Sunday, July 27, 2008

Asian Style Coleslaw (for Sher, who touched so many lives)

Asian Style Cole SlawIt's now nearly a week since I got a phone call telling me that my "blogging friend" Sher from What Did You Eat had died from a heart attack, and yet I still can hardly believe she's gone. During the past week there have been so many bloggers talking about the affection they felt for Sher, and I can't help but think she would be very much surprised at how many people are deeply saddened at her death. Sher was a giver, not a taker, and she made her way quietly around the food blog world, never thinking about herself, but making people feel good wherever she went.

I always felt a special kinship for Sher (never Sherry to me) starting from the very first time she participated in Weekend Herb Blogging in February of 2006. Right away, Sher became one of the most faithful participants, probably missing only a few weeks since that first time. It didn't take long following her blog for me to realize that every recipe Sher posted always looked delicious to me, and after a while I started an ongoing joke that "Sher and I had the same taste buds." We shared a love of cilantro, tomato sandwiches, and garbanzo beans, and were both passionate about gardening. After a while we discovered that we were born within days of each other, and Sher had been an attorney, which had been my first choice of professions in college. The last year or so, I knew that Sher had been facing some real challenges in her life, but the one time I spoke with her on the phone recently she was positive and hopeful for the future. I deeply regret that although we planned to meet in person, it never did work out, and regret even more that dreams we shared of traveling around the world together, meeting our mutual food blogging friends, are now never going to come true. I'm sure I would have loved Sher in person as much as I did on her blog, in her e-mails, and in the witty and charming comments she regularly left on so many blogs. I will miss you Sher, perhaps more than you could have ever imagined.

The recipe I chose to make for the day of posting recipe tributes to Sher is one for Asian Style Cole Slaw that she posted for Weekend Herb Blogging on June 16, 2007. Like so many of the recipes I saw when I was looking on Sher's blog deciding what to make for this day, I vividly remember when Sher first posted this recipe. Sher said in her post "This is now one of my favorite salads." As sad as I am to be making the salad in her memory rather than sharing it with her, I do have to agree with Sher's taste buds one final time. Make this salad and think of Sher, who cooked delicious food and spread happy thoughts wherever she went.

Asian Style Coleslaw
(Lovingly dedicated to Sher from What Did You Eat. Sher got the recipe for Asian Style Cole Slaw from Food and Wine Magazine.)

This recipe makes 10 servings, but can be easily cut in half.

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (or use tahini, which Sher used because she didn't have peanut butter)
3 T fresh lime juice
3 T Asian fish sauce (I used less of this and a bit more peanut butter because I was making this for people I thought might not be fans of fish sauce)
3 T water
3 T sugar, Splenda, or Agave Nectar (I used Agave nectar)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced (I used 1 tsp. garlic puree)
1 T Sriracha sauce (I only used 1 tsp. You could use another type of hot sauce.)

Salad Ingredients:
2 pounds napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
3/4 lb. red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
3 medium carrots, juliened (I used a mandoline, but next time I would grate the carrots)
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
3 T chopped cilantro (I used about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro)
15 mint leaves (I used about 1/4 cup chopped mint)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (Sher said unsalted, but I only had salted)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions:
Whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce, water, sweetener, garlic and Sriracha. (Sher used an immersion blender with the bowl attachment, which was a good idea.)

In large bowl, toss together sliced napa and red cabbage, carrots, peppers, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Toss salad with the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away. If you plan to eat some later, don't add the dressing until just before serving.

Printer Friendly Recipe
 
I wrote earlier this week about Planning an Online Memorial for a Wonderful Blogger and Friend. There is also a lovely tribute to Sher at A Fridge Full of Food. Sher's wonderful friend Glenna is collecting links to all the recipe tributes on her post about The Comforts of Sher's Home so that Sher's friends and family can find them.
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29 comments:

Barbara said...

Kalyn I love the bright colours in this salad. I imagine Sher had a brightness about her which is why she was so loved.

coffeepot said...

The salad looks so good.

Beautiful tribute.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Perfect choice of a recipe that was Sher at her most exuberant, with bold colors and flavors.

Johanna said...

I think this is a great way to remember sher - by sharing her recipes - sorry I couldn't participate this time but the salad looks wonderful

Jenny said...

Looks good, so colorful and fresh.

Amazing how a loss can make you rethink so many things - I regret that I wasn't able to meet up with you last year but promise if I make it to Utah again (and we will be doing it again), you and I are getting together no matter what!

Kalyn said...

Thank you everyone for the nice thoughts for Sher. Jenny, maybe that can be one good thing to come out of this, that bloggers everywhere will make more effort to meet in person whenever they have the chance.

Karina said...

Kalyn- What a beautiful tribute to your friend Sher. Her Asian Style Cole Slaw recipe- and your version (gorgeous colors!)- looks beyond delicious. She was a fabulous cook- you could just tell. As are you. May she live on in our hearts and taste buds.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

What a lovely tribute to Sher, Kalyn. The slaw looks wonderful too! I'm sure that she is up there smiling at you right now.

Paula said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend Sher. She sounds like the kind of person that make the world a little brighter where ever she touched it.

Paz said...

Lovely-looking dish. Very special tribute for a very special person.

Paz

Astrid, Kashim and Othello said...

Kalyn,
how sad that you were so close to meet and yet didn't make it.
you salad looks so yummy and Sher would have loved it for sure!
Unfortunately I am way to far away from you all to have a chance to meet you in person :(

katiez said...

I remember this one... I bookmarked it but haven't made it yet. Matching tastebuds, I like that (except for me it would have to be without the cilantro)
It's so sad that you were so close to meeting....

Baking Soda said...

Kalyn I love the words you wrote, so true! And yes, let's make an effort, not only to meet but also express the friendship you feel while you can.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing the salad, the memories, and the beautiful tribute to Sher.

Kalyn said...

I'm having a very bittersweet day reading all the tributes to Sher. Thanks to everyone else who is thinking about her today.

JMom said...

Making Sher's recipe is a wonderful way to celebrate her life. I'm sorry you lost a good friend, she sounds like a fun person to be around.

Shannon said...

I had only been reading Sher's blog for a short time, but was very saddened to hear of her passing. Many of the blogs I read have had tributes to her, and they're all beautiful. She must have been a wonderful lady.

Shannon said...

Oh my god, I made this salad of hers the week before last! It's one of my staples as a take-to-work-for-lunch dish. It's so vibrant, just as Sher was.

melissa said...

Thank you for this post Kalyn. Beautiful. I'm sure she would be glad that she is remembered by you the way that she is. I'm actually bookmarking this salad. :)

As someone who lost a loved one very suddenly, I know how odd and unsettling an experience that can be. I wish you all the best, with much love and good wishes. I know Sher would be thrilled to see you loving her in such a wonderful light.

Melissa

Lis said...

I think you picked the perfect recipe, Kalyn.. it's as bright and vivid as Sherry was. :)

This must have been a very hard post to write, but you did a lovely job - it's a beautiful tribute to her.

xoxox

Nabeela said...

It was hard for me not to cry when I read your tribute post, it's beautiful. I miss Sher's vibrant posts of simple recipes...also her very witty Weekend Cat Blogging :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A gorgeous Coleslaw! Very colorful and delicious looking! A great tribute...

Cheers,

Rosa

Bob said...

Kalyn
Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Sher. You are completely correct, Sher was a "giver, not a taker." She brought joy and kindness to so many people. She would have felt honored by your post. I know she valued your friendship.
Sher's huband, Bob

Kalyn said...

Thank you to everyone for all the loving comments about Sher. I hope she knows how many people are thinking about her.

Bob, I do realize that people who aren't bloggers rarely leave comments, so I appreciate you making that effort. It was my pleasure to be associated with her, although for too short of a time.

Julie said...

That trip around the world meeting food bloggers would have been something. I picture the two of you as the goodwill ambassadors of food blogging. It's a loss for all of us that you and Sher won't some day be coming to our town/city/country.

Kalyn said...

Oh Julie, that brought tears to my eyes. We had been talking about it for so long, and were both looking forward to those days so much.

Glenna said...

Wonderful post, Kalyn. She loved those flavors and that's a great recipe!

Belinda said...

I have been so sporadic with blogging (and blog reading) recently that I just only read about Sher, and I'm heartbroken at the awful news. What a sweetheart she was, and a ray of light to all who knew her through her wonderful blog. This salad is a perfect remembrance of Sher...bright, cheerful and lovely.

Jeanne said...

What a beautiful trubute, Kalyn. The colours of this salad look fantastic - thanks for sharing.

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