Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tried and True - Coleslaw

Americans eat literally tons of coleslaw every day.  I do not have a citation for that statistic, but it MUST be true.  Just look at the menus at KFC, most places that serve burgers or BBQ and every grocery store deli from Maine to California.  I do know for sure that about 45% of the U.S. cabbage crop goes to the cole slaw industry.  But I am sorry, most of this commercial cole slaw is just not very good.  Plus it is loaded with fat.

I am not opposed to fat.  I am in favor of butter, cream, bacon, lard, egg yolks and olive oil in moderation.  But since I like all those fats I figure I should cut back when I can.  One way to do that is to avoid creamy coleslaw.  I think the sweet sour vinegar dressing kind is a lot better anyway. 

My goal today is to try to convince you to start making your own coleslaw at home and never buy the "creamy" storebought kind ever again.  It is not cream, you know.  It is some kind of mayonnaise-like salad dressing with oil and sugar and salt and a bunch of other stuff.  The recipe I am about to give you also has oil and sugar and salt and a bunch of other stuff -- but you will know exactly what is in the salad.

If you try this recipe you will end up with over two pounds of delicious and nutritious cole slaw.  It will keep for about a week just fine, if you can keep it around that long.  You can eat this as a side dish or put it on sandwiches.  You can stir fry a little meat, remove from heat and mix in some coleslaw and throw it on top of some cooked rice noodles and you will have a lovely dish that is crunchy and chewy and warm and cool and acidic and sweet all at the same time.  Add a few chopped peanuts and cilantro and a squeeze of lime and squirt of hot pepper sauce if you want to gild the lily.

If you develop a homemade coleslaw habit you might help increase our nation's per capita consumption of fresh cabbage.  In the 1920's we were chowing down about 22 pounds of fresh cabbage per person per year.  By 2003 we were down to 7.5 pounds, despite all the coleslaw we were eating.

Basic NOT Creamy Coleslaw - this will make twelve generous and beautiful servings
It took me 7 minutes to slice the cabbage and 15 minutes to make the entire batch of coleslaw.  This does not count the 2 minutes or so I spent setting out all the ingredients.  You will save a lot of money if you make this with fresh CSA or other homegrown vegetables instead of buying pre-made coleslaw at the store.  You will also be healthier.

2 pounds cored and thinly sliced red or green cabbage or a combination - this much cabbage will yield about 12 cups, lightly packed  This is what two pounds of cabbage looks like
1 or 2 carrots, shredded
1 T. onion, finely minced or grated

Mix together in a small bowl: 1/2 c. cider vinegar, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard,  1
T. vegetable oil, 1 t. celery seed, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. black pepper

1 comment:

  1. Your blog, still a go-to resource. I made a Vietnamese chicken salad and had some cabbage left over. Since I ate the chicken salad 3 days in a row I though, "I'll go to Peggy for a new flavor for the rest of this awesome cabbage." And, of course, you don't disappoint. I'll be making this tonight.