What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

November 13, 2010

Creamy Coleslaw: A Thanksgiving Staple

 

I’ve never been one to load up my plate with all the various side-dishes at Thanksgiving.  If I’m going to stuff myself silly (which is certainly a given on Turkey Day) then it’s going to be with only my favorites; Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Corn, Green Beans, and Cranberry Sauce.  But there is one more player who always makes it onto my plate and without whom I feel Thanksgiving Dinner would not be complete.  I may ignore the Veggie Casserole.  I may shun the Candied Yams.  I will likely say “No, thanks!” to the Salads.  But I always, always, always have room for a bit of Coleslaw on my plate. 

(Oh, drool!  Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving!  Less than 2 weeks to go!!!)

Last year was the first year that I actually used my Mother’s China for Thanksgiving dinner.  My husband’s Grandmother had given me her Silverware a few weeks before and I knew she would enjoy my using it for the Holiday.  My own Mother’s Silverware had been poorly stored, and years of neglect had left it tarnished beyond repair.  But Grandma had kept hers pristine in a felt-lined silver case and it barely even needed polishing.  I’ve since learned that the best way to keep Silver nice is to use it often and although we won’t be dining with it daily (as Grandma did in her early married years), from now on it will be on the table for any occasion that warrants it!  Not surprisingly, the food actually tasted better served on real China instead of Chinet!  :-)

To make this Coleslaw, you’ll need:

1 small-medium head Cabbage

2 whole Carrots

2 Tbsp Onion, finely minced (optional)

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (or White Distilled Vinegar)

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Salt

What to do:

Wash cabbage, cut in half root to tip, and cut each half in half again.

Cut the core, on a diagonal, from each quarter.

Cut each quarter in half again, then slice very thinly down the length of each piece.

This is my husband chopping.  Just look at him go!

Repeat with remaining eighths until all the cabbage is shredded.

Place cabbage in a large bowl, and set aside.

Wash, peel, and shred carrots.  I use a microplane grater for this job.

Now, here’s a recent trick we use:  We like a decent amount of carrot in our Slaw, but if you use too much, often the slaw gets an orange-y tint to it.  Here’s how to solve that problem:

(I really have to credit by husband with this brainy rinsing idea.)

After you rinse all the orange-ness down the drain, place strainer over a bowl and let the moisture drip out of the carrots.  Give them a squeeze or two with your hand to remove any remaining water, then place in the bowl with the cabbage.

Toss cabbage and carrots together, then set bowl aside.

In a smaller bowl, or large glass measuring cup, place 1/2 cup Sour Cream and 1/2 cup Mayonnaise (NOT Salad Dressing).

Add 2 Tbsp Vinegar (I used Rice Vinegar),

2 Tbsp Sugar,

1 tsp Pepper

and 1 tsp Salt.

Whisk together until mixture is smooth.

At this point, you can taste and add more salt, pepper, sugar or vinegar as needed. 

The goal is to not have the dressing taste too sweet or too tart. 

If it tastes too vinegar-y, add sugar and vice-versa. 

Pour the dressing onto the cabbage mixture, and be sure to get every last drop!

If you are so inclined, add the minced onion now to the cabbage/dressing mixture.   Some folks don’t go for onion, and it’s okay to leave it out if that’s how you roll.

Mix everything together, until all the cabbage is well coated. 

Cover bowl, and refrigerate at least several hours.  You’ll want to give this another taste just before serving and then season with salt and pepper as needed.

Since Thanksgiving is still a couple weeks away, this batch won’t be making it onto our Holiday table.  But I do have big plans for this Slaw….so stay tuned! :-)

September 5, 2010

Pretty In Pink: Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing, Feta and Pecans

Filed under: Fruit,Salads & Dressings,Sides,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 12:59 pm

Every year, it seems our garden has a superstar.  You know, that one “stand out” performer that is most prolific. 

Last year, our cucumbers did really well.  I was able to make Refrigerator Pickles many, many times last summer.  This year, I was out of cucumbers before I could even get to a fourth batch.  I seriously thought about buying pickling cukes at the market just to get one last batch in, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it!

Some years, it’s been the tomatoes that have been most abundant, providing me with plenty of fruits for Bruschetta, Super Savory Summer Salsa, and Marinated Tomatoes with Basil.  There was also usually tomato harvest leftover to giveaway and go into our freezer.  This year though, our tomatoes got a late start and haven’t been nearly as abundant.  We are canning some of the tomatoes this year – since we’re out of freezer space – and only hope we are able to preserve enough of a supply to make it through the winter for inclusion in our Love Soup.

So, pickles and tomatoes are singing backup this summer.  This year, the star of the show is the Raspberry.

My Raspberry bushes produced a bit several weeks ago and I enjoyed them for a few days atop my Granola, and even froze a small bag or two.  Then they were gone.  But they are having a second wind and are back with a vengance so I am out in the garden every single day picking a pint of the sweet red berries.  Raspberries happen to be my favorite fruit, but I can only eat so many of them!   So, it’s time to get creative so I can include them in more meals than just my breakfast!

Today, I made this dressing, and drizzled it atop a perfect salad for lunch.  I’m thinking about having the same meal for dinner.  It’s that good.

For the dressing, you’ll need:

1/2 cup fresh Raspberries, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp Honey

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1/3 cup Canola Oil

Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Cold Water, if needed

Poppy Seeds (Optional – I didn’t use this time but they would be a great addition)

What to do:

Place Honey, Dijon, Vinegar, and a couple grinder turns each of salt and pepper into a Blender or the bowl of a Food Processor. 

Now, add Canola Oil.

Pulse a few times, then add Raspberries.

Blend until smooth and creamy,

and pour into serving jar.

If you wish to add Poppy Seeds, do so after pouring the dressing into your jar and just shake the jar to combine.  Likewise, if the dressing is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time, then shake until it reaches the desired consistency. 

Now, let’s build the beautiful salad that will wear this dressing! 

You’ll need:

Mixed Salad Greens (I used Romaine Lettuce tossed with Assorted Baby Greens)

Pecans or Walnuts (I wanted to use Walnuts, but found I was plum out so I used Pecans instead)

Fresh Rasberries, rinsed and drained

Red Onion, thinly sliced

Feta Cheese

What to do:

First, we need to toast the nuts. 

Place nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. 

Cook stirring and tossing occasionally, just until the nuts start to release their fragrance.  Now, remove from heat and cool. 

While the nuts are cooling, find a pretty plate. 

This one happens to be a hand-painted plate from my mother-in-law’s Aunt who passed away several years ago.  It seemed well-suited to this salad, so I took it off of it’s dusty shelf.  Don’t worry, I did wash the dust off!

Start with your greens, then add Onion, Nuts, Raspberries and Feta Cheese. 

Top with a couple grinds of fresh black pepper and drizzle with the dressing.

Dig in! 

Wouldn’t this be a pretty salad for a baby shower luncheon – especially if it’s a girl – or at a wedding shower?  It’s both delicate and flavorful, and topped with a sliced, grilled chicken breast it would make a good main dish.  You could even marinate the chicken in the dressing for added flavor.

I just love the combination of sweet/sour dressing, salty feta and crunchy nuts in this salad.  I’m sure I’ll be making this often, at least until my raspberry crop runs out.  After that, I suppose I can still use my frozen berries for the dressing, and just leave the fresh fruit off the salad as we go into the winter months. 

I can’t believe I’m even talking about the winter months.  Is it really September?  I refuse to believe it.

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