Saturday, November 1, 2008

The laws of slaw

I love wikipedia, don’t you? The citation below will give you more information than you ever thought available about coleslaw.

"Coleslaw (or cole slaw) is a salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage. It can also include shredded carrots.

There are many variations of the recipe which include the addition of other ingredients, such as red cabbage, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple. It is usually mixed with a dressing which traditionally consists of vegetable oil and vinegar or a vinaigrette. In the U.S. coleslaw often contains mayonnaise (or its substitutes); although many regional variations exist, and recipes incorporating prepared mustard are also common.
A variety of seasonings may be added. The dressing is usually allowed to settle on the blended ingredients for several hours before being served. The cabbage may come in finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares.

Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish with foods such as barbecue, French fries, and other fried foods; notably, fried catfish in the southern U.S. Also, in this region, it is common as a sandwich ingredient, often placed on barbecue sandwiches, and on hamburgers and hot dogs along with chili and hot mustard. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in the Reuben sandwich. A variant with vinegar and oil is often served with pizza in Sweden. It is common for West Virginians to place it on hot dogs with chili, yellow mustard, and chopped onion.[1]

"Asian" coleslaws are also popular in the U.S. and usually contain all the typical ingredients plus dry noodles or almonds and no mayonnaise.

Coleslaw was probably consumed, in its earliest form, in the times of the ancient Romans.[2] Since then, it has been adopted in many countries, including (but not limited to) the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Belgium, and Spain. However, the mayonnaise variety of coleslaw could not have arisen until the 18th century as mayonnaise was not yet invented. The term, "cole slaw", arose in the 18th century as a partial translation from the Dutch term "koolsla", a shortening of "koolsalade", which means "cabbage salad". It was commonly called cold slaw in Britain until the 1860s when "cole" (meaning cabbage) was revived. "Cole" originates from the Latin, colis, meaning "cabbage", and is the origin of the Dutch word as well. In addition to calling it "coleslaw," U.S. Southerners also refer to it as "slaw." In Arabic it is called 'Salatit Al Malfooof' سلطة الملفوف meaning the cabbage salad. Today, coleslaw generally refers to the variation of the recipe with a mayonnaise-based dressing on the shredded cabbage and other vegetables."

If you use wikipedia you''ll understand the meaning of the blue highlights. Ignore them, I don't know how to get rid of them!

The reason for my diversion into wikipedia slaw: it’s the consequence of an improvisation I executed when making sandwiches for lunch today, and is a further demonstration of what to do when you meal is figuratively at the goal line and your best running back and pass receiver both had to hit the john at the same time.

I had no mayonnaise!

Later today I found that I had bought a jar the other day and it had slipped out of the grocery bag in my trunk.

Here’s what I did have: apple cider vinegar, napa cabbage, horseradish, mustard, yogurt, salt and pepper – everything I needed to get into the end zone.

Do yourself a favor and a mental exercise as to what you could have done with on-hand ingredients. Let’s say you have lettuce but no horseradish. Not a problem. Let’s say you have vinegar but it’s not cider. Use another kind but remember that cider vinegar is a little sweeter than white, red wine vinegar will give an entirely different taste, and Japanese vinegar will do pretty much the same thing as the cider.

Sorry if this seems didactic, but the central purpose of this blog for me is to share imaginings, communicate inspirations, and leave a tad more information in the world than when I found it.

Coleslaw without mayo
thinly slice napa cabbage, about 1 cup tightly packed
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
½ tbsp mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
1/8 cup yogurt (an herbed sauce left from several days ago, but plain would be fine)

Toss all this stuff together and taste for seasoning. Ideally this would sit and allow the cabbage to wilt a bit for, say, an hour. I didn’t have any time for that.

It went very nicely with a kielbasa sandwich and a chicken cutlet sandwich (to which we added some sliced avocado). We assembled the sandwiches, cut them in half, and each got some of each.

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