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Certain beliefs just strike me as fundamentally wrong. Like the Korean idea that you should beat the heat by eating something hot. Bowl of hot chicken soup in August, anyone? Summer in Korea can be oppressively hot - trapped-heat-in-asphalt hot, and muggy as hell, and the last thing I want to do is stand over a bowl whose steam rises to greet my sweaty face.
But what’s worse than eating soup in the summer is toiling away in a hot kitchen in the summer. Many fans do not make light work of cooking in a kitchen with no AC. So I eat lots of cold dishes - dishes that require little to no heat, or, I won’t lie, sometimes just massive amounts of watermelon and other summer fruits.
When in doubt, make a salad. But salads can get so boring. So make this broccoli slaw. It’s only the crunchiest, most delightful “salad” you’ll ever have. Some almonds help bump up the crunch level even more, and I’ve never, ever regretted using dried apricots in favor of some other dried fruit that a recipe called for (in this case, cranberries). They’re so chewy and sweet and add such a nice burst of color and flavor to any dish.
Having always pan-fried or steamed my broccoli, I was surprised by how fresh and green raw broccoli tastes. It’s not at all bitter, like I thought it might be. If you’re averse to eating the stems, just use the florets.
One word on buttermilk. Did you know a lot of supermarket buttermilk isn’t really buttermilk? Instead of selling the liquid that results from the churning of butter, many commercially available cartons of cultured buttermilk are not at all byproducts of butter but rather milk that has been purposefully soured.
Kate’s Real Buttermilk is the way to go if you’re seeking quality, but I always only use a little bit and never know what to do with the rest (I know, I know, you could freeze it for baking later or just use it for delicious scones and muffins and pancakes and etc. But an opened bottle of idling buttermilk makes me anxious, OK?).
For this broccoli slaw, you can easily cheat and make your own “buttermilk” in a snap. Add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup of milk and let sit for about 5-10 minutes, until curdled.
It’s not real buttermilk, but this trick, which I learned on smittenkitchen.com, has saved me quite a bit of money in the expensive buttermilk department, with no ill effects on the final product. Now you can cheat, too!
Adapted slightly from smittenkitchen.com
For the slaw:
2 heads broccoli, florets and stem chopped into small pieces (you can also omit the stem)
1/2 cup whole or sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
For the buttermilk dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
Toss all salad ingredients together in a bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the buttermilk dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour dressing over broccoli and toss well. (Use less if omitting stem.) Alternatively, if planning to consume over several days, store dressing separately and dress just before serving. Do the same with the almonds if you want them to retain their crunchiness.
Makes about 6 cups. Keeps in the fridge for about a week.
Like Pavlov’s dog, the start of fall triggers an unhinged desire to buy more apples than one person can responsibly eat, and drink gallons of apple cider, and wrap myself in cozy sweaters and read by pumpkin-scented candles.