I’m about to share a great recipe for a cabbage that works well as a salad and as a cooked side dish for a leftovers redux. Consistent with my efforts to prepare daily meals for lunch and dinner, we had the cabbage slaw for lunch with soup and then I cooked it as a side dish with chicken for dinner the next day. It was my husbander’s idea to sauté the cabbage for dinner and it was a great way to re-purpose the leftovers.
Before we get to the recipe, it’s time to admit that the romance of living abroad is wearing off and subtle inconveniences of reality are hitting me. The little things sometimes matter. More than I’d like to admit. For example, screens. Until this week, I’d never really given screens a second thought. Now, I long for a screen.
The summer weather in Rabat is sunny and warm during the day with no humidity. Because we are right on the coast, there is a nice coastal breeze that keeps the heat feeling moderate, even in the sun. This means air conditioning is a luxury. A luxury we don’t currently have in our apartment. It’s not really a problem because the nights are cool and ideal for sleeping with the windows open. Then, I realized — there are two problems with sleeping with the windows open.
First, we have no indoor curtains or blinds. Instead, we have outdoor metal shutters/shades that are affixed to a track that we roll up and down. These are great for blocking out the bright sunlight, but since they seal out the sun, they also seal out the air. Roll down the shutters, the breeze stops, and it begins to feel like an overcrowded elevator. The solution is simply to roll the shades down and leave a 3-4 inch opening, thereby moderating the morning sunlight and allowing in a breeze. The cool night air can still reach us.
This leads to the second and more frustrating problem. The other night it was very warm, so we kept the shades and windows cracked open. As we’re sleeping, I feel my cheek itching. Then my right calf itches. My left shoulder is next. I’m tossing and turning. Why am I so itchy? I go to the bathroom, turn on the light, look in the mirror, and find that I’m a dinner buffet for the city’s mosquitos. I’m not kidding, three on my left cheek, two on my right shoulder, a few on my back, a couple on my legs, even one on my toe. MY TOE?!?! The only thing in our medicine cabinet to provide even a brief respite was a small jar of Vick’s vapo-rub. Returning to bed smelling of camphor and menthol, my solution was to turn myself into a steaming, menthol burrito and keeping the covers, no matter how warm, tucked under me to create a protective shield against the mosquitos.
The next morning, I was a sweaty, minty, itchy, grumpy mess. It turns out Omar was also bitten (but a much better sport) and got a bite on his lip! Poor guy looked like he’d gotten into a bar brawl. If only we had screens. Simple screens. For now, our solution is an oscillating fan. Omar says the air circulation will prevent mosquitos from landing on us. It’s helped, but last night I still ended up with 4 fresh bites. What about a mosquito net? It’s a possibility, but I’m pretty sure our cats would paw at the net and render it useless after the first night. Frankly, after doing some reading on all natural insect repellents, I just might resort to rubbing my skin with fresh garlic before bed…not sure how Omar is going to feel about that one.
So, while I dream about window screens and air conditioning, I’ll leave you with this simple cabbage slaw—two ways.
CABBAGE SLAW – 2 WAYS
1 small to medium white cabbage, thinly sliced/julienned
3 small carrots, shredded or cut into a small dice
1 cucumber, shredded or cut into a small dice
¼ onion (preferably a red onion, but I only had yellow), shredded or cut into a small dice
2 tablespoons good olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon orange juice
Toss together the cabbage, carrots, cucumber and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and orange juice. Pour dressing over the slaw and toss to dress evening. Salt and pepper to taste. Store covered, at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving to let the flavors meld.
DIRECTIONS DAY 2 – REDUX
In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the cabbage slaw. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir and serve!