Did you ever hear the phrase that March “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb” when you were growing up? I did. And if this phrase is true in Southern California, then our lion is hot, dry, and confused. By all accounts, the intense year of El Niño rain that we were promised is either fashionably late or not showing up. It’s likely that the phrase just doesn’t apply here, but the memories of moving from the Valentine’s Day month toward the “April showers bring May flowers” month and all of my childhood nursery rhymes echo through my mind each March.
The March lions of my (non SoCal) childhood were more properly tempestuous. March always meant blustery days that alternated between cold sleet and teasing hints of springtime. Without fail, I insisted on wearing short sleeves in hope that the weather would end its taunting and cooperate with my hopes of playing comfortably outside. Needless to say, the weather didn’t do as I planned and I was cold and/or was sent to my room to change before school. I didn’t grow up too far north, so a March snow was rare, but the days and nights were still cold. Despite my hopes, March sometimes didn’t really feel like spring, sometimes even after spring officially arrived. It was a month of experiencing variety and the unknown.
This month, although I can hope for the weather variety that moves California into rainy days, Elizabeth and I sought variety of a culinary kind. Instead of the unified menu we have created for the past few months, we opted for a selection of dishes with bold flavors from India, Uganda, and the American Southwest.
This coleslaw with jalapeño and apple combines spicy-sweet in an unexpected way, and is great on its own, or stuffed into bell peppers or stuffed into thinly sliced zucchini. You could even scoop it out with chips like a dip! It’s the perfect unexpected twist.
- 2 apples
- 1 jalapeño,seeded
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 tbs. orange juice
- ¼ tsp. orange zest
- Julienne or “matchstick” the apple into thin strips using a mandolin slicer. If you don’t have this particular tool, cut into long, thin strips.
- Mince the jalapeño, removing the seeds first. If you like extra heat, keep the seeds in, or throw in a hotter pepper.
- Finely chop the cilantro.
- Combine the apple with the jalapeño and the herbs; add remaining ingredients.
- Toss everything together using something other than your hands (or if you use your hands, don’t touch your face afterwards!).
- Eat as a side dish, or serve on a cucumber or zucchini slice for crowd pleasing appetizer!