How is March with you? I hear about sudden bursts of warmth on the east coast, a few days of turning on the grill and going to the beach to soak up all the sun before early spring descends into the blahs again. Here? March — especially this March — means grey.
For awhile this year, I had this notion that I should develop some sort of fashion sense. Instead of bright-colored t-shirts and v-neck shirts and another pair of jeans, I would seek out more tailored pieces. I’d find labels for expensive designs inside the collars of shirts at the thrift store. I’d only buy clothes that cost someone else too much money. I’d build a wardrobe of essential pieces, the way every fashion magazine exhorts: a trench coat, a white-collared shirt, a pair of slacks. I’d limit my colors to a few judicious bright reds, a couple of sky blues, and everything else would be black or charcoal grey.
Can you guess that this never happened? There are plenty of reasons for this, mostly because it just isn’t me. But the real reason? As much as I love charcoal grey, I see plenty of it for months around here at a time. I need splashes of color, even if that purple shirt will be rain-splattered soon. So much for sophisticated fashion, now that I’m deep into my 40s. Give me the green t-shirt.
In the dregs of March, I’m happy for a swig of bright color.
Spring is coming. I know it. There’s a patch of blue sky behind the ominous grey outburst outside the window as I write. But as we’re not supposed to see the sun here until next Thursday (yes, you read that right), I’ll take this vibrant winter slaw with a bright citrus-yogurt-mint dressing that Danny came up with the other day. Having him home is plenty of light right now.
And hey, since we both work at home, we don’t need fancy wardrobes anyway. Give me comfortable color, thanks. I’ve had enough of the charcoal grey.
This salad is particularly easy if you have bags of colorful vegetables already chopped in the refrigerator. One day a week, we buy big bunches of red cabbage or dark green kale, Russian kale with the red edges, and spring green escarole. Or whatever is in season at that moment. I spend an hour or so rinsing them in the sink, spinning them dry, chopping them up, and wrapping them in damp paper towels. I tuck them into big bags I use again the next week. And so, whenever it’s lunchtime, I can reach for handfuls of color.
We make this dressing in our blender to make sure it stays together well. You could easily toss it all in a big jar and give it a solid shake. With all this citrus, ginger, and mint, I like this as a topping for rice or a quick stir-fry as well. It’s a good thing to have around in these endless grey days.
1/4 large head red cabbage, sliced thin
1/4 head escarole, chopped
1/4 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
1/4 bunch red Russian kale, chopped
1/4 bunch red leaf lettuce, chopped
1 large lime, juiced
1 large lemon, juiced
1 ounce peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon fine-chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Gathering the greens. Toss all the greens together in a large bowl.
Making the dressing. Combine the lime juice, lemon juice, ginger, yogurt, mint, canola oil, sesame oil, and honey into a blender. Blend until all the ingredients are well combined and a little frothy. Taste the dressing. If you’d like more citrus or honey, add it here. Add salt and pepper. Blend again and taste again. When the dressing tastes the way you want, you’re done.
Dressing the salad. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the dressing around the side of the bowl of greens. Toss the salad with your hands, trying to coat every green. If you feel like you need more dressing, add it a tablespoon at a time. (Danny always wants just-enough dressing that you can barely taste it. I like a bit more.)