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Food and Drink

New approaches to some old favorites

Judith Thomas’s Country Cole Slaw

Mix in a big bowl:

¶1 cup mayonnaise

¶3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¶2 tablespoons sugar

¶1 teaspoon salt

Add:

¶6 cups shredded cabbage

¶1 cup shredded carrots (about 3 carrots)

Chill and serve.

Variation: add 1 cup of diced sweet red pepper and a few tablespoons of prepared horseradish.

Leda Scheintaub’s Basic Sauerkraut

This recipe is adapted from Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen: 100 Recipes Featuring the Bold Flavors of Fermentation, Rizzoli New York, 2014.) Information: rizzoliusa.com/book.php?isbn=9780789327451.

Remove the outer leaves from:

¶1 head cabbage (5 pounds)

Cut the cabbage in half and remove the root end from each half. Chop or grate the cabbage in any thickness you like.

Prepare:

¶2 to 3 tablespoons fine sea salt

Put half the cabbage along with half the salt in a large nonreactive bowl. Thoroughly massage the salt into the cabbage; to speed up the process, try pounding your cabbage with a meat mallet.

Repeat with the remaining cabbage and salt in the same bowl. Pack the cabbage into a 2-quart jar a little at a time, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top; after each addition, pound it with your pounder to release more water. You’ll know you’ve released enough water when the brine covers the surface of your cabbage.

Set up a weight for your fermentation vessel — drinking glass, zip-top bag filled with brine, etc. — to keep the cabbage covered in brine. Place the vessel on a rimmed plate or glass pie plate to catch any potential overflow, cover with a clean dish towel to keep out insects, and set aside in a cool place away from sunlight to ferment.

Check every day to make sure the cabbage is covered with brine, pressing down on it or adding a little extra brine if it isn’t. If any mold develops, remove it, clean your weight if it came into contact with the mold, and don’t worry; you’ve created an anaerobic environment in which it is almost impossible for bad bacteria to take root.

Your sauerkraut will be ready in 1 to 4 weeks, depending on the season and kitchen temperature and how tangy you like your kraut. Taste it along the way to check for doneness and consider eating from it at various stages of fermentation for some cultural diversity. Cover and place in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least a year.

Masala Sauerkraut

Scheintaub says her favorite pickled cabbage variation is the “Masala Sauerkraut that goes into Dosa Kitchen’s signature Kale and Sauerkraut Salad,” and she provides this variant:

Add to your salted cabbage before packing it into your fermentation vessel:

¶2 teaspoons cumin seeds

¶2 teaspoons fennel seeds

¶{3/4} teaspoon coriander seeds

¶{3/4} teaspoon black mustard seeds

¶{3/4} teaspoon ground turmeric

¶{1/4} teaspoon fenugreek seeds

¶{1/4} teaspoon ground cayenne

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Originally published in The Commons issue #292 (Wednesday, February 11, 2015). This story appeared on page D3.

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