Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dinner at Fife House

Once a month I join a group of volunteers to cook and serve a community meal at Fife House, a non-profit organization that provides affordable supportive housing and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. My daughter was really the one to choose Fife House, visiting and doing errands for some of the residents, as well as joining one of the teams running the twice monthly community meals. A group of 5 or 6 of us prepare and serve a Sunday Supper for the residents who wish to come down to share a meal and chat. Joanna actually only participated in one Sunday Supper before deciding that she was going to travel through Europe with a friend for an extended period of time. So she asked me if I would be interested, knowing that I love to cook and was looking for some volunteering opportunity myself. It's been seven years and I'm still involved. So I thought I'd share our menu for this past week - perfect for anyone on a hot, muggy summer day.

Another Sunday Supper
Cold cuts from a favourite deli (Donna, our illustrious leader, bought the cold cuts, cheeses, rolls, etc)
Roast pork slices (Sharon made this with a wonderful gravy)
Sliced cheeses
Potato salad (Yvonne made two kinds - one creamy and one with an oil andvinegar base- both delicious)
Cole Slaw (my contribution and the recipe follows)
Sliced tomatoes with onion and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and pepper (Sue's contribution)
Sliced cucumbers
Pickled beets
3 kinds of pickles (thanks to Sue)
Tossed salad
Fresh fruit salad (fruit provided by Julie and prepared by all of us)
Watermelon slices
Ice Cream
Italian coffee cake

Confetti Coleslaw
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Refrigerate: 1 hour +
Makes 6 cups and keeps for up to three - four weeks in the fridge.

Coleslaw Mixture
½ head cabbage (sometimes I mix purple cabbage with green to make a very colorful slaw - it looks like confetti)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely julienned
1 clove garlic
2 green onions
½ red pepper
½ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup sugar
3 oz. olive oil
Salt & pepper

1. Cut the pepper, and green onions into 2” cubes and coarsely chop in the following order using a food processor with the regular steel blade: drop the garlic through the feed tube with the motor running, add pepper and green onion until coarsely chopped. Empty into a large bowl. Add julienned carrots.

2. Change to the slicer blade, cut cabbage into wedges to fit in the feeding tube. Discard the core - it is the wrong texture and has a very sharp flavor. When my mother made coleslaw she would always save the core for my father to eat. He loved it, so naturally we kids wanted to eat it too, until we tasted it, that is) Slice using light to medium pressure otherwise the slices will be too thick. (By hand, cut through the wedges from the core side out, and slice very thinly.) Add to the carrot- red pepper mixture.

3. Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has melted (less than a minute), pour the hot dressing over the coleslaw mixture and toss well.

4. Transfer to a large container, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour but preferably until the next day.

Tips & Variations
This recipe works so much better if you have a food processor, but obviously you can do it by hand - it just takes longer.

Instead of sherry vinegar you could try champagne or white wine vinegars as well

Tastes better next day and will keep for up to 4 weeks.

Do not freeze.

This is a great side dish for grilled meats like flank steak and goes especially well with ribs.

Perfect for picnics because, even on a hot day you don't have to worry about it spoiling in the heat as you do with mayo-based coleslaws.

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