Friday, December 3, 2010

Coleslaw Fast and Easy

Be sure and check new postings - new salad and coleslaw recipes are being added all the time!

I needed a quick column this morning and food is always a great subject.  I actually love all brassica vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, kale and more - but cabbage is a real favourite and one that seems to have fallen out of favour. It's also a super healthy addition to any diet for tons of reasons that can be easily accessed on the internet - I leave you to do your own research.  Coleslaw for me is any salad with shredded cabbage as a base.  When I was growing up in the Midwest, the standard dressing my mom made was Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise) and sugar.  Crushed pineapple was a common addition.  I was never really a fan.

When I go back to South Dakota, there are still a lot of these sweeter salads as well as many jello concoctions, but on the West Coast times have changed.  Salad has become almost and art form here and healthier versions of old favourites have stepped forward to take centre stage. What I love about coleslaw in any form is that it stands up to a little sitting around and most versions can be eaten the next day (although any with a vinegar type dressing, while still edible, will be wilted.)

I am including four below.  The first is an adaption from a recipe I found in a cookbook.  The second was my first experimentation at an easy, but home-made coleslaw dressing.  I don't often make it anymore, but still love it.  Next is a recipe still in development that cries out for input - what would you add?  Lastly is one I haven't made yet but is on my list of things to try. It was invented by sous chef, Courtney Swenson at the Lake Travis restaurant.  It was used to top the Hot 'n' Crunchy Chicken Cone (another recipe I am dying to try, but is extremely complicated and takes a lot of prep.)

As my life is so crazy, I do tend to try and find bottled substitutes for the dressings to make them easy to throw together.  If your life has a little more time in it, I challenge you to invent a fresh dressing with similar flavours. 

Coleslaw #1

1 regular size bag of coleslaw mix from the grocery store.
1 Red or Orange Pepper diced
4 green onions diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup Parsley loosely chopped
1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese (about 4 oz.), or to taste
 Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano Dressing to taste
 Note - for a more rounded vegetarian meal salad add 1 - 19 oz. can of kidney beans (rinsed and well-drained of course.)

This one is easy to make, has a great flavour and is really filling.  I never measure anything, just toss it in based on my mood that day, so most of these are estimates and you should vary it until it tastes the way you like it.  I love fresh parsley and tend to put in lots, but have put a range for those who are not as enamoured.  Same with the feta, if you love it put in more, I often do. The really tough instructions are - put the first 5 ingredients in bowl, add dressing and stir.  The one note I would make is watch the amount of dressing.  It's easy to add too much. This dressing will make the salad wilt, so don't add it until the last minute.

For those who want the original fresh dressing (a LOT milder), it's 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  I make a lot more salad, so you will probably have to double it.

Coleslaw #2

1 regular size bag of coleslaw mix from the grocery store.
Low-Fat Mayonnaise
Plain Yogurt
Dijon Mustard
Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar

This was my first attempt at a non-sweet coleslaw and I still love it.  I have a feeling not everyone will, so don't try it for a party until you have personally tasted it.  As I eye all ingredients, it's a bit tough to give exact amounts.  Basically you want an equal amount of yogurt and mayonnaise (probably around 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup), then about 1 T of Dijon and Vinegar - taste and add more of whichever flavour you think needs it.  This is a recipe you really need to make your own.  It's simple, easy and very healthy.

Coleslaw #3

AHHH - my work in progress.  I needed a salad with a bit of ethnic flavouring one day and it started there.  Still not settled on what should be added to this concoction to take it to the next level, so open to suggestions.

1 regular size bag of coleslaw mix from the grocery store.
Slivered Almonds, roasted
Fresh Bean Sprouts
Kraft Asian Sesame Dressing

Add whatever ingredients you think will make it special.  Toasting the almonds in particular will really bring out their flavour.  Dressing is always to taste - always err on the under-dressed side.  It's healthier and doesn't overwhelm the other flavours.

Coleslaw #4 - Mango Jalapeno Slaw

New Note - FINALLY had the chance to try this recipe and it was a hands down favourite with EVERYONE! Although it was originally meant to be a part of Chicken in an Cone, it's definitely in my list of must make again recipes.  I also found halving it only made 4 fairly meagre servings, so am doing the entire recipe next time.

1/2 cup diced mango
2 large jalapeƱos, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup mayonnaise (use kraft or homemade NOT miracle whip!)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
7 cups shredded coleslaw mix

This look like a LOT of slaw.  I would try a half recipe the first time and then increase if needed (that is unless you have a huge dinner party).  If I ever make the chicken in a cone, I will share it here.  Just want the chance to try it first.

Step out on the wild side today and bring cabbage back into the mainstream.  Brown's Social House has already done it with their Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese - unbelievably amazing!!!  Coleslaw is just an easy way to start.

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