bit of celery salt just because. I served the slaw with some cold roast chicken and a side salad. A more perfect summer meal I could not imagine. Thanks again bro, I hope you like what I've done with your wares!

Asian Slaw with Red Cabbage:

  • 1 small head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head of Savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp. dark, toasted sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter (sugar free if your on SB)
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha sauce*
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into fine julienne
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into fine julienne
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated into shreds
  • 3 scallions, chopped (both white and tender green parts)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint, cut into fine chiffonade
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, cut into fine chiffonade
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. of toasted black sesame seeds
In the bowl of a food processor, or blender, combine the ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, peanut butter, red wine vinegar, Sriracha sauce and celery salt. Pulse and process until well combined and the dressing has emulsified. Reserve.

In a large bowl, combine all the shredded cabbage, both peppers and the carrots and stir. Pour the mixed dressing over the vegetables and toss / stir well to combine so that they are well coated. Add the scallions, mint, cilantro, black pepper and sesame seeds and stir / toss again to combine.

Serve and enjoy! As written this recipe will serve 4 to 6 people.

* Sriracha sauce can be very spicy, depending on the brand. The original slaw recipe called for some minced serrano chiles and they are on the salmonella list now as well, so I opted to leave them out. I love Sriracha sauce, but if you are heat-averse, leave it out or substitute a dash of Tobasco Sauce, which is more mild. I really did forget the scallions and, frankly, I don't think they're necessary. YMMV, so the choice is up to you. This recipe is perfect for Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet, but if you are on phase one, you may leave out the carrot. Enjoy!


Deb said...

I adore red cabbage and your slaw recipe is a great addition to my stock of recipes using this veggie wonder.

I've got to disagree though about AB - I love the corny bits and his incredible food knowledge - I guess I'm more of a food geek than a Diva but I share your enthusiasm for all things food.

Have a great day/night/weekend!

The Diva on a Diet said...

I know, I think I'm the only one with a negative opinion of that show ... but I can't stop watching because I do like him and he's a treasure trove of information. Also, every recipe of his that I've made has been fantastic!

Deb, do you have any interesting red cabbage recipes to share? I suspect there will be more in my future and I'm not really sure whatall to do with it?!?

If you do, feel free to email them to me at: or if its quick you could post it here. No pressure though, I'm just looking for some other things to do with it.

You have a great night too!



So this is the famous red cabage huh? i love the colour of red cabbages when you chop them in half - it's got all this great marble-like texture to it that's just so cool.

Your slaw looks nice, too bad I can't have lol!

Scarlet x

pixelgal said...

I'm with you on Alton Brown. Love his ideas/recipes/info but absolutely HATE the silly stuff. Guess the old age fairy has once again sprinkled her pixie dust upon me....more's the pity. But thanks so much for the slaw recipe. I have two heads of bro's cabbage waiting for great things to be done to them so I'll definitely try this one and hope to convince Diva Daddy to do the same..but as you know this may be a hard sell. Wish Bro would comment on your blog.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Scarlet - you're right, it does look like marble! This one was exceptionally pretty ... I just had to photograph it! LOL

Pixelgal - Yeah, I dunno if you'll be able to get Papa Diva to try the slaw ... doesn't seem like him. Still, I think you'll like it ... give it a try and you can always pawn some off on bro and K. I think they'd love it.

Anonymous said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pictures!
will try the recipe ASAP

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, Beck! I'm not sure I'm going to do it all the time, but its good to hear a positive response. I think you'll dig the slaw too.


pixelgal said...

Now that you've blown my cover I am a bit reticent about praising your wonderful pictures....lest all your fans think I'm biased! BUt here it is anyway----great pictures! And Alton Brown can eat his heart out as your scholarly discussion of splenda has nothing on him! Ciao dear Diva

The Diva on a Diet said...

Aw, thanks pixelgal!!!


pixelgal said...

Made this recipe without sriracha, sesame seeds, (cause I don't use them) lime or cilantro (cause I don't have 'em) It was delicious, so said my samplers and me. Can't wait to try the stuffed zucchini as bro's garden keeps many families from the produce aisles. And the tomatoes are just getting red! Thank you, Bro!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Pixelgal - I love to hear that you're making my recipes your own. That's precisely my intention here... use what you've got and adjust to your own tastes. I hope everyone is encouraged to experiment with the recipes as you have done.

So glad you liked it! :)