Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review of Mollie Katzen's Get Cooking with a Recipe

When I first started cooking Western foods, I relied heavily on cookbooks since I hadn't grown up with these dishes. Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbooks appealed to me because of their simplicity and flavor. I could try a recipe and know it'd taste good and satisfy. She was my kitchen companion without even knowing it.

So I was totally jazzed when I met her in Austin for the IACP conference earlier this year and received her Get Cooking cookbook. What impressed me most was how gracious and down-to-earth Ms. Katzen was and how much she just enjoyed her time in the kitchen playing with recipes.

Once home, I pored through Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen with the intention of reviewing it for my column. As part of the review process, I tried out a few of her recipes. My favorite turned out to be the Mostly Classic Cole Slaw. The basic recipe was good. I loved all the colors from the purple and green cabbage and carrots, I loved that she included yogurt.

Now I like to experiment in the kitchen and come up with my own twists. Well, everything I thought to add-- from sour cream to cranberries-- she'd thought to include plus some in her additional Get Creative section. She's definitely my kind of a cook.

I made the recipe for my family of 4, and then later for my father-in-law's 86th birthday party. The cole slaw was a hit both times. My 6-year-old actually saved the cole slaw until the end of her meal. "I like it so much," she said. "It's my dessert."

Here's the review that was published in the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Mostly Classic Cole Slaw

2 pounds cabbage (purple and/or green), shredded
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 cup very finely minced red onion (I didn't have any, so used Sweet Texas 1015s)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
(for a richer dressing, substitute some of the mayo or yogurt with sour cream)
1 to 2 tablespoons sweetner (white or brown sugar, pure maple syrup or a light-colored honey)

1. Combine cabbage, carrot, and onion in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss, and set aside.

2. In a second, smaller bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mayo, yogurt and 1 tablespoon of sweetner and whisk until smooth. Pour this onto the cabbage mixture and toss well. Taste, add more sweetner if you wish. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover and refrigerate. Serve cold. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Some Get Creative ideas from Ms. Katzen:

*Top the slaw with up to 1 cup chopped roasted peanuts or toasted walnuts

*Add up to 2 cups chopped pineapples -- either fresh or canned (packed in water or juice and drained)

*Add up to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries or 1/4 cup minced fresh cranberries

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