My aunt, cousin and 3-year-old niece Mindy made a somewhat unplanned visit to Houston from Mexico for 2 weeks this month. Of course I was gleefully smiling from ear to ear when my mom told me about the news. I come from a small family, where I grew up with only one cousin. And she fulfilled the role for older sister, cousin and playmate throughout my early childhood in China. The last time I had seen her was three years ago at her wedding. Since then, she had a baby and temporarily relocated to Mexico for my cousin-in-law’s work with my aunt.
I’ve never met my niece, but she and I share quite a bit from afar. First of all, her birthday is one day off from mine, so we are all Geminis by birthdays. Supposedly, she has my personality, and from what I heard, my niece is a little wild girl who started to walk before she turned one, and started to talk soon after with a surprisingly large vocabulary bank for her age. On top of that, now that she has been attending kindergarten in Mexico for half a year, she is officially trilingual- English, Chinese and a bit of Spanglish. So, she is already ahead of me on the Spanish part. Her English name, Mindy, was actually a name that I had given to her when she was born. It sounds phonetically similar to her Chinese name- MinXi. More than that, Mindy even share my impatience! She is quick to love a new toy but also quick to abandon a toy when she gets frustrated or can’t figure something out. And did I mention already, that she is the cutest little Chinese girl I’ve ever seen? The best model for baby clothes and quite the prodigious expert on selfies.
So when this weekend came around, and it was time for me to go back to my parents’ home and spent the two days with my cousin, auntie and Mindy, I was more than excited.
Apparently, Mindy was just as excited as I was. After she woke up from her afternoon siesta, she was asking my cousin, “Where is auntie Kim? Why has she not come yet?” Since then, we soon became buddies and hilarity ensued wherever she went. Here are some examples of her comical conversations.
Me: “Mindy, do you know how to say water in Spanish?” (in Chinese)
Mindy: “blah blah in gibberish..agua is water! Uno, dos, tres…”
Me: “Mindy, go take a shower with your mom.”
Mindy waving her hand at me while attempting to take off her shirt: “Fast! close the door!”
Me: “Can I give you a haircut Mindy? So that you can look like your best friend Ali?”
Mindy: “No no no…I’m a girl!”
Cousin trying to shake Mindy awake from a siesta: “Time to wake up Mindy.”
Mindy: whines and rolls around to her tummy, still asleep.
Cousin: “We’re all gonna eat pancakes now.”
Mindy: abruptly sits up, eyes wide open, “where where?”
So at least, she inherited the foodie side of me.
This week, I will introduce to you another one of my summer salad dishes. This time, it’s an Asian fusion dressing that makes use of my large jar of Tahini sauce and the chunk of ginger that has been lying in the fridge ignored for the most part. The dressing can be tweaked to your own liking to be more sweet or nutty. Again, the salad is effortless and takes under 20 minutes to prepare, and is light, refreshing and healthy! Happy summer!
Summer Slaw with Ginger Tahini Dressing
- 1 small cabbage
- 2-3 cups of shredded carrot sticks
- 3 Tbsp Tahini
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp water to thin out the dressing
- toasted sesame seeds as topping (optional)
Slice cabbage to thin slices. Toss cabbage together with carrot sticks in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all ingredients from Tahini to water until smooth and well combined. Taste to adjust ingredients.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to mix evenly. Sprinkle sesame seed on top. Chill slaw in the fridge until ready to serve. Best served chilled.