Monday, June 10, 2013

Broccoli slaw

I've got a fever!  ...and the only prescription is more cowbell cookouts.

It seems like everyone in the area has caught the barbecue bug, including yours truly.  For the past three weekends, I've been lucky enough to enjoy some kind of outdoor gathering with friends or family.  Hot grills, icy beverages, delicious food, and shenanigans like volleyball games on a hill and frisbee in the woods with dogs.  (Yes, the latter two are absolutely terrible ideas, but that's what made them so much fun.)

Yesterday, Matt and I headed to our country home a.k.a. my parents' house in the woods for the day.  We'll be traveling next weekend, so we wanted to visit with my folks and celebrate Father's Day a little early.

There was nothing firm on the agenda, and we took full advantage of it by spending the majority of the afternoon lounging on the back porch reading, chatting, and enjoying some homemade iced tea.  I did manage to peel myself out of my chair long enough to play with the dogs and chase them around for 20 minutes or so.  Eventually, I they grew tired and simply laid down in the middle of the yard and stared at me.  Do you think they realized the smell of charcoal was not for their dinner? :)

Dad manned the grill and cooked up classic burgers and hot dogs, while Mom got things ready indoors.  Matt and I were in charge of setting the table and bringing dishes out to the porch.  We kept the sides simple: baked beans, chips (OMG, discovered these and probably ate half of the bag), watermelon, strawberries and blueberries.  Talk about a a bright and fresh spread!

I asked my mom the day before if I could bring anything, namely dessert, and she said she'd already purchased the makings for s'mores (yesssss!), but a side dish would be great.  Something green, but not a regular salad.  Somehow, normal salads just seem so out of place at a cookout.  Picnic foods should be bright and fresh but with the volume turned up just a bit and with something extra that makes them special.  Something that makes you want to eat them, like exciting mix-ins or a tangy dressing, like cole slaw or my favorite kale salad

Something like this broccoli slaw!

Crunchy fresh broccoli, finely chopped and grated, mixed with sweet dried cranberries and slivered almonds, all tossed with a tangy and light shallot buttermilk dressing.  File this under "vegetable sides you'll want seconds of," ladies and gentlemen.  Seconds, even when there are fresh berries, 'melon, baked beans, and those devilishly good crab chips.  For any parents of young kids (or wives of husbands, ahem) who despise vegetables, I'd also file this under "super sneaky vegetables they'll want to eat."  

Who says grilling season has to be the same old thing?  Everyone loved this and agreed the flavors were familiar but in a unique combination without being too "out there."  Nobody likes a mystery dish at a picnic, amIright?

And, I'm guessing no one likes leaving a cookout feeling heavy and like she needs to nibble on iceburg lettuce for a few days to undo whatever "damage" done at the meal.  Cool and creamy vegetables a happy camper makes!  That and having an extra serving of a salad totally offsets the one two s'mores one might have at the end of the evening, right?

Two years ago: Salt and pepper salmon
Three years ago: Homemade toffee

Broccoli Slaw
(adapted slightly from The Kitchn)
-makes 4-5 servings

A few notes: I halved the original recipe but wish I'd made the full amount because we devoured it.  Like so many layered recipes, I imagine the flavor would only improve spending a day in the fridge chilling. 

1 head broccoli
1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds
3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 cup buttermilk (or milk will work, too)
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 small shallot, finely diced
Ground black pepper

Trim top of broccoli head (florets) and cut into half-inch size pieces.  Separately, use a vegetable peeler to peel the stems and remove the tough outer layer; using a box grater, shred the stems on medium holed-side.  (Alternately, if you have a food processor, feed broccoli florets and peeled stems through the slicing blade.)

In a large bowl, toss broccoli with almonds and cranberries.  In a small bowl, whisk together milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and shallot.  Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Pour dressing over broccoli and toss to combine.  Serve immediately or keep covered in refrigerator for up to one week.


  1. Tasty and sweet, love the crispness the broccoli brings. I will try it with cauliflower tonight. Thank you so much for sharing this cool recipe.

    1. Cauliflower! That's such a great idea. Thanks and hope you enjoy it! :)

    2. Everybody just loved it. Thank you again for sharing this recipe and making simple taste awesome.