Jun 21 2015

Father’s Day comes but once a year, but thoughts of Daddy go on forever. Whenever I make his world famous Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe, I know he’s nearby, helping me get it just right.

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My Dad loved to entertain. The son of a well known hostess, my grandmother, Daddy had grown up on the thrill and satisfaction of planning social affairs. In his later years, he loved bringing happiness to those around him, coming up with novel party touches for our gathered fun-seekers. When a get-together was planned at our home, therefore, a flurry of activity would ensue. First and foremost was the menu, as food and beverages were the star attractions.

Menu planning, therefore, was the reason my Dad clipped recipes constantly. From the newspaper; from any magazine that crossed his path; from a dish he favored at a restaurant that, “required,” he call the Chef to the dining room for a consultation, he was obsessed with having recipe resource files handy for ready reference. He wanted to be able to produce just the right treat at just the right time, to dependably provide what any social situation demanded, at a moment’s notice. Now, we must remember this was in the 1980s and 90s, before the widespread Internet, much less Pinterest, so keeping track of favorite foods required proactive forethought and a filing system.

And, what a filing system he had! Boxes and boxes of 3″ x 5″ cards in plastic file boxes filling up the bottom of a bookcase near his reading chair. Directly next to his chair was a table with a drawer holding his “clipping” supplies: an X-acto knife to accurately cut out the recipe, fresh 3″ x 5″ cards and a roll of Scotch Magic Tape. While the family talked after dinner, Daddy would be clipping and filing, delighted with his latest conquests and acquisitions. He would excitedly interrupt conversation to read recipes, wanting to see if they, “sounded good,” as we would, “Ooh!,” and, “Ah!,” his latest find.

My Dad's Ultimate Cole Slaw, recent recreations (click to enlarge)Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw, recently recreated (click to enlarge)

And, things proceeded predictably in such a fashion for years. The quiet rattling of the Washington Post Newspaper Wednesday Food Section, along with the opening and closing of the drawer in the table next to his chair. This, comfortably blanketed by the flickering cocoon of the TV screen, made for pleasant evenings, and now, warm memories. It was an idyllic suburban scene, that is, it was…until he became even more acutely obsessed with one particular dish: Cole Slaw.

How it happened and why it happened, I cannot be sure. There is a good chance he was refused the revelation of a Cole Slaw recipe at a church supper, and became determined to recreate the elusive dish. But, all I know is he started buying cabbages. Lots of cabbages. The cabbages marched into the refrigerator with carrots and seemingly endless jars of mayonnaise, followed by a legion or  two of fresh lemons. These were his art materials, and my grandmother’s Pyrex mixing bowls were his canvas.

Cole Slaw, he had decided was the perfect pot luck supper dish. It was inexpensive to make; was healthy and, “provided roughage.” That was Daddy’s Cole Slaw strategy. And, when one stopped to think about it, Cole Slaw was indeed the perfect side dish, fitting into any church supper array of serving tabled fancies.

And, so the search began. 3″ x 5″ file boxes were no longer adequate. He moved to taping Cole Slaw recipes to 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper. As he made a recipe in the kitchen, if it made the cut, it remained unsullied, but if it was rejected, it was crossed off, right through it, with a mighty, “X.” This frantic quest went on for months, but as the research continued, he began to fine tune his efforts.

He said he wanted a natural Cole Slaw, with a cold, not cooked dressing. One with a lemon, not vinegar base. He wanted the creaminess of mayonnaise, but not to have it, too “mayonnaisey,” because, “All that fat makes me sick.” He liked adding celery seeds, but not too many. And, for color, there should be one carrot, and one carrot only, grated in along with the cabbage. Salt and pepper should be added, and finally the Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe had been born.

And, I am ready to share it. Here, right now.

But, you must understand the recipe is presented with the same persnickety-ness of my Dad’s approach. In other words, he felt there was NO WAY to accurately represent the proportions like any other recipe, because, “…of COURSE that depends upon the size of your cabbage!” So, I am going to give his recipe to you and hope for the best. I am hoping you can bridge the gap, blending the simple flavors to your tastes and that, with a bit of research and development, you will come up with your own Cole Slaw recipe, sure to be an heirloom hit at friend and family gatherings.

Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw

1 Cabbage, cored, quartered and grated

1 Carrot, grated

Lemon juice to taste (I usually use three)

Granulated sugar to taste (Not overwhelming sweet…unless you like that)

Mayonnaise (Start with a cup and add, if needed, to make a runny dressing as you stir with a big spoon and the juices are released from the cabbage)

A sprinkle of whole Celery Seed. (Start with a TBSP, and see what you think.)

Salt and Pepper, to taste, then mix well and refrigerate.

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Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:13 am Comments (2)
Feb 25 2013

Barbarian hordes visiting? Huns coming over for boardgames? Or, are you just spending a quiet afternoon at home with the fam? This recipe will keep you ahead of the pack. Maybe.

It was a Sunday like many others. We were enjoying the nothingness when organic corn chips in the kitchen apparently sounded an alarm. As if on cue, all testosterone laden individuals rose up from the couch in unison. Lock step they went into the kitchen to initiate a feeding frenzy. The target was home made nachos. And, “So what?,” I thought. It was the first of many mistakes I would make that day.

It was a nice calm Sunday until….

What could be the harm, I thought? Nachos on a Sunday afternoon. How sublime. But, that’s because I wasn’t in the kitchen to see two pounds of hamburger being cooked and stirred. Sure, I knew hamburger was cooking, but TWO POUNDS? Never would have it occurred to me.  I was a babe and uninitiated into the world of MACHO NACHOS. Katie bar the door!

Would two and a half pounds of chips be enough?

And, you know those BIG $5 bags of organic corn chips at COSTCO? The chips who felt macho enough to sound the nacho alarm in the first place? Well, it never would have occurred to me the ENTIRE BAG would be stacked up in a ROASTING PAN to make a corn chip mountain. Common sense would dictate reasonable portions, but no, the feeding frenzy preparation was in full swing.

Fit for a king or restaurant parties of ten.

A WHOLE JAR of organic jalapenos and TWO POUNDS of shredded Amish raw milk cheese complemented the TWO RIPE ORGANIC AVACADOS added to the WHOLE JAR of organic salsa. All of this was transported into the oven via a system of steampunk wenches, pullies and airlifts. The shear weight of the snack was too much to lift by human musculature alone as they were left to bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Ceiling Cam shot of the HALF PINT sour cream application.

And, none of this did I know until the roasting pan of MAN NACHOS  was wheeled out into the living room by a legion of gladiators using ropes and rolling wooden logs to lessen the friction of the roasting pan over the living room rug. I was left to feel the pain as chip crumbs, melted cheese, jalapeno juice and salsa seeds flew in my direction. I had to get out an old camping rain poncho to put on the weather the storm.

All of which leaves me to say it will be a long time before unsupervised chefs are allowed in the kitchen again. My life is a nightmare. Save. Me.



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Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — admin @ 7:48 pm Comments (0)
Dec 25 2010

If I were not shy, I would bestow
My Greetings under the Mistletoe,
But as I fear you might take it amiss,
I’ll wish you a “Merry Christmas” through this.

December 25, 2010
Saturday morning at 8:00am

Hello there and Merry Christmas!

I hope you are reading this with a light heart while enjoying the day with some well deserved time off. If you have to work, like I have many times being in the medical profession, thank you for providing whatever valuable service you provide.

Here in Maryland, some of us have a long standing tradition of having Panned Oysters for breakfast on Christmas Day. We were out late last night, so we are getting a late start this morning.  That can happen without small children around to activate the Christmas morning proceedings. I haven’t even begun the Panned Oysters and will have to wait until everyone is out of bed.

We waited to buy the oysters until yesterday, Christmas Eve, to make sure they were as fresh as possible. You have to be on your “A” game, though, in getting them, because, if you wait too long, the stores will be sold out. And, you need to have a good organic bread upon which to serve the oysters as they are rich, especially when cooked in butter.  We toast the bread and cut it on the diagonal, twice, to make toast points.

Panned Oysters are simple to make, which is another reason they are favorites on a hustle-bustle Christmas morning. Just take a frying pan and melt a stick of organic butter from grass-fed cows. Use one stick of butter for up to two pints of oysters.

After the bottom of the pan is covered with melted butter, as
it’s melting, gently place oysters into the pan using a slotted
spoon so most of the oyster juice is withheld in the container.

Now, for extra flavor, add about three tablespoons of the juice
to the pan while cooking and add the rest of the oysters. Note:
Ignore teenagers asking whether we are having brains for breakfast.

The oysters should be cooked until the edges draw up and “ruffle.”

Once the oysters are “ruffled,” they are ready to be lifted onto
the waiting toast points. The butter essence is then spooned over
top and that’s it, you’re done. Yum! Yum!

So, I guess I better get hopping to make things happen around here. I’ll be hopping and hoping that you find some peace, love and comfort today and, in addition, that all of your dreams come true for the coming year in 2011.

Have fun throughout the holidays!

Much Love,
Fondly, Robin



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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 2:56 pm Comments (0)

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