There’s little that can’t be improved by the addition of a sticky slick of raw local honey. I’ll concede that there might be something, but it doesn’t come to mind immediately. I could contentedly eat spoonfuls until comatose if it weren’t for the smidgen of good manners and even smaller atom of good sense preventing it.
Today’s supper was one of the times I restrained my sugar-rush inclinations, since I was making R’s favorite coleslaw and, with him persevering toward complete blood sugar control without the aid of medications, who am I to stand in the way of such valor? So I made the slaw with a natural non-sugar sweetener. But I still slipped just a hint of sugar into the mix, because the salad wouldn’t be entirely his favorite without his favorite add-in. It’s about the easiest ‘dish’ to throw together, if you can actually call something so ridiculously simple a dish. I’m no purist, so if you have strong Feelings about everything being homemade, organic, locally sourced, and so forth, you’ll probably want to squint a little during the next section to avoid unnecessary annoyance and then revise as needed to meet your needs.
Stupid-Easy Sweet Cole Slaw
Throw together everything ‘to taste’: Shredded cabbage (yeah, I’m often wonderfully lazy and use the pre-shredded slaw mix with red and green cabbage and carrots); lime juice, sweetener (honey is, of course, wonderful–or dark agave syrup, or sugar of any kind, whatever floats your cabbage-eating boat); a spoonful of mayonnaise (I’m still fond of good ol’ Hellman’s classic artery-hardener); add-ins.
So: cabbage, lime juice, sweetness, mayo and Fun Stuff.
The add-in of choice in this house is minced pickled sushi ginger.
Other goodies sometimes join the party: sesame seeds, toasted sliced almonds, chopped apple . . . whatever fun yummy junk is on hand, pretty much. It’s the ginger that I think of as the personality of the House Slaw, and anything that complements that is welcome along for the ride. But most of the time, it’s just the basic ingredients chez nous.
It was the other day that I got my honey fix. The day I went Nutbar. When the man of the house is away at any of his various work-related salt mines, I indulge in both foods that Mr Supertaster can’t or won’t eat and also in a bit of sugary madness. I made some chewy granola-style bars that work pretty nicely as a breakfast or brunch munch, especially with a nice spoonful of thick Greek yogurt drizzled with the aforementioned lovely honey and a toss of crispy carrot chips.
You’re going to sense a trend here: I’m all about the lazy approach. I love to eat what tastes delicious to me, but I have to really be in a certain rare mood to get into the groove of fixing super elaborate and labor intensive foods. More often I’m pleased to spend a day or two of heavy lifting in the kitchen in order to ‘put up’ a big, divisible, freeze-able batch of something that we can dig into at will over the next however-long. A slow cooker loaded with broth fixings is a common enough happening, mainly because I can use the resulting broth so many different ways, and also because it takes so little effort in total to throw a batch of prepared bones, roughly chopped mirepoix, herbs and spices and the like into the cooker and let it go for a long, slow simmer. I’ve got the straining thing down to a science, having learned to line a big pasta-strainer pot with a clean flour sack dish towel, spoon the skeletal remains out of the broth with a big sturdy spider, and dump the rest of the crock into the lined pot. Then all I have to do is hoist the pasta strainer high enough to lift out the dish towel by its corners, give that a quick squeeze to get the rest of the soupy goodness to flow through, empty the grisly remains in the trash, and pour up my broth for cooling. Lots of mileage off of a very humble process and the unfussiest of ingredients.
About those Nutbars. Again, easy-peasy. Simple contents, very simply prepared, not difficult to store, and quick-as-a-bunny to grab and nibble.
Ingredients: nuts, seeds, dried fruits, butter, spices, whey protein powder and gelatin, sweetening and salt.
I filled my trusty Tupperware 8-cup measuring pitcher with about 6 cups of mixed almonds (whole, raw), roasted/lightly salted macadamia nuts, dried dates and figs and apricots, and a handful of candied ginger, and filled in the gaps between all of them with about 3 good scoops of vanilla whey protein powder, a handful of raw sesame seeds, and a healthy dose of cinnamon with hints of cardamom, mace and cloves. I pulsed all of that mix in the blender in batches until it was all pretty well reduced to a chunky flour. Then I just mixed in as though for a very dense dough: 3 big tablespoons of gelatin melted in water (you can just leave this out or use agar agar if you’re vegetarian, but I like the chew and the added nutrients available in either of the add-ins), a little sweetener (I used a splash of sugar-free hazelnut syrup that I have around, just for the flavor), about 3 tablespoons of melted butter, and a bit of Maldon sea salt. All almost quicker to do than to record here.
The rest is finishing: line a cake pan (I used my ca. 10×14 Pyrex baking dish) with wax paper or plastic wrap, press the “dough” into it evenly, cover with more of the wrap, and (if you’re a little shaggy on the pat-in like I am) give a quick flattening treatment with a jar or can as your pan-sized rolling pin. Stick the pan in the refrigerator overnight and slice the bars up for storage next day. I cut them in granola bar configuration since that’s what they resemble a little. The bit of butter means they don’t stick together very badly, so I laid the bars on edge right next to each other with wax paper between layers. Some are lying in wait in the freezer, and the rest are being gradually eaten out of the fridge, with or without yogurt, honey, carrots . . . .
Did I mention honey? Guess I’m just a sucker for sweet things. Must be why I love you so.