When vegetables are cut small (shredded, minced, diced or even pulverized) and seasoned boldly, you can shift from side-of-the-plate chorus to topping status with exciting results. Salsas, pestos and slaws fall beautifully into this category, and it's a great opportunity for improvisation.

Here's where I like to get a bit wild (although not necessarily crazy) with flavor combinations. In this slaw, featuring dried shiitake mushrooms, the list of ingredients might seem long, but don't be deterred! This recipe is mostly a throw-together-and-let-marinate affair. It's delicious as a side dish or an appetizer, but works most beautifully as a relish topping for any grilled chicken, fish or tofu. It also keeps up to five days in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

Contact Mollie Katzen via her website, www.molliekatzen.com.