As a kid, I couldn't stand coleslaw. One plop on my plate, next to my dinner, made me squirm in my seat. Luckily for me, as I have grown older, I have come to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy a heaping helping of slaw on the side! Not to mention, I am loving the many recipes I have discovered lately, that use cabbage.
I used to help out with this fresh fruit and vegetable program, where individuals ordered a basket of produce weekly, from our local, urban farm, Growing Power. Then, on Friday's Growing Power would deliver the baskets to me and I would distribute the baskets to the individuals. I could talk about Growing Power for hours; they are doing many wonderful things here in Milwaukee. But that is not why I am sharing this story. Helping out with the program has lead me to meet many new people and talk about food with many a stranger. In particular, one of the most frequently discussed foods talked about, was cabbage. No one knew what to do with cabbage! And luckily for them, there was cabbage in just about every basket from August to December. I was the recipient of many heads of cabbage, myself, over the years, as I helped out with the program. Not until recently, have I become creative with cabbage; and it has been quite rewarding!
First, I tried my hand at sauerkraut. Though my first batch was less than delicious, I will be trying my hand at a second batch soon. However, I have been as busy as a bee and will have to wait till I have a bit more time to dedicate to this endeavor. I am not too worried, though the next time I attempt sauerkraut, I plan to make a bit larger of a batch. According to my cousin Stacey, the larger the batch, the better the flavor! We shall see...!
My next, and more successful endeavor, was minestrone. A basic minestrone recipe, with half a head of chopped cabbage, added something special and unique! I will surely not be making any more minestrone without a heaping helping of cabbage.
Yesterday, I made one big batch of coleslaw. Though I once despised the side, like I said, I have come to really enjoy coleslaw. And it is as easy as could be to make it! Not to mention, there are so many varieties.
For my coleslaw, I used what I had on hand. Here is what I made:
1 half of a head of cabbage, shredded
1 cup of carrots, shredded
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon of honey
2 Tablespoons of vinegar (I used the liquid from my homemade dilly beans!)
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1. Combine everything and stick it in your fridge, for at least 2 hours (to help the flavors get even tastier!)
Note: you can add many other vegetables and I urge you to experiment with seasonings. One of the best slaws I ever had, was made with celery root! I haven't made any with celery root yet, but I will surely be doing that soon.
I brought this coleslaw to a potluck a couple of days ago and as we were about to arrive I became a bit worried, as flashbacks to my childhood of despising coleslaw flashed back into my head... Potlucks are a funny thing, because they are so wonderful in the sense that they bring together so many people over good food; but there can sometimes arise a slight bit of fear that people won't like your food! When sharing with friends, it is not quite as big of a deal, but when sharing with many strangers, it can be a bit more nerve-racking. I realized that with bringing coleslaw to the potluck, that I may have been setting myself up for disaster... though quite the opposite was true! In fact, the first individual to enjoy my slaw, as a young boy, of about 10 years old, who had filled his plate with a heaping helping, to which he ate every last bit. Thank goodness!
Even if you currently despise coleslaw (or cabbage), I urge you to try it again. If I can learn to like it, and ten-year-olds can enjoy it, then surely you can too!