How Cool is Kohl?

There are more versions of coleslaw than I care to count, and almost every culture has their own version. That’s because cabbage will grow almost anywhere. Could it be that the aroma it emits during cooking encouraged ancient populations to consume it raw? No way to know, but let’s not digress.

Holland, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam et al, everybody eats shredded cabbage. They all seem to think that they were the first to discover it’s many virtues, another claim that can neither be confirmed or denied. Be that as it may, even the United States has myriad versions. North Carolina, South Carolina, Omaha, it never ends. Mayonnaise, NO mayonnaise, sweet, hot, mild or strong, it is what it is depending on where you are.

The more things change…

Coleslaw is like Marinara sauce. Wait, WOOT? I’ve eaten both in hundreds of restaurants and never once has either one been the same twice. Despite the protestations of purists, it is authentic/fake based only upon who you talk to. My version is “real,” at least in that it has most of the usual suspects in it. It is different because I have never seen sweet peppers in coleslaw. I’ve seen corn, peanuts, and even blue cheese, but never peppers. And it’s not like I’m crazy for sweet peppers. I agonize about how to incorporate them in recipes–they always seem to take over.

Anyway, we live in Oregon now, hence the “hipster” sobriquet. I suppose that could be debated as well. I never met a person who admitted to being a hipster; people are just ACCUSED of being hipsters. *Sigh,* there are no conversations any more; only arguments and accusations. Hip became cool, but I don’t know if hipsters are cool or just what. But this is not about that. It’s only coleslaw.

Try it. You might like it. “Pick a cool and breezy day.” Just kidding. Cabbage is available all year ’round. It’s not sous vide, either. The dressing is pretty standard. Even that statement could cause a contretemps.


Green cabbage, shredded/sliced thin, 12 oz/340 g.
Red cabbage, shredded/sliced thin, 6 oz/175 g.
Carrots, 1 each, peeled and cut julienne or shredded.
Celery, two stalks, chopped fine.
Red bell peppers, 1 large or two small.
Jalapeno peppers, 1 each.
Orange bell peppers, 0.5 each, chopped fine.
Yellow bell peppers, 0.5 each, chopped fine.
Chopped Parsley, 3 oz/90 g.

The dressing:

Mayonnaise, 0.5 cups.125 g.
Brown mustard, 2 Tablespoons.
Cider Vinegar, 2 oz/60 ml.
Sugar, 2 Tablespoons.
Garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons.
Frank’s hot sauce, 2 Tablespoons.
Kosher salt to taste, approximately 2 Tablespoons.


Slice the cabbages as thin as possible. Set aside. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Use a propane torch to scorch the peppers (see below).
Oops, I almost forgot. Put a screen over the foil. The torch will melt foil.
Remove the skin. There are a million ways to do this. People cringe when I tell them I use a wet toothbrush above/in cold water. Toothbrushes are sanitary–after all, they are intended to go inside our mouths. I didn’t say I used “MY” toothbrush. I use a new one, one that has never been used. THEN, I use it to brush my teeth. But then I never use it to scrub peppers again, right?

Keep going

I use a mandolin to julienne the carrots, but shredded in a food processor works too.

I try to cut the peppers and the celery into as uniform little squares as possible.
It takes a little time, but it makes a difference in the ultimate appearance.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and stage all the vegetables on to it. This is easier than trying to find a bowl big enough to toss everything together, and the cleanup is a snap. People make fun of my chopped parsley. Well, they don’t make fun of the chopped parsley itself, they make fun of me for chopping it. That’s fine. And so is the parsley. If chopping parsley makes me a nutcase, so be it.
Assemble the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Then PORE over the salad, it’s a beautiful thing.
Parsley makes a difference.
Very colorful.

As soon as salt hits cabbage, it starts to weep. Acid has a similar effect. Put the finished product in a colander so the slaw doesn’t get soupy. That would be very uncool.


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