Tuesday, August 11, 2009
What's Cooking Wednesday: Kohlrabi Slaw Redux
Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.
Well, you may remember that last week I wrote about a recipe gone wrong. One of those recipes that went increasingly wrong as I kept trying to fix it.
I put out a plea for help, and help you delivered! I not only received suggestions from Ann Arbor, but also from Alberta, Canada; New Orleans; Belgium; Boston and several other locales.
I am very grateful for all of the help. Many of the suggestions were similar, which makes sense given that I described what I was looking for. After sorting out the many ideas, and going to local blog, Gastronomical Three, suggested by AnnArbor.com reader Vivienne Armentrout, I decided to try the following variations:
This one was suggested by AnnArbor.com reader Peipei:
1 TBS canola oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 TBS honey
1 tsp fresh, grated ginger
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground fresh pepper
A sauce for hiyashi chuka, the cold Japanese noodle dish, was suggested by my blogging buddy, Thalia's Child, who lives somewhere in Western Canada. After doing a comparison of different variants of hiyashi chuka, I decided on the variant suggested by Thalia's Child, which consisted of this:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons chicken stock
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili oil (optional - but I used it)
I then pondered "add-ins". AnnArbor.com reader JG suggested cranberries, both for color and taste, and AnnArbor.com reader Mike Jennings suggested elimination of the sunflower seeds and adding black sesame seeds and toasted sesame seeds instead.
As a tasting panel, we invited over some friends, and we made a lovely Monday night dinner of it, supplementing the kohlrabi slaw taste-testing with grilled chicken sausages, a decadent Paula Deen corn casserole, and an Achatz raspberry pie. (Yeah, I was a bit lazy and opted for store bought dessert).
Before our friends arrived, I made two batches of the kohlrabi slaw with this recipe:
4 cups shredded kohlrabi
2 peeled, shredded carrots
4 shredded radishes
Then I divided the slaw into two bowls and mixed one bowl with Peipei's dressing and one with HALF the hiyashi chuka sauce. The amount of the hiyashi chuka sauce was basically twice the amount of Peipei's dressing, so you can either halve the recipe or save the rest of the sauce for another use (such as actually making hiyashi chuka). I let the batches of slaw marinate while I prepped everything else.
Right before dinner, I divided each batch of slaw into three bowls and topped each bowl with one of the following add-ins:
1. cranberries and toasted sunflower seeds
2. JUST toasted sunflower seeds
3. black sesame seeds and gomasio (dry roasted sesame seeds with sea salt):
We then passed all six bowls around sequentially and tasted each. For our very unscientific poll of four, the winning variant was unanimous:
Hiyashi chuka sauce with cranberries and toasted sesame seeds followed by the hiyashi chuka sauce with black sesame seeds and gomasio.
It needs to be stated, however, that we also really enjoyed those same two variants with Peipei's dressing. The solo sunflower seed variant, however, was just plain boring with either dressing.
Differences between the two dressings: both gave the semi-sweet, Asian feel that I was looking for with my original recipe. I would proudly serve either one at my table. Peipei's dressing was far sweeter than the hiyashi chuka sauce, so if you prefer sweeter tastes, in general, Peipei's dressing would be your choice. Since I used the optional 1/2 tsp hot chili oil in the hiyashi chuka sauce, this sauce gave a bit of heat, something that all four of us enjoyed. If you prefer something with a bit of spice, then the hiyashi chuka variant is for you. The cranberry/sunflower seed option was pretty darned sweet, the black sesame seed/gomasio option was much more savory, especially with the hiyashi chuka sauce.
So mix and match to your own tastes and enjoy! After the wonderful suggestions I received here, I'm hoping to have further misadventures in the kitchen.
Also, if you feel like commenting, comments would be greatly appreciated here.