Of Coleslaw and Cranberries

Are we getting ready? Are we already thinking of our shopping list, and what snack we're going to devour, and what we're going to cook up, absolutely fresh? The wait is almost enough to make me pay the toll and cross the bridge to the year-round University District market. Almost.

But, lazy suburbanite that I am, instead I just whip up another cabbage-and-carrot salad. That is, coleslaw. We've been eating a lot of coleslaw lately. Fresh, crunchy, available now. It's not just for baked beans and summer barbecues.

I was even at Coco Ramen on Bellevue Way a couple days ago, enjoying my favorite Curry Ramen with Pork Katsu, and what accompanied it? Japanese-style coleslaw, of course! It seems I'm not the only one craving fresh and crunchy--it must be the spring sunshine.

Anyhow, since we have one more week before we get to enjoy tender spring greens and nutty, local asparagus, make yourself some coleslaw. It's really so simple you should never buy it. I repeat: never buy coleslaw.

1/4 head of cabbage, slivered
1 large carrot, shredded on the largest holes of grater
2-3 scallions, chopped

1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp milk
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Whip dressing ingredients together and toss with the vegetables. Refrigerate until serving.

In other news, new this year to the Thursday Market will be Starvation Alley of Long Beach, Washington. Starvation Alley is the first organic cranberry farm in the state and the source of the famous "Cranberry for Concoctions"--cold-pressed, unsweetened cranberry juice that has gained a cult following in Seattle and Portland as an ingredient in fancy cocktails.

Check out just this one, served up at Prime Steakhouse in Redmond:

West Coast Cosmo
1.5 ozs Uncle Val's Botanical Gin
0.5 ozs Starvation Alley Cranberry for Concoctions
0.5 ozs Cointreau
0.25 ozs fresh-squeezed lime juice
0.25 ozs simple syrup

Of their product Starvation Alley says:

We make a 100% raw unpasteurized, unsweetened cranberry juice. We knew that we wanted to make a value adding product from start to finish, so when we considered a juice we ruled out adding sugar that dominates so many other cranberry juices. We also knew unsweetened cranberry juice is unfavorably bitter, so we tried cold-pressing the berries, which resulted in a brighter, fresher tasting juice. Bonus points: the raw, cold-pressed juice retains more of the enzymes that make cranberries a wonderful home remedy for pesky UTIs.

Some non-alcoholic concoctions I hope to try the juice in would be smoothies, lemonade, and even added to sparkling apple cider. Heck--I even just want that beautiful bottle!

All Beverage Edition

I know tweens are the new teens, but it still caught me off guard when my 10 1/2-year-old daughter asked me what a mojito was. After considering telling her it was either (1) a small parasite that carried malaria, or, (2) what the Seattle Mariners renamed their "mojo" when they were on a losing streak, I decided that honesty was the best policy and said, "It's a nasty alcoholic drink that you would hate because it tastes like wine." She made a face and asked no more questions.

For the rest of us, however, who might enjoy a cocktail now and then, I found this handy blog post from Eating Well, entitled, "Margarita makeover: add this secret ingredient to make it healthier." I know this falls along the lines of "ten wonderful things about dark chocolate we can use to justify chowing down that entire candy bar," but still... Hope you still have some frozen blueberries from last summer because you can now invite some friends over, make a whole pitcher and call it good for you.

Speaking of good for you--to breastfeed or not to breastfeed, that is the question. Yes, folks, HAMLET is no longer just a tortured Shakespearean prince--he's now an element in breast milk (uh-huh, you read that right). And not just any old element in breast milk--he's a cancer-fighting one! Check out this interesting article from Science Daily on it. Once word of this gets out, I think the controversy will no longer be whether nursing mothers should be allowed to breastfeed in public, but rather, should grown adults be allowed to shove the babies out of the way so they can hook those moms up to the Medela pump. And then, a few years after that, HAMLET will be showing up as a food additive in margarine and eggs. Good night, sweet prince, indeed.

And then, finally, for my particular readers who are teetotaling, weaned, and/or doing a 100-mile diet, I thought I'd include this link for a farm Lori and I became aware of at Foodpurtunity. Sakuma Brothers in the Skagit Valley grows and processes tea, selling green, oolong (black), and white versions. Sakuma Brothers is one of only two commercial tea growers in the entire United States, and they're here in our own backyard. Now that's something to drink to.