Crunchy Chewy Thai Salad

Bethany came down from Bellingham to spend the day with me.  She left with Baby Emmett (who's not really a baby anymore) about an hour ago, and I miss her already.  She brought spring onions, rhubarb, and mint from her yard, and we met up at Volunteer Park with Naomi, Isaac, and Reggie.  I love Seattle parks this time of year.  The grass is lush and green and the curse of water conservation has yet to set in.  I know--I'm an earth-hater.  I suppose it's a good thing we're not wasting millions of gallons of potable water on lawns, but they sure get prickly in the summer. Today, Volunteer Park was heavenly--varied patches of sun and shade, everyone drying out from the wet spring.

My kitchen was a madhouse.  Wyatt said, "Mom, you don't usually make ten things in the morning."  It wasn't my best moment, shoving toast at the kids while making cookies, toasting nuts, chopping papaya, whisking salad dressing.  But the picnic was worth it and I love how Wyatt had a sense of humor about it.  

This salad is a take-off from Nigella Lawson's Crunchy Salad with Hot and Sour Dressing, and we ate A LOT of it. Lots of folks in the blogosphere have been singing the praises of cabbage lately, and I join them.  Hail to thee, cabbage, oh lowliest and crunchiest of budget-friendly vegetables!  If I have a head of cabbage in the fridge, I can think of a million uses for it. 

It's strange- Monday (the hummus day) was lonely--no calls on my cell phone, no conversations with other adults, no one bearing witness.  Today was full of friends, phone calls, connections.  Next time I have another day like Monday, I hope I can remember it all evens out.  I hope I can relax into it, absorb whatever it's trying to teach me.  I probably won't, but you are free to remind me.

For the last several months, I've been reading Jack Kornfield's book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.  The contrasts of my week make me think of him saying, "We are all neck-deep in grace...Whatever our circumstances, we have the perfect capacity to awaken."  Neck-deep in grace, whether I'm lonely or with friends; whether I'm bored or busy; whether I'm giddy or suffering. It was easy to see that grace today.  hanks for coming, Bethany.  I love you and love our friendship.

Crunchy Chewy Thai Salad
Adapted from Nigella Lawson.  She calls for mushrooms, bean sprouts, and baby corn in addition to the broccoli, green beans, and cabbage.  I didn't use those, but I'm sure that would be delicious.  I added slivers of chile dried mango for chewiness and extra heat and some chopped chile lime mixed nuts from Trader Joes--the kind with dried kaffir lime leaves in them.  And I doubled the proportions given here and we had a version for dinner, too!  More on that, later.

For dressing:
2 Tb. rice vinegar
2 Tb. canola oil
2 ts. Tom Yam paste or red curry paste (available in little tubs from Asian markets)
1 ts. sesame oil
1 ts. honey

For salad:
2 c. broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 c. green beans, halved if long
2 c. finely shredded cabbage
1/4 julienned chile dried mango
1/2 c. chopped toasted peanuts or slivered almonds (or the amazing chile lime nuts from Trader Joe's)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Cook the broccoli and green beans together in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain and refresh them by running cold water over them immediately after cooking.

Put the cabbage, broccoli, green beans, mango, and 1/2 the nuts in a bowl, and toss gently with the dressing. Garnish the top with more nuts.