sunshine with a chance of colorful coleslaw

The sunshine comes out and we, the sunshine deprived, go a little bit nuts. It’s been a long, cool, rainy spring and when I did my errands this afternoon it actually got so warm that I got excited for summer and all the nice days to come. Yesterday I wore a skirt without tights and sunned my pasty legs! Tonight I drank an evening cocktail out on the balcony! Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I know it will be sweet because the weather will be even warmer. Nice!

Maybe it’s spring where you are or maybe it’s raining and grey outside. I can think of a few things that will make you smile. One, is this little bit of video on YouTube: Ska, Ska, Ska aka This is Ska (a short film with 2 titles has got to be good!). There are 4 parts and it’s all very watchable and highly danceable. And this just begs the question, why don’t people dance the ska anymore? Can we bring it back? Next time you meet me on the dance floor (or in my kitchen) I will be enthusiastically “rowing”. Now, the second thing that might make you smile is this coleslaw. Look at it! So bright! So colourful! Let’s talk about it.

This is one of my oldest and dearest coleslaw recipes. I’m surprised that I haven’t posted it on the blog until now. It has no mayo or gloopy dressing. Instead it’s a simple brined salad, tangy and a little bit sweet. It comes from the first cookbook I bought for myself when after a break-up I found myself living alone for the first time in my life. No family, no roommates, no boyfriend. Just me. I had in fact just stopped being a vegetarian a month earlier, but still wasn’t interested in cooking meat at home. So this cookbook, full of familiar and comforting recipes, was a bit of a lifesaver. The coleslaw, even better.

I’ve made a few tweaks over the years. I don’t grate my onion and I use a good amount of smoky paprika with a hot sauce chaser. I don’t really think you could screw this up. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s very forgiving. Once, when I thought I had this recipe memorized, I put in a 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the written 1/4 cup. You know what? I liked it, I ate it. No complaints. Try the recipe as written the first time and then play around with it. Maybe you do like a sweeter ‘slaw, so try adding in an extra tablespoon or two instead of going all out like I mistakenly did.

The texture of the cabbage changes slightly with this brine. It’s crunchy but there’s something else…it’s a bit squeaky. It’s because of the pickling that is going on. And this squeakiness is a good thing. You can eat this slaw as soon as it cools down, about 30 minutes after making it. It’s not very squeaky at this point. It’s fresh and crunchy and it’s delicious, but if you wait 6 more hours, or overnight – that’s when this coleslaw really comes into its own. Make a double batch and see for yourself.

elsewhere: Over at Poppytalk I make a very spring-worthy dish: pasta primavera. It’s creamy without being heavy and it’s as delicious as it looks (and it looks great!). So stop by and say hi!

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29 comments to “sunshine with a chance of colorful coleslaw”

  1. 1
    Kirsten @ Cooking in Japan   May 20, 2011 at 4:11 am

    This looks delicious! If you disliked mustard but loved all of the other ingredients in the salad, what would you replace the mustard with?

  2. 2
    christina   May 20, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I love your slaw recipes!

  3. 3
    Rachel (Olalliberry)   May 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Beautiful slaw! I listened (and danced!) to a lot of ska when I was younger, but it’s been years (and the dancing didn’t look quite like the video…). Thanks for sharing the blast from the past!

  4. 4
    Amanda   May 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

    That’s one of my favorite cookbooks — I’ve had it for years and come back to it often. In particular I love the penne a la vodka recipe, I’ve probably made it a hundred times. And two-toned oven fries!

  5. 5
    Meister @ The Nervous Cook   May 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Man, I just love your blog so much. I also, now, love this slaw recipe! And am psyched to check out “Vegetarian Comfort Food,” which I’d never heard of before but sounds right up my alley.

    Thank you for all of the above!

  6. 6
    Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)   May 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Love the looks of this slaw and the color of your toes! :)

  7. 7
    Jessicah   May 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Oh how I wish it was just starting to warm up here! I live in Tucson, and was so excited that for the last three days we’ve been “only” at 80-85, a nice break from the nineties of the last few weeks.

    Must find a way to visit Vancouver… :)

  8. 8
    Rocky Mountain Woman   May 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Sigh…

    It was snowing this morning when I got up…

    not fair!

  9. 9
    kickpleat   May 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Kirsten, you actually can’t taste the mustard. It uses mustard powder which doesn’t leave much of an impact. If you want, I think you can safely leave it out completely!

    Thanks Christina!

    Rachel – in university, I danced to ska too, but it was more the hopping upside down type of dance!

    Amanda, so glad that someone else shares the love of this cookbook! Yay!!

    Meister, I love that book – it’s still near and dear to my heart.

    Haha, thanks Rivki!

    Jessicah, each side of the fence always looks greener, doesn’t it! I’d be happy in hot weather -and I’ve been to Tuscon!

    RMW, the sunshine will come – I know it :)

  10. 10
    Elizabeth   May 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

    This is just the thing for barbecue weather! I *love* slaw like this, but always forget to make it. Thanks for the reminder. Now, if only I could get my husband to learn to love purple cabbage…

  11. 11
    David from SaladPride   May 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    lovely! very crunchy!
    :)

  12. 12
    Bijoux   May 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    This slaw sounds heavenly. I can’t wait to try it. Brace yourself but I’ve never heard of ska dance music before. It’s catchy and looks like a lot of fun! On another note, I’m making an impromptu trip. I’m heading overseas to my go-to Mediterranean hideaway for 2 weeks. So if you don’t hear from me, you’ll know why :)

  13. 13
    Lynn   May 23, 2011 at 6:01 am

    My family and I are just getting acquainted with the magic of slaw. I’ll definitely have to try your version. It looks wonderful!

  14. 14
    kickpleat   May 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Elizabeth, you could make it with just green cabbage – it’s lovely that way too. And this is perfect for picnics since it is mayo-less.

    Thanks David.

    One, Bijoux, I’m shocked. In high school and university we’d always dance to “Mirror in the Bathroom” which was 80s ska. But as I’ve grown up, I love the old-school ska best. Two, 100% jealous of your trip. Have fun!!

    Lynn, enjoy the slaw love. Me, I can’t get enough!

  15. 15
    SixBalloons   May 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Beautiful colours in that slaw… Happy Belated Birthday by the way!

  16. 16
    Maddie   May 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    This slaw looks like a Jackson Pollock painting—and I mean that it the best possible way! LOVE.

  17. 17
    Kimberley   May 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve been feeling a little down about our glum weather here, but this post put a smile on my face. And I hope that someday I can see your rowing in action. :)

    PS: I heart coleslaw!

  18. 18
    hag   May 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Your slaw looks good and very colourful! Thanks for the ska link…its great and what a workout! I miss Ska too… I remember seeing the Hopping Penguins at the Town Pump sometime around 1987.

  19. 19
    Julie   May 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Looks fab. Love slaw. This one’s obviously a keeper!

  20. 20
    kickpleat   May 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks so much SixBalloons!

    Ha, I can see it Maddie :) Thanks.

    Yes to rowing, Kimberly!! One of these days you’ll see my ska moves ;)

    Thanks Hag! Yes, love the ska and the slaw!

    Julie, thanks so much – it’s definitely a keeper.

  21. 21
    Redpath Sugar   May 25, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Hi! This looks so delicious and we can’t wait to try it! We’ve posted it on our Facebook page.

    http://www.facebook.com/redpathsugar :)

    - Anna

  22. 22
    kickpleat   May 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks Anna!

  23. 23
    Rachel   May 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    I made this at work today for dinner. I didn’t have red onions or red bell peppers available but the dressing was enough to make a wonderful coleslaw nonetheless. I was so excited to present a coleslaw that was crisp and colorful rather than white and gloppy, with a better taste and health benefits to top it off!

  24. 24
    kickpleat   June 1, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Rachel, so glad you enjoyed this!

  25. 25
    oregonjenn   June 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I love this! Beautiful. No gooey white dressing. I may have to march to the market after work today and give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  26. 26
    kickpleat   July 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks oregonjenn! Enjoy, it’s fantastic!

  27. 27
    Ashley   July 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I’ve never seen a coleslaw where you pour hot dressing on top. Sounds like it would be amazing!

  28. 28
    Tamara   July 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Am thinking of making this for a party of 25 – should I double, triple, quadruple the recipe?

  29. 29
    kickpleat   July 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Tamara, I’d say you should quadruple it to be safe – the recipe as written probably serves 6-8, depending on servings. Let me know how it goes.

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