» Archive for September, 2009

Recipe: Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by Marie

This recipe gets tons of compliments every time it is served, without fail.  It’s a perfect way to dress up raw cabbage; simple, yet it lends itself to countless variations depending on what you’ve got on hand.

Cabbage has lots of vitamin C and dietary fiber, and is easy to grow (and if you don’t grow it, it’s extremely inexpensive).  We bought a bag of cabbage when we were stocking up for a small festival here and the price was about $3 USD for 10 cabbages.

This salad is by far my most requested recipe.  I’ve had people e-mail me after leaving asking for it, and many more who get the recipe at the table as they eat.  It’s extremely flexible - the only time I actually measured the ingredients was when I was trying to record the recipe.  You can vary it as you want for the size of crowd and the ingredients you have on hand.

I use a half of a head of cabbage for 3-4 people, a whole cabbage for 5-10 people, and add a bit more from there depending on the crowd.  Other ingredients you can add to make the salad larger include pineapple, finely chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and red onion.  To make it a meal you can add cubes of tofu or chicken. 

Mark Bittman (my favorite food writer) suggests salting your raw cabbage before using it in your salad to leech out a bit of the water and make the cabbage less tough and easier to eat.  I did this in the past, but have found if I slice the cabbage thinly enough salting is unnecessary.  Or, if you use thicker slices, just limit the amount of water you add for thinning the dressing and dress the salad an hour before you plan to serve it.  The salt in the soy sauce will allow the cabbage to wilt a bit, and you can use the water that has been extracted from the cabbage to toss with the thick dressing before serving.

If you use peanut butter in place of peanuts, be sure that you’re buying the real thing.  Your peanut butter should contain peanuts and salt - that’s it! To make the salad a bit less fattening, omit the olive oil.



  • 1/2 to 2 heads of cabbage; green or purple or both
  • 1 cup peanuts, or 1/2 cup fresh peanut butter
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger or 1-4 cloves garlic (or both)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lime (optional)
  • Handful of chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Water for thinning


  1. Core the cabbage and thinly slice it.
  2. Combine peanuts, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oil, and lime.  Blend until smooth.
  3. Add water to the peanut mixture until the consistency is like a thick dressing.
  4. Toss dressing with the cabbage and garnish with cilantro.  Taste before serving, and adjust seasoning as necessary.  If needed, toss with a little more soy sauce.  To increase peanut taste, just toss with chopped toasted peanuts.

This dressing can also be used as a peanut sauce base for stir fries.  Enjoy!

Virgo Birthday Party

Monday, September 14th, 2009 by Marie

Last night we had our Virgo birthday party!

The Virgos (anyone with a birthday from August 22 to September 23), Brenda and Marie, threw a party for the folks here.  We also invited some friends from nearby.  Our crowd included people from Belgium, Argentina, England, USA, South Africa, and Mexico (Guadalajara, Sonora, and Uruapan).


Honey Cupcake too:
honey cupcake!

Board games (Perpetual Commotion!):
perpetual commotion!

Popcorn (three flavors):

And singing and music by the fire:

Rather than celebrate individual birthdays, we like to have the people whose birthdays fall within each zodiac sign throw a party for everyone else.  This was our first astrological birthday party- many more to come!

Virgo is a sign of the goddess.  In the native Purépecha culture, Xarátenga was the goddess of the sea and the moon. Xarátenga’s domain was in the west of Michoacán, and she was symbolized as an owl, a crone or a coyote.   Perhaps in future years Xarátenga will be incorporated into our Virgo fiestas!

Happy birthday Virgos!

Volunteer Spotlight: Raúl

Monday, September 7th, 2009 by Marie

Raúl is originally from Mexico City but lives in Queretero.  Raúl has been actively pursuing places in which to learn about permaculture and alternative styles of living, and has plans to create his own permaculture farm with friends. He volunteered with us for four months and helped in a variety of ways.

A diligent and hard-working individual, Raúl set up our Spanish language program, including beginner and intermediate class lesson plans and various methods for self-study.  He also led several permaculture workshops, talks about vegetarianism, and classes on natural building.  Always interested in teaching and spreading valuable information, Raúl spent one of his last days at the Bosque co-creating a permaculture class for 10 volunteers and 5 folks from nearby villages.

Most volunteers work until lunch and are done for the day; not Raúl.  At night he hosted fires and sang, played guitar, and made campfires more magical for everyone.  In the afternoon he taught Spanish.  During events he scheduled and led different classes and activities.  In his free time he worked on writing a novel and hosts an online radio program.  Raúl is not concerned about hours; he wants to make a better world.

For Brian and myself, Raúl was one of the easiest volunteers to work with.  He truly understands what it is like to create a place like the Bosque, and was empathetic with our choices and plans even if he might have chosen a different route.  His advice is invaluable, and his help was just amazing.  Raúl was consistently available to help, allowing us to cross language barriors several times.  To this day he still sends us e-mails with valuable information.

Above all, Raúl’s character is incredible.  He is a thoughtful person who is always thinking about how his actions affect the world around him.  Some called him strong-willed; we just call him strong.  Raúl will be a friend of the Bosque forever.

Leading a discussion on vegetarianism:


Leading a class on Permaculture with Alejandro:

Teaching Spanish:

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