Cool counterfeits

Things I love:

Clean sheet night; being fresh from the shower, and crawling into bed made up with warm, soft flannel sheets that smell of Downy.

The first fall day with a snap in the air when I’m able to take a long walk in the woods without worrying about mosquitos, snakes, or heat stroke.

And I absolutely love figuring out the recipes for well-loved dishes from various specialty stores and restaurants.

Recently I was able to make pretty good facsimiles of a couple of dishes that would be terrific for a Labor Day cookout or make a cool side dish for a hot day.

Creamy cole slaw

cole slaw veggies

½ head green cabbage

½ head red cabbage

2 carrots, shredded finely

½ small Vidalia or other sweet onion

½ green bell pepper, core and seeds removed

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

3 tablespoons salt

Dressing:

cole slaw dressing

2/3 cup mayonnaise

Apple cider vinegar

Sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Either grate or on a mandolin set on the thinnest cut, shred or slice cabbages.  Place in a colander and sprinkle on 3 tablespoons salt.  Mix together.  Set aside for three hours.

Make dressing: Place mayo, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and poppy seeds in bowl.  Starting with a tablespoon each, whisk in sugar and vinegar.  Taste, and add more until the flavor pleases you.

Rinse cabbage and dry by rolling up in a kitchen towel or using a salad spinner.  Put onion and green pepper into a food processor and chop until it’s in tiny bits and very wet.

Place cabbage and onion/pepper mixture from the processor into large bowl, and mix in dressing until slaw is well coated.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.  Serves 8-10.

I salt the cabbage to leach out the water inside it.  This will prevent the dressing becoming watery and bland.  But don’t neglect rinsing it afterward or it’ll be too salty to eat.

I purposely left the vinegar and sugar amounts vague.  I like mine kind of strong, but you may like it milder.  If you add too much sweet or sour, just dilute with some mayo.

I don’t like celery seed, so I use poppy seeds for the same textural component.  The bell pepper lends a bit of an astringent bite to the dressing and the sweet onion adds a mild oniony hit.

Knock-off macaroni salad

mac salad

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked, drained and cooled

¾ cup frozen peas, thawed

½ green bell pepper, diced

1 carrot grated

½ small red onion, chopped finely

2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

Dressing:

mac dressing

Whisk together:

1 ¼ cups mayonnaise

¼ cup Mexican crema (found in the dairy section of all supermarkets)

¼ cup fat-free buttermilk

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Place salad ingredients into a large bowl.  Add a couple tablespoons dressing and stir together to loosen it up.  Then add enough dressing to coat well.  Taste for seasoning and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Serves 6-8. 

I use crema instead of sour cream because it thins out the dressing, and along with the buttermilk, adds a tang.  It’s also half the calories of regular sour cream.

Make sure you refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving.  The vegetables add much to the flavor of the dressing.  Taste it for seasoning, but the flavor won’t be fully developed until some time has passed.  Lasts about 4 days in the fridge.

Sadly, nothing will make autumn come any quicker, but these cool salads could make a 12,000 degree day a little more bearable.

The weatherman said it’ll be a little warm today…

Thanks for your time.

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