I recently went strawberry picking and came home with an ungodly number of the bright red fruits. I saw my neighbor - who has done a lot to make our little San Francisco street a better place to live - in her backyard and went out to hand a pint of my bounty over the fence. She was grateful and wanted to give me something in return. She wondered if I might like a cabbage.
I'm sure is says a lot about me that I was super-duper psyched to get that cabbage, but look at it - it was gorgeous. The cool weather of San Francisco may be the bane of backyard tomato-growers, but it does wonders for the density and quality of cabbage.
I took it up the stairs to my kitchen, took this picture, and promptly trimmed and sliced it into shreds. Then I mixed some cream and malt vinegar in a large bowl, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and celery seed to make a dressing, tossed in the cabbage, added a grated carrot, and we had the best Classic Creamy Cole Slaw you can imagine.
Did you think creamy cole slaw has mayonnaise in it? That's okay. It’s what I thought until I was 29 and visiting my friend in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We made cole slaw and I learned that the good stuff - that creamy, luscious kind that reminds me of the little container that would come with my Kentucky Fried dinner as a kid - is actually creamy. As in, it has cream in it.
I’ll let you take a moment to recover - this comes as big news to many people who never make cole slaw. Of course, I’m sure there are plenty of mayonnaise-laden versions out there, but the good stuff? Cream. Heavy cream.
You see, the acid in the vinegar thickens the cream into a dressing-like, some may say mayonnaise-like, consistency. You can also add some sugar to the whole thing if you’re one of those people who like sweet cole slaw. This cole slaw only gets better if it sits in the fridge for a bit and it could serve you very well this summer if you get invited to many potlucks or barbecues or, if you live in the 1960s, “patio parties.”
See how I served it over at The Dinner Files, or just check out the recipe at Local Foods.
P.S. Looking for fabulous summer reading? Even remotely interested in food? Check out a few book recommendations from yours truly.
Recipe Wizard: localfoods.about.com
Radio Girl: eatthatradio.wordpress.com
*Photos courtesy of Molly Watson.