Bok choy and radish slaw with shallot ginger dressing

It’s summer and the hours are dripping by.

On the one hand, I love this. Late mornings. Kids in jammies. Spontaneous park dates. Gardening after nine in the evening.

On the other hand, my own projects have to be shelved. I won’t have the luxury of cooking and photographing for an entire morning or long hours to pull weeds (for some reason, I still imagine I’ll have leisurely mornings to do this in the summer).

The truth is, summer is all about the kids. I love all the fun in the sun but a part of me is still mad about it. Those few mornings I’d eeked out for my own pursuits disappear with the final school bell. Poof.

My frustration with losing my free mornings, though incontestably self-absorbed, isn’t all bad. It stems from passion. There are so many things to do in one summer, I don’t have time for them all. I want to write, of course, and practice photography and cook for you. I have about two dozen places on my list of perfect day trips. There are spas to visit too, and friends with whom I want to share a morning and a pot of tea. I want to prune the crazy big plants around the perimeter of our front yard and spend a couple of days a week underneath my sun hat with a weed digger in the flat, hot sunshine.

But summer isn’t just for me. Life isn’t just for me. There is one option: to be with one another. Sometimes there’s more togetherness, sometimes less. The thing is, I don’t get to decide when. Seasons will not take the long way around to avoid me simply because I have all these plans. Best to be gentle with myself and give in to the too-late sunshine and too-long afternoons and too much grit on my skin. Decide to love lazy days at my favorite local beach with a picnic basket next to me on the blanket and kids scrambling over bleached out logs washed up on the shore.

So the sound of summer, I’m determining now, will be this: shhhh. Hush to the squirming nosy thing that keeps tugging at my flowy summer skirt, telling me to get to work. To move on with my agenda.

I’m here now, I’ll say to it. Can you see that? I’m eating coleslaw and strawberries and trying not to get sand in either one. That’s my biggest problem at the moment. Come back when the kids are at camp in a couple of weeks and we’ll talk. Until then, have a little bok choy slaw.

Bok choy and radish slaw with shallot ginger dressing
adapted from Maine Food & Lifestyle and High Altitude Cooking

4 T grapeseed oil
2 T brown rice vinegar
scant T maple syrup
1 T tamari
scant T toasted sesame oil
½ tsp freshly grated ginger
½ – 1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 head fresh bok choy, thinly sliced
3-4 radishes, finely grated
1 mild salad turnip or ¼ of a jicama root, julienned or cubed
toasted sesame seeds

Put oils, vinegar, syrup, tamari, ginger and shallot in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside to allow shallot to soften.

Prepare bok choy, radishes and turnip and toss to combine in a large mixing bowl.

Just before serving, give the dressing another whisk and pour over vegetables. Toss well and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately and eat in the sun with your eyes closed.

16 thoughts on “Bok choy and radish slaw with shallot ginger dressing

  1. Oh, I hear you! It’s a challenge for me to just let go and be on kid time all day every day. But I’m going to do my best this summer, because there are so few summers of my life when I have this beautiful opportunity. :) And I’m also filing this recipe away for when the bok choy starts rolling in–I’ve never made it into a slaw before, what a good idea! And, finally, your photos are lovely, as always. I always enjoy your posts so much!

    • Thank you so much, Emmy. I’m right there with you – going to do jump in and be present for the ride. In the big picture, we’ll only really have a few summers with our little ones (and mine are getting less little by the day).

  2. This looks fantastic! I’m getting some nice homegrown raddish given to me on Friday :D. Your summer sounds great if not particularly self-indulgent.

  3. This is the perfect summer salad.. so refreshing and your photos are stunning. I feel just as you do.. and my kids are older.. and they still want so much of my time.. and I’m relishing it because one day they’ll be out on their own.. Yay summer!! Have fun!! xo

    • I know. Before we know it they’ll be gone and I’ll be sad that no one’s around. Perspective and honesty and the ability to embrace – that’s what I’m aiming for. Hope your summer’s off to a lovely start, too!

  4. this sounds just gorgeous. love that asian take on a slaw, with one of my favourite vegetables, bok choy! glad to have discovered your blog, that focus on cimple clean fresh eating, while keeping everything new and exciting x

    • Oh, I hope you like it. Thanks so much for visiting, Shu Han! I love your blog as well. Wow, beautiful mixture of design, images and beautiful food. Looking forward to following along with your food adventures!

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