Friday, August 6, 2010

A Great Cole Slaw for a Heat Wave

Not even the most ardent of us really enjoys cooking in a heat wave. Having a cole slaw like this that just needs to cook in the fridge is a blessing when the hazies, hots and humids are just too much.   And since there's no mayo involved, it's great for a picnic, too.

I got the recipe for this at a potluck dinner several weeks ago, the only requirement of which was that your dish be, if not grown yourself, at least locally grown. The array of foods was wonderful. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and salads. We took blueberry muffins, from our own blueberries, of course, and a crustless quiche made with neighbor Dude’s farm eggs and my own spinach.

My husband raved about this salad.   I'm sure it must have Pennsylvania Dutch origins.  So we asked for – and got – the recipe. Since that dinner I’ve made it a couple times. It “ages" quite well and will keep several days refrigerated. My husband likes anything with cabbage, really. Sauerkraut, stir fried with kielbasa, in a vegetable soup, in eggrolls. And any kind of cole slaw. Creamy. Vinegary. Doesn’t matter. This particular salad was a big hit.

A favorite cabbage dish of his is haluski, cabbage and onions fried in butter and tossed with egg noodles, although I understand there are lots of variations. With or without potatoes or meat. Whatever way it’s made, it’s great comfort food and very easy.

Knowing my husband likes cabbage so much, I grew it in my garden last year. While it was good, I honestly thought it a waste of garden space, since I only got one per plant and they’re relatively cheap year-round, and especially this time of year.

I like cutting the cabbage head as thin as I can with a knife, about 1/8th of an inch. The box grater shredded it too fine, and the slicer with the food processor, too thick. Some things are just better by hand.

24 Hour Cole Slaw

3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed

Heat all of the above to a boil; let cool slightly. Shred (or slice thinly!) one head cabbage and spread in a large casserole. (A lasagne pan, a glass one, not metallic, works great.) Slice one onion and spread over the top. Sprinkle ¾ cup sugar over the onion layer. Pour the dressing over all, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Mix together and serve.

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