Well we’ve been living in the Gypsy Roller for exactly one month and I’m pleased to report that none of the doomsday premonitions I talked about in my first dispatch have materialized. For instance, I’ve yet to add a caftan to my wardrobe. That being said – maybe it’s the sartorial choices of my geriatric neighbours are rubbing off on me; every day there is a virtual parade of tent dresses mere feet from my doorstep – I have started to see the practicality of owning one, especially given the recent spell of super hot weather. Also, while the same can’t be said of wine or beer (or cider), nary a single rum-and-coke has graced my lips – hard proof that I’ve managed to avoid joining the ranks of my Canadian trailer park compatriots, as initially feared. Check back mid-winter, however, when the temperatures have dropped below zero and I’m entirely confined to the RV, and I could be describing a completely different state of affairs.
Hideous brown upholstery aside – which I’ve managed to distract myself from with the aid of five strategically-placed accent cushions and one leopard print scarf – I’m actually quite fond of our little house on wheels! I’m accustomed to small living spaces, having spent my entire 20s shacked up in bachelor suites and puny one-bedroom apartments (with even punier kitchens), so I haven’t had to adjust much in that regard. Even my worry that I’d feel cut off from civilization (i.e. food/art/fashion/coffee) moving from a condo in downtown Vancouver to a trailer park in Lake Country has turned out to have little basis in reality. Notwithstanding a scary foray into the local take on Chinese food, every restaurant meal I’ve eaten here has been outstanding. There’s even a coffee shop nearby that makes EXCELLENT coffee. By ‘nearby’ I’m talking about a half hour walk from the trailer park, but when it comes to caffeinating myself I’m willing to go the distance. Maybe the area doesn’t boast quite the same array of fashion and art, but what it lacks in these departments it makes up for in scenic beauty and easy access to local seasonal produce.
And beaches where you can drink a beer without fear of it getting dumped by the municipal police booze patrol.
Maybe there’s something mood-altering in the water at the trailer park, because the same ardent fervour I experience at, say, the annual Army and Navy Shoe Sale I now experience at the farmers’ market. You should see me grabbing at all that fresh produce! Shoving my way toward cheese! I’m exaggerating a little, but seriously, the availability of fresh food here really does make me glad we moved to the area. As I think this salad shows, with a few simple, fresh ingredients something pretty awesome can happen. I definitely haven’t been this excited about a bowl of vegetables in a long while.
Just a quick tip: the key to the success of this recipe is ensuring all the ingredients are chopped as finely as possible. Ideally I would have used a food processor to complete this task, but given the limited counter space in the RV’s kitchenette – there’s hardly room enough for a coffee maker and toaster let alone other appliances – I had to chop everything the old fashioned way! I love cabbage, but I find the texture a little tedious if eaten in larger chunks. Sliced finely, however, and combined with crunchy slivers of celery, shallot, apple, carrot and toasted almonds, it adds the perfect texture and colour to this salad. The miso-lime dressing – salty, sweet and citrusy – nicely complements the Granny Smith apples and is mild enough not to overwhelm the other ingredients.
Recipe: Crunchy Slaw with Toasted Almonds, Granny Smith Apples and Miso-Lime Dressing
Makes 4 meal-size portions
- 2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
- 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
- 1 small shallot, finely sliced
- 1 carrot, finely sliced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup natural sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup white miso paste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Juice of 1 small lime, divided
- 2 tablespoons water
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast almonds – tossing periodically – until just golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Place sliced apple in a large salad bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Add shredded purple and savoy cabbage, along with sliced celery, shallot, carrot, and toasted almonds (once cooled). In a separate bowl, whisk together miso paste, olive oil, honey, remainder of lime juice and water. Drizzle dressing over vegetables and gently toss to combine. Serve salad, topping each portion with a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Eat!