He’s back, Christopher Kimball that is. The bespectacled and bow tied co founder of America’s Test Kitchen and editor in chief of Cooks Illustrated, Kimball left both posts last November over a contract disagreement.
Accepting no advertising, Cooks Illustrated has been the authority for developing well tested, (sometimes over 100 times!) absolute best recipes for everything imaginable for almost 25 years. I have been a huge fan of Cooks Illustrated from day one and have saved every issue. Although I use recipes from many sources I always return to CI for its foolproof results. Fortunately for his devoted followers, Mr Kimball is back on the culinary scene with his new project, Milk Street Kitchen. Named for the street in Boston where the company is located, Milk Street will house offices for a new magazine and other media content, a retail cooking school and a studio where a new PBS show will be filmed.
I received the first email newsletter from Milk Street Kitchen this past week. This recipe from the newsletter, Thai Coleslaw, looked like a perfect fit for what I have been harvesting from the garden this week. I made some changes to the slaw ingredients. I substituted kohlrabi for the napa cabbage, carrots for the radishes and since our first crop of cilantro has died off, lime basil. The last of the snow peas make an appearance in this slaw as well.
What gives the slaw a Thai flair is the dressing. It combines lime juice, sugar, a serrano chili and coconut milk. To get the most juice from a fresh lime, microwave it for a few seconds to get the juices flowing. After I cut the fruit in half I score the sections to further loosen things up a bit. One average sized lime gave me a little more than the 3 tablespoons I needed.
Coconut milk has been a staple in my pantry since we discovered our love for Thai food over thirty years ago. Look for canned coconut milk found in the Asian section of your supermarket. This is not to be confused with the dairy-free milk substitute or cream of coconut, an ingredient in piña coladas. There are many brands on the market these days, my favorite is still Chaokoh. With all canned coconut milk, shake the can well before opening since the fat and the liquid separate. Fish sauce is another ingredient that gives this dish a southeast Asian touch. It is extracted from the fermentation of fish, usually anchovies, that are salted. The amber colored liquid give a unique depth of flavor to many dishes, including this slaw. A serrano pepper, seeded and minced, gives the right amount of heat to the dressing.
Kohlrabi gets it’s name from a German word, kohl-cabbage (as in coleslaw) and rabe-turnip. It has a milder flavor than either of those vegetables, the best description I read was that it tastes like broccoli stems. Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable since the bulbous part grows above the ground and is studded and topped with leaves that resemble those on a broccoli plant. The vegetable “minion” was a good substitute for the crisp and crunchy napa cabbage. Shredded carrots and julienned snow peas (last of the season) added more color and crunch. The radishes originally called for in the salad won’t be back until the fall garden.
With the exception of the coconut milk, combine the dressing ingredients in a liquid measuring cup, let sit for ten minutes. The fresh serrano is cooked in the lime juice and mellows out it’s flavor. Stir in the coconut milk. Combine the kohlrabi, carrots, snow peas and herbs in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss until well combined. Stir in the cashews and serve. It’s a delicious alternative with pork barbecue.
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 medium serrano chili, seeded and minced
- 5 tablespoons coconut milk
- 8 cups shredded kohlrabi or napa cabbage
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 4 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped basil (I used lime) or cilantro
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
- ½ cup roasted, salted cashews, coarsely chopped
- In a liquid measuring cup, combine the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and chili. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk until combined.
- In a large bowl, combine the kohlrabi, carrots, peas, basil or cilantro and mint. Add the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Stir in the cashews and serve.