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Mandarins make basic slaw supreme

Recipe: Mandarin cole slaw is an easy, flavorful winter salad

mandarins and dried cherries
The mandarins and dried cherries make this recipe
stand out. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Winter salads make the most of in-season vegetables. For ingredients, there are plenty of lettuces, cabbages and other leafy greens plus root vegetables galore.

But what about the juicy fruit part of a balanced salad? Tomatoes usually play that role. But in January, a good-tasting tomato can be hard to find.

Mandarins make a great salad substitute. Their easy-peel segments are just the right size and juiciness, adding texture as well as bright citrus flavor. They work well with vinaigrette in a green salad. They’re also dynamite with cabbage in cole slaw.

This slaw started with my grandmother’s cole slaw recipe, which is good on its own. The addition of mandarins really made it sparkle.

Also adding texture and bursts of flavor to this slaw are dried cherries. Raisins will work, too; cherries contribute tartness to balance the sweet mandarins.

Easy enough for any time, this salad can be made the night ahead (covered and refrigerated) and is pretty enough for special occasions. Think of it as cole slaw supreme.

Cole slaw
This easy winter salad features citrus instead of
tomatoes.
Mandarin cole slaw

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 large mandarins

¼ cup dried cherries or raisins

2 green onions, chopped

1 medium carrot, shredded

1 cup Romaine lettuce, shredded

2 cups cabbage, shredded

Dressing:

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Seasoning salt and black pepper to taste

Plated salad
Pretty and nutritious, too!
Instructions:

Peel mandarins and separate segments, removing any seeds.

In a large bowl, combine mandarin segments, dried cherries or raisins, green onions, carrot, lettuce and cabbage. Toss gently.

Prepare dressing: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, seasoning salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over mandarin-cabbage mixture. Toss to coat. Serve.

Refrigerate covered if not served immediately.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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