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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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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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