Cooking again: Classic Southern slaw

I used to cook quite avidly, but interests wax and wane, and lately cooking has seemed like more of a chore than a joy. Or perhaps with the coming of spring, I feel myself coming to life again, and that has rejuvenated an interest in the basic pleasures of life. Whatever the reason, last night I returned to my roots and made a delish Southern meal of crispy oven-fried chicken, creamy coleslaw, and buttermilk biscuits.

I am currently cooking out of Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways by Jennifer Brulé, which is a fairly ingenious cookbook that revitalizes old standards by presenting them in contemporary and international forms. It’s also a learning book, with very clear instructions, so you no longer need fear frying chicken.

I am also cooking out of America’s Test Kitchen Cooking for Two, because I only just recently had the revelation that the way to reduce all those leftovers I keep having to throw away is to just cook less. This cookbook takes many familiar favorites and accurately reduces the ingredient amounts, cooking times, and pan sizes for you so you don’t have to. As most recipes for “four” usually turn out enough food for six or more, I calculated that recipes designed for two would be enough for my family of three, with perhaps one lunch leftover. The biscuits were very good–and easy–but I think my family actually wanted more of them than was good for them.

Where are the pictures, you may ask? While I heartily support gorgeous food photography, I prefer to eat my creations rather than photograph them. With that in mind, I share this recipe for classic creamy coleslaw, which I have modified from the original in Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways just a bit. In my opinion, this is exactly what a Southern slaw is supposed to taste like.

Classic Creamy Coleslaw 

Whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. This is your dressing. You really don’t want too much. Set that aside and shred or thinly slice about 8-10 ounces of cabbage, green, purple, or a mixture. Or if you’re lazy like me, buy a bag of the preshredded stuff. Peel and shred two carrots. Slice four scallions, white and light green parts. Mix all of this together with the dressing. The cabbage should be just coated, not gloppy. Good stuff. (Note: I cut the original recipe in half, and it easily made enough for at least four people, possibly six.)

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