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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coleslaw, Sweet Coleslaw

What better way to taste your julienne and chiffonade knife skills.
Inspired by a knife skills class by Mark Halyk of Catered Art

Taste 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty 3 (out of 5) – depending on your knife proficiency ;-0

- 1/2 medium sized green cabbage head (110 cal)
- 1 medium carrot (25 cal)
- 1 medium apple (80 cal)
- 1/4 medium jicama (50 cal)
- 1/2 large red bell pepper (20 cal)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries (140 cal)
- 2 green onions (5 cal)
- 2 garlic cloves (10 cal)
- 1 orange (90 cal)
- 1 grapefruit (90 cal)
- 5-6 sprigs of fresh mint
- 1 tbsp raspberry vinegar (10 cal)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (240 cal)
- zest of 1 orange and 1 grapefruit
- nutmeg, salt and black pepper to taste
Total: 870 cal, 6 servings, 145 cal/serving

Normally I would say: “thinly slice all the vegetables and mix”. But after having learned the techniques I feel like I have to use the right terminology (at least once), to make it sound more complicated and professional :-)
1. Chiffonade the cabbage and the mint.
Chiffonade is a way of cutting leafy vegetables into thin strips. If you are working with mint (or basil, or other thin leaves), place 5 to 10 leaves on top of each other and roll them into a tight “cigar”. Then slide a very sharp chef’s knife across the cigar cutting it into very thin strips. Try to glide the knife, as opposed to pushing it hard into the mint; otherwise the mint will get “bruised,” i.e., will oxidize and darken quickly. Since cabbage leaves are already rolled tightly together by default, all you need is just to cut the cabbage head into quarters, remove the hard core and thinly slice the quarters across the grain.
2. Julienne the carrot, the apple, the jicama and the pepper.
Julienne cut creates very thin, long strips, similar to matchsticks (about 1/8 x 1/8 x 2.5 inches). Peel the carrots and the jicama, leave the apple skin on. Trim the ends of the carrot and cut it into 2-3 parts crosswise. Cut each segment in half lengthwise and lay the cut side down on the table, this way it’s stable. Cut the carrot into 1/8’’ thick slices, and then cut these slices into 1/8’’ thick long strips. Quarter the jicama (you only need a quarter) and cut into strips similarly to the carrot. Core and quarter the apple and julienne just like the jicama. The pepper is the easiest to julienne, just cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut into thin strips.
3. Place the green onions on a clean cutting board and rock your knife across them, cutting them in thin strips (size-wise similar to the mint chiffonade).
4. Place the garlic cloves onto a clean cutting board, place the flat side of your chef’s knife on top of them with a blade facing away from you, press with a palm on the upper side of the blade (be careful so that your hand does not slide) until the garlic cracks. At this point the garlic is extremely easy to peel. The cut for the garlic is the fine brunoise – a 1/16 x 1/16 x 1/16 inch dice. First cut the garlic into very thin sticks (similar to julienning the carrots) and then cut across the sticks to create the dice.
5. Zest and peel the orange and the grapefruit and cut off the segments.
While the orange is still whole, zest it with orange zester and sprinkle the zest over the salad. Then cut both ends off the orange to expose the flesh. Place the orange the cut side down. Peel with a sharp knife from top to bottom, tracing the shape of the orange. Remove all the zest, the outer colorful part, and the pith, the white inner portion of the peel, but try to leave the flash intact. Cut along the membranes to release the sections. Squeeze the membranes with the remaining flash over the coleslaw to add orange juice to the salad. Repeat the same procedure with the grapefruit.
Tip: Citrus juice is not only tasty, it also prevents oxidation in apples, so they don’t turn brown.
6. Now mix all the vegetables in a large bowl, sprinkle with dried cranberries and citrus sections. Whisk together the vinegar with the olive oil; add nutmeg, salt and black pepper to taste and pour over the coleslaw.
7. It’s better to let your coleslaw stand in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or better, overnight, before serving. Enjoy!

- I think this coleslaw will taste just as good without any special knife skills, but I find it fun playing with the tools in the kitchen, and practicing knife skills trying to imitate those fancy chefs on the Foodnetwork.
- I love adding citrus juice and zest to any dishes: salads, meat, fish, cakes. It adds a lot of flavor and vitamin C.
- I really enjoyed the knife skills class. It is very useful to have someone knowledgeable look at your cutting techniques and give you feedback for improvement. But if you don’t have a similar class in your area, there are very good informative videos on Youtube and other sites. Just google “knife skills” and you’ll see.
- And be very careful with sharp knifes - goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway ;-)


Stephanie said...

I need to practice my knife skills. This recipe sounds like a tasty way to do so!

Juliana said...

Nice coleslaw...specially with mint in colorful and refreshing :-)

Shirley said...

Am a great fan of coleslaw!