Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of July - Can I Make Cole Slaw More Interesting?

I really wanted to make dessert.

I always want to make dessert.  That's pretty typical.  When I was invited to my brother's 4th of July barbecue this summer, I especially wanted to make dessert.  I have a fantastic cherry cobbler recipe in development and this was the perfect place to try it out on my family.

I couldn't believe how quickly my sister-in-law put the kibosh on it.  "Can you make a salad?" she kept asking.  Salad?  Really?  Salads are boring.  Salads take way more brainpower than I want to use on a hot summer day to not be boring.  Really, I can make such a good dessert.  Everyone in the family knows that.

Sister-in-law was persistent.  "You make such good salads."  I do?  I don't think it's going to be on my epitaph that I was a maker of superb salads.  I'm not sure it's how I want to be remembered anyway.  I guess she really liked the salad I made for Father's Day dinner.  My mother was making the potato salad (more specifically, she was making my recipe for sweet potato and black bean salad), so how about I make the coleslaw?

*Yawn* Did I hear someone ask for cole slaw?

Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but while cole slaw is always appreciated at a picnic, I just don't find it interesting.  I mean, I do always eat it when it's offered to me, but it's not what I most want to make for a picnic.  When I do make it, I try to jazz it up, but my usual way of jazzing it up is my tropical cole slaw and I'm bored with that recipe.  I'm not inclined to make the classic version because I don't really like mayonnaise.

I floated some ideas around my head and looked up some recipe variations online.  What could I do to add some different flavors and textures to ordinary coleslaw?  Now that it's summer, the ingredient I think of most is corn.  I envisioned coleslaw with corn, roasted peppers, and two different colors of cabbage.  That would give a few colors and flavors.  Such a coleslaw  would need a light dressing that would be a bit sweet, a bit acidic, and maybe even have a little spice to it.  Vinegar, honey, and mustard would do that tick nicely.

I really went all out for this.  I cut up my own cabbage.  I wasn't even planning to do that.  The store just didn't have any bags of pre-shredded coleslaw mix.  I did use frozen corn though.  It may be summer, but it's not quite fresh corn season yet.

I also made biscuits because I love biscuits and can never make enough of them.  I mixed some parmesan and black pepper into my classic recipe (the one I use for this crust, but with another half cup of flour) for a new spin on flavor.

Salting cabbage overnight to get the excess liquid out ahead of time makes for less soupy cole slaw.  Thank you Cooks Country for teaching me that trick.

The resulting cole slaw is almost red, white, and blue!

Of course we had other food like ribs, fried chicken, two kinds of sausage, and the aforementioned sweet potato salad along with some cold ratatouille, red potatoes, and corn on the cob.

The family was very into the soccer game as you can see.  Too bad Colombia lost to Brazil.

Colorful Picnic Cole Slaw

  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and cut into strips
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, cored and cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 10 oz package frozen corn, thawed (NOT IN THE MICROWAVE - it shrivels up and dries out)
  • 1 6 oz jar roasted red peppers cut into small dice
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbl dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
 The night before making the salad, toss the cabbages with 1/4 cup salt and place in a colander set over a bowl.  Allow to stand in the refrigerator and let the liquid drain off.  Right before making the coleslaw, rinse well and dry. 

Toss cabbages with corn and peppers in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk the vinegar, honey, and mustard together until well blended.  Slowly whisk in the oil until it is blended and emulsified.  Toss the dressing with the vegetables and allow to sit and let flavors blend before serving.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Oh my gosh... I want everything on that table. Your cole slaw sounds fabulous! I've never made real slaw before. I still want that cherry cobbler recipe from you...