Zippy Beet Salad

In which you can watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

It’s time to break out the recipes that make you go hmmmm….

 

One of the things that helped foster my dislike for Jell-o (other than old church ladies who put mayonnaise on it instead of Cool-Whip) was the meat gelatin I ate while visiting a friend in Poland for Easter.  It was layers of vegetables and meat and hardboiled eggs ensconced in gelatin.  There was some sort of sauce to put on top.  I’m sure it’s fancy gourmet food.  At another time in my life, in another place, it might’ve been amazing.  At that point in time, however, it was just not my thing.  DSCN3154When we read literature about Russia and Poland, we think of foods like cabbage rolls and borscht.  (See what I did there?  Linked the two thoughts) Cold weather vegetables that store well.  Which makes this whole recipe make a lot more sense.  So put on your fur coat, study up on a little Boris and Natasha and get ready for this recipe.

I did not pickle any beets this year.  (Or really any other year, although I think I have a recipe for pickled beets that I should make.)  We resorted to buying a jar of pickled beets at the grocery store.  The girl was being extra helpful and tried to unload the grocery cart.  Despite warning her, she dropped a full jar of pickled beets on the unyielding tile floor of the grocery store.  Nothing like the smell of vinegar and embarrassment. DSCN3178

As you get to the point of finely slicing cabbage, just grate it in the food processor like the onion.  I can never slice cabbage thinly enough for my own taste.  I even have some decent knives (that might need to be sharpened), but I still can’t get it to the point I like it.  Maybe I just find thick cabbage or something?  If you don’t do this, you will end up with the mess that I got.  DSCN3172

Zippy Beet Salad could actually be good.  I mean, yeah, it’s weird, there is no getting around that.  But the thing that threw it off most was the cabbage.  It was long and stringy and there was a lot of it.  More than there should be for the small amount of gelatinized beet juice.

You will notice from the pictures that I tried to mold this salad.  My darling Mother-in-Law sent me her favorite Jell-o mold.  It didn’t work so well for me on this recipe.  I ‘d try it again with one of those creamy salads with things like crushed pineapple and marshmallows.  But you can see the star on the top.  DSCN3153

If you don’t like beets, this will probably not be the dish that will change your mind about it.  If you do…try it.  It’s not the worst thing you’ll put in your mouth.

Zippy Beet Salad

 

Cabbage Salad

Cole slaw is something we all grow up with.  It’s usually mayo based, or vinegar based and not that interesting.  Occasionally you get cole slaw that is amazing for some reason, like at Bismarck’s Bar and Grill where they add bacon.  But normally, it’s something we eat as a side dish because of tradition more than anything else.  Cabbage is cheap. It is mostly used the cut the richness of fatty foods.  (See what I did there?  Cheap Cabbage/Rich food? I’m hilarious.)  I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone exclaim “Cole Slaw!  That’s my favorite!”

dscn2408.jpgThis isn’t cole slaw.  It is a cabbage salad. It was John’s favorite part of the meal.  He said it was the only part of the meal he didn’t think he’d get sick of eating as leftovers.  I thought that perhaps the onion rings were a little much.  I am not sure if I would’ve preferred them to be thinner slices or chopped more, but they were too much.

But it’s not memorable.  I wrote up the first part of this when we first had the salad.  A few days and a few recipes later, I can’t even remember what the salad tasted like.  It was good, it was fine, it wasn’t worth having it the second day if there were other options.  And it kind of sucks for the salad.DSCN2377

Actually, thinking back, this would probably be a great accompaniment to grilled food. There are hot days where a nice cold cabbage salad is the perfect thing to go with a nice pork shoulder, rubbed with onion and herb paste and slow roasted on the grill all day long.  Or BBQ chicken.  Nice and moist and falling off the bone.  That tang of the barbecue sauce.  But this salad is never going to be the star of the show.  It’s always going to be a member of the chorus.  It might get a line or two in a major production, but it’s ultimately going to back to its waitressing gig to wait for the big break that will never come.  I mean, come on.  It’s still just cabbage salad.Cabbage Salad