Tag Archives: picnics

Extremely Practical Slaw (or Punting! with Cabbage)

Well, hello June, where did you come from? Summertime means grilling. Grilling means burgers. Burgers mean slaw. Do what? Yes, if you’re Southern, you know about the Carolina-style hamburger: chili, slaw, mustard, and onions. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! And if you’re going to make slaw for this or any other purpose, I’ve got the recipe for you.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

You see, slaw is a running joke in the Practical Cook’s family. It is one of the only things the Practical Cook’s Mom makes that TPC won’t eat. You heard me mom, I don’t care if you’ve gotten a new pepper grinder that doesn’t shoot whole peppercorns into it (more like I gifted my family with a new one), or banned celery seed from the kitchen. Let’s not even talk about that green plastic 1970s bowl. I love my mother, I love her cooking, I have my own slaw recipe, and here it is.

Extremely Practical Slaw Recipe

These are some guidelines, which you can further adapt to suit your own tastes. I’ve adapted this recipe from the very talented Anne Byrn, best known for her Cake Mix Doctor series, from What Can I Bring? (Full disclosure, I once worked for the publisher.) The simplicity of this recipe involves the food processor. Personally, I would attempt without it or a mandoline, or some such chopping device.

Off with your head, cabbage!

Off with your head, cabbage!

1/2 a large head of cabbage, or 1 small one, trimmed, cored, rinsed, and sliced small enough to shove into a food processor chute, courtesy of the family farm
2 carrots, washed and peeled
1/4 to 1/2 sweet onion (make sure it is a sweet, not just a white, yellow, or red)
scant 1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice (as in the juice you drain from the sweet pickle jar), or rice or white wine vinegar if you don’t have pickle juice on hand
1/4 cup or more pickle relish
1 or 2 Tablespoons sugar (don’t overdo it, especially if you’re using  a lot of sweet pickle relish)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s, or my fave, a mix of 3/4 teaspoon Lawry’s and 1/4 teaspoon Ms. Dash

1. Shred the cabbage on the 1/4 inch shredder disc on the food processor.

Cabbage Shredded!

Cabbage Shredded!

2. Change the food processor disc to the smallest grater. Process the carrots and onion.

Carrot and Onion in the Chopper

Carrot and Onion in the Chopper

3. Put all shredded items into a large bowl, creating a well (hole) in the middle. Add the seasonings. Stir. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Chill to meld flavors. Eat!

Serving suggestions: on a burger, beside a burger, on a hot dog, beside a hot dog. On a rueben. Slaw is very versatile, don’t fear the cabbage! And the Goaty McBeet Burger recipe will be coming soon.

Practical Carolina-Style Burger with Slaw

Practical Carolina-Style Burger with Slaw

Do you have a family recipe reject? Share your stories here in the comments section, or Tweet away!

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Coming up next, Kitchen Tool Talk!

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Filed under Punt!, Recipes

Creating the Perfect Summer Picnic Platter

Gentle readers, this just in, summer is here in humidity, even if the calendar hasn’t caught up. The Practical Cook adores a picnic, and her picnic ideas are very much an homage to Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner. Perhaps it’s because he really loves, and has perfected cold fried chicken. Yes, open the confessional booth, the Practical Cook prefers cold chicken over hot.

For the vegetarian readers, fear not, a swap will be suggested. The key elements here are “fried” and “cold.”

And because I am practical above all things, I bought the fried chicken at the store. Yes, it’s not that this is a no-fried zone, it’s just I’ve never found the effort to be worth the mess and clean-up. Not when respectable cold fried chicken is available elsewhere.

So here is the composition of the Perfect Summer Picnic Platter (in Spring):

Summer Picnic Platter Featuring Cold Fried Chicken

Summer Picnic Platter Featuring Cold Fried Chicken

1. Cold Fried Chicken. Make your own, buy it, up to you. For the veggies, consider a nice fried corn fritter (or try one of the Dr. Praeger’s items made crisp and then at room temp). But seriously, if you’ve only had your fried chicken hot, now is the time to cross over.

2. Potato Salad. Again, make it, buy it, I won’t tell. This is deli potato salad, because Sunday had Punt! written all over it.

3. Green Veg. I was raised to eat a green veg at all meals, and the veg will change with the season. We had fresh green peas from the Brinkley Farms CSA, and they were served simply and worked nicely here. Later in the season, cukes and onions would be my recommendation. Also consider celery sticks, or a side salad.

4. Watermelon. Shy of an allergy, I don’t consider this optional. I recommend a pinch of salt on it early in the season, before it’s truly ripe in the heat of the summer.

Of course, this is meant to be eaten outside. There will be bits of fried and drips of watermelon juice everywhere, no matter the age of the diners.

What’s on your picnic platter? Comment or Tweet!

Send pictures of your hot-weather meals and ideas to  practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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We’re keeping things cool tomorrow with Summer Rolls Recipe.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table