Posts Tagged With: cabbage

Spring Recipes: Coleslaw

The time of the leafy greens is upon us!

The time of the leafy greens is upon us!

With our season of seemingly eternal winter coming to an end, the time has finally arrived to celebrate the classic cool-weather crops! Leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, and cabbage are finally hitting their stride, what with deep freeze of winter past and the intense, leaf-wilting heat of summer still a month or two away. And, with the dawn of warmer weather, it’s hard to find a more enjoyable time to fire up the grill and enjoy the hamburgers, pulled pork, and other soul-satisfying entrees that seem so oddly out of place in the dead of winter. So, with the simultaneous burgeoning of cold crops and picnic foods, I can think of no better time of year to whip up the classic Dutch salad (or sandwich ingredient) coleslaw!

Literally translating to “cabbage salad” from the Dutch “koolsla,” coleslaw is a creamy, often vinegared amalgam of sliced cabbage and, quite honestly, whatever other veggies (or fruits!) you may have on hand. While coleslaw’s key component, mayonnaise, was only invented in the 1800’s, shredded cabbage salads have been eaten since the age of ancient Rome, some 2000 years ago! So, whether you prefer your coleslaw creamy and modern, or vinegary and archaic, this classic salad makes a perfect pairing with any of your favorite warm weather foods! So, let’s dig in!

Coleslaw Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed

Directions

  1. Peel and shred the carrot, and finely chop the head of cabbage. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and celery seed until smooth and creamy. Pour in the shredded carrot and chopped celery, and stir until the vegetables are fully coated in the mayo mixture.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight so that the cabbage can fully absorb the flavors of the dressing.
  4. After refrigerating, serve cold with a dusting of freshly ground pepper or on your favorite spring/summer sandwich! Enjoy!

 

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As always, thanks for stopping by for this kitchen excavation! I hope to see you next time for another taste of history’s cumulative cookbook!

Keep digging!
~Nate

Categories: Cooking, History, Spring Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Colcannon

With the stresses of a tranquil life disturbed finally falling away, I’m once again taking time to savor the simple pleasures of life. Fleeting moments with friends and family have become increasingly more cherished as my free time is consumed by long days at work. With tomorrow marking a great Irish holiday honoring the life and service of Saint Patrick (through typically less-than-saintly celebration), I’ve been pondering the tenacity and fortitude displayed by the natives of the Emerald Isle. Now I could never equate my comparatively luxurious living conditions to the working class of the Irish and their ancient Celtic ancestors, but I cannot help sharing in their affinity for creating and appreciating beauty in simplicity.

Potatoes: the humble base for many an Irish dish

Potatoes: the humble base for many an Irish dish

This past week, I had the privilege of preparing and sharing one of the creations of the pragmatically aesthetic people of pre-industrial Ireland: colcannon. As potatoes arrived in Europe in the 16th century, Ireland quickly took to the tuber simply as a means of staving off starvation. But, when Irish cooks combined mashed potatoes with their native leafy crops (like kale and cabbage, the use of which dates back to the ancient Celts), the lowly spud was transformed into a cultural dish worth celebrating. In fact, as the recipe for colcannon spread to England and the continent, it was widely regarded as a dish fit for the upper class, a far cry from its original audience. So today, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to pass this wonderful example of Irish culinary prowess onto you! The recipe I’ve been using relies primarily on cabbage and onions, but if you would like to throw in some kale, garlic, or even beans, these variations would all fit in with the traditional definition of Irish colcannon! And don’t be afraid to add in some of your own local and cultural ingredients: the basic process of this dish provides a wonderful backdrop to illuminate your own culinary surroundings!

Let’s dig in!

Colcannon Recipe

Cabbage and onion: the unsung heroes of this classic Irish dish

Cabbage and onion: the unsung heroes of this classic Irish dish

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes peeled and cubed (about 8 medium potatoes)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 head of chopped cabbage
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used soy)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place your cubed potatoes in a medium or large saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender enough to offer no resistance when a knife is inserted. When potatoes are finished cooking, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until both sides are evenly brown and crisp. Save the drippings in the skillet, and place cooked bacon on a paper towel to dry. Crumble dried bacon and set aside.
  3. In the bacon drippings, sauté the cabbage and onion until soft and lightly brown.
  4. In a large bowl (or the original saucepan), mash the potatoes with the milk until smooth. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onion and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  5. Top with butter and enjoy a taste of true Irish cooking!

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As always, thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating Irish culture and heritage, and I hope to see you next time as we unearth another recipe from humanity’s communal cupboard!

Keep digging!
~Nate

Categories: Cooking, History, Holiday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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