Spicy Thai Peanut Coleslaw

Midweek meals can sometimes feel like a real grind during busy weeks, when the workday is long, and errands need to be run on the way home. Last Wednesday was just such a night, and I knew that we’d toss together a quick omelet for dinner, but I was stumped for a side dish. When I was rummaging through the crisper, I found half a head of cabbage and a bit of cilantro – and this salad came together quickly from there.

Cabbage is a vegetable that sometimes gets overlooked, and doesn’t often take the stage as the star ingredient. I really love cabbage – as a slaw, sauteed and topped with eggs, in saurkraut – I love it all. The first cabbages of the summer season are something special, though. Bright green in color, and with crisp, tender leaves, summer cabbages beg to be dressed and eaten raw.

This slaw is a perfect summer salad, with a bit of Thai flavor in the spicy peanut vinaigrette dressing. I’m a big fan of Thai sauces, and particularly love a good peanut sauce. This dressing has all the flavor of satay sauce, with a much healthier application. The peanuts add a nice crunch to the salad, and a bit of protein. Serve this up as a side dish or as the main course – give it a try!

Asian Slaw with Peanut Vinaigrette
Serves 3 as a side dish

1/2 head green cabbage, sliced very thin and tough core removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced thin
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted
1 cup snow peas, sliced thin
big handful of cilantro, chopped

Vinaigrette
3 T fresh ground peanut butter
1 1/2 T brown rice vinegar, or to taste
squeeze of honey
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp wheat free tamari, or to taste
1 clove garlic, finely minced
a bit of siracha for heat
1 tsp water, to loosen the dressing
few drops of lime juice, for acidity

  1. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together all of the ingredients, squeezing in the honey and lime juice last, then whisking in a bit of water to loosen the dressing up, if needed. Taste, and adjust the flavors as needed, adding more honey, tamari, siracha or vinegar as needed to balance the flavors. If the dressing is really thick, dribble a bit of water in, to thin it out a bit.
  2. Combine all the veggies and cilantro in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over, and toss to coat evenly. Add the toasted peanuts and toss again, and then serve immediately.
  3. Note: This salad will not keep well – the cabbage will get wilty, so if you want to save some for the next day, reserve some un-dressed veggies and some of the vinaigrette and make a fresh bowl of slaw.

Sweet Success: Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

It’s been a rough week in our house, with a wonderful end to the weekend. All month we’d been looking forward to participating in a 30-mile bike ride for the American Cancer Society’s Walk & Roll event, and today was the big day. We rounded up a few friends to join us on the ride, and together we raised $1,350 to support the services of the American Cancer Society!

And then, on Tuesday I got “doored” on my ride home…for those not familiar with this foe of urban bikers, it’s when a person in a parked car opens their car door and hits a biker. In my case, I was riding at a brisk pace, and was thrown from my bike. Thankfully, nothing was broken, but I’ve got some large and very colorful bruises and a torqued shoulder. The shoulder pretty much put me out of commission for the rest of the week as far as biking goes. Then on Wednesday, Dave – a member of our cycling team, got hit by a car on his ride home from work…only Dave’s accident required an ambulence and ended in a broken wrist and wearing a cast for 6 weeks. So, Dave and I were benched for the ride, and Danielle was kind enough to join us for the 5-mile walk option for Walk & Roll, serving as official escort of the walking wounded. Greg and Mark ended up being the only cyclists for Team Responsible Adults, but they did us proud, finishing the 30 miles easily and safely!

Special thanks to all who supported us today – your gifts will help many cancer patients in Illinois receive care and services that they need to fight cancer.

After the beautiful walk this morning, I decided that we needed a sweet end to the beautiful weekend, so I happily opened my brand new ice cream cookbook, The Perfect Scoop, in search of inspiration. I found exactly what I was looking for in a chocolate peanut butter ice cream. I know I write about ice cream a lot, but it’s not only a dessert that I love, but it’s so simple to make at home, and to make gluten-free! I switched up the original recipe a bit using half-dairy/half coconut milk as I normally do (and this would work fine with all coconut milk if you’re dairy-free). I also made my own peanut butter by simply tossing peanuts in the food processor and running it until it turned to butter, adding 1tsp walnut oil to loosen it up just a touch. The final touch to the ice cream came when I decided to make some chocolate covered peanuts to add in as a mix-in. The finished ice cream was incredible – the ice cream was a perfect creamy balance of peanut butter/chocolate flavor, and the sweet/salty chocolate covered peanuts took it right over the top. We’ll be savoring this quart of ice cream for a few days!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

Makes one decadent quart

1 1/2 cups half & half
1 14oz can coconut milk
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave syrup
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 T rum

  1. Whisk together the half-and-half, coconut milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (it will start to foam up). Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until thoroughly blended. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then add rum and blend in the blender for a few seconds until smooth.
  2. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Chocolate covered peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup roasted peanuts
pinch of salt

  1. Melt the chocolate chips, then stir in the peanuts to coat, along with a pinch of salt. Scoop coated nuts onto a small sheet of parchment paper and smooth as best you can into one layer. Pop in the freezer to chill quickly. When the ice cream is almost done, remove the peanuts from the freezer, and break up the peanut mass into bite-sized chunks, or chop with a knife. Fold the chocolate peanut chunks into the finished ice cream as you pour it into a storage container.