Saturday, September 01, 2007

Three No-Cook Summer Recipes:
Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, Easy Vegetarian Tacos & High Kickin' Creamy Tomato Dressing

When Life Gives You Five Enormous Cabbages. . .

Okay, life didn’t exactly give me the cabbages, but when they’re twenty cents a pound and locally grown, in my book that’s practically free—and obviously meant to be. So that was why one day last summer I tossed twenty pounds of cabbage into my supermarket shopping cart.

Once in the kitchen with my bounty, I realized there was no way all those cabbages were going to fit in my already crowded refrigerator, which meant I had to store them in a cooler with ice packs. I then proceeded to stuff myself with cabbage until I was sick of it, which is of course what true seasonal eating is all about.

I was also determined to come up with new ways to enjoy this extremely nutritious member of the Cruciferae family of vegetables. Inspired one day by various ingredients that were all hanging around the kitchen hoping to be eaten soon, I tossed them together with a few pantry staples and created this colorful salad that I immediately named Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw.


I’d forgotten all about it until a couple of weeks ago when I arrived home toting five locally grown cabbages. Obviously I didn’t come down with a case of self-restraint over the past year. Fortunately these little darlings weighed in at less than a pound apiece. They even all fit in the fridge.

The slaw was as good as I’d remembered it, and would be perfect for a potluck. While it tastes great on its own as a side dish, a snack, or a light and healthy lunch, this time I decided to try stuffing some of into warm homemade taco shells. I topped these refreshingly different vegetarian tacos with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, a drizzle of dressing, and a dollop of sour cream. Oh yeah.


Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw

Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe may be doubled

This delicious and healthful coleslaw-type salad doesn’t actually contain any jumping beans and is more Tex-Mex than Mexican, but when it comes to dubbing new dishes I’ll admit that sometimes catchy wins out over reality. Besides, with a name like Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, you might even be able to talk any picky little eaters at your table into seeing if they’re able to pop a bite in their mouth before it jumps right off their fork.

The snappy tomato dressing, which was inspired by last summer's Seven Second Tomato Glut Solution (oh how I wish I had that glut this year), whizzes together in seconds in the blender and can be used on all sorts of other things besides this slaw (see my suggestions at the end of the recipe), but you can always use a bottled dressing instead. Trader Joe’s sells a lowfat creamy cilantro dressing in their refrigerated section that’s full of flavor but not calories.

The optional cooked chicken turns this into a heartier dish that’s perfect for a summer supper with friends, or for feeding people who simply can’t fathom the idea of eating a vegetarian taco.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients whenever possible. They really do make a difference in so many ways. Cans of organic black beans and organic corn are versatile pantry staples, and both can often be found for about a dollar.

3 cups (about 9 ounces) shredded green cabbage
1 cup (about 3 ounces) shredded purple cabbage
2 large sweet red peppers, diced
2 medium carrots, grated
4 large scallions, chopped
1 15-ounce can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can organic whole sweet corn, drained or 1-1/2 cups cooked fresh corn
2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (optional)
Salt to taste

2-1/2 cups High Kickin’ Creamy Tomato Dressing (see recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine green cabbage, purple cabbage, red peppers, carrots, black beans, and corn. Stir in chicken if desired. Add 2 cups dressing and mix well, adding another 1/2 cup dressing if desired. Salt to taste. Serve immediately, or for best flavor, chill for several hours or overnight. Slaw will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.


Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw Tacos

Few Tablespoons olive or canola oil
Corn tortillas

Optional toppings:
Chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
Chopped fresh cilantro
More High Kickin' Creamy Tomato Dressing
Sour cream
Guacamole or diced avocado
Shredded cheese

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Add two or three tortillas. Using tongs, turn tortillas over so that both sides are covered with oil. Let cook, turning once or twice more, until just starting to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Set on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook the remaining tortillas, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

To serve, fold warm tortillas in half and stuff with Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw and optional toppings, drizzling with more High Kickin’ Creamy Tomato Dressing if desired.

High Kickin' Creamy Tomato Dressing
Makes about 3-1/2 cups

1 pound juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes (about 3 medium), coarsely chopped
1 cup yogurt (I use lowfat or nonfat)
1 cup sour cream (I use lowfat)
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1 Tablespoon ground cumin, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon chile powder (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding a little more tomato if it’s too thick. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warning note: The heat from the chile powder in the dressing becomes more pronounced the next day.

Other ways to enjoy this dressing:
--Mixed into a Tex-Mex potato salad
--Drizzled over a platter of sliced garden tomatoes
--Tossed with a green salad
--With a plate of grilled summer squash
--In your favorite chicken salad
--As a quick way to give rice salad a kick

© FarmgirlFare.com, the cabbage crazed foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

29 comments:

  1. OH my! I need this kind of energy for the five-pound butternut that's languishing for lack of attention ...

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  2. I love the sound of this dressing! Maybe I'd have to mix in the chile powder each time I eat some, since I'm a bit of a lightweight on heat!

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  3. I left a comment not two seconds ago and it didn't appear! Those recipes look really good. We are about to get dinner on the grill and it's a no-no to read food blogs while hungry! Boy! I wish that grill would hurry up!

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  4. A great slaw! I love Tex-Mex food and that dish makes me really hungry! Fresh and gorgeous...

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  5. The tomato dressing sounds wonderful -- I'm going to try that on some black beans, corn and tomatoes.

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  6. That sounds divine! I am definately going to making it at our next BBQ! Yum!

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  7. This sounds wonderful! I need to make a salad for dinner tonight, so this will be perfect for Labor Day weekend. Yum!
    Also, we buy our spices from Penzey's (originaly from Wauwastosa, Wis) and they have expanded all over the United States.
    Google them if you are interested!
    Thanks again!
    Mary in Wisconsin

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  8. These lovely photographs are stunning and have now made me very hungry! Good thing Hubby is making me a salad right now. hee hee Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

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  9. Wow,

    That looks....fantastic!!!!

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  10. These recipes look great! Thank you for sharing them.

    When we lived in the Cincinnati area, folk of German extract would "kraut" whole heads of cabbage, then use the full cabbage leaves for stuffing. The krauted-leaves made wonderful cabbage rolls adding a new unexpected twist to the dish. (Remove the cores of the heads before krauting.)

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  11. That slaw looks wonderful! So many vibrant colours, it must be good for you!

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  12. Great recipes! They grow these cabbages up here as big as beach balls. Huge...and mostly all they do is make kraut with them. Which is very good, but you get a bit sick of it after a while.

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  13. That slaw looks unbelievable. In fact all of this does - what incredible recipes!

    And I so get the buying/ gluttony situation when something comes into the height of its season! I bought a 3 1/2 foot tall bunch of celery the other day. It was just too green and glorious to resist, but our crappy NYC apartment fridge would barely close. And forget fitting it in the crisper, so it wilted almost right away.

    The feasting around harvest time is such a great rite of passage to fall back into through. It's the best way I know to catch the rhythm of the seasons - I'm sure running a farm's even better of course!

    Have you read any Piero Camporesi? It's certainly not beach reading - you have to be in the right mood - but he wrote a lot about the rhythm and feasting of harvests in medieval Italy. So fascinating. I'd start with The Magic Harvest, which is all about folklore and food. It's such fascinating stuff. xo

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  14. Mmmm, the creamy tomato dressing sounds delish!

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  15. Wow. What amazing recipes you have! I just copied the Mexian Jumping Bean slaw set - I'm from Texas and it looks GREAT! It will be on our table Saturday night when my hubbie gets home - he will love the slaw-like Tex Mex! You have a great site and it's beautiful, too. I still have tomatoes, and am about to harvest our "second crop" here in Austin. I'll post em on my blog soon at www.sharingnaturesgarden.blogspot.com Come visit!

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  16. Mmm. Thanks for the recipes, its hotter than hell this weekend, and it was the perfect summer lunch for two days. The dressing was so pretty too. It even went down well with the salad averse hubby...

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  17. this looks like it would be awesome on top of mahimahi, catfish or tilapia tacos!
    take a soft tortilla, lightly grilled, and top with chunks of your favourite of the above three feesh. finish with the slaw mixture and sliced fresh chilies if you like the heat. fold and eat!

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  18. Mmhhmmhh, yes, I will make this slaw. Because I have half a head of cabbage that needs a home and, you know, *some* tomatoes that are bored of being turned into sauce.

    Plus, the thought of homemade taco shells could turn Bubba into a begging heap of happy husband.

    His dream is for Taco Bell to offer "double shells" as an add-on. Imagine if I double-shelled with these? OMG.

    Yeah, we go to Taco Bell, so what?

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  19. I'm a very seasonal cook myself and can't wait to try this recipe!

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  20. Yummy! I need to make this

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  21. with those pictures & descriptions, you actually inspire me to eat healthier which is a hard trick seeing as i love my junk food!

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  22. Just wanted to let you know I tried the slaw and Tomato dressing and they were awesome. Of course since I have a very large garden I added fresh hot peppers of various sorts instead of chili powder and fresh cilantro and some lime juice right before serving. Yum! I may even try some of this slaw the next time we have halibut tacos. Another keeper - thanks!

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  23. You are so crazy creative!! Love the names.

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  24. I just discovered your blog the other day and I am loving it! I can't wait to try out these recipes!

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  25. i just wanted to let you know that i made the recipes and they were fantastic! thank soooooo much :) kim

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  26. I am doing a project at my highschool in food technology on coleslaw (yaawwwnn) but these recipes are really interesting and now i am not that bored anymore. I used one of yoiur recipes to make in the practicle lesson when we actually got to make it, and I used your mexican jumping bean recipe and everyone was amazed!! And because of you I got the only A+ in my class!! Thank you so much for making recipes like this to teach people like me how to actually cook! =]

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  27. This looks AMAZING!! My son & I cannot wait to try this recipe! Thank you!

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  28. We here at the Monkey salute you!!!What a fabulous recipe. I will be checking back often. Great site!!!

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  29. Made the slaw with tomato dressing. Served on tostadas with cilantro and avocado garnish. Excellent! Thank you for sharing. This will make a delicious lunch tomorrow and I will be the envy of all my coworkers!

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