Saturday, August 6, 2011

Slaw, Slaw, and More Slaw

My sister-in-law and I have stumbled upon some great new takes on the summer classic slaw. Something we have been very successful with growing this year is cabbage. We are growing three different kinds: a mild Savoy, a pointed Wakefield, and the traditional cabbage of numerous sauerkraut recipes.

We really like the Savoy because it is mild. My sister-in-law's mother prefers the traditional head because of its sharp cabbage taste. However, for making a quick summer slaw in our minds, nothing beats the Savoy.

Simply quarter a head of cabbage. Then soak in a saltwater bath for a half hour to remove any bugs that might have beaten you to the cabbage (a couple tablespoons of salt and enough water to submerge the cabbage,we've been going pesticide-free). Rinse off the cabbage and remove the core. Then shred cabbage into 1/4" slices and toss with an instant dressing like Marzetti's Original Slaw Dressing (start with about 1/2 cup), and you have slaw.

Savoy cabbage, unlike the traditional cabbage, has a nice light green color throughout. Along with the mild flavor, this gives you a lot of flexibility in your slaw making. My sister-in-law added sliced apples with the peel and raisins for a fresh fruity slaw that was not overly sweet.

Today, I made a slaw with chopped cucumbers (1/2 to 1 cup) and onion (1/4 cup) and threw in a half a cup of dried cranberries, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

When I was young slaws always had fennel seed, carrots, onion, a traditional green cabbage base, with a bit of shredded purple cabbage for color. People fell into two camps: slaw eaters and avoiders.

If you prefer to make your own slaw dressing, there are numerous recipes, over half of which start with some sort of mayonnaise base. Curious about Marzetti's, I tasted it before adding it to my chopped ingredients and found the similarity in taste to my deviled egg salad recipe astounding.

To make a Marzetti-like slaw dressing combine:

1/2 cup of mayonnaise,
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard (like you put on hot dogs, not Bavarian-style, or Dijon, just plain old yellow),
1/4 teaspoon of sugar,
1/4 teaspoon of salt,
1/4 teaspoon pepper,
and a dash of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.

You might combine sweet red pepper, raisins, and cabbage. Or maybe jump off into a whole different group of sweet slaws with mangoes, pineapple, and blueberries. With the availability of ready-made slaw dressings, the possibilities are endless. Find a slaw you like and make it your own.

Have fun with this taste of summer.

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