The peanuts were the best part of this salad I made during a minor domestic crisis.
March 22: Thai Style Red Cabbage Salad + Fire Department
I based my salad on this recipe at a lovely blog called Plate and Pour, but I left out a few things and wasn’t paying super-great attention while I was making it because I was also investigating the buildup of an odor potentially indicating a minor gas leak downstairs where the line comes in from the propane tank, or in the room next to it, and I was waiting for the gas company to reach the gas man, and the gas man to reach me, then finally calling the town fire department too.
All while making a salad, because I couldn’t miss a day of Salad Month! (Also, what else is there to do while waiting?)
Cabbage and carrots like party confetti after shredding in the Cuisinart. Pretty! And loaded with nutrients. But requiring a lot of chewing, chewing, chewing like I was some kind of herbivore.
Maybe I had too much shredded cabbage and carrots relative to the vinaigrette but when I tasted this salad (just before the three nice guys from the fire department arrived with their gas leak testing gadgets and big truck with flashing lights) I felt like it didn’t have as much flavor as I was expecting.
Or maybe it just couldn’t compete with my growing stress and irritability. You call the gas company and press #3 for “Emergency” and #4 for “Gas Leak” and then they put you on hold. While you’re on hold, they play music interrupted now and then by announcements about how great they are.
Vinaigrette ingredients rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger seemed so promising! Just reading about them in the recipe made my mouth water.
Here is a helpful tip from the kitchn: Store Grated Ginger in the Freezer.
I have a little ritual when I bring fresh ginger home from the market: peel, grate, freeze. Not only is this a great way to keep ginger fresh longer, but it becomes incredibly easy to punch up a sauce, stir fry, or smoothie any time you want some gingery spice.
I used some snips of homegrown herbs in this salad: Thai basil and mint.
My pots of herbs are surviving okay in this southeast window, with a view out into the snowy woods, but I did have a little bug problem with the parsley and it has been dumped in the great eternal mulch pile (under the back deck).
The colors were the second best part of this salad, after the peanuts.
The color of “red” cabbage depends on the pH of the soil in which it’s grown.
In acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish, in neutral soils they will grow more purple, while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages. This explains the fact that the same plant is known by different colours in various regions. Furthermore, the juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator, turning red in acid and blue in basic solutions.
As for the gas leak, there was one. (The odorless gas has a stinky odor added on purpose – it smells, to me, like a dead mouse. And I know that smell from experience, both dead mouse and gas leak.) But the leak was small and related to a gas fireplace insert (pilot light malfunction? clogged flue?) in a room we don’t use much. The gas line to just that fireplace is shut down until it can be serviced.
My husband arrived home just when it was all over.
I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo. – Sylvia Plath