I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pot luck and other muck

In keeping with the recent theme of thrown together recipes for which you really don't need a recipe, and the fact that most of the food prep is tending towards pot luck dishes recently, here's my take on good old-fashioned boring coleslaw.

Mom always put marshmallows and pineapple in her coleslaw, and naturally we loved it as kids because it was like eating candy due to the sugar level. Not really requiring (or being able to stand) the same sugar intake now as I did in youth, the marshmallows are out ('specially since they have gelatin in them- blech), but I did do it with pineapple for this most recent iteration.

Raisins aren't bad either; I've used them in coleslaw from time to time- they work in carrot salad, so why not cabbage and carrot salad?

Coleslaw can be kind of fun if you don't mind thinking outside the usual confines of cabbage and Miracle Whip. This makes a ton o' slaw.

Cafe Moi Cole Slaw

Serves your entire neighborhood

¾ cup mayonnaise of choice
¾ cup almond milk or other milk of choice
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. freshly grated horseradish, or a bit more prepared horseradish
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. celery seed (or caraway seed if you're more adventurous)

16 cups chopped or shredded cabbage (1 large head)
2 cups shredded carrot (4-6 carrots)
½ cup minced onion
Optional: 10 oz. canned or fresh pineapple, cut in small dice or crushed

Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl and blend until smooth with a hand blender (to get those brown sugar lumps out) or whisk.

Add cabbage, carrot, onion, and pineapple if using, and mix well. Adjust dressing and seasoning ingredients to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight if you have time, to develop flavors. I drain the extra juice the next day as I don't like it soupy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Turn and face the strange changes

So. Moving plans are on again, and the garden here at WTM will be returned to "lawn", or something approximating it. There may be a garden at Mom and Dad's, where I will eventually be relocating to help Dad out due to Mom's passing, or there may only be Stuff in Pots (not sure what if anything will go in the ground). There are plenty of seedlings that got started before the strange changes, so I hope at least some of them find homes.

In the meantime, cooking is going to get interesting. The challenge is to come up with recipes that a meat-eater (Dad) will want to eat, as they are being prepared by a non-meat eater (me). So Two Cup Stew was born. A riff on Pasta and Bean Soup, I just ate this for dinner all by itself and I'm happy (actually I did add some Parmenon), but he can embellish it with some meatballs (bought him a two pound bag of frozen, prepared) and 'sprinkle cheese' (Mom's description of Kraft grated Parmesan). Will have to work on a veggie meatball recipe next as it was really weird to buy meat again (last time was 16 years ago). I think Mom would have liked this.

Two Cup Stew

Makes about six 2-cup servings

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced carrot
2 cups diced potato
2 cups shredded cabbage, firmly packed
2 cups diced tomatoes (or ~1 lb. can)
2 cups tomato puree or crushed tomatoes (or ~1 lb. can)
4-6 cups broth of choice (I used vegetarian 'beef' style bouillon cubes to make broth)
2 cups ditalini, or other small pasta
2 cups (or ~1lb. can) cooked beans of choice (white or kidney beans are traditional, but I only had black beans on hand)

1-2 tsp. salt-free seasoning blend (I used Paul Prudhomme's Magic Salt Free Seasoning)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until beginning to soften, and then add the carrot, potato, seasoning blend, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for a minute or two to warm the spices, and add broth, tomatoes, and tomato puree. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and ditalini and simmer for another ten minutes until pasta is al dente. Add beans and heat through, correct seasonings, and serve.

For reheating, you may need to add a quarter cup of water or so, if desired, to restore some liquid consistency to the stew, as the pasta will absorb much of the broth as it sits.