Monday, July 27, 2009

Barbecue in the Woods: Spicy No-Mayo Cole Slaw, Carrot Salad with Cumin

Last weekend, my friend and coworker Melanie invited me and some other friends to her mother Donna's house in New Hampshire for a barbecue and weekend of relaxation.


Obviously I was going to take this chance to work in a real kitchen (I'd refer to my own kitchen as "fun size") for all it was worth, but Donna had things covered with plans for smoked brisket (pictured above), chicken, and fish. So I brought some veggies to grill with the idea of making some Five Minute Drizzle Sauce, and decided I'd put myself on salad duty. It's often hard at a BBQ to get your fill of veggies, but I always want to. You can only pack your body full of so much delicious meat before you want some salad or a nice grilled zucchini. I settled on the Spicy No-Mayo Cole Slaw and Carrot Salad with Cumin, in addition to some really nice summer squash I got at the greenmarket that would act as the vehicle for the Herbed Five-Minute Drizzle Sauce, as suggested in the chart on page 250 ("How to Grill Vegetables").

The kitchen was a dream come true. Check out Donna's easy access spice drawer:


OK, on to the cooking.

The Carrot Salad with Cumin is a real ace in the hole; you're basically just grating a bunch of carrots, then tossing with cumin, lemon juice, orange juice, and olive oil, plus salt and pepper. The result is sweet and tangy and the cumin lends it a nice complexity.


If you have a food processor, it should take all of ten minutes including cleanup. The flavors intensify the longer you let it sit.

The Spicy No Mayo Cole Slaw should definitely be made ahead of time--it tasted way better the next day, even. I like this recipe; it's not the kind of cole slaw I'm used to, swimming in sugary mayonnaise, but resembles something closer to an actual salad. I wouldn't put it on my hot dog, but for a side at a barbecue it's light and fresh and just what I wanted.


The dressing is mustard and sherry vingegar plus garlic, chile, and olive oil. That goes on top of a lot of cabbage, some scallions (I used a leek instead, as there were no scallions at the farm) and bell pepper. Like I said, this was a delicious salad, but it got a lot better in the fridge overnight. Cabbage is so underrated. Just saying.

Finally, the summer squash (and some onions!) and drizzle sauce. Grilling the veggies was just a matter of a quick brush with olive oil and bit of salt and pepper, then throwing them on the grill til they were sufficiently charred (for me, this is bordering on totally black).


The drizzle sauce is just olive oil, heated up, with shallot and lemon juice and herbs mixed in. It takes, as the recipe states, all of five minutes, and is another one of Bittman's endlessly variable recipes (sub peanut oil or sesame oil for the olive oil, ginger or onion or garlic for the onion, soy sauce or vinegar for the lemon, etc.).


All in all, this was one of the most delicious meals, and relaxing weekends, of my life. Donna's smoking technique, which invlolved getting up at 7am to light the coals, and nearly 12 straight hours of sauna time for the meat, is world class, to say nothing of her homemade barbecue sauce. Many thanks to Donna and Mel's Aunt Lynne. We all had a great time eating, relaxing, and enjoying your beautiful home. Hope we can do it again!


  1. I ate this food, it was delicious. The carrot salad looks unassuming as a solid mass or orange, but it was by far the most flavorful salad. I didn't think it could get any better until I ate it again the next morning.

  2. Drool... We must do steaks together soon!