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!
(adapted from Vegetarian Comfort Food)
1/2 head green cabbage
1/2 head purple cabbage
1 large carrot, grated
1 large red pepper, sliced thinly
1/4 c finely diced red onion
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/4 c white sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t mustard powder
1/4 t hot smoked paprika
1/4 t black pepper
a few dashes of hot sauce
Slice cabbage thinly and then cross cut it a bit so there aren’t long strings of cabbage, cuz that’s just not cool. Dump the cabbage into a large bowl, preferably one with a lid. Add in the grated carrot, sliced red pepper and diced onion. Give it all a giant toss and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil. Be careful to not inhale – this is strong stuff. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients until dissolved. Pour hot liquid over slaw and toss until well mixed. Add a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired. Place lid on bowl or cover with plastic wrap or a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Or refrigerate for 6 hours if you can wait that long and serve. Lasts for a couple of days in the fridge (as if).