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By Charlie Burke

Click here for printer-friendly recipe

Coleslaw often seems to be an afterthought, cloyingly sweet and either too wet
or dry. With the correct balance of acidity and sweetness and with proper
seasoning, however, it can shine.

I realized this when a college friend of our son Michael introduced me to
someone, saying: “...he makes the best coleslaw."  I was taken aback because it
had been over a year since he had eaten at our house! The coarsely ground
pepper and celery seeds add essential flavor, and I prefer using equal parts of
regular and low fat mayonnaise (Cains in our home), although feel free to use
either alone. Mixing the salt, pepper and celery seeds with the shredded cabbage
and carrots before adding the mayonnaise mixture ensures their even

Look for a shiny dense head of cabbage and use crisp fresh carrots, both of which
are available even in winter months. The sweetness of both vegetables will vary,
so you may want to add a small amount of sugar or vinegar when tasting after
the final mixing.

3 large carrots, grated
1 head green cabbage, shredded or chopped in a food
½ cup white vinegar
¾ cup each regular and low fat mayonnaise or 1 ½ cup of
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 ½ tablespoon whole celery seeds

In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar
thoroughly. In a large bowl, mix carrots and cabbage well,
then toss with the salt, pepper and celery seed until evenly distributed. Pour in
dressing and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate (up to 24 hours) if not
serving immediately.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the
vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association (
org) and helps run the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. Along with his wife, Joanne,
he grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in
Sanbornton, NH.
The Heart of New England
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