We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Riffs on Coleslaw

by Michelle

   For years I served a knock-off version of Kentucky Fried Chicken's recipe, which is sweet and creamy and rests for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator before being served. I still like the recipe, especially on tacos and in sandwiches. When I lived in California last year with Linda, she introduced me to a variety of quick coleslaws. I now prefer the crunchy texture and fresh flavors of quickly made coleslaws and they are a breeze to make.
   A variety of mix and match ingredients are tossed in a salad bowl earlier in the day. Stash covered in the refrigerator until just about ready to serve. About 5 to 10 minutes before dinner the dressing ingredients are added and the entire mix is tossed thoroughly to distribute the dressing. Taste; adjust seasonings, adding more vinegar or oil as needed to find the right balance of yin and yang or sweet, salty, sour. Toss again, adjust seasonings again, if needed and serve.
   We assembled coleslaws on the fly to match whatever else was being served that night. We added fennel to the mix for an Italian meal or daikon and picked ginger to an Asian meal. Pickled jalapenos and jicama work well for a Mexican meal that might include tacos, enchiladas or tamales. Coleslaw avails itself to constant interpretation and is always a tasty revelation.
   You know and I know that to be healthy we must eat plenty of fruits and vegetables daily. Scientific research shows humans should have a particular focus on chowing down the cruciferous vegetables, of which the family members are easily recognizable: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, daikon radish, horseradish, brussel sprouts, bok choy, and more. Simply put 100 calories of cruciferous vegetables can provide 25%-40% of your daily fiber requirement - that's a high return on investment - not to mention the serving is also packed with conventional nutrient content and phyotonutrients. What does that mean in simple terms? Cruciferous vegetables might as well wear tights and little capes because they are so good at warding off certain types of cancer. To learn more, visit: The World's Healthiest Foods.

Riffs on Coleslaw

Base ingredients:
1/2 to 1whole small head green cabbage, slivered
1-2 medium carrots, peeled
1 cucumber, peeled, sliced in half, seeds removed (using a spoon), sliced thinly into quarter moons, optional
fresh parlsey, minsed

red cabbage, thinly sliced, mostly added for its appealing color
blanched floweretts of broccoli and/or cauliflower
thin slices of red, orange, yellow or green bell peppers, seeds and veins removed and discarded
2-3 scallions, sliced into rounds both white and green parts
minced chives
1 head fennel, shaved with a mandolin
fresh tarragon, minced
1 jicama, peeled and julienned
minced pickled jalapeno
1 daikon radish, grated
red radish, ends removed, sliced into paper thin rounds
minced pickled ginger
black sesame seeds
pickled shallots: remove and discard papery skin, sliced the shallot into very thin rounds and cover with champagne vinegar for about an hour. Use pickled shallots to garnish salads and use the flavored vinegar in the dressing.

Dressings ingredients might include:
citrus juices and zest: lemon, lime, and orange juice
vinegars: apple/cider, wine (champagne, sherry, red, white), rice wine, soy
oils: infused, such as hot chili or herb, nut (walnut, hazelnut, peanut), meyer lemon, and olive, including extra-virgen
sweeteners: agave syrup and liquified honey
emulsifiers: mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraîche
seasonings: plain or flavored sea salts and freshly ground black or white pepper
crumbled Cheeses: Italian gorgonzola, French feta or Mexican queso

   Most vinaigrettes are typically 1 part acid (vinegar and/or citrus juice) to 3 parts oil, although I typically have a heavier hand with the vinegar because I love it so, making my ratio about equal for slaws. The fun of mixing and matching is introduced by the wide varieties of flavored vinegars and oils that are available on the market. Check out your local specialty grocery stores. 
   For a coleslaw, it is important to introduce a sweet dimension to the dressing that we deliver through a generous squirt of Agave syrup because it is a liquid and doesn't solidify over time like honey. If you use granulated sugar, it will have a difficult time dissolving and will likely feel gritty on the tongue. To avoid the sandy texture, first combine the vinegar or acid with the sugar. Stir until dissolved and then add to the slaw.
  And, finally, with all salads whether leaf or cabbage based, I always begin with salt and peppper, and tossing, before adding the rest of the dressing ingredients. For a creamy dimension, add in a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise or plain greek yogurt. Here are some general guidelines to get you started:

   To the base mix, add any prepared vegetables that appeal to you. Sprinkle sea salt and grind freshly ground black pepper over the prepared vegetables in the salad bowl. Toss with two salad spoons. Add about 1 part vinegar - champagne, apple or red wine - or freshly squeezed lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil and a healthy squirt of agave syrup and 1 or 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or plain greek yogurt. Toss well. Taste, adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

   Shave fennel into the bottom of the salad bowl and toss with 1 or 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice to preserve color. Add rest of vegetables and minced parsley and tarragon. Sprinkle sea salt and grind freshly ground black pepper over the prepared vegetables in the salad bowl. Toss with two salad spoons. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and a healthy squirt of agave syrup. Toss well. Taste, adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

   I like to add in julienned jicama and shredded daikon radish. Thinly sliced rounds of red radish are pretty in lieu of the daikon. Minced pickled jalapenos are tasty and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves adds nice color and flavor. Scallions are nice, too either as garnish or tossed into the mix.
   Sprinkle sea salt and grind freshly ground black pepper over the prepared vegetables in the salad bowl. Toss with two salad spoons. Add about 1 part lime juice to 3 parts olive oil and a healthy squirt of agave syrup. Toss. Taste, adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

   To the base coleslaw mix add thin slices of pickled ginger, shredded daikon radish, and 1-2 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds.
   Sprinkle sea salt and grind freshly ground black pepper over the prepared vegetables in the salad bowl. Toss with two salad spoons. Add about 1 part soy vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar to 1 part dark sesame oil, 1 part hot chili oil, and 1 part olive oil and a healthy squirt of agave syrup. Toss. Taste, adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

Juliette's Favorite based on Food For Life (more tangy, no sugar):
   One small had cabbage, sliced as thin as you can with a chef's knife. Add one or two grated carrots. One firm red bell pepper deveined and seeded, and sliced very thin. Using a citrus press, squeeze the juice of one lemon over the top of the slaw, salt liberally, grinds of black pepper, mayo to your taste. Stir well. Add lots of minced dill and mix it again. The slaw is best after it has sat in the fridge overnight, and served the next day.

Similar to Colonel Sanders' recipe, but better:
To coat 1 small head of slivered cabbage and 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded - combine the following ingredients, stirring well, preferably with a whisk:

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise, low-fat or regular
1/4 cup milk, low-fat or whole
1/4 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 Tbsps cider vinegar
2-1/2 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 medium sized lemon)

Toss the slaw mix completely with the dressing, cover and let rest in the refrigerator a minimum of 2 hours before serving. Garnish with minced fresh parsley.

1 comment:

  1. I am a fan of the flavors of all sorts of coleslaws. However, I do worry about have too many cruciferous vegetables in my diet, either raw or even cooked. They depress the thyroid. For years it was thought that only RAW cruciferous vegetables still had the goitrogens that are responsible for depressing thyroid function and that fermented (Kimchee, sauerkraut, et al) or cooked cruciferous vegetables were ok... well, recently a study found that no matter raw, fermented or cooked, cruciferous vegetables still possess goitrogens to depress thyroid function. Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is practically an epidemic in the USA, so I always consider the implications of that when deciding to eat or not to eat a cruciferous vegetable or combination containing them. Sadly, that's a pretty huge hole out of the readily available fresh vegetable kingdom, especially in winter when cruciferous vegetables have always shined, being "keeping" vegetables that store well over the cold months. Still the recipes sound quite wonderful. Christina


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