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The Best Coleslaw Ever

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As Valerie well knows, I have been craving coleslaw, and eating tons of it, for several months. Clearly my body wants cabbage, or maybe it is the umami taste that results from the combination of these ingredients. I must say I don’t mind craving it, as it is not chocolate cake or almond croissants, so I can feel a little virtuous about it.

This craving does not seem to want to go away, so I decided it was time I made some myself. I researched the basic ingredients, decided they were too bland, and added a twist of my own, both for color and taste.

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There is a habit that I am trying to shed, without much success so far. I am trying to stop myself from cooking for an army when two or three portions of something would be quite enough. Ok, let us say four, because my eating-contributor friend Jack is 6’5″ and can use the extra portion. This portion control thing should start at the grocery store, and I really did try to buy little of everything, but because you can’t exactly buy halves of anything, I still ended up with:

– 1 small red cabbage

– 1 small Savoy cabbage

– 1 bag of carrots in various shades of orange (so pretty!)

– 1 small celery root

– 4 small Fuji apples

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I did make an effort to go for small, I promise, but even small still gets you A LOT of slaw! Enough for said army, or a 4th of July block party with your neighbors. You might as well write those down because this won’t be a classic recipe per se, more a guiding you through my own process. I had not made coleslaw in years and years, so it became a go-with-the-flow thing, cooking from the hip.

The other ingredients you are going to need are:

– good quality mayonnaise (or vegenaise if you follow a vegan diet)

– Greek yogurt – get the 2% kind and not the 0% which is too sour – this substitutes the classic sour cream

– apple cider vinegar

– a little sugar

– sea salt

– freshly cracked black pepper, if you like

The proportions between mayonnaise and yogurt are: 2/3 mayo to 1/3 yogurt.

The proportions between vinegar and sugar are: 4 teaspoons of sugar for every 1/4 cup vinegar.

Next step: I reach for my mandolin slicer which, given the amount of julienne slicing I will have to do, rises to the status of treasured possession. But… where is the grip to hold the vegetables and protect my hand? Nowhere to be found. Nowhere in my kitchen anyway. I am sure the movers must have tucked that away in some other, non-kitchen related box that I have yet to open. I have no idea which one. it must be wherever the citrus squeezer and my liquid measuring cups are, because I have yet to find those, too. I have actually bought new liquid measuring cups.

A 2-day meditation followed: because doing all of this by knife would require more time and patience than I had at that moment. Yesterday another wave of coleslaw-crave got hold of me, so I decided it was time. I tried shredding a carrot, but the pieces were too small and mushy. Same thing happened with the celery root. The apples were already planned for knife work, so I finally caved: knife it would have to be. Let the julienning commence!

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Above is the total yield of the ingredients listed. Warning: the objects in the image are larger than they appear. That dainty pink bowl is really big. I did not julienne more carrots because it takes the patience of a Carthusian monk, and because, at one point, I almost julienned my fingers. But they look pretty, don’t they? And they were seriously good carrots.

Everything else is pretty obvious, but how you get carrots to look like that is by: cutting them in three cross-wise, so you have three stumps. Then you slice these stumps lengthwise into bands as thin as you can, and those bands, also lengthwise, into thin strips. When I have to make a brunoise, those thin strips have to be cross cut once more into super tiny little squares. But not today.

I did not dress everything. It would have been too much. Also, I did not have a large enough container for it all.

I grabbed the largest bowl I have and started adding the various vegetables in proportion. Of what you see above, I ended up using:

– half of the Savoy cabbage (which yielded less than the red)

– less than half of the red cabbage

– 2/3 of the carrots

– all the apples

– about 2 handfuls of the celery root

I went easy with the celery root because the flavor tends to be stronger than the rest. I wanted it there, but not overwhelming everything. The apples do not stand out per se, but add to the whole by mellowing it out nicely. I later tried some coleslaw without the apples and it made quite the difference. I like it better with apples, and I think a couple more would have been good, or larger apples at least.

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For the dressing: I still blended about 15 fl. oz (450 ml.) mayonnaise with about 2/3 cup of yogurt, but ended up using only half, as I added a bit of dressing at a time until I felt it was right. I did not want the salad heavy with dressing.

I also used 1/4 cup and a splash (added after) of apple cider vinegar, and almost 4 teaspoons of sugar. You add the sugar to the vinegar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.

Salt and pepper were added first, directly to the salad, and stirred. Then I added some of the mayo-yogurt mix, a splash of the vinegar-sugar one and stirred well, adding as needed.

The result is exceedingly good. Once I was done photographing the styled images, I did not even stop to put everything else away and clean up: I started eating. OMD! I am ruined now! I do not know that I can buy coleslaw from the store anymore. I am going to have to find the grip for the mandolin.

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Then, because I thought the colors would look good together, I mixed the remainder of the carrots with some red cabbage and dressed them. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

Now I have two large tubs of freshly dressed coleslaw ready to eat in my refrigerator, plus a really large bowl with undressed julienned vegetables and the remaining half of the dressing, ready to make more. That is, I can make more if I feel like julienning more carrots. Okay, okay, I will, because this is just the best coleslaw I have ever had.

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Side note: as the dressing blends with the juices of the vegetables, it turns this really beautiful shade of hydrangea-pink. I will have to do something with red cabbage besides coleslaw. Maybe I can use it as food coloring for cakes!

Do you ever crave specific foods? Besides chocolate, I mean. What foods do you crave? And what have you noticed about your body’s interaction with those craved foods? I am curious. Would you let me know in the comments? Thank you.

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2 comments
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  • Colleen01/03/2020 - 1:17 pm

    Delish. Satisfied my own coleslaw craving.ReplyCancel

    • Monica Schwartz01/09/2020 - 12:09 pm

      Wonderful! I’m so happy it did!ReplyCancel

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