Jul 1, 2009

Keep it cool, but don't freeze it

I was given this piece of advice once. But lately, I'm finding it hard to follow. It's hot. Real hot. Too hot to cook. Too hot to care. Just trying to keep it cool.

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux decide to go up north to try ice fishing. They stop at a little store and ask the cashier to point out a spot. The cashier tells them there is a frozen lake down the road. He also says he has bait and ice picks to break up the ice. Boudreaux and Thibodeaux buy what they need and head to the lake. About an hour later, Boudreaux goes back to the store. He tells the cashier, "I need all da ice picks you got in dis place." The cashier says, "You guys must be having luck!" Boudreaux says, "Mais, non. We didn't even launch da boat yet."
Boudreaux tells Thibodeaux that he always wanted to learn how to fly a helicopter. Thibodeaux says, "Boudreaux, you fool thing, you. You can't fly no helicopter." Boudreaux says, "You jus wait en see." A few weeks later, Boudreaux invites Thibodeaux to come see his flying. Boudreaux goes up in the helicopter and flys this way and that. Back and forth, putting on a good show. Thibodeaux says, "Well, I'll be. I wouldda never believed it, me." Suddenly, the helicopter crashes to the ground. Thibodueax runs to see if Boudreaux's all right. He asks Boudreaux, "Boudreaux, you were doin' so good. What happen?" Boudreaux says, "I doe know. I was going up, up, up doin real good. Den I got cole en turn off da fan."

We wish for cold around here, but we don't always know what to do with it.

It's kind of a dull, sad time in south LA right now. Crawfish season is just about over with; hardly any ponds have traps in them. Too hot for tomatoes to produce too. If you haven't noticed by now, this blog entry is a complete wash. Just too hot to get fired up about about food.

But I'm determined to write every week. When I think about food I want to eat when it's hot, coleslaw definitely makes the list. Cool, crisp, and no cooking involved. And it goes well with BBQ so my kitchen doesn't get hot. And I like that. I poked around a little to find out what I could about coleslaw. Apparently the name is Dutch in origin. According to The Food Lover's Companion, the Dutch name is koolsla, which means cabbage salad. Some googling told me that some forms of coleslaw were eaten in ancient Rome, although these salads were not mayo-based since it hadn't been invented yet. I also learned that some call the dish "cold slaw," which makes sense. If you'd like to read more about the history of coleslaw and other salads, I found
this site interesting.

Considering all of the coleslaw recipes out there, I'm not going say that this is the best. It's simply just the one I like.

from Ms. enPlace

1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp celery seed (do not omit)
1 c mayo
1 1/2 tbsp pickle relish
salt and pepper to taste
1 small head cabbage, shredded
3-4 carrots, peeled and shredded

In a small mixing bowl whisk together all of the ingredients except for the cabbage and carrots.

Make sure the cabbage and carrots are thoroughly dry. Shred both and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the dressing to the cabbage/carrot mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving time. Best if made in advance.

The mise en place. And the best part: no cooking needed.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Don't skip the celery seed. Even if your spice rack is busting and you can't stand the thought of buying yet another jar of something to add to it. I think the celery seed is what makes coleslaw...well, that and cabbage. Gotta have cabbage.

Shred the carrots and cabbage and add to a large bowl. Before adding the dressing, make sure the vegetables are completely dry. You don't want watery coleslaw, do you?

Add in the dressing and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This is at its best if you make it several hours ahead.

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