For Whom the Slaw Coles

If you’re like me, you like the idea of coleslaw more than coleslaw itself, more often than not. That’s because nearly every incarnation of coleslaw I’ve tasted has run the gamut from boring and bland to gloppy and over-sweet. It’s sad, because coleslaw is such  a great, simple dish,  and great way to get fresh raw veggies onto your plate.

So, I’m board with coleslaw. What I’m not on-board with is a thin, vinegary sauce or a thick, sickly sweet one. So, where do I go from here? I go to my go-to sauce, which is neither too thick or thin, too sharp to nor too sweet. I think I’ve perfected the art of slaw, and I invite you try to my super-simple formula.

The following makes enough sauce for 1/2 head of  shredded cabbage and a handful of stir-ins of your choice, or 1 bag of coleslaw mix.

Beth’s Foolproof Coleslaw Sauce

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup good quality, full-fat mayo
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed (and poppy seeds, optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp. white wine or cider vinegar
  • a generous pinch of sugar
  • a generous pinch of salt and pepper

Whisk the following together in a bowl, and pour over your slaw ingredients. Enjoy.

Choose Your Own Adventure Cooking

Last night–for reasons that are boring and would not make the live studio audience laugh–I had to make dinner on the fly. And while I’m a very self-assured cook, the only way to really know if a dish is successful is just go ahead and make it and eat it. So I looked in my fridge, gauged what needed to be used up (Swiss chard, mushrooms), and made a pasta dish with those ingredients plus a few more goodies.

Pasta with Mushrooms, Swiss Chard and Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 3 pieces bacon
  • 1 big shallot, chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, rough-chopped
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1 pound penne
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta water

Here’s what I did:

  1. I  cooked the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, I fried the bacon in a large skillet. I removed the bacon, set it aside, let it cool and chopped it up.
  2. I added a bit of olive oil to the leftover rendered bacon fat and sauteed the shallot ’til tender and translucent.
  3. I added the mushrooms to the pan and sauteed them until they started to brown. Then I deglazed the pan with the sherry and threw in the chard and garlic. (I had meant to use the garlic as  last minute fresh addition, but accidentally added it too soon. Cooking on the fly!)
  4. I toasted the walnut pieces in a small skillet.
  5. When the shard and mushrooms had cooked down, I turned off the heat and added them to the cooked and drained pasta.
  6. To the pasta-chard mixture I added the toasted walnuts, cooled bacon, the juice of one lemon, the Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and reserved pasta water, to loosen the sauce a bit. I tossed it all together until everything was combined well.

I thought it was great but could have used a bit of sweetness somewhere–caramelized onions or maybe a little syrupy balsamic vinegar…

Anything you would do to tweak this if you were making it?

UPDATE: Prefer vegetarian cooking? Leave out the bacon. I think this dish would still be terrific without it.

Recipe Review: Asian Tofu Salad

Yesterday, there was nothing lunchy in the house to eat, so I decided get creative and Googled recipes for “Asian Tofu Salad.” I ended up making this, a fried tofu-topped salad of greens, cukes and carrots.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm, water-packed tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped

 

It was really, really tasty.

It took 10 or so minutes* to throw together and I loved the fact that the quick dressing acted as both frying oil and dressing.

I had to do a little tweaking to the recipe because I didn’t have everything it called for on hand. Did not have sesame oil. It was great without it, but I’d sure love to try it with next time. I also substituted romaine lettuce for the mixed greens. Which was fine. Finally, I added a tiny dash of Sambal Oelek and red pepper flakes to the dressing because that’s just how I roll. I’m impish and terrible.

All in all, this is a pretty terrific recipe: healthy, easy to make and extremely tasty. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly filling. So don’t be surprised if you eat every bit of it yourself. I mean, it’s basically tofu and lettuce, so I wouldn’t feel too guilty about it.

 

*all my produce is pre-washed by moi, so that really saves time

Art and Food

I have created two new avant garde art installations. I call this one “Grass.”

I call this “Chair.”

In food news, I found an amazing blog. I’m picky about what kind of recipes I like. A lot simply don’t resonate with me or get my tastebuds workin’… but these sure do. And the fact that they’re written by a nutritionist makes the blog an even better find for me. I’ve already tested one of her recipes and it was a huge success.

Crockpot Asian Chicken Stew


I made a couple of substitutions–I used Chinese cabbage in place of the spinach because, frankly, it needed to be used up, and I used Sambal Oelek in place of the Sriracha because it was all I had. I also added an extra squirt of lime at the end, for extra freshness. With these little tweaks, it was unbelievably flavorful. What’s more, I felt good about eating it.

The stew is definitely vaguely pan-Asian…but the abundance of veggies and the strong peanut taste evokes African groundnut stews. I think–if you’re so inclined–you could easily substitute the chicken with tofu or sweet potatoes, and this recipe would still be a huge winner.

Forget the Fairy Salad, This is So Good You’ll Eat Soggy Salad

Seems salad and other awesome rabbit food is the hot topic around the blog-o-sphere these days…

For tossing and eating.

I’ve eaten a lot of salads in my time. I’ve eaten salads at chain restaurants, fine dining establishments and, of course, home. The best salad I’ve ever had–bar none–is my mom’s. The secret is her dressing. Here’s how she makes her’s:

She fills her salad bowl with whatever veggies and fruits from look good that day.  Shortly before she is about to serve the salad, it’s topped with the following ingredients:

  • A generous dash of any oil that strikes your fancy
  • A nearly-as-generous dash any vinegar that strikes your fancy (seriously, just grab what’s handy–you can’t mess this up)
  • A generous sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • A couple of pinches of sugar
  • A couple of pinches of your favorite dried and/or fresh herbs (try oregano, Mrs. Dash, tarragon, basil, parsley, whatever floats your boat–Did I mention you can’t mess this up?)
  • A HEARTY sprinkling of granulated garlic (I mean, like A. LOT. Go nuts.)
  • A squeeze of lemon (I imagine orange or lime could be good too). OPTIONAL.

Toss everything together well. Welcome to Salad Heaven.

So where does soggy salad come in? Well, here’s the thing: I find these salads so yummers I will actually eat them after they’ve sat overnight in the fridge. Yes, all soggy and such. They’re that good. So ereebodee be healthy and make a Soggy Salad tonight!