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Kalyn's Kitchen

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


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

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

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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



  9. 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 🙂