June 22, 2012

A Sizzling Summer Side

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Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

Parts of the country are already in the throes of a heat wave and it's only the third day of summer!  When it's sizzling outside, beat the heat and serve food that can be eaten cold.

Coleslaw, better known as slaw, is a great warm weather side.  It's delicious served with a variety of meat, doesn't require any cooking, can be made ahead of time and, best of all, it's cold.

In its most basic form, slaw is nothing more than shredded cabbage mixed with a dressing.  Most versions call for additional ingredients such as vegetables and seasonings.  Some versions even include apples and pineapple.

Although the ingredients run the gamut, the dressing falls into two distinct categories:  vinegar or creamy.  The former is made with vinegar and other seasonings while the latter is made with dairy products such as milk or sour cream.

My mother's slaw recipe used equal parts of vinegar and mayonnaise.  It was creamy, but with the flavor of vinegar.  My husband didn't care for the vinegar taste so I found another recipe that we all love.

The original recipe called for a head of grated cabbage.  I used to grate the cabbage, but wised up a few years ago and started buying a package of angel hair coleslaw mix instead.  If you use a mix that doesn't contain carrots and you'd like them in the slaw, finely grate a medium carrot or several baby carrots and add to the mixture.

The dressing for this slaw definitely falls into the creamy category.  It doesn't use one dairy product, but two:  milk and buttermilk.  The dairy products are whisked together with sugar, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, white vinegar and lemon juice.  Normally, I'm a fan of apple cider vinegar, but this is one time I use white vinegar.  Apple cider vinegar would make the dressing too strong.

Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

The cabbage is added and the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

The slaw needs to be made and refrigerated at least two hours before serving.  I think it's best made a day ahead of time.  This gives the slaw time to get cold plus it allows the flavors to blend.

My mother always served slaw with pot roast, but I like to serve it with baked salmon patties or meat loaf.  I still have to heat up the kitchen, but at least there's one less dish to cook.

Margaret's Morsels | Coleslaw

4 to 6 Servings

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 (10 oz.) pkg. angel hair coleslaw mix or 1 head cabbage, finely grated
1 medium carrot or several baby carrots, finely grated (if desired) 

Whisk the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir in the cabbage and carrots, mixing well.  Cover and refrigerate.  This is best made one day ahead of time.

© Margaret's Morsels 

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