Menu for American Carnivores in London

25 June 2007

Haphazard Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs
nothing-to-write-home-about sauce, zingy quick cucumber pickles

Tangy Cole Slaw
local carrots, green pointed cabbage, red onion

Herbed Potatoes
Colleen and Maris Bard new potatoes, fresh garden herbs

Although the ribs were not bad and very easy, TB and I weren’t particularly impressed with the sauce I cobbled together, so I won’t make an attempt to remember the ingredients. Next time, I’ll try slow-cooking ribs in my mom’s barbecue sauce, or try one of Mark Bittman’s techniques. The ribs also didn’t cook up to any particular tenderness, perhaps because the cooking time I picked, from one of the recipes I was sort-of-but-not-really following, was too short.

The pickes, however, were excellent.

Zingy Quick Cucumber Pickles (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1/2 firm English cucumber, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/3 C cider vinegar
  • 2 T sugar or fake sugar
  • about a handful of assorted herbs

Chop assorted herbs roughly (I used a mix of thyme, mint, chives and basil, all fresh from our little garden). Mix herbs with the cucumber and toss with vinegar and sugar. Let sit as long as possible, up to about 4 hours.

Don’t skip the mint, even if you think you don’t like mint.

Tangy-Light Cole Slaw (adapted from this recipe)

In my quest for a) in season, local-ish food, and b) healthy recipes, I find myself preparing a lot of cabbage. I make a lot of cole slaw, because I find it a lot easier to make a tasty light or extra-light mayo based dressing than one based on tiny amounts of olive oil and water. I know that all the additives used to make mayo light aren’t exactly healthy, so I’m always on the look out for better alternatives. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any salad dressing tips! In the meantime, however, this combination was really a sucess.

  • 1/2 to 1 head green pointed (or other mild) cabbage (I find regular white cabbage is really better cooked)
  • 4-5 fresh carrots (the fresher they are, the sweeter they will be. This will really improve the taste of your slaw)
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/3 C light mayo
  • 1/3 C extra light mayo
  • 1/4 C mild vinegar (eg. cider)
  • 2 T sugar or fake sugar

Slice cabbage into thin strips, rinse well, salt, and leave to drain 30 minutes or as long as possible. Peel and grate carrots and onion together. You can leave these to drain with the cabbage. At the last minute, toss carrots, cabbage, and onion with remaining ingredients. Enjoy! (Note: If you drain the veggies well, the cole slaw will still be edible the next day for lunch, as opposed to being a totally soupy, droopy mess)

Herb-Casseroled Potatoes (adapted from “New Potatoes in a Bag”, Olive Magazine, June 2007)
Toss about 500g well-scrubbed new potatoes with 2 t olive oil, 2 small smashed cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, and any herbs you happen to have leftover from making the pickles (mint is surprisingly excellent here). Place in a small covered casserole dish and bake at 160°C/350%deg;F for about an hour.



  1. Here’s a thought re: cabbage, and other stuff coming nicely into season:

    Heat olive oil in frying pan, medium-medium low heat. The idea is to NOT BROWN,but soften slightly. Add in order (more or less): fresh good onion, not the bitter old stuff from the supermarket; red cabbage sliced thin, chopped garlic to taste, mushrooms in you have. Squirt on some, not a lot, of Thai Fish Sauce. Stir. Add thin sliced zuchini (okay, courgettes for the Brits, but that’s not what they call them in Italy). Cook for maybe three more minutes, stirring to combine. Add grind on fine fresh pepper before serving. This works nicely over grains, from rice to bulgar, or whole wheat cous cous.

    The trick is to cook vegetables to a reasonable, but not obnoxiously crunchy, firm consistency, while still heating through so flavors combine. And not too much Fish Sauce, or it will be too salty.

  2. Also — just saw request for ideas for light mayo substitute:

    Buttermilk. Very low calories, very low fat, and makes great dressing. I have a recipe someplace for a cole slaw with buttermilk dressing … I’ll look for it.


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