Saturday, February 19, 2005



I like cooking fine.

I learned literally at my mother's elbow, dragging around one of those little stepstools one of my brothers made in woodshop, so I was always in the way, and presenting a constant danger that she would flip over one and break her neck.

She never sent me out of the kitchen unless she was in high gear, putting dinner down at 6 p.m. for her family. She'd pass me a handful of our cheap stainless and send me to help set the table. Patricia taught me how to do that.

So I feel pretty darn trivial tonight complaining about cleaning the four - count'em four - utensils used to make a wilted red cabbage slaw: saucepan, skillet, colander and bowl. It's a side dish, for goodness' sake.

Here is the recipe, from FoodTV sometime in the past:

WILTED RED CABBAGE AND BELL PEPPER SLAW

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less, but needs to chill 1 hour or overnight.

½ cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
½ head red cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch julienne strips

In a saucepan bring vinegar and water to a boil with sugar, salt, and mustard and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add mustard seeds and sauté until they begin to pop. Stir in cabbage and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add vinegar mixture and simmer vegetables 1 minute.

Drain vegetables in a large fine sieve set over a saucepan and transfer them to a bowl. Boil liquid over moderately high heat until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and stir into vegetables. Chill slaw, covered, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Serves 4.

It's a change from the average for barbecue or fried fish.

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