And so this is spring. Inches of snow, a total solar eclipse and a new pink moon. This raw weather calls for soft, hearty, stick-to-the-ribs porridge, accompanied by a crunchy, slightly pickled anti-oxidant-rich cabbage salad.
1 cup steel cut oats
3 ½ cups water
4 large raw pecans
a few pinches sea salt
¼ Chinese cabbage
¼ purple head cabbage
1 Persian cucumber
for the dressing:
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon
1 teaspoon tahini
1 teaspoon umeboshi plum paste
Rinse the oats and allow them to drain in a wire mesh net or in a small-holed colander.
Place the water and rinsed oats in a small to medium-sized pot. Add a pinch of sea salt and place on a medium flame. When the mix comes to a boil, skim any froth from the pot and then cover and adjust flame to low. Simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes and then taste to be sure it is cooked through.
In the meantime, dry roast the pecans and place one on top of each bowl of cooked oats, as a garnish.
While the oats are cooking, prepare the pressed salad.
Wash the cabbages and the cucumber well. Cut each cabbage in half, lengthwise, cutting through the connection on each cabbage. Use a sharp knife to shred each of the cabbages into pieces about 1/8 inch thick and a few inches long. Place the shredded cabbage in a medium to large glass or ceramic bowl. Slice the cucumber into paper-thin rounds and add them to the bowl. Sprinkle a few pinches of coarse sea salt and then use your hands to mix the cabbages and cucumbers together, massaging the salt into the vegetables and separating any strands of cabbage that may be stuck together. You will know it is mixed enough when you see the three different colored vegetables – the light green cabbage, the purple cabbage and the dark green-skinned cucumber – evenly dispersed throughout the bowl. Place a plate on top of the mixture and then place a heavy weight (I usually use a gallon jar filled with water). Allow it to press in a cool place in the kitchen (not too near the stove).
The salad can press for anywhere from 20 to 120 minutes, depending on your time frame. While it is pressing, make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, tahini and ume plum paste. Timesaving note: you can make the dressing the night before. When you are ready, lift the weight from the plate covering the salad, and drain the liquid from the bowl by using the plate to contain the salad, and allowing the excess liquid that has accumulated to drain through an opening. When you have drained all the liquid, mix the salad to fluff it up, dress it and serve.
©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2015