Brussels Slaw

So, I invented a slaw! While I love traditional cabbage-based coleslaw, it sometimes lacks a depth of flavors. Not so with a Brussells sprouts based slaw. I’m not going to list exact measurements, because I haven’t made this the same way twice, but it’s been great every time.

One thing that’s a constant, though, is that the Brussells sprouts need to be the main ingredient. Whatever else you put in, make sure there’s more sprouts than anything else. That’s where the complex, rich flavor comes from.

I cook low-sodium, so there’s no salt in my slaw. I don’t miss it, but you might, so season to taste if you wish.

Make sure all the vegetables are raw and fresh, and everything is finely chopped/shredded. The finer the shred, the more luxurious your slaw will be. The secret of slaw-ing the Brussells sprouts is this: Chop off the thick stem, then halve the raw sprouts. You’ll see a cone-shaped core at the stem end. Make a V-shaped cut to remove that. Yes, lots of leaves will fall off, but who cares? It’s all getting shredded. I shove the loose leaves to the side to fine-chop separately.

Flip your sprout-halves down on the cut side and slice as finely as possible. Or use whatever nifty modern device you might have to fine-slice them. I’m old-fashioned and use a sharp knife. (I love the process of preparing food by hand as much as I love eating it!)

INGREDIENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS

Brussells Sprouts prepared as described above. I’ve been using a couple dozen per batch. After shredding, I use my fingers to break up any slices that didn’t fall apart to be sure its as shreddy as possible.

Broccoli florets. JUST the bits on the end of the florets. Those little round things at the very end. That’s all you want in this slaw. Anything chunkier will interfere with that soft and silky slaw. Save the rest for a cream of broccoli puree or some-such. A quarter cupful will deepen the slaw’s flavor nicely.

Sweet white onion, finely chopped. Just a bit, a few tablespoons at most. This is for seasoning’s sake.

Radishes. I’ve been fine-chopping three large ones.

Carrots! Shred them with a box-shredder if you’re like me, or use your favorite device. Two small carrots have been working well for me.

Mix all the veggies thoroughly. Season them with garlic powder, black pepper and a bit of hot pepper flakes. Use as much of each as seems right to you, this slaw is NOT an exact science.

When you’re ready to serve, plop in just enough mayonnaise to coat everything. You want it creamy but not resembling mayonnaise soup. Mix with a fork very, very thoroughly.

Enjoy, and keep the bowl close by for seconds because you will want them.

Dandelion Bread

Dandelion bread isn’t what most people think it’s going to be like. It’s a dense bread, like banana or zucchini bread – but with a light, slightly sweet flavor that’s almost like a standard white bread. I think its the best of both worlds. Ken loved it, too! Other than the actual gathering of the dandelion petals, the recipe is very easy to make. If you’re awash in a sea of yellow outside, turn those weeds into treats!

Last fall, a friend gave me this recipe, and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since. Imagine my joy when one fine morning my lawn had turned completely yellow with dandelions. The original recipe was published online by Walnut Acres, but that website keep redirecting me away from the page to a dubious domain-parking site. So, rather than send you there, I will give them credit and keep the recipe here.

Be sure to pick flowers well away from driveways or roads, and avoid areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.

Clean enough dandelion flowers to make two cups of dandelion petals. It’s important to remove the petals, leaving behind all green parts of the flower. To learn more about my own method of doing this, read my previous post, It’s Dandelion Day!

Walnut Acres Dandelion Bread

This recipe makes two small loaves, using 8″ x 4″ x 2-1/2″ loaf pans.

Preheat over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your bread pans. I used melted, unsalted butter. Sodium Note: I cut the recommended salt amount down to 1/2 tsp as we are a low-sodium house. I’ve left the original recipe unchanged here, though. Using a sodium-free baking powder will also save you a lot of sodium.

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 – 2 cups dandelion petals Note: I recommend using the full 2 cups

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-2/3 cups milk
Dry ingredients. And yes, dandelion petals count as ‘dry’.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir with a large spoon until very well blended and the petals have been evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into your two greased pans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Test with a toothpick or cake tester to be sure the batter is set in the center. Bake a little longer if needed, watching over the breads carefully.

Cool the bread in the pans. A good trick is to tilt the pans on their sides for even cooling all around. This helps the bread come out of the pans easily after its cooled, too.

Fresh from the over, about to be turned on their sides.

With its sweetness and density, I’ve been thinking that this bread might also make a nice coffee cake. If I can gather another two cups of petals before the season passes, I’ll be experimenting with that. I think adding raisins would compliment the sweet lightness of the bread, and perhaps an orange flavored glazed drizzle-topping would be the finishing touch.

Yum! Ready for a favorite topping.

If you like to experiment with recipes and need to change the pan size, here’s a handy pan sizing chart. Once you know the volume of the recommended pan, you can substitute another sized pan that holds the same amount. If you don’t change the depth, you probably won’t need to adjust the cooking time. If you do change the depth, be prepared to stay near your new creation, and watch it like a hawk.

Post your dandelion baking adventures in the comments!

It’s Dandelion Day!

The dandelions have achieved full bloom in the back yard. Each year, I set aside one day in early spring to wallow in them. This year’s goal – enough petals to brew the annual batch of dandelion wine, with extras to try making dandelion bread. First, I spent a couple of hours crawling around the lawn with a large, clean bucket, picking as many as I could. Next, I set up camp on the back deck with plenty of beverages, and my iPad logged in to Amazon Prime to keep me company.  Time to clean those flowers.

It’s a beautiful day!

I aim for perfection. NO green whatsoever in the petals. The green parts are bitter. My special method of achieving this is to pick up a flower, hold the hard green bulgy cylinder under the flower between my thumb and index finger, and press-twist the flower. This detaches the petals from the green parts of the flower, and I can pluck them out easily.

Soft, fluffy petals!

This process takes hours. And a lot of patience. That is why Dandelion Day only comes but once a year. After two hours, this is what I collected in my big green bowl.

About a fifth of what I intend to collect.

Eventually, the green bowl was filled – by then I was in such a twist-and-pluck trance I forgot to take any more pictures.

And finally, the closing ceremonies for Dandelion Day. A Wizard performs a special spell from the book of John Deere, and all the remaining dandelions vanish into the mists.

Stay tuned for the adventure of the Dandelion Bread!