29 November 2009

Cutting it Close

Happy birthday to me! I just returned from Williams-Sonoma with my birthday present to myself -- a Kramer chef's knife. I can't wait to slice stuff!

09 November 2009

Coleslaw - Variations on an Ancient Theme

A few weeks ago I was watching Tyler Florence on Food Network and he made a butternut squash coleslaw with honey goat cheese dressing. It looked like a delightful variation on this ancient salad theme (Wiki "coleslaw" to get the whole story.), so I decided to give it a go. Over the weekend, Tom made and incredible venison meatloaf. For tonight's supper, I decided to make warm meatloaf sandwiches with the left-overs, the butternut coleslaw, and corn on the cob. (It was on sale at Newflower, and I couldn't resist!)

The sandwiches were simple -- warmed wheat telera rolls (sort of like soft 6-inch baguettes; Wiki it, too), left-over meatloaf topped with pepper jack, jalapeno onion mustard, horseradish, and mayo. The four ears of corn were even simpler -- shucked, individually wrapped in plastic wrap, and microwaved for 8 minutes.

The fun dish of the evening, though, was the coleslaw. Here is Tyler's recipe (thanks to www.foodnetwork.com) with my embellishments in Italics:

Butternut Squash Coleslaw with Honey Goat Cheese Dressing

large bowl
vegetable peeler
big-honkin' knife to cut the squash
large pot or Dutch oven with 5-6 cups heavily salted water

4 ounces creamy goat cheese at room temperature
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste (LOTS of pepper!)
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

In the large bowl, combine the cheese and next 5 ingredients.
Whisk until completely combined and creamy.
Fire up the pot of water to boil. You'll use this to blanch the squash shortly.
Cut the stem from the top of the squash. Peel the top half of the squash (the cylinder) with your vegetable peeler using the bottom part (the bulb) as a handle. Cut the top half (the cylinder) off of the bottom half (the bulb). Save the bulb for another purpose. Cut the cylinder in half making two shorter cylinders and then again length-wise making four half-cylinders. Use your mandoline to make long, skinny matchsticks (julienne).
When the water is at a rolling boil, blanch the julienned squash for 2 to 3 minutes until al dente. (Thanks to neighbor Susan for this idea. The original recipe calls for raw squash sticks, and we think that would have been too bitter and grainy.) Immediately drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and cool the squash.
Toss together all of the ingredients with your tongs, ensuring that the dressing is evenly distributed. Serve immediately.

Tyler's recipe says it makes 4 servings. IMHO, it could easily have served 6 or 8 -- especially with the heavy meatloaf sandwiches and corn. This would pair really well with ham, bratwurst, or any other salty meat. The combined sweetness of the squash, cheese, and honey makes a really nice offset to the saltiness of the meat.

Come on! We're fixin' to eat!