Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Night With Ina Garten: Winter Slaw

Don't you just love Ina Garten?

I sure do.  My mom and I have been watching her show on the Food Network for years.  So when I was notified that she was coming to town and holding an event to talk about her new cookbook "Make It Ahead: a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" I jumped at the chance to spend an evening listening to her.

It was a wonderful event held in an old 1920's art deco theater in Beverly Hills.  The place was packed with Ina fans both young and old.  There's no wonder why either. If you've ever tried any of her recipes you will know that they are very easy to follow. Her instructions are spot on, the food is not fussy, but so full of flavor, and as her book claims you can make these meals ahead.

So we spent the evening with Ina, listening to her tell stories about entertaining, her love of food, and the love of her life, Jeffrey.  She was funny, gracious, and vibrant.  I had the most wonderful time and got a signed cookbook!  She is such an inspiration to so many people who love to cook and entertain.  I certainly wanted to go straight home and cook from her new book.

And that's almost just what I did.  Thumbing through the book I found several recipes I wanted to try right off the bat. One particular item that caught my eye was her Winter Slaw. Such a simple salad with amazing flavors.  Remember the rule when you have few ingredients is to buy the best, and ingredients that have big flavor punches.  This salad is just that and more!  

I ended up making this salad for our Thanksgiving meal.  I put together the salad ingredients the day before as Ina suggested and put it all together in a flash an hour or so before serving. The only thing I changed was to add some toasted pecans for a little crunch.  I just love any help that makes things go smoother on a big cooking day, don't you?

The salad was a huge hit!  MGG and our guests just loved, loved, loved it.  Again, the flavors are distinct and pack a punch.  So I'm thinking that this would be the perfect salad for Christmas dinner, or New Year's eve!  The colors alone draw you to this salad.  You have to try it!

I've tried 2 or 3 other items from the book so far, and each one has been fantastic.  This book is a winner and one that I highly recommend.  Enjoy!

Winter Slaw

serves 8

adapted from: Make It Ahead a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1/2 pound large kale leaves, center rib removed (6-8 leaves)
6 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed halved and cored
1/2 small head of radicchio, cored
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) chunk good Parmesan cheese
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans

With a sharp chef's knife cut the kale, Brussels spouts, radicchio crosswise into thin shreds, as you would cut cabbage for coleslaw, and place them in a large bowl.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour enough dressing on the salad to just moisten it, reserving the rest.

Shave the Parmesan in big shards with a vegetable peeler.  Add the cheese, dried cranberries, and pecans to the salad and toss it carefully to avoid breaking up the cheese.  Check for seasoning and add more vinaigrette if necessary, and serve cold or at room temperature.

Make it ahead:  Prepare the salad ingredients, store in plastic bags, and refrigerate for a day or two.  Make the vinaigrette and refrigerate for up to one day.  Toss together a few hours before serving.  

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