My 5 year-old nephew came to a sad realization this weekend: just about everything in our modern lives runs on electricity. And of course, being in Vermont in the wake of Irene, there was a good portion of the day yesterday when his family had no power. The poor guy would ask for permission to do things and always get the answer that he couldn't because the electricity was out. "No TV?" Frown. "No movies?" Frown. "No PS3?" Slaps hands on face in anguish. I'm sure there are a lot of adults along the East Coast that were feeling the same way. Just talking on the phone with my family I was feeling pretty lucky with my computer and internet and air conditioning all humming away until my parents mentioned that they had gotten out the Legos to help entertain the grandkids during the power outage. Then the smugness turned into jealousy. Now that's just not fair. How come I can't spend the day playing with Legos, too?
Hopefully all of you on the East Coast were able to stay safe and dry this weekend. While it seemed like most of the world was talking about rain, rain, and more rain, we were mostly sunny and hot in our area. My husband and I were away or busy the past couple weekends, so we stuck close to home this time and just relaxed. Relaxing, of course, means moving my sister into a new apartment, laundry, going to a baseball game and having people over for dinner. You know, relaxing. It also means finally getting around to making a few recipes that have been on my list for a while, this slaw being one of them.
I've had jicama slaw on my mind since my husband and I went down to Southern Utah to visit his grandma. She lives in a little tourist-type town close to a couple National Parks and the Grand Canyon. It's a pretty area with red rocks and amazing geological features. We went out to eat at a restaurant in town and my husband got a side of slaw with his pulled pork sandwich. I pretty much ignored it until someone else at the table mentioned that it was a jicama slaw. Then my ears perked up a bit, I instantly stole all of it from my husband's plate and started making plans to recreated the slaw at home.
Now, I know what you're thinking. A slaw? Ick. Aren't most slaws slimy and watery? Don't they have mayo in them? And cabbage? Why would I get all excited about making one? Basically because it's delicious. If you haven't tried jicama yet, this would be a great way to do it. It has a sweet, mild flavor that I would compare to fresh sugar snap peas. It looks like a round sweet potato and to use it you just peel off the brown skin and slice up the white, crispy interior. It's so easy to use and gives dishes a light, fresh taste with good, crunchy texture. That's why it works so well in this slaw. The jicama doesn't get slimy or overly watery the way cabbage can. Its sweet, mild flavor works perfectly with the simple oil/lime juice dressing with a touch of cumin. There's no mayo required. Or knife skills, even, if you use a mandolin slicer. Or 'lectricity, as my nephew would say. It's a great, fast side for Southwestern dishes, burgers, pulled pork, or just about any summer barbecued meal.
1 medium jicama (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled and chopped into thin slices (about 3 cups)
2 carrots, coarsely grated (1 cup)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1. In a large bowl, combine oil, lime juice, cumin and salt. Add jicama and carrots and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 hours to allow flavors to develop.
Recipe Source: inspired by the Rocking V in Kanab, UT