Here in Apple Valley, the parking lots at pick-your-own orchards overflow with cars every weekend in October and November. One even sets up a popcorn stand, and a bouncy house to keep the little ones entertained while the older kids and parents, armed with picking baskets on long poles, head off into the adjacent grove of apple trees. When you live in a place with a dozen apple orchards, you learn to appreciate apples in season. My love affair with broccoli slaw, however, knows no seasonal boundary. This curried apple and pecan broccoli slaw brings together the best of Apple Valley with one of my favorite ways to get more greens into our diet. I haven't finalized my Thanksgiving menu yet, but I think this quick-and-easy side dish just might find its way to the holiday table.
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When it comes to slaw, are you cabbage, or are you broccoli? In the house where I grew up, slaw meant cole slaw, made with cabbage and a token shredded carrot, drowning in mayonnaise and served alongside potato salad (also drowning in mayonnaise). In my own kitchen, I prefer broccoli slaw: the slivered stems of broccoli, with carrots and a bit of purple cabbage or radicchio, and a tangy or spicy dressing. To me, picnics, potlucks or barbecues feel incomplete without some sort of slaw on the table. Here are five of my favorites.
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Necessity -- or is it forgetfulness? or humidity? -- being the mother of invention, this cucumber ribbon salad owes its spectacular ranch-style buttermilk herb dressing to a great pantry, and to my strong desire not to drive five miles to the grocery store for a quart of buttermilk on an unbearably hazy-hot-humid day. Powdered buttermilk, a baking pantry staple that will keep perfectly happy in the refrigerator for months, contributes the characteristic tangy ranch flavor, with a boost from Greek yogurt and a small amount of mayonnaise. I like the combination of dill, parsley and chives from my garden for a vibrant herby punch. The overall result? Delicate, much more so than traditional ranch dressing. I'm planning to use the leftover dressing on grilled salmon. The cucumber salad didn't last much longer than the time it took to photograph it. I ate it for breakfast. All of it.
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True confession: I'm not wild about chickpeas. A bad dinner party entrée served to me more than thirty years ago left a permanent scar on my taste buds; the host, a newly-minted vegetarian, served undercooked chickpeas that felt like tiny pellets assaulting my stomach. To this day, I'm leery of recipes that call for dried chickpeas, and except when making hummus, I always give canned chickpeas a second cooking, if only for a few minutes. This recipe for roasted chickpeas with raisins, parsley and mint takes that approach: a quick roasting at high heat to give the chickpeas some depth of flavor, then a toss in a sweet vinaigrette with fresh herbs from the garden. Vegan and gluten-free, this would be perfect for a light lunch or potluck.
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