I stood staring at these two friends, cabbage and cheese, knowing that my slaw was not yet complete. For me, slaws have several key components. First is the vegetable base. Cabbage (red or green) are the most common but I have used Nappa cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower or even ong choy (aka water cabbage). Second is the cheese. I have used American Swiss, Emmental, Gruyère, any and all of the blue chesses and even cheddar has made an appearance. Third is the fruit, tho' I have been know to leave it out. Blueberries, for that matter ANY berry, currents, raisins (either regular or golden), diced apples, dried (or fresh) cherries or pears. I have even bought mixed dried fruit and used that. Stranger still, I make a Russian based slaw that even has prunes in it, but that is another tale. Strawberries work well as do any of the citrus family: mandarin or regular oranges or grapefruit. I often throw in nuts or seeds as well. Onions (green or regular) or celery will go into the mix too. Hint: if you are making a cold coleslaw and you find that your onion is too strong, soak it in a little cold water for 15 minutes, pat it dry and then chop or mince and add.
And then there is the dressing which usually contains a vinegar or, if I'm using citrus, some of its juice. Depending on the other ingredients, I may add a bit of honey, raw sugar, maple syrup, marmalade or other jams as a balancing sweetener. Mood entirely decides whether I add cream, mayo, sour cream or any combination thereof to the slaw. I have also added various spices, as the mood suits me: cinnamon, ginger (fresh or candied), nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, dill, or celery salt. Even horseradish can be a tasty addition. Like all cooking, balance is the key. I like a sweet element in my slaw as well as nuts or seeds textural interest and flavour. Bring in cheese not only for its saltiness but creaminess.
But back to my slaw. The granola sat not far away, brought out to mix with a little yogurt for a second lunch dish. But upon thinking about the carb content of the meal and realizing I was going to get more than desired, I began to put the granola back… then inspiration struck… granola, sweet, nutcrunchy, spices which are often used in with cabbage dishes, whole grain, sunflower seeds, coconut & pecans...hmmm… worth a try! And try I did, the result was SO good! I love you, coleslaw. You are one of the most versatile of dishes - in fact, you are a class of dishes all unto yourself! You bring seemingly disparate ingredients together and make them "play nice". This may sound like an odd combination but it is one I shall do again.
Ginger Granola Coleslaw
1 TB sour cream1 TB mayonnaise
1 TB Pear infused white balsamic vinegar (or any kind of light vinegar - i.e. rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Pepper to taste
1-1/2 C Chopped Red Cabbage1 TB minced candied ginger
1 oz (30 gm) cubed Gruyère (1/4" cubes)
1/4 C granola (I used one that's made by an Amish family who live outside of Arthur, IL)
In a small bowl, stir dressing ingredients together. Toss cabbage, ginger & Gruyère together in another bowl. Pour dressing over all and mix gently together. Just before serving, sprinkle the granola over the slaw and fold together. If you want to take this dish for a lunch. Pack the slaw & the granola in separate containers. Otherwise the granola loses most of its crunch which adds so much to the dish.